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Penny 2 yrs old Dumbo rat - Enderman a little over 1 years old Common rat.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, so I'm going to try and give as much information as possible and yes, it's a bit long, but I want people to know everything.

On January 18th 2023, my pet rat Enderman (female, a little over 1 yrs old) went in for surgery to have a tumor removed near her back right leg, possibly on one of her teets.

Surgery went well, so I was told. I picked her up, she was extremely loopy & disoriented. I was told she would bounce back within 24 hours. (Given my experience with a previous rat and this same surgery, something felt "off")

Now let's rewind to a week BEFORE surgery, the lady I saw was NOT familiar with rodents, she kept running out to ask my questions to another vet tech (who worked along side the doctor who performs the surgeries) instead of just having that vet tech come in to talk with me.

Before leaving she told me that on the night before surgery, that I need to take away her food at 10:00pm (drop off was at 8:00am next day) ... This sounded weird to me, since rats do not vomit, so I didn't understand this condition, but figured "they know best" so followed it. (Probably why I am in the mess I am in now)

Back to AFTER I take her home from surgery.

She is not eating or drinking. She is extremely lethargic and doesn't move around at all. She has been secreting porphyrin non-stop from her eyes & nose. She barely grooms herself. All typical signs something is WRONG and when a rat is about to pass on.

This goes on for 2 days, I decided on the 2nd day to put her back in with her cage mate (I typically quarantine for 2 weeks after surgery) in hopes she was just needing a friend. No change.

I have stopped putting the ointment they provided for her suture as it was only recommended to keep her from messing with it (she hasn't even acknowledged it is there).

I'm finally off work for the weekend so I can dedicate my time to Enderman and I REALLY could use some help!

For starters, I have a huge suspicion there is an infection somewhere, whether its respiratory or not, I need to get antibiotics in her - After paying for this $500 surgery, I can't afford to take her in (I'm already upset the vet I took her to for surgery tried telling me to take her somewhere else that was $200 just to walk in the door, I feel the vet I took her to should be liable for after care ... but that's another rant and I digress) ... I need to find over-the-counter antibiotics that I can give her.

I know people on this forum are going to get upset at this next part, but I'm desperate (I also DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE ELSE DO THIS!!!) ... I found an old (human) prescription for Penicillin, and shaved off a couple tiny chunks, dissolved it into water and gave it to her, just to get some sorta antibiotic in her until morning when stores are open.

She is also not eating, I have purchased Delectables (cat food treat, it has a pudding like consistancy) and put it in a syringe and have been giving her that - She doesn't take it willingly, I do have to put it far enough into her mouth and slowly squeeze it in, but she does swallow it! I however do not know how much to feed her, and how often in a day?
The Delectables package is 14 grams, I'm using the Chicken & Veggies flavor (my other rat seems to love it). I have seen other posts mention Ensure, is there a certain flavor to get, would that work better for her calorie intake?)

Now for water ... I'm using another syringe to get water into her - Again, I do not know a daily amount, and how often, etc? However she does seem a lot more willing to drink.

That's basically where I need all the help:

  • Where to get an over-the-counter antibiotic for a rat. (Plus any info on how much/often given)
  • How much food she needs in a single day, and how often.
  • How much water she needs in a single day, and how often.

Since this is all needing to be done by me, and not by her willingly I'm at a loss on this information, I've never had a rat just ... not eat or drink when they WERE perfectly healthy prior to surgery.

I am willing to fight to keep her alive until she does "bounce" back, because this isn't an issue like old age, she was 100% healthy (aside from a small tumor) prior. She could have easily lived another full year with that tumor, I just wanted to extend her quality of life in that year.

I've provided pictures of Enderman, and a photo of the set up I used to give her Penicillin, food & water. I do also have video of how she is acting upon request, I can email the video.
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Hi and welcome to the forum.
Sorry to hear about what's going on with your rat.
I agree that it does seem like something's "off".
Did the vet offer her any pain meds?
I'll put up a link to the Rat Guide page on analgesia in case that's helpful.
Would you have a talk to the vet about her poor recovery in case there's something they can do? I guess your confidence in them has been a bit shaken. Or maybe seek advice from another vet? (Although you did mention that would be more cost, which is a fair consideration).
I do think you are right to be concerned. It doesn't sound like a normal recovery at all.
 

