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Discussion Starter #1

So just as the title describes, I need advice
Early this week I lost my two beautiful baby girls.
They meant the world to me and I feel completely ripped off I didn't see them grow to their full potential as the amazing pets they were becoming.​




I'm sorry this may be a hard read and it is not short. But I would appreciate ANY advice. Just please be nice, I lost my babies and they really did mean the world to me.

We had two rats. They were born October 13/2014 So were around 3.5 months old. Both females.

So Monday night I went to fill up their bowl water bowl as Clover was perched on the edge of it.
As I grabbed her to lift the water dish up I noticed she was skin and bones. I gave her to my fiance to cuddle and I grabbed my little one Hedwig
I noticed something was seriously wrong with her as soon as I grabbed her. Like Clover she was skin and bones as well she had some blood on her vagina and barely any motor function.

Vet was immediately called but as I live in a small town there is only one vet who was on call elsewhere up the valley (something farm animal related) and did not have service. My fiance researched and said it looked like their Uterus was filled with blood and to try and messaging thier tummies)

My first reaction was to get some food in to her, So wrapped her my sweater and I mixed some wet dog food with warm water and tried feeding her with a spoon. But she was barely moving and couldn't see what was happening though her eyes were open.

It just escalated past that point. We tried gently messaging their sunken stomachs but it didn't seem to help any

She had a seizure then started ejecting blood from her uterus ( or some area very close to her vagina, I was too scared to inspect closer)

I picked her up and after another seizure I felt her leave and she started vibrating. She was in rigamortis and stiff within 5 minutes of death.. I've never seen it happen that fast.. I'm talking so still I couldn't even move her poor tail.

Clover died the same way not 10 minutes after her sister..


A little back ground

-We did have a problem with the girls peeing in places that they weren't supposed to (soaking their beds and hides, peeing in their food and water dishes, all over their ramps, cage bars, ledges, the wall behind the cage)

We just thought it was a dominance issue as they came from different litters but shared the same father.

-We were worried clover was a boy for a bit as there was swelling were potential testicles would grow, but later rules it out as she looked female and had nipples.

Feeding

We fed them like royalty (all approved foods from the safe lists) as well as ground flax seed, cranberries and tofu weekly to prevent any UTI or tumors. They also always had their lab blocks available (Kaytee brand)

-They had 2 water bottles that were changed weekly and got fresh water in their dish twice a day. (alternating dishes as they liked to pee in it)

-The last thing they ate was Friday night and was tofu, broccoli, zucchini and some nuts/ dry pasta mixed with their lab blocks. So a pretty normal meal for them.

Housing

They lived in a large super pet rat cage, White bars, blue base. 2 metal levels and latters.
Had 2 hides on the bottom of cage

-I use wood pellets for bedding (now im worried about that)
-2 water bottles and a water dish
-2 feeding bowls (One for fresh food, one for lab blocks)


Toys

- I gave them some printed paper to play with the night before this happened. They were from one of those word of the day flip calenders

-They had an cardboard insert from the packaging our crock pot came with that I cut holes in for them to play with, They did eat some of the cardboard.
Similar to this one (not my picture)

Please Let me know what you think happened
I can't bring my girls back but I can prevent this from happening again if its something I did wrong.
I honestly don't know what I missed.


I'm sorry I let you down darlings
Rest in Peace​
 

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Well it is not related, Kaytee food is crap and softwood bedding is bad for rats.

MY first thought was pyometra (closed), but I do not believe this is something that can pass from rat to rat and it would be a **** of a coincidence that they both got it at once. I rule out UTIs because they wouldn't be that bad. I'm also ruling out injury since you would realize if you had recently half-crushed both your rats.

My final thought is Sendai, which does spread. http://ratguide.com/health/viruses/sendai_virus_sv.php . I cannot say if this would cause blood from the vagina, but I can hypothesize it not being impossible. If this was the case, you should consider their old items/your house "contaminated" for a bit to be safe.

As to the Rigor setting in...unfortunately, I've heard described very stiff rats that pass in seizures.
 

