HELP!! Rat with suddenly declining health?

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Courtney Carter

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I am incredibly concerned currently. I have been monitoring my rat fish for a few days, his behavior has changed a bit and I checked him out and eventually noticed his teeth seeming to be over grown. He’s not the biggest chewer but hasn’t struggled until recently. His behavior changed only a few days ago when he began pushing food from his bowl and I though he might be having a small tantrum but I checked it out further and noticed his teeth seeming to be too long. I called a vet asap but my soonest appointment was June 8th so I took it. A day passed and he was acting about the same, uncomfortable but was eating the mushed up food I made for him so he could continue to get his nutrients till the vet appointment. Tonight was the beginning of my major concern and panic for him.
This morning? He acted the same as yesterday. Now? I go to grab my boy and he’s wet down his front in sticky brown stuff. I tried to clean it best I could but he’s very squirmy and I think he’s being more squirmy because of his level of discomfort. I’ve read it could be choking but he’s had no solid food or sticky food and this only just started to happen to him.
my question is, since it started this fast, should I call emergency vet services or should I wait till the earliest time tomorrow? Aside from the wetness, his behavior is the same as the past couple days.
What could’ve caused this so fast?
I love my boy so much, seeing him this way is the most painful thing I could’ve ever thought of experiencing. I am scared to death I could wake up and he wouldn’t be with me anymore.
 

Dena

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Could it be possible that his food is too thick, and he could be choking on it because he can't move it down his throat? I know you made a mush, but could it be thick like a paste? I'd message Lilspaz and ask her to read this thread.
 

SQ

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Please post pictures.
Do you think the brown might be porphyrin? Health Guide: Porphyrin Secretions / Red Tears

Please check his front teeth closely to see if they have punctured the inside of his mouth Edit if you can do so without causing arm or distress

Please see the info on choking in the Reference Tread

How is his breathing? That is a major concern if he is choking.
Please note that the fling etc mentioned are an absolute last resort only to try to help a rat that has stopped breathing and is dying as they can cause serious injury or worse

Please post on the facebook group Real Rat Lovers Want to Know
 
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SQ

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Could it be possible that his food is too thick, and he could be choking on it because he can't move it down his throat? I know you made a mush, but could it be thick like a paste? I'd message Lilspaz and ask her to read this thread.
I did a few mins ago, but she is likely asleep
 

Courtney Carter

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Please post pictures.
Do you think the brown might be porphyrin? Health Guide: Porphyrin Secretions / Red Tears

Please check his front teeth closely to see if they have punctured the inside of his mouth

Please see the info on choking in the Reference Tread

How is his breathing? That is a major concern if he is choking.

Please post on the facebook group Real Rat Lovers Want to Know
His breathing is still normal
I’ve been doing my best to check, he’s very squirmy and a big boy so holding him still is pretty tricky, I haven’t Seen any puncturing and his teeth seem to be rubbing on his outer bottom lip.
i am almost positive the brown is porphyrin, it smells like saliva and not like blood so I don’t think he’s bleeding.
I’m calling my vet tomorrow to see if I can get a sooner appointment because I don’t think waiting another week is safe at this point.

that photo is the best I can get. He’s never liked being handled and it’s stressing him out much more being held than just gently pet right now. I’ve dried him off as best I could.
 

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Courtney Carter

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Could it be possible that his food is too thick, and he could be choking on it because he can't move it down his throat? I know you made a mush, but could it be thick like a paste? I'd message Lilspaz and ask her to read this thread.
I’ve done my best to not make a paste for him. His stuff is watered down so that he can lick at it. I’ll make sure to see next time I make it for him because i definitely could be wrong!
 

SQ

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He could be drooling to try to bring up something that he is choking on.
If so everything I have read says that all you can do is watch him and rush him to the vet if he starts having breathing issues or if this goes on for more then several hours.

If you are able to post a video to youtube you can post the link on here.
If you post on Real Rat Lovers Want to Know on Facebook, one of their medical contributors might still be available (ie awake and online)

I am sorry as I do not have much experience with rats choking
 

Courtney Carter

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He could be drooling to try to bring up something that he is choking on.
If so everything I have read says that all you can do is watch him and rush him to the vet if he starts having breathing issues or if this goes on for more then several hours.

