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The runt of Squishy's litter has been gaining weight (14 days old today). I thought malnourishment was his only problem, but now I can see that he's not developing right. He's not moving properly, his are claws all curled under. Often, he's twitching as well. I think he probably had some sort of brain damage at birth. Could he have cerebral palsy? Do rats have this? And if yes, can they live with it?

I have been hand feeding him, since he can't compete with his siblings when nursing. He eats well with me and is the sweetest little guy. I don't want to give up on him, but is there any hope he'll get better or have some sort of life with this kind of disability?
 

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Im sorry i really dont know much about this but its probably a high possiblity i mean my friends dog is 'specially needs' she is a german shepard who can put her ears up , doesnt know how to clean herself(her mum dog still does this) and her mum (dog) still has to chew food to make it soft for the dog to it and the dog is 2 now ..

if humans/dogs and im aware monkeys can have birth defect cerebal palsy ect im sure rats can -
Jess x
 

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I saw a rat like this. I thought she had a stroke because her whole left side didn't work and her paw was curled under.

I don't know if baby rats can have strokes... I'm sure it's possible, but if he was born with the disorder you'd think mom would have eaten him by now. I know rats don't like to do this, but I've heard of mom's eating babies that were born with a defect to put them out of their misery.
 

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search for my post about my rat with neurological problems. He is now almost 4 months old and I am still hand feeding him 3-4 times a day. He is still unable to walk he just kind of rolls around to get where he needs to go. Let me know if it sounds like what I described in my other post.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
ebrave, I read your earlier post, and it does sound quite a bit like my little guy. He's not moving right, although I get the impression it's more his hind legs. When he does move, it's by pulling himself forward with the front legs. He also doesn't seem to be in pain or unhappy. He's very loving and happy when I hold him and feed him. He is a lot smaller than his siblings, who are now walking all around him. I had hoped he would be able to walk eventually, but maybe I can forget about that. How is your little guy getting along with your other rats? Or do you have to keep him separate? I was only going to keep girls from the new litters. But I can't give this little guy away.
 

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I have him along in a plastic cage. I am too worried that he would get picked on or hurt. He seems to do better and be happier in a smaller space. If given too much space he just starts to flop all over the place. He likes to feel things close to him. He is still unable to use any of his legs. I will have to try to get some video. He almost looks like he is having a seizure sometimes.
But I dont think that it is. It is just the lack of control. He still cant eat much on his own. He will eat yogies if I break them into pieces. And he likes the little peas if I take the skin off them. He just rolls around where ever the food is until he gets one into his mouth. Or he will take it if I put it in his mouth for him. But he cant hold it with his front feet or anything. He just bites it till pieces break off. Other wise I feed him soaked lab block and baby food mixed together. I use a eye dropper. And by the way he is only about 1/4 the size of his brothers. I will try to get some new photos.
 

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Sometimes birth defects happen- in any animal. Sometimes it is best to allow a young rat with a bleak future to "cross the rainbow bridge".
If your rat is not hurting, I can see why you may be reluctant to take the rat to a vet to be put down, but please- if there are signs of pain, please consider it.
And to ebrave4- I'm sure you know that rats are very social animals and need to be with their own kind. As much as they may love their humans, they cannot get enough attention from us as they are atuned to constant companionship. If your rat cannot be with its siblings/cage mates, cannot climb, run, and play- is that really any life for it?
And to dragonegg- please also consider the above mentioned. If the runt will never catch up and need to be seperated from other rats and live in isolation... is this any life for it?
No one but the owner can judge when an animal should move on, but remember it and remember that sometimes the greatest gift we can give an animal is relief.
 

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Sami said:
if he was born with the disorder you'd think mom would have eaten him by now. I know rats don't like to do this, but I've heard of mom's eating babies that were born with a defect to put them out of their misery.
Well, some moms do, but that's not going to happen each and every time. :)

S-Harkey - I agree with you on the pain point, but there is no reason to put down a rat that isn't suffering and seems to have some quality of life, if someone is willing to give the care required to the rat. ebrave4 is doing a WONDERFUL job with a rat most people would have put to sleep. He can't be with other rats, as they were probably injure him and stress him out beyond belief. If you've seen the videos, perhaps you'd think differently. He is not suffering in any way!

As long as he isn't in pain, and she is willing to feed him and care for him, then - IMO - the only one who's able to make the call as to whether he should live or not is the one who knows him and cares for him. Again, that's my opinion on the matter.

I think there is often a time when many animals should be put to sleep and aren't, because they are suffering and it's the kindest thing we can do. HOWEVER, I think that, in the case of a deformity or disorder, if the animal is WELL taken care of (all needs tended to) and appears to be happy and pain-free, then it is solely up to the caretaker. It's a very sensitive issue, and a very personal one.

Many animals, however, live perfectly happy and long lives with defects. So many rat lovers have or had a rat without a tail, or a blind rat, rats who've had eyes removed, rats who are missing limbs... They certainly deserve to live with a handicap, as long as they are not in pain. How many humans in the world have physical handicaps and live fulfilled lives to the capiticy they can? Many! Many go on to surpass expectations, as well.

Not really on a soapbox here, just my two cents, for what it's worth. :) Sorry to stray off topic a bit.
 

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Of course, it is up to the owner and their opinion. No one knows a rat better than its owner. If one of my rats ended up with a deformed or handicapped baby I really don't know what I would do. I can't imagine a life spent mostly alone, but if it truely seems happy then who am I to say?
I agree that it is up to the owner- I just have to feel for the misfortune of the rat that has to live without other rats because it would be too stressed out and possibly hurt by its own kind. Its a bitter-sweet story to take care for such a rat, and if the rat is happy then it is truely fortunate to fall into loving hands. Just keep in mind that rats are social- its very contraversial. :)
 

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I do understand how important it is for rats to run, climb and play. As well as be with other rats. I also know that there is a exception to every rule. Rocky is a happy , thriving little guy. He just happens to be different and need different things than other rats.

By the way thanks for all the support! It is nice to know that others can see the quality of life that Rocky has. It may be different than most , but it certainly isn't lacking. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great discussion. My little Linus is only 3 weeks old, so it's hard for me to judge at this point how handicapped he will turn out to be. A week ago, I feared he'd never walk, and now he does walk--although slower and limping. It looks as though both hind feet are a bit deformed, one more so than the other. He can't sit, climb or wrestle with his siblings. But he can cuddle with them. And I've never had a rat brunx so much on me. He's the most loving little guy. I carry him around in a fleece pouch I made and he looks so content in there. I'm sure he's not in any pain, and he doesn't seem unhappy either. I worry about him not being able to feed himself as he can't sit up to eat. And I worry about him being left out socially. I picked one of his brothers to keep with him, the most calm and cuddly of his siblings. I'm hoping they will get along. I also worry that Linus won't live very long and then I have to find a new mate for his brother.

I would consider ending the life of a rat that's suffering, but Linus doesn't appear to be suffering at all.

ebrave, is there a video of your Rocky?
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Aww. He's precious! And it's amazing how he can get around, even with such a disability. Thanks for sharing the videos.

My Linus, being able to walk now, isn't as badly handicapped. But he has some of the same twitching motions, especially when he tries to clean himself after eating from the dropper. (He can't, and usually just twitches about and ends up licking my hand instead). His walking is kind of twitchy too, as if he's drunk.
 
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