How common is sudden death...

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annna
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How common is sudden death...

Post by annna » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:03 pm

... in apparently totally healthy rats?

Having experienced this twice in the past year I wondered just how common it is for apparently healthy rats to suffer presumably heart failure without warning.

In my case both rats were brothers from a reputable breeder, who reported that a third rat from the same litter died in the same way so for me it probably was a genetic issue. To give an idea of the unexpectedness, I said goodbye to the rats as I was about to leave for the evening and he wasn't in the slightest subdued, within half an hour my mum was calling me in a panic telling me he had passed away :(

I would imagine that it's actually more common among pet shop rats and rescues, but I just got to wondering how many of us had experienced this, how regularly, and the background of the rats it happened to.
Owned by Bernard and Wade.

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flash-gordonette
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by flash-gordonette » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:13 pm

I've had one out of eleven pass away suddenly, my little Timmy Tatters wasn't even a year old :cry:

I'm a bit paranoid about the same happening to his two brothers...but fingers crossed and touch wood they seem to be fine so far.

He was a rescue.


Really sorry to hear you've had a bad time with yours :(
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Helzie
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by Helzie » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:20 pm

My first rat, karnimata Cromarty, went like this, overnight. It was such a shock. :cry: his brother went much later of suspected lung problems.
Fastnet, Tyne, Humber.

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neotoma
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by neotoma » Sat Jul 14, 2012 6:56 am

I've never had it happen so far (27 rats dead, another 10 still alive, all petshop or rescue), although one boy did die under anaesthetic which might indicate a weak heart, although it may also have been accidental (his brother never had problems).

It does often seem to be genetic.

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daffee
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by daffee » Sat Jul 14, 2012 8:56 am

We've lost a few to heart failure. They generally started by showing respiratory type symptoms and then went into sudden heart failure. One in particular was very sudden with no prior symptoms. We'd only had him a week and he was just a baby when he had a massive heartattack and died in my arms :(

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annc
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by annc » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:19 pm

It'.s happened twice to me - fist to a recue res, and, more recently, to an ivory 'breeder' boy
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Snippet
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by Snippet » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:22 pm

This happened to Nix. She was a breeder girl who had a head tilt, but was otherwise healthy. I said good night to them, went out to the rat shed the next day and she'd gone. She was 22 months old.
Last edited by Snippet on Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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rattycorner
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by rattycorner » Sun Jul 15, 2012 7:32 pm

I've had 116 past rats and had 9 unexplained deaths, one at 14 months, one at 20 months, and the other 7 were over two years old and aging but not ill as such.
Annette and the Brandywine Rats
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ancient-crone
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by ancient-crone » Sun Jul 15, 2012 9:33 pm

I havent had masses of rats, but lost 2 to sudden death, one was a bit of a lardball (also my heart rat) so possibly that contributed to it, the other 9 months old, and fit and healthy.
I dont think there are any 'less bad' ways of losing a rat, but sudden death is really horrible, losing Pinch was deeply shocking. I even tried to resuscitate him.
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beccalociraptor
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by beccalociraptor » Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:48 pm

One of my regular ratty customers at work had four rats, two of which I ended up bonding with after treating them for respiratory infections before they went to their new homes. Apart from these two, the other two rats were both acquired separately afterwards, intro'd properly and were pretty healthy and happy up until they reached about 7 months old or so. One day, their owners (a mother and her 13 year old son) came into work and told me that Womble (one of the ones I'd been treating) and Whiskey (one of the later ones) were both dead, and Bandit (the other one I'd been treating) was dying. The remaining one was okay, still relatively healthy and up and wondering about. Their cage of girls was fine, and they still don't know what happened. They said they were all fine when they went shopping, but when they got back and hour and a half later, absolute carnage had ensued.

What was interesting though was that Womble's body was just lying there, untouched, but Whiskey's stomach had been completely torn open. There wasn't any blood, so it must have happened after he died, but Bandit had blood all around his muzzle. I had absolutely no idea what could possibly have happened, since they were quite young, and I've never heard of rats mutilating one another so badly before. Anybody know what might have happened?
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Snippet
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by Snippet » Mon Jul 16, 2012 1:22 am

Rats will sometimes eat dead cage mates. Wild rats would to it to avoid attracting predators to their nests. It's not nice for the owners, but the rats are just 'cleaning up'.
Cara,
Owned by Lilly, Rose & Daphne
Missing Snippet, Frost, Willow, Nix, Fern, Heidi, Fizz, Micha, Bubbles, Bee, Asteroid & Gypsy

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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by Veritai » Mon Jul 16, 2012 10:13 pm

oh, sudden adult death is something I did some nosying into a few months back. Personal observation suggests some families are very prone to it and others not at all. I've got a book somewhere that collected like 30 years of non-experimented lab rat data to show the norm for the strain - they had something like 10% die under 1 year old! That shocked me, although I don't know how many of them were really sudden compared to what we observe as pet owners.

The family I'm doing the reasearch for has had something like 3 sudden deaths in 115 or so rats, so doing better than lab rats. I suspect in that case it's related to a low-penetrance heart condition ... but hard to say anything that's not a wild stab in the dark yet.

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Flox
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by Flox » Tue Jul 17, 2012 12:45 am

I lost one suddenly just before his second birthday in February. His brother is still going strong, five months later... am clueless :)
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GeekyGoth
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Re: How common is sudden death...

Post by GeekyGoth » Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:32 am

Yep have had it happen a few times over the years and it's always disturbing.

Most recent was my housemates boy, over two years old, bit of mild hld starting but that was it... night-time fine and happy and still able to climb... morning dead in cage and yep, he was "cleaned up" too...
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