Older Rat Thinks He is Young Again.

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MadChiSai
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:14 pm

Older Rat Thinks He is Young Again.

Post by MadChiSai » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:39 pm

We used to have three rats, two have sadly moved on, one in January (2.5 years old) and one very recently (about a month or so ago). The last rat a male we called Madoka has been holding up "OK", his behaviour seems very norma, eating the same, sleeping well and also he is suddenly braver and more affectionate with us. (Before he would wait for the other two to come to us before he would follow)
He is very old, his back legs are weak, over the past weeks despite normal appetite I noticed he was looking skinnier. He had a nasty mite infection a few months ago (when there were two rats) but now he is looking much much better.
Over the past half a year or so, the rats have slowed down. They didn't climb the side of the cage, they seemed less confident with the walkways. We moved all the elements of the cage lower, made the ramps more shallow, put more interesting stuff on the ground floor etc. But suddenly today, Madoka thinks he is one and a half again and is trying things he just can't do, he keeps climbing up the side of the cage only to stop when he can't get his back legs off the ground and kind of scarily "stands" there for ages. He tried to climb this thick rope (which I only left in so they could chew it, it's been months since anyone tried to climb it) and fell off. I took the rope out. Right at this moment he is leaning off of the highest platform (not that high) and is leaning over empty space and gripping the side of the wall. I might go and rescue him from his own hubris, as I have been doing all day.
He hasn't eaten all day, and is completely uninterested in any treat. He seems to want to have his head high up. Either vertical or as vertical as he can lever himself, but he never gets comfortable enough to fall asleep. I tried to make sloping pillow/blanket for him to lie on, and he did for a while. He seemed happy on my chest/shoulder for a while, as he does on the hammock -with his teeth dug into the rope holding it up to keep his head up- but he isn't settling.
His breathing is rattling. He seemed too cold when I handle him.
Again this is all happening today. I just want him to be comfortable. He just fell AGAIN (from a wide enough walkway), I think I will take all his platforms away? He doesn't seem injured - YET.

MadChiSai
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:14 pm

Re: Older Rat Thinks He is Young Again.

Post by MadChiSai » Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:44 pm

he is on my shoulder/chest now. he was desperate to get to me when i opened the cage door, I cannot express how unlike him this is.

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[cub]
Posts: 905
Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm

Re: Older Rat Thinks He is Young Again.

Post by [cub] » Thu Sep 17, 2020 11:55 am

I think he needs to see a vet urgently, preferably one with solid experience treating rats, and to be honest I think you need to think seriously about whether it's time to euthanise him, particularly as he's now very old and on his own. There's always a reason behind a sudden change in behaviour, especially something as unusual as this, and to me he sounds very uncomfortable. Being cold to the touch and having rattling breathing aren't great signs either.

If you did want to try treating him, possible diagnoses I would be guessing just based on age and some clinical signs are: heart disease, respiratory infection, or some kind of neurological issue. Treatment would potentially be some or more of: steroids (for neuro and severe respiratory), NSAIDs (for milder respiratory, but not at the same time as steroids), antibiotics (respiratory), or ACE inhibitors (for heart disease). But his behaviour does sound very unusual and normally with both heart disease and respiratory issues rats try to hang their heads down, not up.
Poo-shoveller to: Calyn (NLA32); Zephyr Nyahir; Zephyr Zymandis; Zephyr Blasto.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Mick Jagger "Edgeworth"; Din (NLA28); Zephyr Donovan "Phoenix"; Xeltan; Lita (NLA32); Lia (NLA28); Zephyr Delanynder (NLA28); Falere (NLA36); Mirala (NLA36); Zephyr Opold; Rila.

Little_Lovelies
Posts: 43
Joined: Fri Nov 22, 2019 8:08 pm

Re: Older Rat Thinks He is Young Again.

Post by Little_Lovelies » Sun Sep 20, 2020 1:52 pm

Hey there,

I’m really sorry to hear all of that, it sounds like he’s giving you a lot of scares :( How’s your little guy doing today and have you been able to get him to the vets yet? If you don’t know of a good rat-savy vet in your area people here can often help :) It’s lovely that he’s taking so much comfort from you company, he sounds like a very sweet little boy.

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