1.5 year old male rat showing possible signs of PT? stressing out lots over this :(

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lystelle

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Good!!! The dex has kicked in...yay!!
Updating, Puffin has received his cabergoline in the mail (finally) and he looked like he was on his way out right before receiving it. I was genuinely expecting him to pass away minutes before it was delivered. Before he got it, his 24hr dex shot actually got him through to get the meds.

I gave him the first dose about 21 hours ago to the writing of this. Last night he laid down for a while, and when I brought him some cooked sweet potato and ensure he definitely tried to eat. He was even standing up a bit more. Not sure if that was the steroids or the cab.

The last 12 hours he’s been a shell of himself, not necessarily limp, but almost stiff and unwilling to lay down and sleep. He just stands in this box and faces the wall. He feels cold and I keep trying to warm him up. It’s hard to get him to swallow foods and I worry I’ll cause aspiration if I push it with the ensure.

His arms are splayed out left and right, and he won’t put them under him anymore. I’ll see if he improved again with his next dex shot in an hour or so but I’m worried. He’s not dying anymore but he’s not really better.

How long should I wait to see improvement on the cabergoline? If it’s not working I want to put him to rest as soon as I can, he’s been through it. But if I can give him liquids and keep him comfortable, I’m willing to wait for it to work.
 

lilspaz68

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The cabergoline can take a couple of days. My fingers are crossed for a prolactinoma. These are the most common type of PT in rats, and the only one Cab works on.

I have an oldie here who isn't responding to steroids and is progressing fast. She can still eat liquidy soft foods on her own still so I'll keep trying.
 

lystelle

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The cabergoline can take a couple of days. My fingers are crossed for a prolactinoma. These are the most common type of PT in rats, and the only one Cab works on.

I have an oldie here who isn't responding to steroids and is progressing fast. She can still eat liquidy soft foods on her own still so I'll keep trying.
I’m gonna do the same. He seems to always improve after his dex shot so I’m focusing on getting that refilled by itself (so that I can adjust the dose without worrying about other meds in the injection) and making sure he drinks a lot of water. I’m picking up some electrolyte type stuff (like gatorade or pedialyte) to help pack what he does drink full of more nutrition.

I’m hoping for the best. If he doesn’t improve within a reasonable amount of time for the cab to work, I’ll try to make a short notice appointment to have him put down. For the time being, he really wants to drink, which is an improvement over yesterday since he wouldn’t take anything.
 

lystelle

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After Puffin began to improve, drinking Pedialyte and sleeping more peacefully with his cagemate, he has as of an hour ago died suddenly. I don’t know what happened. I woke up and went to go give him his 24hr dex/baytril/b complex shot and had him out for a bit to let him wake up. I held him and his brother and pet them together for a bit. He seemed more wide-eyed and mentally alert, but was physically very tired and still would splay his arms when laying down. I thought that after he felt better from his dex shot I would give him some more Pedialyte.

He was breathing a bit hard but nothing like respiratory distress/abdominal breathing, just regular hard breathing. I tried to comfort him and his brother for a bit and then took him out to the living room to give him his shot. I tried to give it to him but it felt like it wasn’t all the way in, so I re-inserted into his subway space again on the other side. I noticed there was a dark spot on his skin, I assumed maybe bruising from an older shot this week? It was small but I noticed and avoided it.

After his shot, I held him in a blanket and watched some tv trying to massage him a bit to let it absorb and pet him. Suddenly after about 20 mins he started making that rat gasping noise, the one when they die and their lungs fail. It was more and more until suddenly he wa clawing at me and jumping up, clearly suffocating. I didn’t know what to do but pet and hold him and try to prop his head up so he could breathe. I was paralyzed with fear. I tried to use my stethoscope to listen to his heart and it was beating, but his lungs weren’t working. His eyes got wider until he kicked and started to go stiff.

When I was trying to check him over to see what happened, his abdomen was swollen, which must have justness happened. There are squishy sounds in the middle of his stomach, around where his stomach and spleen are. It seemed swollen around the right side with his stomach facing up. I don’t know what happened. His color was improving the last day or so, he was drinking and even eating a little. He was slowly improving from his bad state before he got the cabergoline. His pupils look fine, nothing blown out. No cyanosis. I don’t know if he was urinating and his bladder burst or something similar, or his spleen. There were no infections, he was on baytril and before that was on amoxicillin for a while.

I’m devastated. If i knew he was going to die, I would have had him put to sleep. I never wanted to watch a rat suffocate again after the first time I watched it happen with one of my older boys from years ago when he didn’t make it to the vet in time. I never wanted this, he was getting better. I don’t know what happened.
 

lilspaz68

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You probably saw the final stages of dying. They go through a period of agonal breathing which is shallow random breaths that cannot sustain life, then they will often seize and kick out as the last nerve impulses of the body. He was probably completely unaware of it all, but is very scary to see. Most animals die this way. Some will just stop breathing but most go this way. I'm very sorry. He may have had other physical issues that the PT was masking.
 

lystelle

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You probably saw the final stages of dying. They go through a period of agonal breathing which is shallow random breaths that cannot sustain life, then they will often seize and kick out as the last nerve impulses of the body. He was probably completely unaware of it all, but is very scary to see. Most animals die this way. Some will just stop breathing but most go this way. I'm very sorry. He may have had other physical issues that the PT was masking.
Thank you for your help through this week. This might be the most difficult rat death I've ever had to go through out of the last 10 years of rats. He was having a really hard time swallowing so I'm assuming the motor function issues were spreading to his lungs. I really really hope it wasn't my fault. I'm going to bury him trying to think of all the good experiences we had, he still loved eating and resting with me all week and bruxxed lots. I just hope his awareness of it was brief.
 

mwp051699

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You probably saw the final stages of dying. They go through a period of agonal breathing which is shallow random breaths that cannot sustain life, then they will often seize and kick out as the last nerve impulses of the body. He was probably completely unaware of it all, but is very scary to see. Most animals die this way. Some will just stop breathing but most go this way. I'm very sorry. He may have had other physical issues that the PT was masking.
The few I have had to see die from respiratory illness always gasp for a while, which is your last chance to get them humanely euthanized BTW, then, when their labored breathes cannot support basic life functions, they get frantic, run back and forth aimlessly until they probably pass out from lack of oxygen, and then they will seize, which is felt by you as a whole body tensing and then a shivering, which is commonly known as death throes. After the shivering seizure stops they just go limp and that's it. It's a horrible thing to experience, especially when you know they could have been saved from that agony with a trip to the vet. Once my respiratory ill rats stop eating I continue with Ensure in a spoon for a few days as I prepare to say goodbye. If they are also gasping for air I usually make the call at this point. I mean, they rarely recover at this stage, they can't eat and barely drink because they are concerned with breathing, and it's too much for them to both eat and breathe. And when they are open mouth breathing and keeping their head raised up, that's when I help them out of their distress. Respiratory distress is just that... They're in distress, and it's a horrifying way to go. I haven't had a rat pass in my hands from respiratory illness for many years now, I won't allow them to suffer and ultimately die in total terror of not being able to breathe. Please, whoever reads this, take my advise and make sure you have the ability to get them to a vet when they need to go. TY
 

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