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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello, I'm still new to the forum and haven't hit my three posts yet (this will be my third), or else I'd post this elsewhere. (Moderators, feel free to move it if you'd like).

While I was out last night working, like other normal days, the rats usually don't have a problem. Today I get home and Pepper, one of my rats, seemed a bit off.

The first sign was he looked more relieved than excited to see me, and he was very sluggish and puffy (fur standing up). From what I understand, this is anger and/or fear, but since he was willing to take a treat from me, I knew it wasn't towards me. But I also noticed his nose is scabbed over and his front left paw looks like it has a sore on it. I picked him up and cradled him near my stomach and pet him and talked to him to calm him down.

He is less sluggish now. I'm guessing he and his brother got in a fight, though his brother shows no wounds. But he seems too sluggish. He's limping a bit (which I guess is expected) and when he was calmed down, I let him free range on the floor separate from his brother, but he even was more willing to use a lot of strength and energy to climb up in my lap as I sat down with my computer than take his favorite treat of a dab of yogurt from my finger at floor level (that's odd, too). He's sitting here bobbing his head and almost looks like he's trying really hard just to get air. URI? I feel so bad for him. So many things and not sure what's going on.

**edit** He's less than a year old. Not sure on his exact age, but my guess by the size I got them at compared to the size they are now (and still growing) they can't be more than 3 or 4 months old. If someone knows how long they take to mature, I could probably give a better estimate. They may be at the age where one decides who's boss.

I've never had all this go on before. What should I do?
 

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The puffy fur can also be a sign of feeling really rubbish too, in an aggressive rat they would be moving around a lot, stomping, generally acting a bit obnoxious, in an ill rat they will be hunched, lethargic and generally looking miserable. It sounds like your lad is feeling very under the weather. If his breathing is also poor or heavy then it is probably a URI, can you get a video of him and post a link here? A photo may also help "age" him. Theres a few things this could be as well as a URI, if breathing isn't the main issue but its hard to tell without seeing him. Its worth checking him for balance, walking etc and see if he has a head tilt (ear infections are fairly common in younger rats too). It could also be a UTI, so try putting him in a carrier for a while on some kitchen towel and see if his urine is normal colour.

It would be well wroth getting him along to the vets too, for any of those he will need antibiotics, though the best ones depend on his age. How long have you had him and can you post photos of when you first got him too?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm working on videos at the moment. Almost done.

Unfortunately, I don't have a pictures or videos from day one of owning. Kinda with I did, but I don't.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, here's Pepper's breathing. I'm working on uploading walking and his nose and paws, but for some reason my Internet connection is stupidly slow right now. I think I need to reboot the modem and router (haven't done that recently), but if I do it right now, I'll have to start the video upload again for the n-teenth time. It has about 15 more minutes. It's only 2.5 minutes long.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X2qO5aGpUU
 

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That definitely looks like breathing problems, worst case could be a heart problem. URIs can intensify quickly and be fatal within a few days, so I would take him to see a vet asap.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Alrighty. Found a vet nearby that cares for rats and have an appointment for a little bit later today. I'll let you know how that goes.

Oddly, no matter where I put him after he would wander out while I was working on trust training with Stripe, my other rat, he always heads up the ramp and naps on the first shelf. He wants nothing to do with his shelter right now.

I put all their food and water on the ground level so he shouldn't have to climb in the meantime, but now I'm wondering if that will be too confusing for him right now. I'll put up a second water bottle where the first one was so he can stay hydrated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Went to the vet earlier in the day. They gave Pepper oxygen, gave him a breathing treatment, antibiotics, and hydrated him, and sent me home with more antibiotics. I checked on him while I was on break at work.

He was definitely more hydrated but couldn't get up to relieve himself. His breathing was very heavy, and very slow, almost like a spasm, less than one respiration per second. I couldn't even give him his antibiotics.I comforted him, and he passed away in my hand on my chest. I hated to see him go so young, but I'm glad he's not suffering anymore. Sleep soundly, Pepper.
 

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Oh no I'm so sorry, it does look like he had fairly bad resp issues, in the video he was clearly panting. Its come on very fast for such a young rat which means it was possibly something congenital, so there will have been nothing you can do. I would expect a rat who passed away so fast with an infection to be a lot limper and more panicked in the video of him moving around, he looked happy despite the breathing so you really did everything you could.
 

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I'm sorry for your loss. He may have had a flare up of myco, which lead to a URI or Pneumonia.
But please know that it sounded like he was suffering and the little time he had with you, sounds like it was a good and rather luxury time. You gave him snuggles, a good cage, food, and a brother. It sounds like he loved his life, and you, so when he passed, he passed happy. No one should have to go through the pain of losing a pet, but it happens. But I would rather lose a rat while they were happy and loved, then have one pass being scared or feeling unloved. It was out of your control.
 
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