Infant rat, URI? Clicking

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Christina

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Aug 13, 2018
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Hello!
I recently came across an orphaned baby rat. Its eyes are closed and from what I could ascertain, looked about 10/11-ish days old. I immediately did as much research as I could and ran out and got formula, feeding syringe, heating pad, etc.

Though I tried to be as careful as possible, there were several instances I gave him milk nose bubbles followed by sneezing. This was from feeding and not spilling milk over the nose.

It has been several days in my care and he has developed constant clicking. His appetite is still there though I can't relay much about behavior as I have no familiarity with rats or infant rats. If anything, it appears he might becoming a bit frantic which I have read can be just as bad of a sign as lethargy.

I called several vets in my area and no-one will see him as he is a wild rat. I will keep looking and trying and money/time is not an issue. Wildlife rescue in my area are currently overwhelmed and the ones I have called do not take rats.

I do have Amoxicillin which I will start administering. Is there anything else I can do at this point? I don't know if perhaps because this was caused by milk in the respiratory track, treatment may be different?

I really can't lose this guy. His eyes are still closed so he can't be more than 14 days I assume.
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,093
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
If he wasn't clicking he would have almost no chance of surviving because he is so young.
Find a nursing mama rat to make him smell like her babies and add him to the litter - contact shelters, rescues, check social media, pet stores, breeders etc (don't give him to a pet store or breeder etc)

But it sounds like the formula went into his lungs - ie coming out of his nose
so the baby probably has fluid/formula in his lungs which has caused him to become ill and thus the clicking noise

Pictures?
Video please - post to youtube and copy the link on here

See Deer Mouse Rescue and Support Group on facebook
Feed Squirrel milk replacer if possible http://www.mcssl.com/store/17128612/milk-replacers

Are you feeding every 2 hours? Because you need to.

http://www.afrma.org/orphanrm.htm
http://www.rmca.org/Articles/orphans.htm

Info from Rats and Mice are Awesome group on facebook file on orphans
- they have a baby group you might want to join

RAA Orphan Care Sheet (Mice and Rats)

NOTE: RAA HAS A BABIES GROUP WHICH WILL HELP YOU IF YOU LIKE. We pair up an orphan person with an experienced helper; we have helpful links; and you can research by reading the hundreds of cases (including oops litters) from the past.

CARING FOR YOUR ORPHAN RAT OR MOUSE:
This advice is cultivated from saving and losing hundreds of orphans. Thus it may conflict with advice from other sources. You may be able to contribute to this if you have experienced a success or failure due to practices which we do not mention. Please comment or PM Natasha.
It is NOT EASY to be a substitute for a mouse or rat mommy. Not only that but many orphans have not eaten in a while before you begin their care; worse still are the ones you find somewhere who have experienced unknown terrible emotional and physical stress. And infants you find may be ones that mom has kicked out of the nest because they are unhealthy in some way, including genetic defects.These guys often have a real will to live but sometimes the circumstances are too poor. Do NOT blame yourself if you lose your baby.
Raising an orphan mouse or rat is very hard work and a drain to your energy. However, when your little charge thrives and becomes the sweetest, most loving, loyal companion, it is well worth it. Wild mice of various species have longer lives than house or fancy mice (mus musculus). It is recommended with any pet that you have daily interaction with your little charge even as she or he is an adult; this may be more important with a wildie to keep it friendly.
The main concerns for an orphan are warmth, feeding, and pottying.

WARMTH
You are your baby's only heat source. It is completely unable to produce its own body heat. Never feed a cold baby.
Although some people do recommend an electric source such as a heating pad (lots of cloth between baby and pad) or a reptile rock, electrical sources can and do fail; and babies have been fried on suddenly defective heating pads.
We recommend a nonelectric source such as a sock with uncooked rice, heated in the microwave; a hot water bottle; or even a microwaved bag of frozen vegetables. Always put plenty of cloth between baby and heat source.
You should have two of these heat sources so you are ready to swap one in when you take the other out so baby does not get cold in between.
Because you are feeding every two hours, you should never have a problem with cooling down.
The best heat source is your body. Many women find a way to keep the orphan in their cleavage. You may figure out a different way. Make sure it does not fall or suffocate. A baby kept on your body will thrive better due to your company. A little box with a rice sock is poor social substitute for ten brothers and sisters and mom.

FEEDING

ORPHAN MICE MUST be fed EVERY TWO HOURS AROUND THE CLOCK. You do NOT get a chance to sleep through the night! Other sources say 2-3 hours. There is a marked difference in survival rate at two hours. Remember, mommy mouse nurses every half hour!
RAT kittens must be fed every THREE hours, also around the clock.

