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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I have two PEW girl ratties. They'll be 5months old next week. Last month, I followed the advice of many rat groups and my vet and had them spayed. Dax, is healing pretty well. Kira however, is having problems. She quickly tore the stitches out, and just doesn't seem to heal. I've taken her back to the vet twice now for a check-up. He gave me an antibiotic cream (AniMax??? I think ). And said it was a small infection but should be okay. She hunches up, and is getting thinner and looks rumpled. She EATS though and drinks a lot. Most of the time she's her normal friendly self, if a bit cautious when jumping. But she gets tired easily. I live in a small town and my vet is the only one in the area who sees rats. But I'm just not sure what else I can do for my girl.

:( Feeling like a Bad Rattie momma for putting my girls through this. They used to be all soft and squishy and now they'll be scarred.
 

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Kira sounds like she needs oral antibiotics like baytril.

Is your vet very experienced with rat spays? A lot of vets aren't :(
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not sure about that. He says he has done them, but there are not many rat "pets" in our area. He has treated rats for tumor removal, and other illnesses.

I think I'll give him a call today just to see. They are small rats to begin with, (both were 7ounces in Aug). Dax is just above 8 now and Kira seems to fluctuate between 6 and 7... although my scale isn't very sensitive for such small weights and they squirm.
 

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I have been thru 12 spays within the last year and a half, so I pretty well know the ins and outs of them.

When was the actual surgery. How were both of them afterwards?

Did you get antibiotics and pain meds sent home with them?
Is Kira doing an owwie stretch? They suck in their abdomen and sometimes twist as Aura is demonstrating here. They cramp up to 3 days after a spay.

 

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Yup, exactly like Aura, and they both looked a little "hollow" around their hips afterward. The surgery was just before their 4th month... so between Aug 21 and 24th. Can't remember exact date. He didn't send any antibiotics or pain meds home. They were anesthetised for the surgery, but he told us that because they matabolize things so fast, there aren't any good pain meds to give them. Dax is healing better than Kira, although she has a big scab too. Kira's outer skin just won't close and you can see the inner stitches I think. It's hard to tell because the antibiotic cream dries and clumps. I tried soaking it off in warm water on Sat, but Kira wasn't really into it. Let me clean it a little bit. The area around the wound (under the skin) feels hard. I trust this vet as a Vet, but I think he's used to dealing with lab rats and other types of pets, and not used to "pet" rats. I don't know.
 

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These are the types of incisions I am spoiled with...my vet is good :)



But because its an invasive surgery I insist on antibiotics for sure and pain meds if possible. Pain won't kill but they might rip out their stitches and the poor little girls cramp for days without it.

Metacam is one of the pain meds of choice, but you can even use OTC human stuff like infant tylenol or motrin for pain relief. Just a future thought. There are a lot of vets out there who do not think rats need pain control at all, so your vet is not alone in his assumptions.

Because its an invasive surgery, not a surface cut like an antibiotic ointment might work on, it sounds like ther's an infection inside her and she needs oral antibiotics. Are you any good at going and insisting on this? LOL
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I think I *will* be going to insist. Your girl's sutures look sooo much nicer than mine did. I was a little shocked, cause they looked a little lumpy? or puckered? And both of them still have raised scabby scar tissue. I think I'll be taking both of them in for a check up. I went into getting rats with some careful thought and research/. I researched the decision of spay/not spay. I tried to choose the best vet. I know that money shouldn't be an issue, but I'm so frustrated with this all. He gave me $40 of cream, that may not have worked. *sigh* I think they are starting to hate the vet cause they always get poked and prodded. Poor things. And they are soooo nice. They never bite.
 

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Did the incision look like this?



This was done by a shelter vet :( the stitches were not dissolvable and were very lumpy underneath her skin :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Well, I'm taking Kira to the vet this afternoon. I hope he can fix her up, because she is one unhappy rat. Poor thing seems so tired and quivers when she lays down. I'm worried that the vet will have to re-open the incision (really more of a WOUND now) in order to clean it out. It's swollen and kinda hard under the skin. Dax is so squishy now, that Kira looks emaciated by comparison. I'm going to ask about antibiotics and possible pain relief. Should she still be doing that Ow stretch 3 weeks after the spay surgery? I hate it when my fuzzy friends are hurting. Send good healing thoughts.
 

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allynpsych said:
Well, I'm taking Kira to the vet this afternoon. I hope he can fix her up, because she is one unhappy rat. Poor thing seems so tired and quivers when she lays down. I'm worried that the vet will have to re-open the incision (really more of a WOUND now) in order to clean it out. It's swollen and kinda hard under the skin. Dax is so squishy now, that Kira looks emaciated by comparison. I'm going to ask about antibiotics and possible pain relief. Should she still be doing that Ow stretch 3 weeks after the spay surgery? I hate it when my fuzzy friends are hurting. Send good healing thoughts.
No, the owwie stretch 3 weeks after her spay is a bad sign. She may have a horrible infection going on in there. Poor girly. :(

Let me know what the vet says?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Well we're home from the vet. Poor girl!
First, after I tell everyone how GOOD my girl are, Kira bites the vet! In her defense, he was prodding and pressing around the incision (ok, maybe squeezing), looking for the extent of it and pus etc. And she didn't break the skin, but you could tell it surprised him. She's usually sooo patient with whatever he needs to do. I think she's reached her limit! :)

So, the diagnosis: She likely has an internal infection and he prescribed Clavamox, liquid. She was 6.5 oz, half an oz less since her surgery. She was dehydrated, too. So she got fluid under the skin; she HATED that...and now is extra squishy in the injection sites, but hopefully that will perk her up. He also trimmed her teeth. He always says they are too long, and interfere with her drinking. She does drink slowly, so it's possible??? He gave us NutriCal, a supplement that tastes like gravy apparently. :) She's not having any of it, and was perfectly fine with wearing it on her face rather than licking it off. We'll try later, once she's more comfortable again.

