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Discussion Starter #1
http://www.ratforum.com/Forums/viewtopic/t=507.html

This is the same thing that was happening in the post above, and it's happening to the same rat. It just started. I can explain it better this time.

It seems to me like she might be choking? Twice now I've seen her open up her mouth wide and some kind of liquid has come out of it. I don't understand this because I know rats can't vomit. So what's going on?

Right now she isn't doing much but sitting quietly with me. She is hunched up. She may be breathing heavily? I'm not sure.

I'm going to go ahead and take her to a vet, but the only vet open is the same place I took her last time and I didn't feel 100% confident that the doctor knew what he was doing. Hopefully they have a better vet this time.

When I get back, I'll list exactly what's in her food mix and maybe someone will know if she's possible choking on any of it. It's essentially the Suebee's Mix, so I don't know what the problem is.
 

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Rats cannot vomit from their stomach, but they can regurgitate which is what they do when they are choking. A rat who is choking you may see them drooling, hunched over, and you can usually see them gag from time to time as they try to bring it up or down.

Usually they will work it out themselves. Just leave them be and monitor. A vet visit is required if the rat has been choking for more than 6 hours. There is a "rat fling" heimlich type manuever that you can perform but it should only be done if the rat stops breathing, otherwise you can make the situation worse. http://www.ratfanclub.org/firstaid.html

I had one rat that choked on Suebee's mix all the time when I was giving it. One of the reason I stopped giving it to them. I think it was the puffed wheat but I never conclusively figured out what was causing her to choke.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks Lise, that's some helpful information. I just got back from the vet, and right now I'd be willing to say it was a bit of a waste.

The vet said that if I'd brought her in just for a checkup, he'd say she was in good health. However to me, she's still lethargic, so I don't understand that.

I'll repeat exactly what he said:

"Poopsmith's physical exam is relatively normal with the exception of the slightly longer than normal incisors. These teeth are not long enough to warrant an urgent trimming. They may wear better by increasing her interest in chewing her chew blocks. Continue to add/alter her blocks frequently to increase her interest levels.

Offer a variety of fruits and veggies to her subee's diet.

I recommend that you obtain a gram scale and weigh her twice weekly. Record these values to monitor her overall health status and notice any trends before they become problematic.

On 2/14/07 (The last time she was in for this possible similar situation), she weighed 236 grams. Today she weighs 245 grams and seems well hydrated.

Keep notes on this odd fluid (possibly regurgitation) after eating. As long as she is maintaining her body weight, then she is utilizing her nutrition."

And then the rest is information on an exotics expert a good distance away from me.

Let me first say that this guy seemed to know a lot more about rats than the past vet I went to, but I'm still not happy with his advice. I just saw her "regurgitate" again, and she is keeping to herself in a hammock.

It seems like she'll eat, and I would love to see her drink but it's so early in the day that I haven't seen it yet.

Is there any other advice on what I can do? Should I take her to another vet or just wait and see? It looks like I'm waiting until tomorrow either way, kinda glad that I just ended my contract with my last job so I'll be able to watch her all day.

Also, her food consists of the following: total cereal, puffed wheat, puffed rice, harlan teklad lab blocks, tri-colored pasta, sunflower seeds (in shell), dehydrated bananas, and soy nuts.
 

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The only advice I can offer currently is to temporarily remove the sunflower seeds and nuts - see if that helps. Along with that, I'd offer her some softer stuff, such as baby food. Maybe also pick up some Pedialyte and mix that in with the baby food - that way she's eating and also getting some electrolytes if she's a little dehydrated from not drinking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ok I just saw her walking around the cage and she looks *terrible.* She's excreting that liquid out of her mouth, and she's having a hard time walking on wire. She falls through all the time.

