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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had two rats, brothers named Smallpox and Pertussis, adopted from an accidental litter back in December 2013.
Sometime late April, Pertussis' incisors started growing unevenly, due chewing using only the left side of his mouth. I trimmed the long tooth to keep him from hurting himself, and made a note to take him in to see a vet, not sure if it was due to something very serious or not. I went out of town for 4 days to go on a family vacation we had previously planned, leaving the rats at home with someone coming over to feed and play with them each day. When I came back, Pertussis was very skinny, had cloudy eyes, and heavy porphyrin stains on his wrists. He had a weak gait with issues lifting his legs, but no circling or head tilting or itching, and in the end refused to eat or even to take any Ensure or yogurt. I regrettably put off taking him to the vet for a few more days until I could get my paycheck, but he continued downhill very quickly, eating less and less, until on May 7th he died after having what I think was a violent seizure. I didn't get an autopsy, thinking it wouldn't be that important, but based off of the symptoms I guessed he may have had a stroke or brain tumor of some sorts.
Today, I have noticed that his brother, Smallpox, has uneven teeth, however they're reversed and it's his left tooth that's overgrown. He's still taking food, and I'm not noticing a strange gait or head tilting. No visible issues with his eyes, and he doesn't seem to be reacting to any tenderness or pain in his face or jaw when I massage them. But after seeing how quickly Pertussis went downhill, I'm concerned that the same thing is now happening to Pox. I can't find any information on contagious health issues that would cause symptoms like what Pertussis had. They are brothers so it could be genetic, but it seems strange to me that symptoms would show up in one only a little over a week after the other died unless it was set off by stress. I can't get to the vet right now, so does anyone here have any idea what this could be?
Sorry this post is so long, I'm trying to cover any questions I've already asked myself.
 

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Your first boy sounds almost exactly like what happened to our old man who had to be pts a few months ago because of a brain pituitary tumor. He had uneven splayed bottom incisors, lost weight, developed weakness in his limbs, became lethargic, and had droopy cloudy eyes. Our boy's issue lasted slowly over the course of months, so it was a slower process, but it sounds almost exactly the same. His brother was pts a month later due to a cancerous abscessed tumor in an invasive location, but he started showing the same signs about a week before he was pts. We had a necropsy done on our boys, and it was pituitary tumors that was causing most of their issues. They also developed mammary tumors and testicle shrinkage because their hormones were being affected from the pituitary tumor. We aren't sure what caused the teeth issues, but rat's keep their teeth short by bruxxing and grinding their own teeth against each other. They also can control how far to move and split their bottom incisors, kind of like fingers or tools, they can choose to move those teeth closer or further apart. We're guessing that because of his weakness, our boy couldn't really control his bruxxing properly to give his teeth even wear. Our two boys were pts within a month of each other and were brothers also. We're guessing it was genetic too. I hope your other boy does ok and if he is sick, it isn't serious and is slow and not painful or stressful at all so he can stay with you a little longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks so much for the reply, glad to have some better idea as to what this might be and to know it isn't some contagious disease that could kill off other rats in the same airspace. I'll continue keeping a close eye on him.
 

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Let us know how he progresses! Hopefully it's not the start of a PT. I have no idea if the teeth issue is related to a PT, but it's interesting that your boy and one of our boys had the teeth issues as one of the first symptoms.
 
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