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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mouse saw a vet yesterday, who I think was not good at all... very rude, felt like I was rushed the entire time like he wanted to leave as soon as he got there, wasn't taking my concerns seriously or asking questions. When I mentioned my suspicions and her past/current health problems, he suddenly needed all the details like he didn't believe what I was saying. He was also very freaking rough with my weak, sick little girl. He cranked her head back OVER 90 degrees backwards to look at her teeth.. Said they looked fine, but she clearly has uneven wear, a slight malocclusion on lowers, and some chipping on her upper teeth. Anyway, didn't like him.

As he was literally on his way out the door while I was still trying to talk to him I asked him about maybe her kidneys being the issue and asked for a multi reagant urine test strip. I was able to get urine on the strip last night and it indicates that she has higher levels of protein in her urine. The other boxes changed color too but I'm not sure what it means. I know there' sno real treatment for kidney failure, but is that what this could mean? I would not take her back to this guy, and he won't be able to get back to me until monday but may require me to bring her in again and pay more money.

Little Mouse just has seemed on death's door the last few days. Totally limp and lethargic, not able to hardly move, spaces out constantly, can't eat hard foods, and just mooshes her face around in soft foods when she tries to eat them. she still has an appetite and hasn't lost any weight. but she isn't passing away. I keep hoping she will have passed away whenever I check on her, but she's still hanging on. She's on pain meds which seems to perk her up a little bit, but she still is totally weak and I have to syringe feed/water her. I'm very close to taking her to be PTS but the fact that she's hanging in there makes me hope she may turn around. But I doubt it.
 

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Her symptoms don't seem congruent with kidney failure. If it seems less severe and more transient, could she have had a stroke? Circe had a particularly rough one a couple weeks ago, leaving her floppy, dazed, unable to drink, etc, and it took her a week to recover back to mostly normal. Dehydration can cause those strip tests to trigger. It was maybe five days of her refusing food (mushed her face into it, really wanted it, just couldnt seem to get much in), being on fluid intake (she drank anything I'd give her) and me second-guessing if she needed to go in for a PT.

The only other thing I can think of is spreading tumors; Echo had a lymphoma. http://ratguide.com/health/neoplasia/lymphomas.php

In Echo's case, the lymphoma was in her abdominal region and displayed as swelling felt only by palpation, she was off feed and had some minor neuro issues - floppy, spacing, and such. The vet was concerned that, as it was lymph, it had metastasized places we couldn't palpate - her kidney, lungs, or brain were of specific concern for us. Steroids can buy you some time, but there isn't anything you can do to remove it.
 

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There's several things that can cause elevated protein levels that aren't necessarily kidney failure. Diabetes can cause it, as well as a kidney infection, hypertension, inflammation of the glomerulus (which filters waste from the blood), heart disease, or leukemia. Those are things you may want to look into and see if your rat has any other signs of one of these things? It may even just be a bad kidney infection and that definitely would get very serious quickly and would explain why your rat is so lethargic and everything. Investigate some of these things before you put her down because if its just an infection or something it could definitely be treatable.
 

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I've had a lot of rats with kidney failure, it is very common in older rats and can be lurking around without any major symptoms showing. I tend to be able to spot it fairly reliably now in its early stages. Typically i'll notice minor muscle wastage I'd associate with ageing, so dropping muscle tone away from the spine slightly, minor hld that kind of thing. The rat will also struggle to maintain a steady weight, generally dropping gradually on standard rations, but maintain if I feed extras separately. Around this time I will be able to pick up elevated levels of protein in the urine, however I make a point of doing this twice at a similar time each day and after a period where they've had no food for at least a few hours (eating something high in protein before testing can give a false positive), I also try and avoid using marking urine as this is also higher in protiens. Kidney failure tends to progress with increasing weight loss which requires increasing amount of extra food (I add in kidney friendly wet meals) until they seem to stop loosing weight for a week or two and even put it on, they also feel firmer (fluid retention) then they pass away peacefully in there sleep. Good diet, ace inhibitors and sometimes diuretics can help delay this process but don't stop it. The rat doesn't tend to show any signs of distress but can get very picky about what they eat and what they dislike towards the end (kidney issues can cause nausea).

To be honest the symptoms you've described sound a lot more neurological to me. That's not the mean shes not got some element of kidney failure going on, just that its not the full picture. I would be looking to try and get her on steroids asap and see if she responds (if it is a tumour or neuro issue I'd expect to see a big difference in a few days), if that fails I'd be looking at trying ace inhibitors, this would help if its heart or kidneys and again you'd expect to see improvements quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
She was put to sleep Sunday.. I miss her very much, she was a very sweet little baby. The kidney failure signs sounds just like her except for weight loss. She had muscle wastage but her belly stayed round and heavy (but she's always had that, I'm assuming bc of her MC). She had very dilute, large quantities of urine when she had to go, and would just spill out a huge amount at once that was very clear in color. She still had a bit of an appetite, but eating took too much energy. the last day or two she barely ate anything at all even when I would syringe feed her. She'd just start drooling it out after a couple CCs. She was put on a pain killer so hopefully that helped if she was in pain. I kept hoping she would pass in her sleep, but I didn't want to make her suffer. I image not drinking or eating hardly anything could be painful on her system and make her feel worse, so she was euthanized. I noticed her slowing down a little about 2 weeks before she was pts, and the last few days she was completely limp and would not move at all (except for weakly wiping her face when I cleaned her eyes, trying to scratch her ear with her back foot when it was tickled, and upon waking would stretch her limbs and yawn), like she already had passed away. I asked about a steroid but the vet said since she was already so far gone, it would just delay the end result a bit more and might not be a good decision. She offered it though, and offered possibly blood and urine testing and ultrasound to look in her belly for fluid or growths but it would just be for knowing, and not anything that could help in the end. So we were given opioid pain killers for her last day and a half and then took her in to be pts. I feel bad I made her hang in for as long as I did considering how she was, but at least she hopefully wasn't in pain and we got in some good last snuggles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks. Yeah, at the very end, it felt like her life was already gone and she just needed a little help to cross over the bridge, poor thing. Bijou the mom, two brothers adopted out, one sister adopted out, and now Mousey have all passed on. There is one sister adopted out and my 2 brothers and 1 girl left from the family. It's so hard to believe that the little family are all getting old and passing away already!
 

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It really is, I remember them being born and all the heart ache at the start too.

They really don't live long enough
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It sounds so mean, and I feel bad saying it, but I wish I could have swapped the lifespans of my rabbits with my rats, hah. I have 8 year old and 6 year old buns who so far don't seem to be aging much at all, and here my barely 2 year old babies are all getting to be seniors. The buns are great of course, but nowhere near the same level as the ratties.
 
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