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If they were "skin and bones" when they died, they were likely skin and bones for a while before that.... whether from starvation/undernourishment or general failure to thrive, it's hard to say. It could've been a virus, but I've heard nothing of SV or SDA in the area lately. The blood from the uterus does sound like pyometra, but as nanashi said, the odds are pretty much zero that they would both have it and both have died from it like that. It almost sounds to me like they were poisoned.... without a necropsy, I don't think we'll be able to say for sure.

btw, if you're in the Okanagan (just guessing from the pellet bag), I have heard Tri Lake Animal Hospital in Winfield has an excellent exotic veterinarian. I would really consider getting a necropsy done on one of your girls if you have not frozen or buried them yet.
 

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I don't know about Canada or if we share suppliers, but I do know just over the border (Michigan/Ohio/Pennsylvania) we have several areas reporting Sendai currently. I have read some people in Toronto reporting Sendai earlier in Nov last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Although I fed Kaytee at least it didn't have the first ingredient as corn. First ingredient in it is Soya bean meal. Its one of the best foods I could get in at my store as I live in a small farming town. It is also what the breeder fed the parents and them as babies.

I should have gone in to depth about our feeding schedule. We fed a mostly raw/prepared diet with free choice feeding of their Kaytee lab blocks

They were fed every 2 days one meal ALWAYS included:

Beans: Canned, cooked- either chickpeas, navy beans, black beans or a 6 bean mix
Greens: Either Spinach, Broccoli or kale sometimes
Seeds: pumpkin, cashews (yes they are seeds) sunflower, and flax
Nuts: Almonds or walnut
Veggies: Usually just frozen assorted veggies (corn, peas, carrots, Lima bean) or edamme, Orange pepper, red pepper, mushroom, cooked winter squash.
Grain: raw or cooked pasta ( brown rice pasta, organic veggie twists) Oats, brown rice
Fruit- Usually frozen peas, peaches, pear and berries. Occasionally banana or papaya
Additives: Ground flax seed, coconut oil, freeze dried chicken(stella and chewies)

My favorite part about owning rats is cooking their meals for them. I also make home diets for my geckos (crested) and the cat and dog have special diets as well (freeze dried raw, fish oil, bee pollen brown rice)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Jaguar, I am located in Pemberton, BC
If you are from Kelowna you will recognize its 30 min away from Whistler

It doesn't sound to me like Sendai, they never showed any signs of respiratory distress, never even heard them sneeze.
My first thoughts were their chew box, or the printed paper, or maybe the twine used to hold the corn treat to the bars, or the bedding if they ate it..

We used it as a co worked said she uses it for her rabbits as it stays as a pellet until wet then breaks down. I never thought what would happen if they ate it.

I will try to find a picture. of them the week before. Honestly I worked and was busy all weekend and didn't take them out for 3 days or feed them Besides the lab blocks. They weren't fat but not skinny either a healthy weight they were eating lots so I just assumed it was them going through a growing spurt. Nothing that would trigger any warning signs though.
 

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Jaguar how much would a necropsy end up running me?

I have the girls outside in a box wrapped in their blanket. (-2 currently)

I really just want to know if it was something I could of prevented or something wrong that may effect my new two I will be getting in the next while
 

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I'm sorry for your losses. Sounds like they were very well loved and cared for.

Because they both died the same way, minutes apart, my first thought was poisoning.

Could they have gotten into any rodenticides? Any medications?

The wood pellets shouldn't have killed them unless they were somehow contaminated with other toxic materials. I personally would switch beddings to be on the safe side.

A necropsy varies in price depending on what type of exam is needed - gross, microscopic/histological, whether toxicology is run, any send outs to pathology, cultures, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They couldn't have got into anything while roaming as they were strictly in their cage for the 3 days before they passed as we had company.
The only thing that could have contained a pesticide would be the cardboard play house I made them or the printed squares of paper I gave them to play with.


I will be doing some more research on proper bedding as I am little worried about using the pellets now.
I buy a carefresh confetti bag every time I buy new rats for their bedding and to brighten their cage.
If I can get them litter trained fast I shouldn't need to spend a fortune on good bedding.

Thank you everyone for the kind thoughts and advice. I am very glad I joined to forum.

I need to put the girls to rest today sometime. We have a big snow storm coming and I have a narrow window before the ground freezes again.
 
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