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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, some of you know I was going to get a new rat that I found on craigslist. Well I have him now, and he is in terrible shape. He is honestly the skinniest animal I have ever seen. He is breathing pretty heavily, but no wheezing, and he has only sneezed a few times. There is a bump on his tummy, I'm not sure if it is an abscess or a tumor. Hopefully just an abscess. I would try to take a closer look but I don't want to stress him out any worse. I actually don't even think it's a boy. >.< I think it's a girl, but I'm not sure. What should I do? The girl who gave him to me said he had recently seen a vet, but I don't know. When I talked to her online, she said he was skinny only because he was a picky eater. I don't really buy that, because he ate for me. I dunno what to do. I can't afford the vet at the moment, which is why I was so happy that she said she had him vet checked before she gave him to me. What should I feed him? I don't want to over do it and make him sick. right now he has some baby cereal and some vegetable baby food. Gir I am so mad! Ahhhh!. How do I tell if his lump is an abscess? It seems like it's only in the skin, and not really internal, if that makes sense. Any advice would be very much appreciated. Thank you. :evil: Oh and by the way, she said her vet told her to give him benadryl (sorry I'm not the best at spelling) for the ride down. Has anyone ever heard of that? I thought you weren't supposed to give rats human medicine under any circumstances.

UPDATE:
So far he seems to be doing a little better. He tore up his cage last night, which means he is doing more then just sitting in the corner. I've thrown some Total into his diet and a tiny tiny bit of chicken. which he loves. I haven't started dealing with the abscess yet, I'm trying to keep things slow with him. he seems interested in me, but very unsure. He has started showing interest of coming out of his cage.

Update: December, 23

Well he hasn't gained any of his weight, and I think he has a dental problem. Does anyone know how much it costs to have the vet trim down their teeth? I read that it's pretty stressful for them, So I'm not sure if it would be best to have to do that every two weeks or have him pts. Oh and I know for sure now that the rattie is a he. His man bits are a little ...small. 0_0. I think he has a URI also. I'm going to try to get him to the vet as soon as I can come up with the money for it.
 

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Re: Help

:( I wish I could help. There's a little boy at work who I thought had a tumor on his neck, but it hasn't grown at all in a week, so now I'm almost sure it's an abscess.

He (she?) sounds like he's in way too bad a shape to sit and wait, but what can you do if you don't have the money to take him to a vet? Do you have a job? Maybe you could take him to the vet and make a deal to pay the bill little by little.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Re: Help

I don't have a job. We have unemployment, but not enough to do much with, just bearly pay the bills. I told her I couldn't afford to do the vet thing right away. It just makes me so mad, she acted like he was so special to her. >.< she said the only reason she got rid of him was because she didn't want an oops litter. she claimed that her vet said he was to old to be neutered.
 

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Re: Help

Did she show you any vet papers?
It sounds like she didn't even take the poor fellow to the vet, like she said. :(

I can't imagine a licensed veterinarian ignoring a rat in that shape.
 

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Re: Help

Its probably best to keep him on the light food for awhile and slowly incorporate solids back into his diet. If (s)he will allow you to hold a warm compress on the lump, it will help to bring it to a head if it is an abcess. As for giving Benadryll, i know a ferret is only supposed to get a 1 cc (mL) dose for allergies, so it would have to be a very small dose for a rat. And one in that poor of health probably shouldn't be sedated. Keep him calm, warm and fed and hopefully he will be begin to improve.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Help

I wrote her, and asked her which vet she took him to. We'll see what she says, if she writes back at all.
 

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Re: Help

I don't really know much about rat nutrition or what baby cereal contains, but if it doesn't have a lot of sugar (which I dont think it does) it should be light enough to get the rat eating again without making it sick.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Re: Help

I hope so. that was the only thing my other rat would eat, before he died. Hopefully it's better for this one.
 

