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Discussion Starter #1
So, a few months ago my rat, Neera, sprained her leg. Well, she managed to sprain it again. Honestly, I have no idea how she's hurting herself... I'm going to work on managing the cage better, putting more things places and just generally trying to keep her from doing whatever it is she's doing. I'm worried she hurt herself jumping off of something because my step-sister brought her cat over, and I found him ontop of the cage once. I think she could've hurt herself jumping out of the hammock then? I'm not sure.

My main concern is this; could this second sprain cause more damage to her leg? It's the same one she hurt last time. It healed up in around a week last time, and she was good as new in two weeks with no signs of her injury. I'm just worried that with hurting the same leg, it could cause lasting damage. Is there anything I should do different this time around? I used ice packs and tried to keep her contained on a single level last time.
 

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dont apply ice to it, she doesn't have the ability to tell you when it gets too cold so it may cause harm. Instead watch her, if she's limping a little and maybe sqeaking a little if she lands on it heavily this isn't a big deal, if she is spending time sitting hunched and looking unhappy then she needs something to take the edge off the pain. Kids ibuprofen is ideal for this, or metacam / meloxicam if you have any in. I would only give it if shes really bothered though as a bit of pain will help stop her using it.

In terms of why its happened again, some rats are naturally clumsy and need adaptions to there cage to take this into account. Can you post a photo of your set up?

This could also be a case of the first issue being a break or bad sprain, which has weakend the leg and made it more prone to injury. One of mine for example fell and hurt her paw badly whilst pregnant (nightmare as you cant give them painkillers), even now she occasionally favours it, though it doesn't hurt her any more, its just weaker and not as coordinated as the other.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
She's avoiding using the leg almost entirely and just holding it off the ground. It's swollen and she tries not to use it. As for the ice pack, I read that it was something good to do for the sweling? Should I not do anything even a little cold? I'm not sure if this makes a difference either, but when applying the "ice" in the past, I just take a paper towel strip and run it through the ice water that runs off of them as they melt. Is that still a bad idea?
Also, she does have some balance issues... She had an ear infection a long time ago and she has a permanent headtilt because of it. Her balance is pretty good, but not perfect.

I can get a picture, but sadly I just changed their cage last night... I'll try to upload a picture of the current setup as soon as I can though!
 

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OK I would double check that she feels pain when its moved, this may seem horrible but its actually worse if they don't feel pain from it (can be a sign of nerve damage). In which case you'd want to get it x-rayed.

Ice does help reduce swelling, but the problem with applying extreme cold to an animal is they cant indicate when its painful, there are far better ways of reducing the swelling, like anti inflammatorys. If its still swollen in a day or two I would try those.

EaA previous ear infection wont help, what I've found important for rats with this is to have fairly stable things to get around on, coupled with a thick layer of a bouncy substrate on the floor, something like shredded card which is easy to get in the uk, or vetbed (which is a really thick fleecy thing), both offer real bounce and are great as fall protection.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply she doesn't feel pain. She really dislikes it when I touch it, and it is painful to her, I just meant it wasn't squealing, screaming pain. This morning she used it to hold a cheerio and it looked as though the swelling had started to go down... Also, thank you for explaining about the ice! I won't be using anything cold anymore, and if the swelling doesn't seem to be going down more I'll try what you suggested earlier.

As for the substrate, I use fleece liner on a CN cage. I can't really put any loose bedding in their main pan, since it would just fall out and make a mess... I've never heard of vet bed though, is that something to put under fleece or instead of?
 

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I'd put it instead off, it may have a different name in the us. It's generally sold as kennel linings for larger animals and is like a deep pile fluffy carpet. It washes well and is commonly used in vets.
 
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