What did she have?

Discussions relating to all aspects of a rat's health and physique
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tofu monkey
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What did she have?

Post by tofu monkey » Fri Nov 25, 2011 6:49 pm

I just need some words of advice to perhaps comfort my broken heart as well as educate others.
My heart rat Vegan was put to sleep yesterday morning and I haven't been able to function since then.
Not only as I am devastated because she was seemingly in great health until the beginning of the week (aside from her HLD), but also because she was my favourite rat I've ever shared my life with.

On Wednesday she started to side suck, although she made no noise and wasn't sneezing/being nasal etc... I took he to the vets anyway and they said her chest was a little rattly and put her on Ronaxan. (She was already on Baytril due to an abscess).

Then yesterday morning when I got up at 6am for work, she was gasping for air. My flatmate took her into the vets, who immediately placed her on an oxygen tank to help her breathing. However after a while the vet suggested putting her to sleep because she wasn't getting any better. He said she wouldn't live for another hour and if we waited too long, she would begin to suffer. My flatmate brought up the idea of steroids but the vet said that he would have been willing to try other things if she had responded to the oxygen tank. He said that when rats have fluid in their lungs, it was very much like a cottage cheese type consistency, which is very hard to get rid of and near impossible when a rat is that far along. I do trust his opinion as the receptionist told my flatmate that he specializes in small mammals, and rats are his 'forte'. My flatmate also said he seemed really nice because when she asked to be there when she was put down, he didn't refuse but he warned her against it as she was tears by this point and it would have been too horrid for her.

Anyway, onto the point I was trying to make... I just wanted to know what could have caused this so suddenly? During the week leading up to her death, I did notice that she was struggling sometimes. Not with her breathing, but she would run hobble across the floor and then sit there resting for a few seconds, seemingly trying to catch her breath. I just assumed that as her hind legs were slowly failing her, she was finding it hard work to excerpt so much energy. She never sneezed or made any noises while she was breathing. When she was 'resting', it wasn't like she was panting or gasping, she would just stop for a second almost as if she was getting her breath back, and then carry on.

She never lost any weight, her coat and eyes were bright, she was eating and drinking fine etc... Nothing convinced me that she was ill in the slightest until Wednesday night when I took her to the emergency vets.

I've briefly seen posts about something called CK, which I'm convinced she might of had, although she only had the one symptom (silent side sucking) What makes it worse is that it says it can be brought on through a stressful intro, and I had only recently (2-3 weeks before), introduced a new rat in the group. Although they got on well, there was a couple of small tiffs that I would see as normal behaviour of rats trying to establish their role in the mischief.

Now I just feel guilty that it was me bringing this new girl in, is what killed her, and she could have quite happily have lived another 6 months or so if I hadn't. I also feel guilty that I should have spotted the possible signs (resting) and that I could have prevented her dying.

I'm just a wreck at the moment and any insight into her situation would really help.
R.I.P my angels :halo: Tofu Monkey, Zombie Apocalypse, Robot Timberwolf,
Wasabi Ninja, Vegan Straightedge, Charlie Peaceful, Aslan Griffindor, Bree Van Der Rat,
Mouse Kateer Mcstare, Courfeyrac Karimloo, Ixnay Dafoe, Shenzi Kiumbe, Cleveland Chaos.

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Re: What did she have?

Post by neotoma » Fri Nov 25, 2011 7:25 pm

It does sound very like CK. Don't blame yourself though - you didn't kill her via the intro. Stress is one of the triggers of CK, but, given it is one of those things any rat can have develop, if we all worried about it in those terms we'd never do anything (intros, ops etc)!

Various things can bring it on, but the stress from an intro is only one possibility - it could have been a shock (if she fell for example and was shaken but not hurt), or a mild virus which was otherwise asymptomatic. It may even just be one of those inexplicable things - if she was getting older and her immune system just got that bit weaker and the bugs grabbed their chance.

It also might not have been CK at all - the symptoms (side-sucky breathing and then lungs full of fluid) are fairly general, and it might have been a heart problem, or possibly a different internal problem kicking heart / resp things off.

Whichever it was, it was not your fault - you got her treatment and you did your best for her.

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Re: What did she have?

Post by Tori30 » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:01 pm

i am very sorry for your loss, I had a similiar situation where my boy got sick following an intro with an illness he never recovered from. Now, i don't know if it was the stress that caused him to get ill or just a co-incidence, but like you say the guilt is horrendous.

Just to second what Neotoma said though, it is absolutely not your fault, and you gave her every opportunity to recover.

Thinking of you xx
Owned by Fury, Banner, Thor, Loki, & Rocket xxx
Missing all my boys: Milo, Boo, DeeJay, Seth, Ozzy, Ren, Stimpy, Lewis, Jenson, Martin, Rummage, Groot & Stark xxx

Looby Loo
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Re: What did she have?

Post by Looby Loo » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:17 pm

:rattyrainbow: Thinking of you x

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Re: What did she have?

Post by MajeekaRevel » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:57 pm

What exactly is CK and what are the symptoms?? I'm not convinced Majeeka's death was linked to Myco as she was fine at the beginning of October and died at the beginning of November. She had 2 choking episodes 8 days apart in that time as well and it was after the second choking episode that it all went downhill for her. I was also devastated epecially as there was exactly 19 weeks (and a few hours) between Revel dying then Majeeka dying. It is just so unfair. They were my babies and it really ripped me apart. Majeeka was also gasping at the end!!
Mummy to (rats) Harlequin, Hershey and Crunchie (degus) Bluebell and Snowflake

Waiting at the bridge: Majeeka, Revel, Maisy, Daisy, Honey, Theodore, Bert, Tarzan, Cheddar, Simon, Bonsai, Tipple, Orion and Bentley

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Re: What did she have?

Post by neotoma » Sat Nov 26, 2011 10:52 am

There's an article on CK in the health articles section which can give youmore details. It's basically one of these bugs all rats carry latently, and then occasionally flares up. But unlike myco which is often quite slow and chronic in development, CK is acute and aggressive. It causes abcesses in the lungs, and seems to often be triggered by physiological stress - a lot of the cases seen occur after surgery or injury (the only definite case I've had was post lump removal).

It's characterised by a very sudden onset (e.g. hours) of the rat going from perfectly well to actively ill, and a very rapid progression from 'ill' to 'at death's door' - a rat can be dead within 24 hours of onset. It is hard to treat, and has to be treated very aggressively and early with combination ABs. One of it's characteristics compared to myco is that it tends to be silent, without much grunting or rattling (although I've had silent myco too), so the symptoms aren't noticable until the rat gets ill enough to be lethargic and then side-sucking, and gasping - although the latter two symptoms aren't diagnostic of CK specifically as they just indicate a rat in respiratory distress, for whatever reason. You'd expect them in CK, end stage myco, any other end stage resp issue, serious heart failure etc. What really inidcates CK (although only an autopsy can confirm it) is very sudden onset and progression of illness, especially after trauma, and the relative silence of the lung symptoms.

It's pretty hard to tell remotely and with hindsight what was wrong with majeeka - the choking episodes, and the fact she had had some longer term symptoms, make me think it was likely to be something more progressive than CK though. Try not to worry yourself too much about exactly what it was - I know it is incredibly distressing for you, and you've had terribly bad luck recently, but again you did what you could for her, which is all any of us can do.


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