I read this here (http://www.ratbehavior.org/vomit.htm):

"Other actions that may resemble vomiting, but are not

Difficulty swallowing, choking: Rats may have trouble swallowing a food item. A rat who has trouble swallowing a food item may strain intently, pull his chin down toward his throat and flatten his ears. He may drool saliva, paw at his mouth, and rub his mouth on nearby surfaces. Most rats are still able to breathe through this (true choking is rare in rats), and work the food out themselves in time, but serious cases may require veterinary asssitance.

Difficulty swallowing may superficially resemble vomiting because partly processed food may come back out of the mouth, but it is not vomiting, which is the forceful, rapid, coordinated, reflexive explusion of stomach contents.

Respiratory distress: rats may be found choking, gagging on, or struggling to breath through a cream or tan colored foamy substance. This foam is not made of stomach contents, but of mucus brought up from the lungs that has been whipped up into a froth. This foam is a symptom of a respiratory problem, not regurgitation or vomiting (pers comm B. Mell D.V.M., 2004)."

Could it possibly be the respiratory distress? I'd definitely say the liquid is cream/tan colored (Then again, so is her food). Anyone else seen this?

Once again, there's nothing more I can do until tomorrow but I hate to see her like this.
 

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I would maybe get her an x-ray and have them see if something is lodged in there as well as get her on strong anti-biotics. It sounds like the respitory disease is more likely then her having trouble eating.

You could put her on baby food to be certain as well, it will keep her hydrated and be easier for her to eat. I hope that she gets better D: It really SUCKS he didn't do anything about it though, seems kind of fishy D:
 

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It sounds like she has something lodged in her esophagus. That's commonly what we mean when we say "choking." They're not truly choking, because they can breathe, unless the object in the esophagus presses on the trachea.

It sounds to me like the combination of choking and being taken to an unfamiliar place and handled by a stranger is making it difficult for her to get whatever this is up.

I agree with Night, offer her tons of liquids. If you've got some juice laying around the house, offer some off of the tip of your finger. It might help to lubricate whatever is stuck in her throat so that she can work it down.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I would agree, except if she had something lodged in her throat, would she still be able to regurgitate? That's why I'm starting to lean towards the respiratory problem.

Last time she had this and I took her to the vet they put her on some medicine, and it did clear up. Problem is, who can say if it was really the medicine that fixed it, or if it was the fact that I was forcing her to drink water (And the medicine)? Her recovery only took a couple days.

She's sleeping right now, and I'll see how she's doing tomorrow/tonight. If she doesn't drink on her own tonight, I'll start trying to help her drink.
 

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As Night said, the regurgitation is bits of whatever the rat has lodged in their throat along with saliva.

If she's sleeping then I doubt she's still choking. Choking is highly stressful, as I'm sure you can imagine. Either she worked it up on her own, or she wasn't choking to begin with.

You say she's done this before, and it took her days to recover? That definitely sounds like something else altogether. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't I see over in Meet My Rat that you've just recently gotten Poopsmith? If so, and she's already done this twice... I would suspect either a respiratory problem, or (even though it's rare in rats) megaesophagus.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh no, Poopsmith I've had for a while now. It's the other two rats that I've only had for about a month. Poopsmith did this previously two months ago.

I'm sorry to keep posting about this like crazy, it's obviously just a concern to me. This should be that last post until I can take her to a vet tomorrow.

I just had her out to try and force her to drink some water (Which I was unsuccessful, by the way), and she was polite enough to "regurgitate" on my shirt. I took a picture so everyone can see exactly what I'm talking about here. Sadly, it's blurry, but everyone can see the color of what I'm talking about.

I didn't post the image directly here as I'm sure some people probably won't want to see whatever is coming out of my rat's mouth, but here is a link:

http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b152/cjshrader/S3600012-1.jpg

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I'm leaning more and more towards respiratory problems now, considering she and all her cagemates are pet store rats (The last pet store rats I'll ever have). Maybe I should take all three in tomorrow for a checkup?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One more update. I noticed she was having a hard time breathing, so I took her in a steamy bathroom for 15 minutes or so. I'm not sure if that helped, but it couldn't have hurt.

