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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well, it's been another sleepless night in the land of rat ownership!

Katie, my 2 year old hairless (double rex) underwent surgery on Thursday to remove 3 mammary tumours from her armpits and groin. (I chose to have the surgery done as she's getting older now - needless to say, I'm feeling quite responsible for what's happened, incase these two are connected!). The surgery went well, she was given a Baytril injection that day and a long acting non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.

Coned her Thursday and Friday nights - to stop her niggling at her stitches, and left her to her own devices during the day, giving her only OTC childrens pain meds (as my vet wouldn't give me any prescription drugs - although he did OK the OTC medicine)

And, well, last night (her first night without her cone) everything was going great. No licking, chewing...she was running around, eating, drinking - acting like normal rat. Suddenly, as I was about to go to sleep at about 12:20am, I hear this heavy breathy squeaky wheeze coming from her cage. I pick her up and she can barely breathe!!! Well, I grabbed my mum, called the emergency vetinary hospital, and rushed her there ASAP.

By the time we'd gotten there (about 1am) the hard laboured breathing had gone, but the squeaky wheeze (although quieter) was still present. The intern looked at her, listened to her chest and it seemed reasonably clear. He says it's probably a chest infection and that I should go home and administer some oral Doxy.

Got her home, in the car as we pulled up in front of our house, she starts her breathy wheeze and her breathing begins to labour again. I put her in her cage and she went for a nibble of food, and a little chew at her treat bag and even had a drink! We decided to leave her a little while - as it cleared up before - but suddenly at 3:30 (we got home at 2:45) she starts struggling for breathe (I know this, because she started breathing through her mouth), squeaking, wheezing and twice she looked as though she was trying to gag!!

Back in the car, rushing her to the vets, she turns very lethargic. I get her there and they rush her away to put her on 100% oxygen and say they're going to keep her overnight. I ask them to check to see if she had anything in her throat - he said he'd check but it would be very hard.

I went home, called again this morning (twice) and they said the first time that her breathing rate had slowed (bare in mind she's a hairless - so breathes slightly faster than a regular rat anyway) but it looks quite fast to him still. She was apparently bright eyed and alert. The second time I called back they said she's been wheaned off the oxygen and is ready to be picked up.

Now she's home again - she still doesn't appear to be ok. She's had the tiniest nibble of food, a little drink and - priority - a whole chocolate drop she found in her food bowl. She's very tired (although I'm attributing it to stress) and very wheezy when she's breathing.

Has anyone else has similar experiences? It's all just happened so suddenly! When I have her her medicine before bed at about 11:30/midnight, she was absolutely fine! She's only been displaying the symptoms for just over 12 hours - but man - what a LONG 12 hours they have been!

What should I look out for? Is there anything I can do to make her feel better?
 

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I wonder if she may have choked on something? This can make the rat very stressed out, lethargic and wheezy. Which can start a myco flare up. Is she on Baytril? Doxy alone is not strong enough for an respiratory infection.
Keep her warm, fed, give her some baby cereal or Ensure. Try not to give her too much sugar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
She's on Bayril 0.1ml twice daily and now she's on Doxy (as of last night) 0.04ml twice daily (slightly higher than her usual dose, but Paul the vet last night said it would be better for a couple of days)

I thought she may have choked on something - because it just suddenly happened. Although, she appeared to be in bed at the time and not doing anything except sleeping. The vets also said they couldn't notice anything in her throat - but it was very hard to look! Now though, her wheeze sounds very much like one of my other hairless who's had it on and off for a while now.

She's just laying in bed and wheezing on every exhale.

It's so sad, considering that yesterday she was absolutely fine
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
NOTE: I was going to try and give her some Lucozade (it's an energy drink) later, to try and perk her up. I usually do the ole honey and warm water trick - but Katie can't stand honey. Will the energy drink be ok? (I was just going to add an additional drinking bottle into her cage with this in, hoping she will have a couple of sips when she pleases)

It's not fizzy by the way. I get the still variety
 

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I have seen this once before. :( I took in an older boy to be neutered (hormonal aggression) and he made it through the surgery fine. But he was my first neuter and I didn't know what signs to look for. He stopped moving and started having trouble breathing. I thought it was pain, since the younger boy who was neutered was doing very well. I ran him to the vet on Monday morning to find out that the surgery had started up an underlying respiratory problem we didn't know about. The vet gave him fluids and put him on oxygen, etc but he passed about 12 hours later. :(

Keep a close eye on her. Baytril/Doxy might help. See if you can get an alternative to Ensure/Boost into her...food, calories and fluid all in one. Really good for sick ratties, strawberry seems to be a fav.