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Twig and Sprig 💕
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Ok, so I'm going to try and give as much information as possible and yes, it's a bit long, but I want people to know everything.

On January 18th 2023, my pet rat Enderman (female, a little over 1 yrs old) went in for surgery to have a tumor removed near her back right leg, possibly on one of her teets.

Surgery went well, so I was told. I picked her up, she was extremely loopy & disoriented. I was told she would bounce back within 24 hours. (Given my experience with a previous rat and this same surgery, something felt "off")

Now let's rewind to a week BEFORE surgery, the lady I saw was NOT familiar with rodents, she kept running out to ask my questions to another vet tech (who worked along side the doctor who performs the surgeries) instead of just having that vet tech come in to talk with me.

Before leaving she told me that on the night before surgery, that I need to take away her food at 10:00pm (drop off was at 8:00am next day) ... This sounded weird to me, since rats do not vomit, so I didn't understand this condition, but figured "they know best" so followed it. (Probably why I am in the mess I am in now)

Back to AFTER I take her home from surgery.

She is not eating or drinking. She is extremely lethargic and doesn't move around at all. She has been secreting porphyrin non-stop from her eyes & nose. She barely grooms herself. All typical signs something is WRONG and when a rat is about to pass on.

This goes on for 2 days, I decided on the 2nd day to put her back in with her cage mate (I typically quarantine for 2 weeks after surgery) in hopes she was just needing a friend. No change.

I have stopped putting the ointment they provided for her suture as it was only recommended to keep her from messing with it (she hasn't even acknowledged it is there).

I'm finally off work for the weekend so I can dedicate my time to Enderman and I REALLY could use some help!

For starters, I have a huge suspicion there is an infection somewhere, whether its respiratory or not, I need to get antibiotics in her - After paying for this $500 surgery, I can't afford to take her in (I'm already upset the vet I took her to for surgery tried telling me to take her somewhere else that was $200 just to walk in the door, I feel the vet I took her to should be liable for after care ... but that's another rant and I digress) ... I need to find over-the-counter antibiotics that I can give her.

I know people on this forum are going to get upset at this next part, but I'm desperate (I also DO NOT RECOMMEND ANYONE ELSE DO THIS!!!) ... I found an old (human) prescription for Penicillin, and shaved off a couple tiny chunks, dissolved it into water and gave it to her, just to get some sorta antibiotic in her until morning when stores are open.

She is also not eating, I have purchased Delectables (cat food treat, it has a pudding like consistancy) and put it in a syringe and have been giving her that - She doesn't take it willingly, I do have to put it far enough into her mouth and slowly squeeze it in, but she does swallow it! I however do not know how much to feed her, and how often in a day?
The Delectables package is 14 grams, I'm using the Chicken & Veggies flavor (my other rat seems to love it). I have seen other posts mention Ensure, is there a certain flavor to get, would that work better for her calorie intake?)

Now for water ... I'm using another syringe to get water into her - Again, I do not know a daily amount, and how often, etc? However she does seem a lot more willing to drink.

That's basically where I need all the help:

  • Where to get an over-the-counter antibiotic for a rat. (Plus any info on how much/often given)
  • How much food she needs in a single day, and how often.
  • How much water she needs in a single day, and how often.

Since this is all needing to be done by me, and not by her willingly I'm at a loss on this information, I've never had a rat just ... not eat or drink when they WERE perfectly healthy prior to surgery.

I am willing to fight to keep her alive until she does "bounce" back, because this isn't an issue like old age, she was 100% healthy (aside from a small tumor) prior. She could have easily lived another full year with that tumor, I just wanted to extend her quality of life in that year.

