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Head tilt - is there more I can do? Updated with new symptom and photo

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Cupcakes

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Aug 9, 2020
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Our 7.5mo old girl came home after 3 weeks with my daughter at her fathers. I noticed her head tilt immediately and I don’t know exactly when it began (daughter isn’t sure). She came home Sunday, took her to the vet at their earliest appointment Tuesday (8/4). She was given Liquid oral Metacam (1x daily) and SMZ TMP oral liquid (2x daily). We are on day 5 with no improvement in head tilt. The vet gave us 7 days worth of medication and said I can ask for more if we want to try but wasn’t super hopeful. On day 2 I noticed red secretions from her nose but it cleared up by day 3.

My question is there more I can do? Should I keep her on the treatment longer? Or is there a medication we can request to help? I know head tilt can be permanent but I want to do everything I can for her. She is active, eating and drinking, and mostly behaving totally normally besides looking a little clumsy and dizzy and walking with a tilted head.
 

lilangel

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I think the meds should help. I always went with doxy/baytril combo but i think that combo also works out. I think for now your doing all you can with the meds part. I have herd that type of meds tastes gross for them so hide it will when giving if you need to. And the metacam is for pain. She may have the tilt for life but this stuff should help with the illness part.
 

Cupcakes

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I think the meds should help. I always went with doxy/baytril combo but i think that combo also works out. I think for now your doing all you can with the meds part. I have herd that type of meds tastes gross for them so hide it will when giving if you need to. And the metacam is for pain. She may have the tilt for life but this stuff should help with the illness part.
Thank you so much for responding! Is 7 days long enough for this regiment or should I request another weeks worth? For now, I’ve been able to syringe it into her mouth and others I can mix it with yogurt and she’s ok (it varies on the days she will take the yogurt).
 

Dena

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I'd switch from metacam to a steroid. But give a day or two between them.
 

Cupcakes

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I spoke with the vet, she’s going in for a steroid shot and change of antibiotics. I stopped the Metacam already to give the break between that and the steroid. Dr said it could still be a polyp, tumor or she threw a clot. I really hope it’s none of those, I’m so sad and worried.
 

lilspaz68

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Most likely it's a regular old inner ear infection and you are working at curing the active infection so 2-3 weeks of medicating is best. The head tilt may lessen a little or stay the same for the rest of her life, and she will be what I lovingly call a tilty. These rats adapt to their slightly tilted new life and usually do beautifully. The dizziness and clumsiness is from the infection and once that's cured you should just have a tilt remaining. If you are concerned you can post a video here for us to look at. You'll need to upload the video somewhere like YouTube then paste the link.in the post.
 

Cupcakes

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Most likely it's a regular old inner ear infection and you are working at curing the active infection so 2-3 weeks of medicating is best. The head tilt may lessen a little or stay the same for the rest of her life, and she will be what I lovingly call a tilty. These rats adapt to their slightly tilted new life and usually do beautifully. The dizziness and clumsiness is from the infection and once that's cured you should just have a tilt remaining. If you are concerned you can post a video here for us to look at. You'll need to upload the video somewhere like YouTube then paste the link.in the post.
Thank you! Everything I’m reading includes definitely more than 7 days of antibiotics so I feel good about the way we are going. I’m thankful that this vet (new to us, our resident animal vet doesn’t see rats sadly) seems knowledgeable about rats and didn’t blink an eye about continuing treatment for her. We love this girl and will love her just the same even if she’s permanently tilted. ❤
 

skylamps

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Aug 15, 2020
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Maybe a retro-bulbar tumor? I'm really sorry to hear she's not feeling well, I hope she is better soon.
 
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