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No matter what we feed her, she keeps losing weight

2515 Views 19 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Wench
I have a rat that seems to have chronic health issues. Whether she is simply very unfortunate, or has very poor genetics, I don't know.

What I do know is that no matter what we feed her, she will not gain any weight. She is maybe a year old, and completely thin. She is of a larger build compared to my first rat, but when it comes to weight I'd say the tiny one would win. Milly, the one who will not gain weight, is rail thin. She's not just skinny, she's frail. You can feel each of her ribs just by picking her up, and I can see the muscles in her stomach when I hold her upright. Even the tendons in her legs stick out and you can see them expand and contract when she walks.

She does not seem to have the interest in food that any of the others have. Nothing tempts her unless she is practically starving. Sweets, peanut butter, vegetables, you can put all of it right in front of her face and she won't even register it.

We've been giving her the same mix the others have, only we now give her whatever will make her eat. Cake, cookies, french fries, anything that will get her to just eat something.

Even when she does eat though, she doesn't gain weight. She's been eating cake and cookies and bits of our sweets for longer than a week now. We give her whatever she wants. She doesn't gain an ounce, she's gotten skinnier.

When I first bought her, she was a normal weight. She was fed on a bulk seed mix, mostly bird food, sunflower seeds and dried corn. Now she's gone away virtually to nothing, and I don't know what to do, or what's wrong with her.

I'm worried she's going to die very soon if nothing is done. I want to take her to the vet again, but I want answers before I do.
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Yeah, she needs to see the vet again.

But... asking about what kind of food's good to help a rat gain weight is a good, and very valid question. I'm dealing right now with a rat that keeps losing weight (yes, she saw the vet yesterday, before people freak out) and it's definitely a battle with her to keep her at a normal weight.

My girl's got permanently damaged lungs, and the vet said she's essentially living on a treadmill in comparison to other rats. It's just harder for her body to do the same things. And she's an avid wheel runner who runs for hours every night, too!

So yeah, go back to the vet. She must have advanced myco, pneumonia, worms, or something like that which keeps her from having an appetite & keeping her weight on. Good luck, and I hope you can find a cause that doesn't mean an untimely death. :(
She lives with 5 other rats... all avid wheel runners. She's spent hours on her wheel every day since she was 3 weeks old, and to take her primary form of exercise/amusement away would be cruel... not to mention to the other rats she lives with, who have no such problems.

They also have plenty of other toys, which get changed regularly, and they aren't very interested in them. They like the wheels much more. And yes, the cage is large enough. They're in one level of the FN with extra homemade shelving on the top so that there's plenty of surface area. They have lots of hammocks, swinging things to hang in, stuff to climb on, etc.

I'm taking her aside specially to feed extra nutritious food every day, and giving her treats when I pass by the cage. I'm going to pick up some Ensure next time I'm out, too. She's about 50g less than her normal weight right now, so she's not skin & bones or anything. And she's acting normally, good appetite, etc. Just isn't keeping the weight on.
Does she show any respiratory symptoms? Funny noises when breathing?
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