I've provided pictures of Enderman, and a photo of the set up I used to give her Penicillin, food & water. I do also have video of how she is acting upon request, I can email the video.
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Yikes! That sounds scary. Pedialyte can be purchased just about anywhere and re hydrates them. You can give it to her every couple of hours. You can try texting a breeder about your rats problems, they can usually help. Baytril can be given for respiratory problems. Childrens tylonel is a good pain medication. You can try soaking their fortified pellets in water to make a mush. If she doesn’t improve, euthanasia is probably the kindest option. I wish you guys the best of luck! 💛
 

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Penny 2 yrs old Dumbo rat - Enderman a little over 1 years old Common rat.
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Originally no they did not give Enderman pain meds, only this topical antibiotic that tastes bitter to keep her from messing with her incision.

The rat that I had (Merricat) taken there before for a tumor removal, gave me a pain medication, and I asked if I could offer that to Enderman when I realized they weren't going to give me anything else.

I did go to the store and bought some Ensure (vanilla flavor) and when I put that into a syringe, she actually went for it! Granted, she didn't eat very much, but I had just given her some of the Delectable food about 30 minutes before (seeing how much she was fighting me to eat that, I ran to the store quickly). I'll be giving her another feeding this evening so maybe she might take more Ensure since she might have a more empty tummy. She is taking water for sure.

I have contacted her vet (where she had surgery) and updated them on everything I'm doing to keep her alive and mentioned she needs an antibiotic asap. So hopefully tomorrow I hear something - I could use my back up savings to purchase an antibiotic for her.

Otherwise there is still my Penicillin, which I would only give once a day, every other day. However I do not want to do that option as its too risky (too much can be toxic in animals, cause kidney and/or liver issues).

I'm still at a loss at how much food aka the Ensure I should offer per feeding, right now I'm just going with it until she refuses since she does take it willingly. Same with the water, not sure how much to give. I do plan on 3 (three) feedings per day spread out.

Again any help or advice is welcomed! I will also keep updating this post 🙂 (I got a 24 hr ban on my FB for asking for left over Amoxicillin 🙄 to give her vs Penicillin, since it's more rat friendly)

Photo: Enderman after her 1st actual feeding of the day a little bit ago and a quick cleaning of her eyes, nose and well ... her butt area lol.
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What a beautiful girl.
I notice she has some body language that shows pain in rats - eyes squinting and ears back (have a Google of 'signs of pain in rats' or 'grimace chart rats').
Metacam (Meloxicam) is a good pain relief for rats if you can get hold of any, or if the vet will dispense it to you. Otherwise the options on the Rat Guide page might help.
Sounds like you are trying hard to take good care of her.
I hope she has a speedy recovery.❤
 

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On January 18th 2023, my pet rat Enderman (female, a little over 1 yrs old) went in for surgery to have a tumor removed near her back right leg, possibly on one of her teets.

Surgery went well, so I was told. I picked her up, she was extremely loopy & disoriented. I was told she would bounce back within 24 hours. (Given my experience with a previous rat and this same surgery, something felt "off")
Totally normal for any animal or person to be wobbly and disoriented post-surgery. It's lingering effects of the anesthesia and should wear off in a day or two.

Now let's rewind to a week BEFORE surgery, the lady I saw was NOT familiar with rodents, she kept running out to ask my questions to another vet tech (who worked along side the doctor who performs the surgeries) instead of just having that vet tech come in to talk with me.
Was the lady the vet? If so, why was she asking a vet tech questions she as the licensed vet is supposed to know or at least be able to look up? If the lady was just a vet tech, she should be getting answers from the vet or asking the vet to answer your questions and concerns directly.

You have every right to walk right out of the exam room with your pet if you don't feel comfortable with the vet and / or how competent the vet or staff is.

Are there other exotic vets in your area you could see for future care?

Before leaving she told me that on the night before surgery, that I need to take away her food at 10:00pm (drop off was at 8:00am next day) ... This sounded weird to me, since rats do not vomit, so I didn't understand this condition, but figured "they know best" so followed it. (Probably why I am in the mess I am in now)
Not uncommon. It keeps the animal from aspirating any food during surgery. Freak things can happen.

You also have every right to question the vet on anything that doesn't make sense to you.

Back to AFTER I take her home from surgery.

She is not eating or drinking. She is extremely lethargic and doesn't move around at all. She has been secreting porphyrin non-stop from her eyes & nose. She barely grooms herself. All typical signs something is WRONG and when a rat is about to pass on.
This goes on for 2 days, I decided on the 2nd day to put her back in with her cage mate (I typically quarantine for 2 weeks after surgery) in hopes she was just needing a friend. No change.

