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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I have had my girl Rosie for about 2 and a half years now. She was 12 weeks when I got her (in February 2013) so she's almost 3, which is obviously very old for a rat! She is really starting to show her age now, i've noticed her slowly losing weight, sleeping a lot more, slowing down and her fur is thinning and i've noticed these signs for a few months. She's able to move around fine and she is eating and drinking fine on her own (also still managing to annoy her cagemates!) so so far I haven't really done all that much for her other than moving some hammocks around for easier access.

However, recently I have noticed that when she walks, she's starting to drag her bum along the ground. I think its hind end degeneration which is common in older rats so I have heard. When she walks its very flat footed and her tail drags along the ground as well. I've only just noticed this (yesterday) but I think its been very gradual as the disease goes, so i think thats why i haven't picked up on it sooner. Like I said, she can still walk and she does climb still, but I was wondering if I should do anything more for her?

Should I move her to another smaller cage? She has 7 other, younger rats in with her at the moment and if I was to move her, i'd hate for her to be on her own. At the moment she seems to be coping fine. I have moved foodbowls to the ground rather than attaching them to the side of the cage where she'd have to stand on her hind legs to reach the food, and i've moved 2 of the water bottles (they have 4, two on each level) lower down for easy access. There are lots of small wooden ledges around the cage too, to help her get around (yet she still chooses to climb the bars most of the time!) is there anything else anyone can think of that may help her?

Thankyou :)
 

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Your adjustments will definitely help, if its not that bad you can probably keep her in the big cage a little longer. However, if it gets worse you probably want to move her to a more level cage. Off-balance elderly rats can fall off of platforms and ledges and seriously injure themselves.

Good luck. :)
 

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My Chai is going through the same thing. I moved everything to one level. She gets a lot of time out of the cage. One thing I'd like to note is that Chai pees on herself a lot now that her hind legs don't work well anymore. I have to clean pee off her tummy several times a day to avoid urine burn. That might be something you'd want to look for on your girl.
 

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I would make sure she doesn't have any urine or poop stuck on her fur or tail, and giver her butt baths to clean off any urine like grotesque said. Make sure if possible she isn't falling or struggling when climbing the bars. If she starts having difficulties and you become afraid she might fall or hurt herself you can put her in a separate cage, but do give her some cage mates. Does she have any favorite cagemates she's bonded with that she would like to have in with her? I dont know how big your retirement cage is or how many rats it can hold, but maybe you can even rotate a couple rats every couple days or so so she still interacts with everyone frequently and doesn't feel like she's missing out on her family, and her family won't feel like she's disappeared.

Now would be a good time to make sure she keeps a good weight on. Just spoil her with baby food, egg, chicken, tuna etc. And put some more warm bedding in too to make sure she stays cozy. That's so great that she's made it to almost 3 so far! I hope she celebrates her third birthday in good health! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The spare cage that I have is still quite a big drop down. I have the UK equivalent to a critter/ferret nation cage and my spare cage is about the same height as one section of the cage... Still quite a drop down...
It can house 2-3 rats. I like the idea of rotating the rats around so she can spend time with all her cagemates, i'm not really sure who her best friends are as they all tend to snuggle up together! (Yes, 8 rats can somehow fit inside a sputnik or a hammock... I don't see how, or how its comfy, but its possible xD)

Even though I have moved 2 of the hammocks so she can access them easier (a lot easier) she chooses to climb the bars and snuggle up with all her friends. Its a lot of effort for her (mainly to get down) but she perserveres and somehow manages it.

She loves babyfood and chicken! I've never tried her with egg or tuna before, so I think tomorrow I will! :D
 
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