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Older rat problem

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 12:47 pm
by rattimus
I currently have 3 36-month-old male rats, I did have 4 but one died after a vet visit last month. Two of my boys have some muscle weakness in their back legs which I believe is common in males (I've never owned males before or had rats that lived this long).

One of my boys, Reuben, seems to be struggling more than the other. I have a large 700g male, Rory, who is problem-free. The issue with him is he will happily climb over my other 2 in order to get treats or just to say hello. Casper seems alright with it and is his usual self. Reuben will move away rather than pushing Rory away as he normally would, I often find him sleeping on his own in the middle of the cage, I don't think he is able to climb or jump anymore. I will move him into a hammock to at least keep him warm. He is interested in treats and seems to be eating and drinking. He does appear a little tired and can be difficult to wake up.

I don't know if he is just feeling his age or if he is potentially unwell. I tried to get a vet appointment but they are seeing emergencies only.

Re: Older rat problem

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:41 pm
by Feolthanos
Sorry to hear that your boys aren't doing too well. I thought my boys were big at 500g too!

I've not had older rats myself, but I would say that if you haven't already, consider altering the cage layout to make it a little easier for your weaker boy. Use common sense at also keeping it interesting for your fitter boys.

Hopefully if you can make it do that Reuben can interact with the others better with some layout changes, he'll pick up a bit. He's bound to be a bit down and depressed if he can't do what he used to.

Also look at changing the diet to suit HLD too. There's different causes I believe, but commonly (I think) you need to feed a kidney friendly diet.

The vets almost shutting up is frustrating, but try not to worry too much unless you're seeing drastic changes in behaviour or pain. You know your own rats the best though.

Re: Older rat problem

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:01 pm
by rattimus
I've moved my boys into a smaller cage, to make it easier on the less able boys and less risk of falls but they are sensible at getting around. I've got a few wooden platforms to put around the cage to help get into hammocks.

I'm assuming kidney friendly food is from RR? I was thinking of buying soft foods but I have a greedy fat rat who may find it easier to over indulge. I've not used RR in a few years as my rats were constantly wasting food.

I worry more as my last rat died after periods of zero energy then being fine again. Alive at the vet, got home and he wasn't.

Re: Older rat problem

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2020 5:57 pm
by [cub]
If only some of them need soft foods then you can feed them those separately, either by putting them in a spare cage or carrier with the soft foods, or leaving them in the main cage with their extras and taking out the fatty for some exercise in the meantime.