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Hi all,

We have two female white sisters, who are now 24 months old. One is fine, and doesn't seem to be showing her age at all.

The other (a dumbo) has been slowing down over the last month or so. She sleeps more, is less lively and seems to have more trouble moving around the cage, or with anything that requires coordination.

Also, her teeth have started growing sideways at an angle, so aren't wearing down and need to be clipped every ten days to two weeks. I took her to the vets last night to get this done and she had gone from 330g to 300g since the last visit.

The vet gave her some gas whilst clipping her teeth, but still managed to catch her tongue, and when we brought her home she had quite a lot (for a rat) of blood coming out of her mouth. We took her back to the vets after half an hour and the vet stopped the bleeding and gave her some fluids under the skin.

Since she came back she has hardly moved, not responding to our voices, touch, food or her sister. THis morning she was in the same position. We've managed to get her to eat some baby food but not very much.

My feeling is that she probably has had something wrong with her for the past few weeks, hence the slowing down, loss of coordination and weight loss (although the weight could be her not being able to eat so well with her dodgy teeth). If that's right, then perhaps yesterday's trip to the vet, the anaesthetic and the general stress of it all has pushed her over the edge.

I'm a bit stuck though, because on the other hand, she could just be in pain from the cut on her tongue, in which case it should heal fairly quickly and she might go back to normal.

I don't want to put her down if she's going to recover, particularly for the sake of her sister who will be on her own in the cage if we do. But then I don't want to keep her alive if she's in pain, or just sitting still all day and night, looking miserable.

There aren't really any specific questions I have to ask you all, but if anyone has any ideas as to what's going on, or any advice based on their own experience, I'd love to hear about it. Sadly, I feel she is probably on her way out.

Cheers,

Luke
 

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i'm so sorry to hear that. :( tongue injuries usually heal pretty well, and she should be back on soft foods and such in only a few days (think about how fast tongue piercings will heal up if you don't wear the stud all the time). if she's not getting better from the tongue thing, i'm sure that's adding to her discomfort, but if she has been deteriorating for the past few weeks, i doubt that's her only problem. she's a decently old age for a rat, so if she seems unhappy, i wouldn't hesitate too much to put her down. her sister will be very sad without her, but get her a new friend and she'll recover. the slowing down could be any number of things, but it will cost a lot of time and money to pinpoint it if you don't really have symptoms or anything. it could be that she has just decided that she is ready to go.

i don't know how much help that is, seeing as we can't seem to tell what she has, but don't feel bad for putting your rat down if you have to. at least she can finally relax and enjoy herself. :(
 

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Is your girl able to grasp things in her front paws? Or does she just shove her mouth into the food bowl? If she is just not as mobile is one thing but if she is really uncoordinated and almost confused at times, it could be PT.

Gas with an old ill rat wasn't a great idea at this point, but those teeth had to be done. I thought you could clip teeth without gas since a lot of owners do their own clipping (under vet instruction of course) at home.

Pain is one thing but she sounds ill if she won't move. Is her eyes/nose covered with porphyrin? Is her fur poufed out? Is she in a hunched position or maybe braced with her forelegs pushed forward?

Will she eat from your fingertip? Something nice and soft like baby cereal? How about drinking? Is she dehydrated? Did you do the skin pull test on her?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi all,

First off thanks for your replies and apologies for leaving it so long to get back to you. Dumbo has got much better since I originally posted and I was so pleased I kind of forgot!

Anyway, I reckon I owe you all an update so here you go:

She didn't move much for the next 24 hours after I posted, and would only eat a tiny amount of baby food off my finger. She was hunched up and looked awful - just really crappy, fur puffed up, eyes open but looking down at the ground. She wasn't doing any of the stereotyped sleeping positions, like head down, tail over eyes etc., that she normally does.

She also didn't seem to be drinking - when we offered the water bottle she ignored it and I didn't notice her going to the bottle of her own accord. I tried putting a bowl of water in the cage but again, but didn't see her drink out of it.

Eventually I bought some grapes and mashed them up a bit and for the first time since the vet visit she started eating and moving. Whether the grapes perked her up, or whether it was just coincidence that I put them in there as she started feeling better, I don't know, but she munched her way through all the grapes I gave her. Later on that evening she ventured over to the baby food and ate some of that, but still didn't look well.

Over the next few days, she gradually improved. By the next morning she was moving from her nest to the baby food and back again, but was still pretty unresponsive. A day later, she would look over at you if you called her from the side of the cage, and was eating more.

Since then, she has generally improved. Her teeth are now so wonky that I don't think she can handle dry food - I'm keeping her on baby food in case. She is drinking, and moving around much more normally, just like an old rat would, I think. She climbs on the cage again, she begs for food when we're cooking dinner and in general seems to be back to her old self.

I wonder whether some of her lack of coordination and general looking ill can be explained by her not eating because of her teeth. She certainly perked up after having the grapes, and her weight (which was originally 330g, then down to 300g) is now 350g and I'm cutting back on the baby food because she's starting to look a bit fat! The biggest indicator that she's feeling better is that she's back to her favourite hobby of dragging bits of newspaper around the cage, ripping them up methodically, and building nests out of them!

I'm so pleased she's OK - she's still old, so I'm trying to prepare myself for the fact that neither her nor her sister will be around forever - but it really is nice to see her acting like her old self again.

Anyway, thanks again for the replies, it looks like this scare was a false alarm. Her teeth will need doing again and this time I'm not letting her out of my sight, and they're not gassing her. Even if her teeth shatter (which was the vet's fear - and the reason why she was gassed), they're not much use to her at the moment anyway, so we have nothing to lose.

Luke

PS: I'm attempting to upload a picture of Dumbo to this post - hopefully it will work and you can put a name to the rat. Her sister is in the background, hiding behind a cushion.

 

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Good girl!! No more gas for you old sweetie. She probably just can't handle it very well anymore. Her teeth could very much be a factor in her losing weight.

A nice soft diet sounds like it should do her a lot of good. :D

Btw she is adorable but definitely not white. From your pic she looks like a very light beige hooded (ruby eyes). For "whites" you really only have the PEW (pink-eyed white) and the BEW (black eyed white...fairly rare).
 

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That's great news!

If you want to try giving her more than just baby food, perhaps you could try blending some fruit and vegetables into like a smoothie for her? I'm sure you could get a lot of nutrients into her that way.

Also, I think baby food is very hydrating, so that's possibly why she wasn't so interested in the water for a while.

Ooh, I love a happy ending! :D
 
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