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Discussion Starter #1
So I've got a little male woodrat (Neotoma floridana) about 2 months old. He was part of a litter I raised that came into the wildlife rescue where I volunteer. When they were released someone noticed this little guy was spinning in circles, so they took him and brought him back for me to take.
He saw the vet, she told me she thinks it's behavioral but I'm not so sure.

He spins, sometimes larger circles sometimes small circles, slow and fast. I even noticed him doing it climbing on the side of the cage. Always to the right.

He doesn't do it 24/7, but very often, and especially at night when he is most active.

He can turn the opposite way, and he can and does move around normally (which is part of why the vet suspected it was behavioral). He eats and drinks just fine on his own.

I noticed he holds his tail strangely, curved up like a scorpion. Not all the time, but especially when he's spinning.

I thought one of his eyes was bigger than the other. The vet said the eyes are the same size but he is squinting one more and the area around it looks a little inflamed. I suggested he may have slightly injured it spinning and crashing into the wall of the tank he was in, which I saw him do (he is no longer in a tank, btw). She gave me dex eye drops for it which I started him on today.

Today he has had soft stool, but that only just started and I am keeping an eye on but not too worried. His balance also seems a little off, but it could've been like that before and no one noticed because we try not handle animals that are to be released. Now that he is considered non-releasable I've taken him home and have been handling him more.

Now, I'm not at the refuge everyday so something could've happened to him I'm not aware of, but I never noticed any signs of trauma in him. He has no signs of an infection that I can see.
There was a week where other volunteers were feeding them solid food when they weren't ready and all the babies lost a lot of a weight, and one in particular was very thin. This was a month ago maybe, and when I saw what happened I alerted everyone to the proper diet and they all seemed to bounce back quickly but maybe he has a lingering nutritional issue?

Idk. He is friendly and seems pretty healthy otherwise but I'm a bit worried and curious what the issue might be.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. The vet did not look at his ears, and now I'm really wishing I had asked her to. As far as I can tell he does not have head tilt, and I haven't seen any drainage or smelled any infection. He's been having the spinning issue at least a week or two, so I guess I thought he would be showing more signs of infection by now.

I guess I'll start him on some clavamox just to be safe. I'm about to go to work so I'll figure out the dosage and start him on it tonight when I get home.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Wanted to come back and update, especially since there doesn't seem to be a ton of woodrat info out there maybe this will be useful to someone in the future.

Did the dex eyedrops about a week with no change. Put him on the clavamox, and it's been about a week on that and that hasn't seemed to make much difference.
Still spinning, one eye still bigger than the other, and balance is definitely off (which makes me think it's NOT behavioral). It isn't worsening and he hasn't developed any new issues. Eats well, lots of energy, very friendly.
The spinning is still frequent, but I feel like the normal running around vs spinning ratio might be slightly better. Idk if this is from the medication, the extra exercise I've been giving him, or just my imagination.

I'm taking him to my vet tomorrow to get a second opinion.
 

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Do you notice a head tilt at all? My girl, Neera, had an ear infection a few months ago... She had fairly similar symptoms, but she had less running in circles. I was given Baytril for the ear infection and it cleared up pretty well. Make sure you get a long (3 weeks) of medicine though. I had a vet give me only 1 week at first and the ear infection came back worse and now she has a permanent head tilt and her balance is still not perfect. Neera ate very well, acted the same, but her eye was also kind of squinty and irritated-looking. She's more inclined to squint that eye still, but she can open it all the way and does often.

The sooner he gets medicine for it though, the better. It could become worse, or the balance problems may not get better. I wish you luck and I hope you have a much better vet than my first one! :3 Please message me if you need any help with anything. ^-^
 

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Discussion Starter #7
^ Nope, no head tilt! Infection was my biggest concern, since I know those can be symptoms. I felt like it wasn't an infection because it has been going on around 4 weeks now with no change in severity or any other signs of infection showing up, but I wanted to be sure.

He had his appointment yesterday, and the vet didn't see any sign of infection but prescribed a course of Baytril just in case. I also got another anti-inflammatory (don't remember what one, but it wasn't dex) and meclizine (antihistamine that is used to treat dizziness, motion sickness, and vertigo). The meclizine is a compound prescription so they couldn't fill it there and it is being shipped to me so I haven't started it yet.

So it's looking more and more like it's a neurological issue, either trauma related or genetic. I'm leaning towards trauma, but we'll never really know and it doesn't really matter. He's got a home with me so he won't be euthanized for being nonreleasable. I don't mind a doofy or special needs rat, I just wanted to rule out an infection.

I'll come back and update when I finish the medications course. In the meantime I'll try and get some pictures. He doesn't like it sit still but he is so freaking cute!
 
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