Again, not uncommon post-surgery. It usually takes a day for animals to be back to normal.


I have stopped putting the ointment they provided for her suture as it was only recommended to keep her from messing with it (she hasn't even acknowledged it is there).
The picture of the surgical site doesn't look too good. I'd keep an eye on it for any sign of infection.

  • Where to get an over-the-counter antibiotic for a rat. (Plus any info on how much/often given)
  • How much food she needs in a single day, and how often.
  • How much water she needs in a single day, and how often.

There are no OTC pain medicines for animals sold online or in stores. Medication and proper dosing should only be prescribed by a vet. Not going to get into the using Human penicillin for the rat 🤐

Can you at least call the vet and discuss antibiotics and any other post-surgery questions and concerns you have? If the vet doesn't give you the answers you need, you'll need to find a new vet. Yes, exotic vets are expensive but owning a critter or any other pet means you have to be able to afford vet care which can be unpredictable.

Water is always given ad libitum. Every rat has their own water need. Besides syringing water, you can offer fruits and baby food.Check your rat's hydration level by pulling up the skin at the back of the neck. If the skin snaps back down, the rat is hydrated. If it slowly sinks back down, the rat needs more fluids. You can increase the amount of water you are syringing or, if the rat is lethargic and just not normal, the vet will have to give subcutaneous fluids.
 

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Penny 2 yrs old Dumbo rat - Enderman a little over 1 years old Common rat.
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Totally normal for any animal or person to be wobbly and disoriented post-surgery.
LT_2022 - I get where you are coming from, but from personal experience prior to Enderman, I've never seen a rat act like this 4 days after surgery 😔

After 24 hours and no food or water intake is actually a bad sign regardless if common, that's why they call and check in 24 hours later. When I'd spoken to the doctor the next day (January 19th), I told him I've been at work the entire time, so I'll have to get back to him on her condition, I did mention to him that I had concerns with the possibility of her not eating yet.

When I called the vet on Friday January 20th, they told me they are concerned, but the doctor doesn't work Fridays and that's when they referred me to another vet that was out of my affordability. They have a credit system, but my abusive ex ruined my credit over 10 years, so ... That isn't an option unfortunately. Again, after spending $500 on a $12 animal (not that that really matters) I would expect better post op after care. Don't get me started on rats falling under exotics, that in itself has always bothered me, given the past history rats have gone through with human testing. Uncommon, sure - Exotic ... no. (please understand this is just my opinion, others are free to think they are exotic, I just do not)

My first experience with this vet was great, I spoke directly with the doctor, he was extremely knowledgeable and was very kind - My issue isn't with the doctor (aside from a bit annoyed he doesn't work Fridays lol). When I had any issues arise with Merricat he responded quickly and didn't charge me to bring her back in for a post op check up. My issue is with the vet staff, and yes there were some red flags, but when the last vet I called to remove a tumor priced it at 2 to 4 THOUSAND DOLLARS a couple red flags are easily over looked. (Also it is literally impossible for a rat to aspirate food, because there is no way for them to throw up, their brain simply lacks the ability)

The picture of the surgical site doesn't look too good.
The photo of the surgical site, was taken within 30 minutes of getting home from the vet - Its actually why I took a photo, because it also, didn't seem right.

I have contacted her vet (where she had surgery) and updated them on everything I'm doing to keep her alive and mentioned she needs an antibiotic asap. So hopefully tomorrow I hear something - I could use my back up savings to purchase an antibiotic for her.
To answer your question on whether I contacted her vet again.

As for water, that's what I've been so far doing, just letting her drink until she refuses, she does tend to drink a lot, but she finally passed a stool, which was sticky diarrhea and looked like liquid dark chocolate (not to be gross, sorry to any dark chocolate lovers!) but it's the 2nd stool she's passed since coming home. (The first I don't count as it was most likely in her system prior to surgery)

Besides syringing water, you can offer fruits and baby food.
That was actually the first thing I did before resorting to syringe feeding, I cut up an apple, which at first she seemed like she wanted it, but then ignored it. (her cage mate took a piece of apple so fast it was almost comical, never seen a rat grab something so quick lol, I don't even think my snake moves that quick!) She is interested in the vanilla Ensure, or at least was this afternoon, this evening she didn't want it, I did dilute a bit in her water to get some of it in her.