So when we got home, she seemed restless and actually curled up on my lap, which usually she doesn't do. So we napped a bit and then I put her back in her house and she curled right up.

I'm supposed to call the vet tomorrow, Fri and Mon to let him know how she's doing.

Dax also saw the vet cause she wouldn't be left behind. She's so funny. Turn out good she did come, cause when he checked her scab, it looked fine, but then he noticed a little puss at the edges. So she's on Clavamox too. He says try to keep them from chewing on the wounds. Easier said then done! Dax also got her teeth trimmed. She made the most AWFUL screeching sounds. Every time we go to the vet I think all 3 of us come home edgy and jittery. Do rat teeth usually bleed when trimmed? My Hamster's never did, but Kira and Dax always do. I'm wondering how short they have to be.

So we're doing the watch and wait bit now. Poor girl, she's just like a toddler who's sick. All limp and pathetic. I hope she feels better soon. One side affect of the Clavamox is upset tummy, so I think that is adding to things. I'll try giving her food before her next dose as it suggests on the product information website.

Thanks for all your support int his. I always feel like I have to defend my attachment to these sweet girls. Like it's not allowed to fuss and worry over "just rats". Hmph! :)
 

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I am so sorry I missed this. Sometimes I don't get a new post notification and I was just going to post and ask how it went.

Ouch on the bite. Clavamox is a good drug for penetrating that nasty infecton...very good one for soft tissue infections. :) I always found it to be very hard on their tummies and would start up probiotics as soon as I could. You could use live culture yogurt but never within 2 hours of the abs.

OK, the teeth thing...sigh. She's drinking slowly because she's not feeling well. Rats teeth are never too long UNLESS there's a malloclusion which is obvious. If one of the teeth is growing crookedly and not able to line up with its opposing tooth to be ground down properly. Rats teeth always look too long, so I imagine that both of them didn't need their teeth trimmed and I would check them yourself before going back to the vet and if you don't see anything super obviously wrong do not let him trim them. :( They shouldn't bleed. How short did he cut them?

Here's a good example of malloclusion and normal alignment.
http://ratguide.com/health/figures/malocclusion_figure_1.php

If you have to hand feed your girl at this point, do it. A lot of rats will lick things off their owners hands when they feel unwell, as I am sure your girl feels terrible with that infection inside of her.

You never have to justify yourself about your rats here, we all think alike and support each other ((hugs))

Good luck little girls!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I feel really bad about their teeth. Dax really screeched. Kira didn't so much, but she's so tired. They bled and they are trimmed really short. Neither of them felt like eating their lab blocks and they barely ate lettuce. So both of them got hand fed baby food. I guess Doc doesn't know rat teeth very well. Their teeth looked just like that second pic. I don't think I'll let him do that next time. I'm horrified to think that I let them hurt like that with out really understanding. Poor things.

Otherwise, Kira's tummy is probably upset, she's very sleepy and has to be prompted to eat. She seems to pick up a bit after the first few licks. Fortunately, both of them will lick up the anibiotic with only a little bribing from the baby food. Kira is more squishy now... but that's probably all that subcu. fluids rolling around. She's so sore. I know that must be very uncomfortable.

Doc also suggested hot/warm water compresses with epsom salts for the incision sites. So I'll try that tonight.

We're traveling this weekend (about 7hrs drive). I'm thinking I'll take them with me so I can keep an eye on them. And let them know that all car rides aren't to the vet. :)

Thanks for your well wishes. :)
 

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Update:
Kira was definitely droopy this morning. I got her to lick her antibiotics up in a little baby food, if I put it on my finger. She seems to have trouble with the water bottle, I think cause her teeth hurt) but she'll eagerly lap water from my palm, but not really from a dish.

I teach in the psychology department and I stopped to talk to my colleague who works with the lab rats. They are always in excellent health. She agrees that there is no need to trim the rats' teeth 3 times in 5 months, that they should NOT bleed and that the bottom teeth should not be as short as the top teeth. She thinks that Kira would benefit from pain meds. Since my Doc feels that rats metabolize too fast for pain meds to be useful, she's going to ask the vet tech in our department if she can administer a dose of pain relief from their stocks. Probably technically not legal... but we'll see. My colleague says that when she does ovarectomies the rats get immediate topic antibiotic, oral antibiotic in the water (cherry flavored, which the rats seem to love) and at least 3 days of pain relief. I'm so disillusioned with this vet. I'm sure he's great with other animals, people have great things to say, but we think he's using outdated info on rats. I may be looking for a new one. I've now spent $300 some US dollars... I don't mind paying for their health, but my colleague thinks it's over charged.

In any case, since Kira isn't terribly inclined to eat or drink on her own, I'm headed home to try to get some "lunch" into her. :)
 

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Aww sweetie!! I am so sorry! He actually trimmed the top teeth to the lenght of the naturally shorter bottom? Owowowowow! Poor little girlies, no wonder they are sore.

Yeah sounds like they could do with pain meds *Shelagh looks the other way over legalities*

You may have to hand feed them gently with nice soft foods for awhile til those teeth start growing and aren't as painful.

Do you have other vets that might treat rats in the area?
 
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