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I just went to feed my rats and play with them for a little bit (I have 4) and I noticed that my largest rat, Aberdeen, seems to be limping. She's not using her back right foot when she walks but I don't see any cuts or anything on it or on her leg. Is there anything I can do to help her? I just noticed the limping today but she wasn't very social when I went to get them out yesterday. She still seems to be eating and drinking.
 

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Not all of us have the money to go to the vet without trying something else first. If she was showing signs of pain, not eating or drinking, lethargic, generally unwell, then yes. But for a limp, it could just be a little sprain. Try putting her on children's ibuprofen suspension. It'll reduce any swelling and pain, if she just jarred it a little it will help. My boy Cave has a thing for trying to jump from the cage door to my shoulder-- a good 4 ft down. A little while ago he stopped using his back leg completely, no pain, just dragged it around. I had just spent hundreds at the vet for a UTI and two URI's. I ended up putting him in a flat tub cage and putting him on ibuprofen. I thought for sure his knee was shattered and I was going to take him to the vet, but in about 2 weeks he had recovered 95%. Now he has hurt his leg again, his front wrist to be precise, after rolling out of the cage door in excitement(?). He's on ibuprofen again and seems to be getting better. Let me stress, if he was in a life threatening situation, I would not be suggesting an iffy treatment of ibuprofen. But, stuff happens, and even if I get shot down for it, I just can't take my animals in every time they get a sprain or cut. My dog has athritis and he goes into the vet at least every month, but if my other hyperactive dog pulls a muscle while sprinting after a rabbit, I'm not gonna pay $80 for the vet to tell me to let her rest. Anyway, this turned into a rant, but I'm sick of people shouting "VET!" at every cough. I'd suggest ibuprofen (if you share her weight I can give you a dosage) and a flat cage to reduce overusing the leg. If there's no improvement, or she starts rapidly declining, go to a vet ASAP. Good luck.
 

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Ditto- limps can go away in a couple days . It's very, very common for rats to sprain their legs... Keep an eye for bruising and swelling that lasts longer, as this can indicate something more serious, but most likely it's just a little sprain.




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Not all of us have the money to go to the vet without trying something else first. If she was showing signs of pain, not eating or drinking, lethargic, generally unwell, then yes. But for a limp, it could just be a little sprain. Try putting her on children's ibuprofen suspension. It'll reduce any swelling and pain, if she just jarred it a little it will help. My boy Cave has a thing for trying to jump from the cage door to my shoulder-- a good 4 ft down. A little while ago he stopped using his back leg completely, no pain, just dragged it around. I had just spent hundreds at the vet for a UTI and two URI's. I ended up putting him in a flat tub cage and putting him on ibuprofen. I thought for sure his knee was shattered and I was going to take him to the vet, but in about 2 weeks he had recovered 95%. Now he has hurt his leg again, his front wrist to be precise, after rolling out of the cage door in excitement(?). He's on ibuprofen again and seems to be getting better. Let me stress, if he was in a life threatening situation, I would not be suggesting an iffy treatment of ibuprofen. But, stuff happens, and even if I get shot down for it, I just can't take my animals in every time they get a sprain or cut. My dog has athritis and he goes into the vet at least every month, but if my other hyperactive dog pulls a muscle while sprinting after a rabbit, I'm not gonna pay $80 for the vet to tell me to let her rest. Anyway, this turned into a rant, but I'm sick of people shouting "VET!" at every cough. I'd suggest ibuprofen (if you share her weight I can give you a dosage) and a flat cage to reduce overusing the leg. If there's no improvement, or she starts rapidly declining, go to a vet ASAP. Good luck.
Bold emphasis is mine.

While you've made it clear you're "sick of" this, many who read internet message boards are equally sick of folks coming on wanting a free fix for their animal, instead of proper veterinary treatment.

One other thing--we hear this a lot--"If they were showing signs of pain I'd take them in."

Erm, sorry, but does anyone think this rat is faking a limp?

What is a limp, except a very clear sign of pain? Pain bad enough to cause the animal to restrict use of the limb?

