I am a first time rat owner so looking for some advice! I adopted 2 fancy rats from a lady that could no longer care for them. She had owned them for just over a year and, although probably had very good intentions for them, didn't give them the best care. They both arrived with lice and had been living on a diet of pets at home branded nuggets and ad lib chew sticks (there were at least 4 in their cage when I got them). They have a very large cage but the set up she had them on meant they couldn't climb and the bottom level was wire bars. It didn't have any bedding in it and had an awful smell of ammonia (they're now on hemp, which they love).
Although I am a first time rat owner, I study zoology and am very eager to read on optimal conditions for pets so quickly became acquainted with Isamu's blog.
One of the rat's is a lot smaller than the other and I'm guessing it was the runt of the litter (he weighs 340g!). He is very clumsy and is always falling off of things or rolling backwards when grooming. At first I thought he was just clumsy, and maybe didn't have good balance due to only ever being in a ball when out of his cage. But as he has gotten more used to free play he's continued to be weak and constantly falling over. This has led me to believe he's at the early stages of HLD. I've ordered a pee test from amazon to check whether it's kidney related, but I have a feeling it's nervous/spinal.
I've gradually changed their diet to Isa-mix 8 and have cut out high protein treats. They have the reccomended dosage of Daily rat 3 and I've ordered them linseed oil and soakable porridge mix 10.
The bottom door to their cage is open between 9am and 10pm as they are in my office so I can work while keeping an eye on them while they run around. I've also ordered lots of fall breakers to put in their cage.
Is there anything else I can be doing to help slow down the progression of his HLD? I really want to do everything I can to help the poor fella (no expense is too big!). From what I've read it doesn't seem like the vet can do much, and they're very nervous around new people so haven't gone to the vet to avoid stressing them out. But would it be worth having him checked over?
Thanks in advanced x