I will have much more information tomorrow as I'm about 100% sure the vet will call me back, given the message I left, I'm sure it'll be the doctor himself if not I'll demand to talk to him, not a staff member. Its 1:30am my time and as of right now she is resting in her cage for the night.

Just to put it out there, I wanted to go to another vet for help, but they were completely unaffordable so I turned to the internet for help, since this is a forum. The logical answer to ANY of these questions on this site under 'Health' would always be "Go to a vet", sometimes, that's not always an option.
 

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CareCredit may be an option to get the vet care your rat needs. What is CareCredit? | CareCredit It's basically a credit card that can be used for health care needs and includes veterinary care. I have no idea how it works, how to qualify, etc so read the web site for more info. The vet may have financial aid options for pet owners in need as well. Call and ask.
 

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Penny 2 yrs old Dumbo rat - Enderman a little over 1 years old Common rat.
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
*** UPDATE:

I talked to the vet this afternoon, they did write a script for an antibiotic (they do think her incision looks great btw) and I asked to bring her in for fluids, I thought that meant a drop-off and she'd stay with them, but no - Just an injection of fluids released over 24 hrs, and another CC charge 😒

Enderman now refuses water & food, she goes limp when held, and just lays in one spot without moving. I do not give her much time tbh 😔

I did inform the vet of everything I've given her, full transparency. I told them about the Penicillin and how I gave her a small amount of Children's Tylenol due to her running a bit warm. Obviously I will not be using the Penicillin anymore as I have something prescribed to rats - The Tylenol they said shouldn't be an issue as long as I'm doing the correct dose (was able to get her weight, 408 grams - Though I'm sure she is much less right now, her skin hangs off her bones now).

I've called off work tonight since I feel this may be her last night. I have her in a plastic bin, with a towel and I'm putting gauze pads down under her butt to switch out when she passes a stool (those aren't looking too good either, soft & really smelly) she has been passing a lot of stools since 7:30pm this evening after coming home from the vet. I do have to clean her up every time as well.

I am also treating her to some Classical Music on my T.V so she has that playing right next to her to help maybe relax her - Since this apparently has all been brought on by stress from the surgery, or at least that's the running theory. I'm also keeping the room dim, so she doesn't have any harsh light on her.

I dunno, I guess that's all for now - Basically she either gets through this, or doesn't - The waiting game.

I'll post updates as I can, I dont want to post every little thing that happens, I have made a chart of times she's fed, watered, cleaned, poops, given antibiotic, tylenol etc and how much of each.

Thank you all for what information you've provided - Sorry I got a bit angsty in my last posting, just under a lot of stress myself, I just dislike being told the obvious lol.

Photos: Enderman's stool (it does look a bit like blood, but I don't believe it to be), Enderman laying rather limp & Enderman set up comfortable in a box listening to music.

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Penny 2 yrs old Dumbo rat - Enderman a little over 1 years old Common rat.
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
UPDATE:

Enderman has sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 12:30am last night, sorry I didn't update sooner, its been really tough on me, I tried everything in my power to prevent this.

She did not go quickly, it took a total of 4½ hours for her to pass - Including several seizures, convulsions and so on ... She tried to hang on until the bitter end 😔

Thank you again to all offered their words of wisdom.
 

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UPDATE:

Enderman has sadly crossed the Rainbow Bridge at 12:30am last night, sorry I didn't update sooner, its been really tough on me, I tried everything in my power to prevent this.

She did not go quickly, it took a total of 4½ hours for her to pass - Including several seizures, convulsions and so on ... She tried to hang on until the bitter end 😔

Thank you again to all offered their words of wisdom.
Im so sorry. She knew it was time. That’s really tough to see them suffer. Here is a poem that may help. I hope your doing okay. We’re all here for you. 💛🐀💖🌈
 
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