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Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:35 am
by beccalociraptor
My boy Thor keeps having seizures. I don't know why, I haven't figured out a pattern yet. He had two about a week ago, within the space of about six hours, and since then I haven't seen him have any until today, when he had four in the space of about twenty minutes, getting gradually worse. He's being treated with Zithromax and Metacam for a resp infection, and has been for a week now. He's halfway through his course, which is 15 days long. I have no idea if this is relevant to why he might by having the fits. I can just about figure out when he's about to have one, because he stops completely and stares into space, then he'll look down really slowly and just start convulsing. Earlier on I was giving him his first lot of medication - by mixing it into some apple sauce, banana custard or apple and blueberry baby food and then spreading it on his back so he licks it off. It's the only way I can get him to take it without freaking him out. After I've applied it, I put him in a dry bathtub so he has somewhere away from his cagemates to lick it off (also because I can then watch him and make sure he gets it all and his friends don't try and help him.) At the time he had his first fit, he couldn't have been away from them for more than about two or three minutes, and I'd applied the apple sauce by then. The first two didn't really last very long - he had a bit of a twitch, stared into space for a bit and then shook it off and he was okay. The third one was slightly worse and looked like it hurt a bit (that's the one I filmed) and the fourth one was, again, not as bad, he just twitched a bit, stared into space and then shook himself out of it. He was also very quiet afterwards. Usually he's active and you can sit and hold him for a split second and then he'll be off pootling around and exploring (Thor pootles. There is no other way to describe how he moves. It's great :3) but this time he just wanted to sit quietly, and was really jumpy. He was quite clingy, which is unusual for him, and just sat in my lap with his head in the crook of my elbow for about half an hour, not really moving (cept to shift position) and not falling asleep, just kind of...being.

Is he epileptic, or is there something more seriously wrong with him? I'm stumped.

Also, here's the video

ps the crunching noise you can hear in the video is his breathing. It sounds like someone eating a bowl of granola, and it's what he's being treated for. Just in case anyone wondered :L

Re: Seizures

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:40 am
by Amzy
What has the vet said about the seizures?

It's pretty much physically impossible to monitor him 24/7 to work out a seizure pattern and triggers. Look at the following pages for info: and

Re: Seizures

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:41 am
by neotoma
I'd pop him to the vet. They'll know whether seizures can be related to an adverse reaction to any of his meds, and can also check other things like his eye reactions etc which might indicate a neurological problem.

Re: Seizures

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:44 am
by beccalociraptor
Amy - He started having the fits after I took him to the vet, so they don't know anything about it :/

I definitely think I will D: Apart from the seizures and his breathing, there's nothing else really wrong with him, which is why I found it so weird. Could it be possible that it's related to his medication?

Re: Seizures

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 11:41 am
by thespiderinyourbath
One of my boys has seizures if he becomes too fearful/stressed.

Thankfully this makes them quite easy to manage. New places and people, or anything carrying the scent of my cat, can set him off. A trip to the vets is guaranteed to end up in a seizure.

You said he had one in the bath, is that unfamiliar to him?

Just an idea, I have no idea how common fear is as a trigger for seizures, but it is something you could look out for.

Also, my rat is rendered blind for about 5/10 minutes after a seizure. Again, I don't know if this is true for all cases, but it may explain why your boy is so quiet and clingy afterwards.

I hope you get some answers xx

Re: Seizures

Posted: Wed Aug 29, 2012 11:55 pm
by Amzy
How is he doing now? xx

Re: Seizures

Posted: Thu Aug 30, 2012 12:55 am
by beccalociraptor
thespiderinyourbath wrote:You said he had one in the bath, is that unfamiliar to him?
Not really - he's been in it before, both with water in and without. I've given him baths before (he gets sticky from me smearing medicated baby food on him so he'll actually take it) which he doesn't enjoy, but not to the point of causing him to fit, just scramble up my arm if I put my hand near him. I also thought it had something to do with fear. The first time he had one, I was about to try and get him out of the tubey hammock thing so I could give him his medication, but as I put my hand round his forequarters to try and pull him out, I got my hand stuck and he had a fit. I thought I'd frightened him, so I gave him a minute to calm down, talked to him softly and then left him for a bit. About half an hour later, he was in the bottom of the cage so I could get him out, so I medicated him and then put him in an empty fish tank and let him lick the baby food off himself. It takes him a while, so about twenty minutes later I heard a thumping on the inside of the cardboard box he was cotched under, and he was having another fit, completely unprovoked. It was a bit weird D:
thespiderinyourbath wrote:Also, my rat is rendered blind for about 5/10 minutes after a seizure. Again, I don't know if this is true for all cases, but it may explain why your boy is so quiet and clingy afterwards.
That might explain why he was jumpy afterwards, even towards his cagemates. Definitely something to bear in mind. How can you tell? I know that sounds like a silly question, haha
Amzy wrote:How is he doing now? xx
He's alright now - the medication for his breathing seems to be working, he's a lot less rattly and crunchy when he breathes so that's something. He hasn't had any more fits since then, either, which gives me hope. I'm thinking I'll give my vet a call tomorrow - also going to do my own research on Zithromax, in case his seizures are in response to that. I realised when typing this that he only ever has them after he's had his medication, which makes me think that it might be a reaction to it. I guess rats can be allergic to stuff?

