Cleo is going downhill

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by SqueakingJellybean, Apr 9, 2018.

  1. Apr 9, 2018 #1

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

    Mission Control -- All is ratness

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    Our wee Cleopatra is not doing well. As with two of her three siblings, her breathing has never been good; efforts to treat the issue have been many and fruitless. We'd long ago (relatively speaking) come to terms with the probability that we'd lose her the same way we lost Chess. We figured Raven would go the same way, but it was likely a PT that got her-- she didn't make it to her appointment to find out.

    Cleo may be dealing with both, and then some.

    Since Raven died, she's gone downhill. Her breathing has gotten a bit worse, she's started to lose weight, she's having occasional confused and panicky bursts, and she gets tiny-eyed and poofly sometimes. I've also noticed what may be blood in her urine, but I'm not certain-- it's not in all the urine, and it's pink staining that never goes brown the way blood does when it dries, so I'm not sure if it's something she's eating/chewing on, or if she is indeed having some manner of bleeding.

    She's still eating and drinking, though not as much as we'd like; she's still grooming herself, still active, still building nests and playing with the boys, but she's slowed down enough that we notice because we know her. Her balance hasn't gone funny and she can still hold food, which is good, and she's still using her water bottles. I put an extra water dish in just in case, but nobody appears to be using it.

    I've already dropped a line to the vet, so hopefully she'll have an appointment this week. Hopefully we'll have some kind of idea what's going on relatively soon. If need be, we can get her to the OVC in Guelph.

    When Chess died, Raven tanked. When Raven died, Cleo's health worsened. The boys are, for the most part, okay (Rook twisted his foot badly enough that it swelled, but we got him meds and made sure he rested as much as possible, so he's fine now) but Cleo and Raven were so close that I think the stress of losing her sister tipped what may have been a delicate balance.

    This year is hard on the heart.
     
  2. Apr 10, 2018 #2

    Luna&Ralph

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    Aww I'm so sorry that you're having to go through all this. I keep having rats getting sick in groups of three one after the other so I know how you feel. I recently read that porphyrin can be found in their urine so that may be the cause if it doesn't seem like blood. Hopefully this is just depression - as awful as that is - and she will start to get better after all this stress and sadness and those are the symptoms that you are seeing.
     
  3. Apr 10, 2018 #3

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

    Mission Control -- All is ratness

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    Thank you for that info about porphyrin in urine. That’s what it looked like to me, but I didn’t know that could be a thing. I’m a bit less worried now, or maybe just differently worried.

    I’ll let our vet know (in case she doesn’t already).

    The breathing difficulties seem to be congenital; three of four siblings have/had untreatable chronic respiratory issues. The fourth is just a bit sneezy when he gets excited, but his lungs have been clear every time he’s been checked. We’ve known for a while to expect those symptoms to worsen with time, but the PT-like symptoms and the pinkish urine were... less expected.
     
  4. Apr 11, 2018 #4

    jorats

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    It's definitely hard dealing with rats when they all seem to have something going on. I'd get Cleo on meds asap.
     
  5. Apr 11, 2018 #5

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

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    We’re trying. The vet would like us to bring in a urine sample— easier said than done.
     
  6. Apr 11, 2018 #6

    Luna&Ralph

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    Yikes! I've never had to get a urine sample before luckily but I'd imagine that it's really hard to do. I know that with cats you can get a litter that doesn't absorb, but of course rats don't tend to pee in their litter boxes. I found this video on how to express a squirrel's bladder, and after a few gruesome google searches I believe that rat and squirrel bladders are in a similar place.
    Here's the video:
    Good luck! It doesn't look too difficult.
     
  7. Apr 11, 2018 #7

    SqueakingJellybean

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    Thank you for the suggestion. As Cleo is not paralyzed and VERY wiggly, I'm not sure that's a good idea. I'm hoping to take her into the vet so they can get a sample there.
     
  8. Apr 11, 2018 #8

    Luna&Ralph

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    Yeah that's probably a better idea. It was a feisty looking squirrel, but would be pretty much impossible to do alone on a rat.
     
  9. Apr 12, 2018 #9

    jorats

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    Your vet should easily get a urine sample from rats. It's actually pretty easy once you find the bladder.
     
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  10. Apr 12, 2018 #10

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

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    We've got an appointment lined up. Hopefully they'll be able to figure out what's wrong, at least. She had a rough night last night, but is having a better day. Came for her breakfast, licked water off my fingers for a while, and had a good groom. She and the boys will get some cantaloupe tonight. (Milo is getting spherical-- if I don't give him some of what Cleo's having, he tries to take it from her. Rook isn't quite as bad about it. After going through the same thing with Raven, Milo is on the squishy side. We're trying to cut back on the treats, but those eyes!)
     
