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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone...I'm new, I just joined a few minutes ago because I'm a bit worried and looking for advice (been looking into joining a rat forum for awhile, I just wish it hadn't been under these circumstances).

I have four rats - two girls and two boys (kept seperately, of course). One of our girls started acting slightly funny last night...a bit stiff, kinda, but seemed otherwise normal. Tonight, just a few minutes ago, she started seizing and only walking in circles (only walking to the left). She's very jumpy and twitchy. She IS eating, though, when we hand her food. We've seperated her for the night, and I'm not sure she's going to make it through :( Her eyes are bugging, also.

Anyone have any experience of this or ideas? Obviously, we can't call the vet at 10pm and even if we could, we simply cannot afford to bring our rat to the vet. I've a horse and a puppy that needs the vet already. So, really, I just need a bit of advice - so if she makes it, we can prevent it happening again, or to our other little ones.
 

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Have you brought anything new into the home for them recently? That sounds like it could be a virus, or possibly a tumor?

:?
 

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It sounds more like a inner ear infection than a seizure perhaps. She does need a vet, and she needs antibiotics more than likely. They may not fully clear the head tilt but they will cure the infection. Hopefully you can get her to teh vet tomorrow and can save her. Otherwise I think she will just get progressively worse.

Seems like your options are 1. go to the vet for a cure or 2. go to a vet to euthanize her whenever she stops eating. I hope you can scrounge your pennies together to go for number one. It should be less than $100 hopefully. Call around at least.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
We bought a little straw hut thingy because they demolished their new one. But none of the other girls (they are kept with our two girl hamsters and have been for almost a year) are sick or even acting funny. our little Nira who is the playful one is acting a bit worried because we took Meggie away. We just don't want her possibly transmitting anything to them. Although, if it is transmitable, I suppose it might already be too late :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I don't know...I don't think it seems like an inner ear infection. Possibly, but I doubt it. She's flipping around, landing on her back, twitching...an inner ear infection might explain the only walking in circles and maybe twitching her head...

I wish with all my heart we could afford to bring our rat to the vet, but we are both unemployed as of a couple days ago (not a good time!) and my horse comes first :(

I don't know what to do, other than try and find a vet who works with rats in the morning and call for advice maybe...

Oh...forgot to add. She's also very sensitive around the middle area
 

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I agree, if I were you I would put her back. Like you said, anything transmissionable has already transmitted and it is too late. This sounds serious and it sounds like she needs to be with the rats she loves.

Is it an edible hut? Those are mostly undigestible to rats as they are made of (mostly) alphalpha. I wouldn't give it to them anymore if I were you. But if it's not one of those it's probably fine. Either way I doubt it is the cause of this.
 

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I agree, this sounds too serious for advice over the phone, she needs a vet/treatment and fast. Are there any shelters near you that could get her the help she needs?

I'm so sorry your girl is sick, and at such an unfortunate time. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I think we will put her back. Nira is quite worried that we took Meg away anyway. Poor thing.

It's not really even a hut...it's kinda a basket thing with holes at both sides? It's made out of, well, it looks like rope sort-of. They demolished the other one, but I don't think they ate it as there were just little threads everywhere. They're supposed to be for rats...and they absolutely love it!
 

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The problem with those, I think, is that they're exposed to the open air and can carry stuff with them like bacteria or mold, or whatnot.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
hmmm...hadn't thought of that...it was in a box and made for rats? What are the best toys/homes for them, then? :)
 

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The plastic homes that can be cleaned and sanitized seem to go over well, as for toys there's numerous options. :)
 

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if her head is tilted and spinning, it sounds like inner ear infection to me. then again i am not a vet(and neither is anyone else on here that i know of) so a diagnosis is hard to make. plus some things need to be seen to narrow down what it is.

it also doesnt sound like a seizure. and if it were to be, she'd be in terrible shape by now cause seizures kill brain cells. but once again, im no profesional

was she let out lately around the room. even supervised she might have got a hold of something.
 

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if her head is tilted and spinning, it sounds like inner ear infection to me. then again i am not a vet(and neither is anyone else on here that i know of) so a diagnosis is hard to make. plus some things need to be seen to narrow down what it is.

it also doesnt sound like a seizure. and if it were to be, she'd be in terrible shape by now cause seizures kill brain cells. but once again, im no profesional

was she let out lately around the room. even supervised she might have got a hold of something.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
After a lot of research, I do believe she's had a stroke. There is no treatment and no cure. An inner ear infection would see her becoming better by now, yet it hasn't improved. A stroke takes longer to see improvement - three or more days. She SHOULD get better, however, if she's made it this far. She's very disoriented and confused, but likes being with her friends in their little nest.

Either that, or she's got a brain tumor, which I sincerely hope is not the problem.

Thank you all for your suggestions and opinions, they are highly valued. I was a pre-vet student and know a bit about health of horses and dogs, but when it comes to rats and other smaller animals, I am far less knowledgeable! :)
 

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OK, you have 3 possible diagnoses from what you have told us.

1) Inner ear infection. treated by abs and steroids
2) PT (Pituitary Tumour), usually a gradual onset to an observant rat owner. Key signs are confusion, sometimes head tilt, and having trouble grasping things with the front paws. Fatal, but can be delayed with the treatment of abs and steroid.
This is my girl Ariel on Ratguide.com...you will notice the difference after adding the steroid to her regimen. My sweet girl was with me for 5 weeks when I thought she was dying. :)
http://ratguide.com/health/figures/pituitary_tumor_figure_2.php
3) Stroke - if the stroke doesn't kill them in the beginning, the rat can slowly come around but some have a bit of neurological damage. BUT you can hasten and aid the recovery by abs and steroid. This can provide some almost miraculous results. :)

If a rat presents with head tilt its hard to determine right away what is the cause but since the treatment is the same for all 3 you just start them on it right away.
 

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I'm sorry I don't know much about medicine, but what use are antibiotics again PT and stroke?

There's no bacteria for them to kill!
 

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Forensic said:
I'm sorry I don't know much about medicine, but what use are antibiotics again PT and stroke?

There's no bacteria for them to kill!
The steroids are the main thing here to reduce the inflammation, but since steroids suppress the immune system they have to be used in conjunction with antibiotics to prevent any infections.
 

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Ahhhh okay, that makes sense, then. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thank you very much :)

Meggie is doing a lot better. We do believe she's gone blind, but it doesn't seem to be affecting her too badly. She's starting eating and drinking on her own now, rather than us having to feed her and put her by the water, and she's again sleeping with the other girls instead of by herself. It seems to me the other rat we have has been very supportive of her, sticking by her like glue.

She's still not all the way there, but she's getting better, hence my deduction that she has had a stroke.

Unfortunately, we simply cannot afford to put our little rattie on antibiotics. We're both paying out $50 on inhalers for our own asthma - no health insurance and right now, struggling to find jobs. I may sound cold to some of you, but we do as best we can on our limited means. Sometimes things just go 'wrong' and you simply don't have all the money in the world to spend. It wasn't something we planned, going broke ;) That's just the way it is. If we'd had the money, we'd have gotten her to the vet the next morning at 8am. It just isn't possible. Again, thank you for your help and support. It was much appreciated.
 
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