I don't take every single one of my animals to the vet every single time they get a minor injury or there's a blip on the radar, but I'm fairly experienced in triage, usually always at least phone and touch base with my vet, and am good at prioritizing my expenses.

Animals come first, period. I chose to have them, and it's my responsibility.
 

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I agree that if it's just a little limp, there's no need to rush to a vet just yet. Two of mine have had limps, one had a swollen foot, and they were both just minor sprains and cleared up within a few days. I guess it's sort of like if a person bumps their leg on something and it's tender for a few days, but eventually it heals itself. I hurt my foot and was limping for a week at least, but eventually I was fine. Gently squeeze her foot. Does she squeak in pain? You can give her a little ibuprofen if so, but it's nothing to panic about unless she doesn't stop limping within a few days, then you might want to consider a vet. Good luck :)
 

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You make it out like asking for advice here is a terrible, cheap thing to do. This is the health section of a rat forum-- obviously there are going to be inquiries about rat health. People aren't stupid, they know what a vet is. As for the pain level: there's no cut and set level of pain that an animal should reach before you take it to a professional. What I meant was, if the animal is showing signs of chronic pain, or pain from an unknown source, then it's time to take them in. If it's one isolated leg and they pull away when it's touched, it's probably not something to do with the rat's spine or neurological condition. If she didn't show signs of improvement within 24 hours, was showing extreme pain (refusing to move, stand up), showed more symptoms (heavy breathing), then sure, take them in. Even if the problem isn't as physical and clear as a limp, like a mildly sneezy rat, a vet isn't necessarily the best first step. I've had plenty of rats who bounced back from a little congestion with a spoonful of honey and a bit of dark chocolate. Whether a different owner would've immediately rushed them into a vet is none of my business, but I wouldn't appreciate someone trying to make that decision for me.
 

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You make it out like asking for advice here is a terrible, cheap thing to do. This is the health section of a rat forum-- obviously there are going to be inquiries about rat health. People aren't stupid, they know what a vet is. As for the pain level: there's no cut and set level of pain that an animal should reach before you take it to a professional. What I meant was, if the animal is showing signs of chronic pain, or pain from an unknown source, then it's time to take them in. If it's one isolated leg and they pull away when it's touched, it's probably not something to do with the rat's spine or neurological condition. If she didn't show signs of improvement within 24 hours, was showing extreme pain (refusing to move, stand up), showed more symptoms (heavy breathing), then sure, take them in. Even if the problem isn't as physical and clear as a limp, like a mildly sneezy rat, a vet isn't necessarily the best first step. I've had plenty of rats who bounced back from a little congestion with a spoonful of honey and a bit of dark chocolate. Whether a different owner would've immediately rushed them into a vet is none of my business, but I wouldn't appreciate someone trying to make that decision for me.
Perhaps this will give you a bit of context, as to why I'm reacting to strongly to this poster's thread--in addition to what I mentioned before, the extremely common issue of folks wanting an internet diagnosis and fix INSTEAD of a vet. I have no problem with brainstorming for medical ideas, and think that should be encouraged, sorry if it came across otherwise, BUT I don't see forum advice as a substitute for proper veterinary care, AND here is the rest of the context:

This same poster who started this thread, was advising another forum member to "wait a couple days" on a small rat who was lethargic and making clicking sounds while breathing--and guess what? The baby rat died.

Here is the thread: http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?226698-New-Rat-Worries

Now, I'm not in any way saying it was this OP's *fault* the baby rat died, just that it is an indication of OP's judgment with regard to whether something merits a vet visit or not. I think erring on the side of safety and the animal's comfort and quality of life is never a bad thing.
 

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I see. I've personally never had a rat die whilst I was waiting something out; perhaps I'd feel differently if one had. But I suppose you can't learn that skill, knowing when an animal is overwhelmed, and knowing the difference between a minor injury vs a life threatening ailment. It's just something in your gut, and growing up around animals, I'd like to think I'm pretty okay at it. Both OPs have my best wishes, whether or not they take their rats into the vet.
 
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