Two things i've noticed. First, while in the bathroom, she let out a little poop, and that poop had some white-tan stuff on it (Just like what's coming out her front).

Second, I noticed her face smells bad. Isn't that a sign of infection?
 

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I really can't offer much advice, but the fact that her mouth smells foul is a bad sign to me.
 

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I can't say for sure (I'm stumped on what it could be), but a vet visit for another opinion is definitely in order here, since she's not only not getting better, but sounds like she's getting worse.
 

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Bad breath would be a sign of infection in the body/mouth.

I noticed a pretty bad smell in Tsume's mouth starting about a week before he was PTS. He had a resp. infection and would breath very heavily through his mouth, but I was told by the vet it could be a sign of kidney problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok, so luckily Poopsmith made it through the night and I took her to a competent vet today. I took all my rats for safety's sake.

The vet prescribed some Baytril like I was hoping, twice a day for Poopsmith for 10 days. Since the other two are sneezing a bit more than they should be, they get some Baytril twice a day for five days. Hopefully this clears them all up!

Also, the vet hydrated Poopsmith some and showed me how to do it, but I just don't think I can put a needle in my little ratty unless it's some dire situation.

The vet also suggested that I separate Poopsmith for a little while so she doesn't have to deal with the stress of being with the other two for a while. I don't really like the carrying case I was using for my rats (It's one of those critter carriers like mentioned here, and they just poop and get scared in it.), so I decided to run to PetSmart and I got a small cage built for rabbits/guinea pigs that will be their future travel cage (But is also now Poopsmith's solitary cage).

I gave the main cage a thorough cleaning and put the other two ladies in there. Then I attempted to give Poopsmith her medicine, which was hard. She seemed to spit back up as much as I gave her. The medicine must have done wonders, though.

She's doing tons better. She's drinking on her own (and drinking a lot) and eating some solid food. She's not hunched up, and I haven't seen her "vomit" up any mucus since I gave her the medicine. And I just got a couple of job interviews. All in all, things are looking up!

Just to recap, my rat's symptoms were:
- Lethargia
- Released a mucus from her mouth in large globs.
- Trying to get the mucus off, she would rub her chin on anything around
- A very bad odor around her face
- She'd try to eat, but didn't seem able to keep it in
- Dehydrated

If you're some forum traveller in the future and your rat has these symptoms, it *seems* that some Baytril will clear that right up!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Oh, also, the vet visit today cost me $185. Does that seem on par with what would be expected for a vet to check out three rats and prescribe 4 ml of Baytril? And three large syringes for subcutaneous hydration.

Their computer wasn't working today so they are going to mail me a receipt, which is a shame because I would have liked to have seen a breakdown of costs. I'm trying to decide if this is a good vet to go to in the future. She seemed to know her stuff, but I don't want to get ripped off every time.
 

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Wonderful, it's always SO nice to find a competent vet! :) Hope this will be the start of a speedy recovery. :)

As far as cost, it really depends on the vet and area, I've noticed. Given what all they did, and for 3, I wouldn't say it's particularly unreasonable.
 

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Giving subcutaneous fluids is actually pretty easy to do. A few months ago, I had to give a few of my rats electrolytes that way, and most of them would move a little when they felt the prick, and then calm right down. It can be nerve-wracking the first time you do it, but you have to stay calm for the rat, and make sure you have a firm hold on them. It takes a lot of effort not to immediately freak out if they jerk or something when the needle goes in, but you really can't do that. The worst situation I had giving subcutaneous fluids is when Mulligan decided to get up and walk around :p I had to follow him while trying to hold the needle straight and quickly push in all the fluids.

As for the price... you really can't tell whether you're getting charged too much until you get the breakdown of all the different things they did/prescribed, unfortunately.
 

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That's great news! I also appreciate the heads up on the carrier, as I was considering buying one of those to transport our 2 rats to the beach condo when we go on holiday. I'll look at other options, now :)
 
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