Changes in older rat... Should I be concerned?

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Ela

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Ok, though an experienced exotic vet shouldn't need to do xrays for that. If they couldn't advise otherwise I would try and find someone else. But that's just me.
 
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RattoPazzo

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UPDATE
I took Tami to the vet yesterday. She masked all her symptoms of course so the vet could not asses her properly. Just to be sure that we we're not dealing with something else we did an ultrasound. She was so good and let us do it awake. I was holding her and for around 10 minutes they looked around and thankfully found nothing.
At this point I mention that I did not want to do an x-ray because of anesthesia and asked for their opinion on cabergoline. from their answer I'm not sure they will ever be willing to give it to her, but I will give it one more shot with them before trying with someone else. (I've also contacted my local rescue and they told me that x-ray is the only way to get a diagnosis in my country).
Dose anyone know of papers where they tested cabergoline in rats? one of the things they said is that there is no scientific evidence on it's efficacy so maybe if I can find some some they'll turne around.
I'm going to send them a video of her walking so they can see her "bad back" and I will ask further what they intend to do if things get worse...
 

Ela

Member
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Nov 5, 2020
Messages
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Location
Philadelphia PA
This is albeit late, but a quick google search brought up this. It staved off symptoms for 8mo, which is a lot of extra time for a rat if it's terminal. Can help them live out their normal life span.

You don't want to use it until you really need it. But if you do, it can work to buy good time. It's working for my girl.

There are also several posts if you search via this forum that may be of use.

Best of luck!
 

RattoPazzo

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Yes, I did find that study and sent it to my vet but I have had no real answer. since the only way they would prescribe it is via tc scan or x-ray I suggested we try to eliminate some options. so in the mine time we tried a few days of pain med to no avail, and she is now on ab for a mild RI (since there is the possibility that she will have to be anesthetized).
At this point I'm really unsure how to proceed: her hind legs are getting worse but her front shows no sines of unwellness. she can still hold food no probs an is still very coordinated. she dose not loose balance even if her back legs are very week and can no longer jump or hold herself up for eating (on the other hand she is finding new ways to prop herself up in very funny positions). she is still able do climb if just her front paws are needed.
At this point it almost looks like HLD, and as she is getting close to 28 months, I'm wondering how worth it is to put her threw the stress of the exams and meds if in the end it might not work.
here is e pic of her eating in her new propt up position an a video of her walking
WhatsApp Image 2022-02-14 at 11.30.39.jpeg
WhatsApp Image 2022-02-14 at 11.42.29.jpeg

 

Ela

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Messages
22
Location
Philadelphia PA
PT and HLD have such similar symptoms sometimes it's hard to tell one over the other, you have to add up other symptoms. That said prednisone is another drug often used for PT and I believe could help HLD as well. Maybe your vet would be more familiar/comfortable with it. Also another thing to consider if respiratory issues are prevalent is that it could be a heart related issue, which can also cause weakness in hind legs and breathing problems. But you just have to total up all the symptoms, and see what fits. With all the symptoms you mentioned before my first thought was PT related... and now if her legs are weak I would be even more suspect.

To be honest I just lost my most precious rat of almost 3 years to a misdiagnosed URI 2 days ago... I was trying out a new (to us but with 30+yrs experience) HIGHLY recommended vet, and he was wrong. I didn't get the right advice/medicine until it was too late to save her. We are utterly devastated. That said we're left with a months worth of cabergoline. If it weren't premixed and super sensitive to heat/cold I would just send it to you. Obviously that's not a smart idea anyway for many reasons... since you're not totally sure what's wrong yet... but just saying.

Seriously good luck. I've probably said about all that can be of real use at this point.... but hopefully the tips will help lead to you figuring out what's wrong with your girl. Right now we're mourning ours, and continuing to learn about all of these unfortunately common illnessess.
 

RattoPazzo

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I'm so sorry for your loss... it's so hard when they live😔 I'm sure she new how much you tried and how loved she was.

Your insights have been very helpful, and I still have not ruled out PT enterally. Also just talking to someone and having a second owners opinion is a very valuable thing.
With how thigs work in my country (rats are still relatively new) I'm just trying my best without stressing her out too much. Tomorrow we will do an x-ray without anesthesia to look at her spine; hopefully we will start to get a better idea of what is going on. Her breathing was never bad, she was just sneezing a lot, which is now lessening. To be honest nothing really fits, and all is still on the table. With my last rat they gave me something similar to prednisone and it triggered an infection in her. Unfortunately nothing is full proof.
I thankyou for all your help, and the generous offer.
I'll continue to update the thread so that other people in similar situations can see where the story leads.
 

RattoPazzo

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UPDATE
we did the x-ray today and it reveled a spinal compression that is likely causing her back pain, hence her walking. Her lungs where clear, the hart also didn't look bad. she will now get some medicine to fight the inflammation and hopefully she will recover some.
 

mwp051699

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Feb 15, 2020
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87
UPDATE
we did the x-ray today and it reveled a spinal compression that is likely causing her back pain, hence her walking. Her lungs where clear, the hart also didn't look bad. she will now get some medicine to fight the inflammation and hopefully she will recover some.
That's good news that you now know so you can treat it as best as you can (NSAIDS and/or Metacam?), But nosogood in the nature of the diagnosis. I'm sorry that it's that severe and hope some medication helps. And still...lots of love and, most importantly, assistance with getting in and out of the cage, rethinking her food and water placement, consideration with any younger more active cagemates, all that sort of stuff. My 2 elderly girl's both require assistance with getting down, climbing down, etc. They can still climb and crawl up, but going down is much more difficult it seems, so I always support their 4 feetsies as I gently transfer them from my arm to my hand so I can then help them out into their cage or whatever. You get my idea I'm sure
 

RattoPazzo

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Location
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The medication she is on is a type of cortisone. In more or less a week we will know if it had any effect.
As for the other things you mentioned she moves the food in a precise place so that's, for now, not a problem. Water is in two places and I'll be soon adding a third. The cage setup gives her plenty of options and is adjusted whenever I think she might be struggling.
As for cage mates, unfortunately her sister passed sometime ago and new intros have failed. being now 2.4 years old and with her condition, I don't think I'll try to introduce anyone else.
All things considered she is still a pretty active and independent little ratty. Still I hope she gets better soon
 

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