Rattie refusing to eat

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artyx
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Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:40 pm

Rattie refusing to eat

Post by artyx » Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:51 pm

My rattie baby, Pinto, is sick and sneezy, and refusing to eat.

Last week I took her to the vet and was given a 3 day course of antibiotics for a chest infection. At the end she had improved slightly, but over the last 5 days has gotten worse again. Yesterday I went back and got a 10 day course of antibiotics, but she refuses to take it.

Since the start of the sneezing (10 days ago) I haven't seen her eat more than anything pea-sized, at most once a day. She has lost a lot of weight. I've tried her with a load of things; yogurt, baby food, banana, bread rice etc... but since the first round of antibiotics she has lost trust in me and refuses anything I put near her.

She is also refusing the antibiotics. She has very little energy and just sits around wheezing until i try to give her meds in a syringe and then she scrabbles so hard that if I held her any tighter I would break something.

In short, I don't know what to do. Leaving meds in the food in the cage isn't an option as I haven't seen her eat and her cagemate would get it first.
Force feeding her food/meds isn't working. I think it has lead to more stress (her eyes nose and paws get crusted in porphyrin)

Does anyone have any good ideas? The last thing I can think of is to separate my rats and put it in her water, but I'm worried this will cause more help than good.
Would it be better to give up on trying to force the meds (which increases stress) and focus on just food?

I'm so so worried about her and I don't know what to do, she is so small and sick and crying :(

(vets had no good advice, I have hope in the community <3)

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[cub]
Posts: 721
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Rattie refusing to eat

Post by [cub] » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:28 pm

What antibiotics is she on, and at what dose?

Also, where are you? I'm surprised any vet would prescribe a 3 day course of antibiotics for anything, so you could probably do with a better vet. :P If you're in the UK and on Facebook, there's a group dedicated to rat vet reviews which may be able to point you at a more knowledgeable vet: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1849856665043534/

Her lack of eating is very concerning, especially for this long. Is she drinking at all? I would make up some nutritious, easy-to-eat, high-calorie wet food. Rice and scrambled egg, mashed potato with peas, cooked chicken or fish. Drizzle with oil, put in butter, whatever. Just make it delicious, no chewing required, calorie-laden. Mash it up so it's easy to eat and maybe wet it down a bit with soy milk or something. If Pinto's cagemate scoffs it, let her, and just make sure there's enough in the cage that there's still some left over for Pinto; you'll end up with a fat and happy cagemate, but it's more important to make sure Pinto gets something to eat. Having a cagemate smelling of nice food may also encourage Pinto to eat it. I wouldn't bother trying to medicate Pinto right this minute; just get calories and fluid in her any way you can.

She does sound very ill and needs competent veterinary attention soon. Normally I wouldn't go for injected antibiotics, but in this case they may be warranted. I'd also be strongly considering a steroid injection, and I'd also want the vet to check for any kind of GI obstruction. Refusing medication is normal but being this unwilling to eat for this long is very unusual and very worrying.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn, Din, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Xeltan the wonky, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

artyx
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Feb 19, 2019 11:40 pm

Re: Rattie refusing to eat

Post by artyx » Fri Feb 22, 2019 1:43 pm

Thank you for the advice!

I went to an emergency out-of-hours vet who had little experience in rats... they had to phone for advice so I knew they weren't experts but I had hoped it would be better than nothing. I won't make that mistake again! It was Vets Now in Edinburgh, if anyone needs to know to steer clear.

I took your advice with the food and it seems to be working, Pinto is eating a little bit of it which is a HUGE improvement! Her cagemate is also very happy with the arrangement :P

I also joined that facebook group so I will take her to a more experienced vet this week. I'll ask for a steroid injection, would you recommend requesting anything else? I've heard of isotonic rehydration solutions. She is drinking water so I don't think she is dehydrated, but it includes a variety of other useful things as I understand. Might it be worth getting some of that?

Still not doing great at administering the medication but the food is a very helpful start, thank you :)

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[cub]
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Rattie refusing to eat

Post by [cub] » Fri Feb 22, 2019 8:32 pm

I've heard of the Royal Dick being recommended up that way. They should have a decent idea of what they're doing given that they have an exotics department, but exotics specialists tend to be quite dear. Worth phoning them up to ask about prices and what they reckon though.

Pinch Pinto's skin and see if it springs back or not. If it springs back slowly or not at all, she's probably dehydrated, though if weight loss can also cause skin to sag and "tent" in that way. Rehydration salts are not a terrible idea though just to make sure she's getting her electrolytes. (Caveat: Not a medic, not even a first aider, just guessing.)

Not sure what else I'd be angling for other than maybe a steroid injection and injectable long-acting antibiotics. I've heard of Convenia (cefovecin) being used specifically because it's a long-acting injectable (something like 5 days?) but it might not be the right type of AB to use depending on what's causing Pinto's symptoms. I would still be concerned about some kind of GI obstruction though if she's eating a little but still not a lot.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn, Din, Zephyr Donovan (Phoenix), and Zephyr Mick Jagger (Edgeworth).
Fondly remembering: Xeltan the wonky, Lita (NLA32), Lia (NLA28), Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28), Falere (NLA36), Mirala (NLA36), Zephyr Opold, and Rila.

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