Is she dehydrated? Do you know the skin pinch?

Here is a great rehydrating formula (no honey)
Homemade rehydrating formula: 10 oz warm water, 1 tsp sugar, 1/3 tsp salt. Mix well, refrigerate extra, warm up to feed.

I am sorry Ration. ((hugs))
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you very much, I'll certainly try that formula. I'm going to do some googling on Ensure (I've never heard of it, but will find something similar)

I've just taken her in the bath with me (I love the bath HOT so it gets very humid in the bathroom) and she laid down and slept throughout - minus 5 minutes of running around. She seems a lot less wheezy now, so I may steam her a couple of times before bed. I also have a decongestant (like vaporub, but it's a drop to put on her bedding and is made for children) to help any possible inflammation in her airways

She was dehydrated - it's one of the first things that I checked after getting her home - they had no water with her in her oxygen tank and only a couple of grains of doggy kibble (I think they held her as a lost cause last night, if I'm honest). She's drank a little more since being home - she drank quite a bit of cold water out of the tap from my palm during the bath.

I'm going to give her a capful of the energy drink - it's flavoured so it's a way of getting some liquid into her right now.

Thank you so much! Anything else I can do please PLEASE let me know, I'm certainly going to try my all for her
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, I've made up a mixture of 2 parts babyfood, 1 part water and 1 part Lucozade (it's a sports drink) she's nibbled perhaps 5ml (that's the amount I put into a dish for her) but doesn't seem to want any more.

I will persist!

All she's wanting to do is sleep now. She's very wobbly on her feet. I've got her wrapped up in lots of face-cloths and I'll be giving her her monkey (a monkey shaped wheatie she sleeps with) every now and again. The only problem is it's lavender scented when warmed up - so I don't want to cause any further problems with her breathing.

Her breathing now is no longer wheezey, but is shallow and reasonably quick. I'm just going to let her sleep for a couple of hours - I hope a lot of this is down to the stress of being at the vets overnight - although I'd also hoped that she would have acclimatised to being home again by now (it has been 5 hours!)
 

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Sleep is a good thing, she's trying to heal her body. Let her sleep but wake her up in a few hours and see if she's thirsty/hungry. 5 ml's isn't bad...it'll keep her going. Just watch the dehydration.

Glad to hear of the improvement.

Many fingers and rattie toes are crossed here for her!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm going to let her sleep until 8pm (it's now 6) and then give her her Baytril and see if she wants any more of the babyfood cocktail.

I'm glad she isn't wheezing as badly now - but she's very wobbly. I don't think she ate much at the vets (she's not a big dog food fan - she's spoilt, you see? Slumming it at the vets would have upset her) and I'm hoping it's just all the stress from the last few hours that's stopping her eating etc now. *cross fingers*

Thanks Lilspaz, as always, you are my rock XD lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
She was on childrens nurofen (ibuprofen based) because of the stitches. She's not had any today because the stitches are no longer bothering her and she's not been in the mood to clean much.

The ibuprofen was OKd by the vet - as he wouldn't give any other pain meds. Apparently 'none were suitable for rats'
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
She's just woken up and decided to get a little adventurous. She's gone climbing up Ritchie's cage, then Max's (albeit slightly wobbly). She's even decided to TRY to get onto the fllo. She's got plent of babyfood cocktail on board and I've just caught her trying to chew her treat bag!

I'm taking this as a good sign - I just hope it's not a faker.
 

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I was just wondering about the pain meds because if she was in severe pain, that could trigger respiratory distress. Any level of stress experienced by a rat seems to be a trigger for a flair up. Pain meds would prevent that from happening. I don't think the ibuprofen would hurt. I think it's more helpful than anything.

Seems like you got her through though. Is the e-collar still on? That could be stressful for her too as she can't clean herself. But then again you don't want her to pull her stitches lol.

I think heavy urinating after surgery is too be expected. Hopefully she will pull through. It's so hard when they take surgery so badly.

Did they do pre-anesthetic blood work before putting her under anesthesia to make sure she was healthy enough? I know it's pricey but we require that for cat and dogs and I would hate to put a old rat under anesthesia without it knowing how drastically that can improve the safety of surgery. I wonder if this is practiced as often prior to rat surgery as it is cat and dog surgery?
 
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