Re: Seizures

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:31 am
by Purepsycho
David said that Thor never seemed to react badly to the Zithromax before, when he was fostered with us while you were on holiday. He was being syringed by mouth with his dose daily, always took and ate a choccy straight after and never showed a bad reaction to the meds. Is it possible to build up a reaction to meds over time - or if anything might it suggest the Metacam may be the issue, seeing as he only seems to fit soon after taking the meds?
How is he coping now you have ceased the Metacam, and have you had any luck finding a decent vet down there?

Re: Seizures

Posted: Wed Sep 05, 2012 6:36 pm
by beccalociraptor
Purepsycho wrote:David said that Thor never seemed to react badly to the Zithromax before
Hmm, that's a good point. I don't suppose the pills would be any different to the suspension, would it? I was given capsules to dissolve in water and give it orally that way. It's still the same medication though so I don't think that would make a difference what form it was administered?
Purepsycho wrote:might it suggest the Metacam may be the issue
This is what I thought. Phil was reading an interesting article here about the supposed dangers of metacam in rats, but even then it doesn't mention seizures, I don't think.

His medication (both metacam and Zithromax) technically ended yesterday. We'd stopped the metacam about a day previously. He's still chesty as hell, even after ten days of medication, and he's had more and more fits (one on Monday two yesterday and two today that we saw) while just sitting in his cage. They seem a lot different to how they were to begin with though - they used to last longer, and it would take him a while to snap out of it, but the more recent ones have been somewhat milder, shorter and it doesn't take him long to snap out of it. He's also not as clingy afterwards as he was to begin with, so I don't think they're bothering him as much as they did before. For example yesterday, he had one where he convulsed for a bit and then for about 30 seconds afterwards, he was staring into space and appeared to be bruxxing and boggling. I think that was just part of his fit, but once he'd shaken himself out of it and groomed his whiskers, he climbed out of the hammock he was sitting in and went straight to the foodbowl for something to eat, told Moley off for doing something he shouldn't and then went and groomed Loki for a bit.

Gonna see how his breathing goes over the next few days too, as I'm not convinced the zithromax has made a great deal of difference this time around. I think it's going to be a chronic thing - he's currently asleep on a towel under a box on our bed and I can't hear his breathing. It just seems to be when he wakes up, or after he's been sitting quietly for a while and then starts to move around. I'm not sure if I should take him back to the vets on account of "he had zithromax and it's not worked, try something else" and pump him full of more medication, or just kind of leave him to it. He doesn't seem to be in any kind of pain or anything, so I don't think he's suffering. I will be taking him to the vet soon (once I've found one) about his fits though, so that'll be something I mention.

I've found a couple of decent looking ones from trawling through the old FancyRatsForum - one highly recommended called Shaun from St Francis, but it was in 2008 so he might not even be there anymore, and I'm pinning my hopes on that at the moment. There's also Wilbury, which has a small animals specialist and Grove which is right at the end of our road, also with a small animal specialist, but they charge about £26 for a consultation, plus any medication he might need. There's also Companion Care in Pets At Home in Hove where I'll be working, so I'll pop in and have a chat with them at some point too.

the short answer is "I have no idea. I've got a long list and no idea"

Gonna go and research a bunch of reviews about each one and see what's what, I guess :'D

Re: Seizures

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 11:26 am
by Purepsycho
beccalociraptor wrote:I'm not sure if I should take him back to the vets on account of "he had zithromax and it's not worked, try something else" and pump him full of more medication, or just kind of leave him to it.
I'd definately suggest going back to the vets to advise this. There are so many unlicensed meds for rats and so many different combos of meds for breathing problems that you may just not have hit on the one that will work for Thor yet. (It could be a chronic myco thing and he may have it his entire life but i'd try a few different meds first).