  11. Apr 13, 2018 #11

    Luna&Ralph

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    Haha! My boy got pretty chunky too when his brothers were sick, but he deserved to because he was taking such good care of them. He's slimming down now though, so I wouldn't worry too much. So good to hear that she's doing a little better and grooming herself! If she's feeling good enough to groom herself, that's awesome. Let's hope the vet can figure it out!
     
  12. Apr 13, 2018 #12

    SqueakingJellybean

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    Aww, squishy caretaker! What a good brother.

    Yeah, she’s had a decent day. No panic episodes, and she’s had a reasonable amount of water. She even had three pieces of cantaloupe tonight, and a couple whole-grain Cheerios. I try not to give them too many because of the sugar, but right now they’re one of the few things she will eat.

    She’s got enough energy tonight to be vigorously pulling Kleenex into the Mini-wheats box while the boys are running around on the bed.
     
  13. Apr 13, 2018 #13

    Luna&Ralph

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    Honestly, I give mine baby custard when they're sick because they love it and it's one of the few things that they gobble up quickly. Even if it's full of sugar, calories are what they need to heal and they can eat healthy foods once they get better.
    I'm happy to hear that she's so energetic and has had a good day! It's always so relieving when they have good days, even if they don't last long.
     
  14. Apr 13, 2018 #14

    SQ

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    I have found that ill or elderly rats who will not eat their regular food or their blocks made into mush (by soaking the blocks in cold water) will eat organic soy infant formula thickened with a bit of baby cereal (the kind that says add milk).
    Since the infant formula contains nutrition and as it is one of the formulas recommended as a milk replacement for orphaned baby rats, I feel comfortable feeding it to rats requiring a food supplement.

    I hope Cleo is soon on meds and soon feeling much better
     
  15. Apr 13, 2018 #15

    SqueakingJellybean

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    So, Cleo saw the vet today. She happily provided a urine sample— right down the vet’s coat and all over her hands. The amount on her hands was enough to test. (She says it was good we didn’t try to express Cleo’s bladder. Doing so could not only cause discomfort, but could taint the sample. She won’t even do it.)

    Sure enough, there was blood in the urine. Cleo has a kidney infection and will be on Baytril for at least a month, to be safe. We have some Oxbow Critical Care for Herbivores for her, and are waiting on a back-order of the Carnivores version to add. We’ll be supplementing her protein in the meantime, as well as continuing to give her avocado, cantaloupe, pumpkin seeds, oatmeal with some crushed almond, and pretty much anything else she’ll eat.

    @SQ — Finding infant formula in a quantity that won’t mostly expire before it gets used is difficult. I might ask our newest granddaughter (and her parents) if she’d mind sharing a few tablespoons, or find out what they’re using, get a package, take some out for Cleo, and give them the rest.

    Right now, everyone is resting. Rook is on top of the box, Milo is in front of the doorway with his head in his PVC t-junction tube, and Cleo is in the box, luxuriating in a wealth of Kleenex.
     
  16. Apr 14, 2018 at 12:24 AM #16

    Luna&Ralph

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    So good to hear that you have an answer that is treatable! That would explain the symptoms too because she sounded like she was just not feeling very well, poor thing.
    Good to know that expressing the bladder is not recommended, thank you for sharing that.
    It sounds like you've got a great variety of food options for her. I hope she likes the herbivore Critical Care and it's great that she's eating because syringe feeding that stuff is the worst when it clogs up the syringe. I also think it's so funny that it smells like Play-Doh.
     
  17. Apr 14, 2018 at 12:55 AM #17

    SQ

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    I buy a can of the powdered organic soy infant formula and mix it but I think it also comes in small cans

    Glad she is on meds.
    Hope Cleo is soon feeling better
     
  18. Apr 15, 2018 at 9:00 PM #18

    SqueakingJellybean

    SqueakingJellybean

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    After about 48 hours on Baytril, Cleo is already improving! She’s eating more (even running around and stashing lab blocks in her favourite dining spot— she was eating one when I sent an update to the vet last night), drinking more on her own, and was even running in her wheel for the first time in weeks. Last night, she was helping Milo fill the Mini-wheats box with Kleenex. She was out and running around the bed after that, exploring boxes and fabric tunnels. Not zooming in a panicked way, but as if she had more energy than she knew what to do with. She seemed pretty happy.

    She has also learned that you cannot grab yogurt.
     
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  19. Apr 15, 2018 at 9:18 PM #19

    Luna&Ralph

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    Yay! I was just thinking about Cleo today and was hoping to get a positive update soon. Haha! If she’s trying to hold yogurt, she must be feeling pretty good!
     
  20. Apr 18, 2018 at 3:03 AM #20

    SQ

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    YEA !!! :)
     

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