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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My boy Fleabag is 2.8 years old, and has a few health conditions but seems to be pretty determined to keep going. The latest health problem is excessive drooling and limited swallowing. He can kind of swallow and definitely has an appetite but is unable to eat anything with fibers (so pineapple and oatmeal are out, but peas and cooked pasta are in). He can chew slowly but if it's a dry food he'll just shred it without swallowing and leave ground bits all over the cage. The last couple of days it's been a lot of vegetables since that's what I have. It's also what most baby foods are based on which is what I'm planning to switch to. Any advice on balancing the diet out? I'm worried he's not getting enough calories from just the vegetables, and the pasta is kind of sticky and hard for him to eat, so he gets frustrated and doesn't eat much of it.Other health conditions are quasi-chronic respiratory problems we keep in check with a stead supply of meds and hind-leg degeneration. Neither of these seem to stress him out too much as he's lazy anyway and loves the strawberry banana mix he gets his meds in - he's eating this pretty well and even chewing at the frozen block.
 

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Poor old man Fleabag!

I'd check out Critical Care as a mix in for the baby food him ( https://www.oxbowanimalhealth.com/our-products/professional-line/critical-care/ ). I follow a rodent and rabbit rescue (The Pipsqueakery, who I encourage you to get in touch with if you have questions) and they use it for their intakes with poor dental health who can't eat solid foods. It can be mixed however you want so it won't need to necessarily be oatmeal thick, either, but it'll help make sure he's getting his vitamins/minerals he needs, plus it has some dietary fiber to help him have solid poops which can be an issue with high liquid diets. You can also mix it with stuff like mashed squash, pumpkin, cauliflower or so on!

You can also offer him Ensure which is easy to syringe feed and again you can sprinkle some Critical Care in. I've had a super sick rat the last week and I've been syringe feeding him Ensure mixed with Pedialyte and a probiotic from my vet sprinkled in, so very similar idea! If he'll tolerate mush you can soak his regular food in some Ensure, as well, and give him that.
If baby food is like rat gold Ensure is rat crack! I've been using the vanilla kind, but I've also heard chocolate is very popular. Ensure can also help them keep their weight on if that's an issue for him!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Follow up in case others are having this problem: I started syringe-feeding him cream of wheat mixed with pedialyte, ensure, or baby food. He kept weight on for a while and loved the cream of wheat, so this may be a good food option for others struggling with a sick rat. But he was at the end of life, and when he stopped swallowing a few days after this post (wouldn't even take chocolate pudding), we said goodbye.
 
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