Our girls have been on about 3 different lots of meds for their resp issues, baytril did nothing neither did ronaxon, and while the clavaseptin has worked wonders for Stitch its done nothing for Boo and Kiora, and we're gonna have to go back to the vets for them.
So don't think that you're out of options just yet! :)

Re: Seizures

Posted: Thu Sep 06, 2012 9:56 pm
by beccalociraptor
Righty, I've registered with a vets who has a lot of experience with small animals. It was a toss up between there and somewhere else, but when I asked the second place about their ratty experience, they said "all our vets deal with rats" and then when I asked them about seizures, they said "I think they've seen pretty much everything" which put me off a little, if I'm honest. As I don't have internet at home at the moment, I couldn't register with anybody but I'm currently sat in a computer room at my OH's university, so I've just registered all 7 of my various rodents there.

As for Thor himself, he's not getting any better. His treatment is now over (as I think I said in a previous post) but he's had so so many fits since then (which I think I also mentioned but I can't remember.) Anyway, he had another three or so today so I'm beginning to get worried. OH is convinced he might have a brain tumor, although I'm skeptical because he doesn't have a head tilt, nor does he seem to be having much difficulty moving around. He's not as good a climber as he used to be, and he keeps falling out of things, specifically the sputnik which is his favourite place to dwell and typically right at the top of the cage. Apart from that he pootles along quite happily without falling over and bumping into things. He does spend a lot of time lying down, but I'm not sure if that's lethargy or laziness.

I'm going to have a go at re-arranging some toys in the cage so that they're situated a bit lower down and easier for him to get in and out of and see how he gets on with that. Going to make a vets appointment tomorrow :)

Re: Seizures

Posted: Fri Sep 07, 2012 4:23 am
by neotoma
A brain tumour is sadly possible - I've had rats where the first obvious symptoms were fitting. Another possibility might be heart - if a lack of oxygen is causing the fitting - and that could also explain his chest. So it is very definitely a vet job for a diagnosis.

Re: Seizures

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 12:08 am
by beccalociraptor
Been to the vets with him today. The vet I saw told me that it's likely a reaction to the zithromax which has caused middle ear disease, a symptom of which is seizures. He's been ordered bed rest and close observation of his fits and if they carry on after a few weeks, but people on a rodent group on Facebook have said that it's unlikely that a middle ear infection was the cause of it. Could a reaction to a drug still produce seizures though? His course of medication ended on the 5th September, and he's still having fits a few days later. Should I take him to another vet for a second opinion or just leave him be and see how he gets on?

I'm even more confused than I was to begin with and I'm on the verge of tears cos I don't know what's happening to him :(

Re: Seizures

Posted: Sat Sep 08, 2012 2:29 am
by neotoma
I don't know the answer to what's actually wrong, but if you are uncertain, a second opinion won't do any harm and might reassure you.

Re: Seizures

Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2012 7:09 pm
by beccalociraptor
Okay, update!

So Thor went on for a few days having a couple of fits a day, then it went down to one and then he went for about 5 days with no fits at all. However, we brought him home from Brighton to Basingstoke (my flatmates thought they were hamsters, so I wasn't really that fond of the idea of leaving the rats with them, even if it was only for two days) and he's had two fits again today.

My OH is also convinced that he's becoming aggressive - he's become a bit more bitey than he used to be. He bit OH's finger earlier and drew blood, after grabbing a yoggie out of his hands, then dropping it and biting his finger instead. However, he doesn't bite if you try and pick him up, nor does he bite immediately if you stick your fingers through the bars of the cage, he just sniffs it a bit and THEN he chomps. The other three all nibble gently first, and Thor used to do the same, but it appears he's decided that EVERYTHING IS FOOD OMNOMNOM. He's also become really, really skittish. Like he was super laid back before, never flinching at anything, but now he flinches at the slightest sound, especially if it's near him, and he'll "run" (amble) away as fast as he can when you try and pick him up. He's been eating and drinking alright, comes running (ambling) up to the bars of the cage if you shake the food bucket, so that's at least something. He's not really lost any weight either - he's still 600g at last weigh-in, although he does feel a little bit boney on the top. He's still all flabby at the bottom though, so I'm not overly sure if he's lost weight since he was weighed about 3 weeks ago. He hasn't been weighed since, purely because we have no scales in our house xD His ability to climb appears to be severely hindered too. He can still kind of manage - I've seen him in one of the hanging hammocks and in the sputnick that hung at the top of the cage (until we moved it to standalone because he likes it) but he's not as agile as the others, and a little bit wobbly. He also rolls around a lot when he's grooming himself, but to look at him I'd put that mostly down to the fact that he's so damn tubby and he can't reach certain bits of himself without rolling around.

I'm gonna take him to a vets in Basingstoke that I know is good for rats tomorrow for a second opinion, and then take it from there.

Just thought I'd let you all know how he was getting on, and thank you very much for your continued help and support <3