If you are able to post a video to youtube you can post the link on here.
If you post on Real Rat Lovers Want to Know on Facebook, one of their medical contributors might still be available (ie awake and online)

I am sorry as I do not have much experience with rats choking
You are helping me tremendously, I’ll keep an eye on him and I will be calling the vet ASAP tomorrow no matter if he’s struggling more or not. We don’t have many exotic vets in general in my area and no emergency vets for them, so my best bet is to wait to see if I can get anyone..
 
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lilspaz68

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It sounds like he did have an episode of choking and it should be dry.now.

You said his teeth are too long? But are they even across the tops of the incisors? That's how to tell if your rat has malocclusion (incorrect teeth alignment) or not. A rat bruxxes to keep its teeth ground down, and each incisor grinds on the opposite one. If these aren't grinding evenly you end up with angled teeth,one longer than the other or growing crookedly. If the tops are even across then the teeth are fine. If so you'll want to consider other possibilities with his eating struggles.
 

mwp051699

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Feb 15, 2020
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I am incredibly concerned currently. I have been monitoring my rat fish for a few days, his behavior has changed a bit and I checked him out and eventually noticed his teeth seeming to be over grown. He’s not the biggest chewer but hasn’t struggled until recently. His behavior changed only a few days ago when he began pushing food from his bowl and I though he might be having a small tantrum but I checked it out further and noticed his teeth seeming to be too long. I called a vet asap but my soonest appointment was June 8th so I took it. A day passed and he was acting about the same, uncomfortable but was eating the mushed up food I made for him so he could continue to get his nutrients till the vet appointment. Tonight was the beginning of my major concern and panic for him.
This morning? He acted the same as yesterday. Now? I go to grab my boy and he’s wet down his front in sticky brown stuff. I tried to clean it best I could but he’s very squirmy and I think he’s being more squirmy because of his level of discomfort. I’ve read it could be choking but he’s had no solid food or sticky food and this only just started to happen to him.
my question is, since it started this fast, should I call emergency vet services or should I wait till the earliest time tomorrow? Aside from the wetness, his behavior is the same as the past couple days.
What could’ve caused this so fast?
I love my boy so much, seeing him this way is the most painful thing I could’ve ever thought of experiencing. I am scared to death I could wake up and he wouldn’t be with me anymore.
Give him Ensure for nutrition and buy some clippers. You CAN clip his teeth. If you need help there are people who can help walk you through it. The rat will NOT feel it, won't even notice. I would do it ASAP so he doesn't cut into his upper mouth area and get an infection
 

mwp051699

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His breathing is still normal
I’ve been doing my best to check, he’s very squirmy and a big boy so holding him still is pretty tricky, I haven’t Seen any puncturing and his teeth seem to be rubbing on his outer bottom lip.
i am almost positive the brown is porphyrin, it smells like saliva and not like blood so I don’t think he’s bleeding.
I’m calling my vet tomorrow to see if I can get a sooner appointment because I don’t think waiting another week is safe at this point.

that photo is the best I can get. He’s never liked being handled and it’s stressing him out much more being held than just gently pet right now. I’ve dried him off as best I could.
He is far too dirty to be in good health. He needs a bath and a vet. If his teeth are too long you can clip them, but be sure to not cut too much or too little. Is his breathing silent?
 

Courtney Carter

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It sounds like he did have an episode of choking and it should be dry.now.

You said his teeth are too long? But are they even across the tops of the incisors? That's how to tell if your rat has malocclusion (incorrect teeth alignment) or not. A rat bruxxes to keep its teeth ground down, and each incisor grinds on the opposite one. If these aren't grinding evenly you end up with angled teeth,one longer than the other or growing crookedly. If the tops are even across then the teeth are fine. If so you'll want to consider other possibilities with his eating struggles.
I’m considering everything right now since I’m so in the dark. My regular vet (the only exotic vet in the area) is closed today so I’m in wait till tomorrow to call. He just got bathed and his front was still quite wet, but he’s clean and dry now. Now we just watch him. I’ll call an emergency vet, but we don’t even have an emergency exotic vet so fingers crossed.
 

