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Hi everyone!

I am regularly seeing my usual vet of a couple years, but we're both stumped at this point. I am getting connected to a specialist this week, but wanted to see if anyone here has encountered this before. I will update with any findings.

Crusty Hind Feet (photo taken today)
Swollen Front Feet (photo taken today)
Graphic: Face tumor (old photo, when it ruptured before his scheduled surgery, included for context)

Blaze is a 1.5 year old male rat, who has been sick for the past 6 months and in and out of the vet. Initially, he presented with a lump near his left ear that was biopsied and shown to be some sort of tumor; surgery was scheduled, but before surgery the tumor died and turned necrotic -- it was removed, but a cyst came back. This cyst did not respond to an antibiotic, so we had it cultured and it showed he had 3 different infections going on that were resistant so he was switched to the antibiotic SMZ to tackle the 3 strains of infection and the cyst was successfully removed (his face healed up beautifully); however, we noticed his feet started to turn red around this time, and over time they have become swollen on his front paws and progressed to being crusty and chapped on his hind feet, and the vet took him off SMZ in case it was an allergic reaction but this does not seem to be the case (as they were turning red before the switch, and have continued to progress). He is now on an anti-fungal as a last resort while we wait to hear back from the specialist. He is drinking noticeably more water, though he is still active and is eating but not as much.

Has anyone ever seen anything like this? He has a cage mate (his brother) who has no issues healthwise. He is kept in a clean double critter nation, with fleece liners and is fed ox-bow adult rat food.
 

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Hi there.
Poor little guy!
One thing I noticed when reading your post is that he is drinking more. A few possible causes for excessive drinking are liver failure, heart disease and diabetes. Diabetes can affect blood flow to extremities and cause skin/ulcer problems, and congestive heart failure can cause them to drink a lot and sort of swell up (but this wouldn't explain the crusty skin). Liver failure can cause swelling in the legs and ankles and itchy skin, as well as reduced appetite.
I wish you well with the specialist vet visit. I'm sure they will know their stuff and hopefully be able to give you an answer! Please keep us updated - its always interesting to hear updates on these sorts of cases.
 
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