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Re: Help

I would get him/her some ensure plus along with some rice baby cereal asap! that is the best for packing on weight with out disrupting their stomachs. Can you pull the skin away from the lump? if you can not and the lump comes with it then it is most likely an abscess.

To Sami: Abscesses usually are fast growing compared to tumors so it may be a tumor rather than an abscess. One of my boys had an abscess on his throat and it tripled in size over a weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Re: Help

I can check. I just feel bad bothering him (or her) . I'll try to pick up some ensure as soon as the store opens in the morning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Help

I just checked, and I'm pretty sure it's an abscess. Gosh I feel so bad bugging the poor little rattie. and I'm really thinking that it's a girl. He (she?) is pretty wobbly. do you think that is from malnutrition? Or maybe the poor thing had a stroke. what are signs of that? (s)he seems to be breathing really hard, but not wheezing. No sign of the red stuff in the nose or eyes. He only sneezed once or twice. I'm afraid to bug h(er) im to much, like I might cause heart failure or something. I didn't plan on bugging the poor little baby until tomorrow, but I'm still going to be worried about it then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Re: Help

I'm starting to wonder if he might have myco.

"Because mycoplasma is a chronic, progressive, incurable disease, older rats tend to have more problem with respiratory problems, but even symptoms in older rats can be caused by a secondary infection, and not mycoplasma itself. If a rat’s immunity is weakened due to stress, old age, or another disease, they can be more susceptible to secondary infections.

Without treatment, mycoplasma and secondary infections will usually cause major lung damage and in most cases the rat will eventually exhibit labored breathing. The heart may also be damaged. The rat may lose weight as his poor respiration makes it hard to eat or heart disease causes lack of appetite. The toes and tail tip may turn blue from lack of oxygen. The rat may experience respiratory distress, which causes a rat to gasp through her mouth, or dash about in panic when she can't get enough air. If treatment cannot prevent such attacks, euthanasia is the kindest action. "

I read that here http://www.ratfanclub.org/resp.html

I hope not.
 

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Re: Help

Most rats, especially with origins of petshops, have myco.

Stress in this case may be a serious concern - as you say, he's obviously not well and underfed - travelling may not have been good for him. It may have brought on a 'flare up' or, he may have already had the problem for a while, and your lovely 'honest' rehomer has neglected to inform you of this.

Try the ensure and baby cereal, see if bulking him up helps his breathing at all (don't forget though, breathing heavily uses alot more effort than regular breathing - it may be his breathing that's making him thin)

Perhaps you can even try holding him in your bathroom with the shower turned on? I know this treatment is usually used for congested ratties, but the steam helps open airways, maybe this may help him a little?

(I use 'him' because I'm too lazy to bother with the 'him/her') o_O
 

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Re: Help

First off the surest way to tell if it is male or female is to look for nipples. Males don't have them so if there are little bumps going up his/her sides it's a girl. Or to look for the great big googlies that are tell tale man bits.

The breathing may not be as heavy as you think. I only say this because s/he might just be so skinny you think it is super heavy. If S/he is malnourished then it is possible the breathing is part of it. Honestly I would just feed him/her as much as possible to see if that helps. With there being no porphiryn, and no wheezing it would be my second concern. Try feeding some avacado as well since that is a fattening food.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Re: Help

I'll post a picture if I can find the cable to my battery charger. I did the steam room thing for like half an hour, but I'm not sure if thats long enough. Does anyone know how long to do the steam room thing or how many times per day?
 

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Re: Help

Another thing you might try is putting the ratty on a heating pad or under a heat lamp. When they are thin it is hard to keep their body temp up, and respiratory infections do love a cold body.

I usually steam mine for about 30 minutes. You could try giving him so dark chocolate (just a bit) to open up his airways.

Poor bugger. He is lucky you came to his rescue. Even if you can't afford the vet, at least you are taking care of his comfort.
 

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Re: Help

I only ever do a steam for 15 minutes three times a day but that is when it is excessive porphiryn, gasping, and cold. You might try a tiny bit of dark chocolate to see if that helps.
 
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