Courtney Carter

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He is far too dirty to be in good health. He needs a bath and a vet. If his teeth are too long you can clip them, but be sure to not cut too much or too little. Is his breathing silent?
His breathing is silent.
I have considered cutting his teeth myself, but he’s quite a big rat and has never liked to be held in the 2 and 1/2 years I’ve owned him. He loves to lay and be cuddled, but I could never quite get him to enjoy being held or shoulder time.
He pushed with his hands and wriggles around a lot. I’m scared to hurt him. Are there any suggestions I should look at to see if cutting them myself is possible for such an anxious guy like him?
 

Courtney Carter

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Give him Ensure for nutrition and buy some clippers. You CAN clip his teeth. If you need help there are people who can help walk you through it. The rat will NOT feel it, won't even notice. I would do it ASAP so he doesn't cut into his upper mouth area and get an infection
What type of ensure would be best to buy?
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
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Lilspaz68 is extremely experienced and a medical contributer.
Please listen to what lilspaz68 suggests.

If Fish is having difficulties you will need to find out why, as lilspaz68 said.
You can soak his rat blocks (or rat blocks crushed into powder) in cool water to make mush, you can also feed nonGMO soy infant formula thickened with baby cereal. Both will provide needed nutrition.
You can also feed cooked vegs, greens, baby kale, cooked grains, a piece of fruit such as water melon etc as they are easier to eat

Please let us know what the vet says.
and let us know if there are any symptoms
 

lilspaz68

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Were his incisors straight across the tops or not? Clipping teeth yourself is traumatic, difficult and can break teeth if you're not careful, so I don't advise it unless he really needs it. I'll post links of malocclusion and normal teeth. You just need to lift his lips a little to see.

Maloccluded

Normal

Rat showing the normal splay of bottom incisors when a rat struggles or twists. The bottom jaw mandibles are not solid like our own skull but joined only by a piece of ligament. This splay goes back to normal when rat relaxes.

 
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Courtney Carter

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[/QUOTE]
Were his incisors straight across the tops or not? Clipping teeth yourself is traumatic, difficult and can break teeth if you're not careful, so I don't advise it unless he really needs it. I'll post links of malocclusion and normal teeth. You just need to lift his lips a little to see.

Maloccluded

Normal

Rat showing the normal splay of bottom incisors when a rat struggles or twists. The bottom jaw mandibles are not solid like our own skull but joined only by a piece of ligament. This splay goes back to normal when rat relaxes.

His teeth to me look maloccluded, though they didn’t used to look that way. Is it possible that it could’ve happened later in life or did I just not look well enough when he wasn’t struggling with this... he is almost two and half and hasn’t struggled with this until just very recently and it’s my first time ever having it happen. I’m a fairly new owner and while I always made sure he didn’t get any respiratory illnesses and watched for tumors but didn’t know this would be an issue for him, I feel bad that I didn’t watch him closer now.

I really appreciate all of your help.
 

lilspaz68

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Ok get us pics or a video of his mouth so we can see the extent of it. Malocclusion can happen from a fall/injury or even age as the ligament holding that bottom mandible will loosen and stretch causing the teeth to misalign. My first case Angel was normal until about 2ish then had to have her teeth trimmed at the vets every 4-5 weeks for the rest of her life.
 

Courtney Carter

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Ok get us pics or a video of his mouth so we can see the extent of it. Malocclusion can happen from a fall/injury or even age as the ligament holding that bottom mandible will loosen and stretch causing the teeth to misalign. My first case Angel was normal until about 2ish then had to have her teeth trimmed at the vets every 4-5 weeks for the rest of her life.
Sorry to not respond sooner, but I got Fish into my vet today and got him treated! He’s got medication for an infection, and his jaw is I’m fact misaligned. I will also have to do trimming every 4-6 weeks for the rest of his life. He’s recovering from the anesthesia and is eating soft foods till he shows interest in his pellets. Apologies for not getting a photo but I spent most of my day out and talking to the vet back and forth.
I’ll be watching how quick his teeth grow now to see what the time period is before his teeth start getting too long.
He’ll be spending a bit of time in his sick cage so he doesn’t take any unnecessary falls while he’s still a bit loopy.
Thank you for all of your help, it’s kept me from panicking any more than I did.
Fish thanks you too.
8106A598-38FB-462F-92A6-ADC32830544E.jpeg
 
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