FORMULA
The basic formula for a mouse pup is kitten milk replacement mixed half with an electrolyte solution such as pedialyte; you may find it is fine up to 3/4 formula. Rat kittens get straight soy infant formula. If your pup or kit gapes at feeding, dilute any formula more.
If your baby has been away from mom for 12 hours or more; or it is unknown; or if the orphan is dehydrated; make the first feeding 10% formula; the second 20%; etc; until you are at 50%.
If your orphan is not doing well; is skinny (not dehydrated); sickly; or developing too slowly, at the end of this document is a recipe for our POWER FORMULA. This has been developed from experience and research in the babies group.
Serve the formula warm. As with a baby human, test the temperature on your wrist. It should feel slightly warm. NEVER FEED A COLD BABY.


METHOD
People have been successful with many methods, and unsuccessful with others. The previously recommended syringe method is dangerous because you are choosing how fast the infant is drinking, not it, and you may cause it to aspirate the formula. If you ever see formula come out its nose, it has aspirated it; but you may also not observe it. When the formula goes into the lungs, the baby can soon develop pneumonia. There is not much you can do if that happens. If you do prefer a syringe, get a tiny one from a pregnancy detector kit such as First Signal.
Recommended then are methods where the baby chooses how much to take. A new, well-rinsed watercolor paintbrush is the most recommended. A new, well-rinsed eyeshadow applicator sponge also works well. People have gotten creative and used the corner of a lint-free (as unprocessed as possible) paper towel or cloth. Do NOT use a Q-Tip due to swallowing of tiny fibers. Do NOT use any kind of food because tiny particles can detach and choke the baby.
Give your baby as much as it will eat. Mama mouse or rat does not measure. You should be able to see the formula in its tummy-- a 'milk band.' If you feel it has not eaten enough, give it five minutes and try again.

POTTY STIMULATION
Infant rat kittens and mouse pups do not eliminate on their own. Mama rat or mouse licks their genitals to stimulate them to go. You need to help them after every meal. People often recommend a Q-Tip. This can work but sometimes leads to irritation. The best method is with your (pinky) fingertip. The reason for this is that you will know how the baby normally feels, and will diagnose a problem like bloat (constipation) earlier because the abdomen will feel harder. Bloat kills.
To potty, rub their abdomen, genitals, and anus so gently until they eliminate.This can take up to five minutes but probably won't. If they are having trouble, a little body massage can help too. Also see Bloat below.
The poop should be soft but not liquid; a yellowy brown, maybe mustard. If it is dry or if it is liquid please refer to the categories Bloat and Diarrhea below. After a week of age there should be urine too; it should be clear.
 
Last edited:

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,093
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
Continued

COMMON PROBLEMS

BLOAT (CONSTIPATION).
Bloat kills because the baby's own waste poisons it. It must be addressed immediately. You can recognize bloat because the abdomen is hard or the baby looks too round.
At the time, give full body massages; dip its bottom end in warm water (do NOT let it get cold afterward). Do this every one or two hours; and before a feeding not after.
Foods to help with bloat are:
Olive oil-- you can add a drop every feeding if the infant has a history of bloat Canned pumpkin-- NOT pumpkin pie mix. Note pumpkin works for both bloat and diarrhea!!!! You can also try a pinch of Miralax.
Note: Rat kittens born from rats not paired by an experienced breeder can have defects and one of those defects is megacolon, which causes serious constipation and usually kills.

DIARRHEA
Diarrhea can also kill a baby easily because it loses fluids and becomes dehydrated. Please see dehydration below.
Try adding any of these to its diet:
Canned pumpkin (which works for both diarrhea and constipation) Yogurt with live cultures A tiny bit of probiotics (vitamin section)

DEHYDRATION
A dehydrated orphan needs a far higher concentration of electrolyte solution. Go back to 90/10 or 80/20 until it looks better, as explained in the Formula section above.
If possible get to the vet for subcutaneous fluids. This may be the only way to save a severely dehydrated baby.

SORE BUM
Destine works very well. Also if you are using a Q tip or eyeshadow sponge to potty, switch to your finger.

************

POWER FORMULA

For thin, small, or sickly orphans.
One cup whole goat milk yogurt 13 oz oat milk 1/2 tsp honey (raw if possible) one egg yolk (cage free is safer) 1 TB commercial peanut butter (skippy, Jif, etc) 1/2 capsule probiotics (vitamin section) 1-2/3 cup electrolyte solution (pedialyte, etc)
You need a blender; and probably want an ice cube tray and small (snack size) ziplock bags.
Peanut butter may be hard to mix. You may want to heat it slightly first. Mix the peanut butter and the honey. Starting with honey makes it much easier to mix Mix in the egg yolk a very little at a time. Mix in the goat yogurt again a little at a time as you find it works. Put the mix into the blender. Add the oat milk, probiotic powder, and electrolyte solution, and blend until completely smooth.
Now it is ready to use.
There is quite a lot and it will spoil. It is recommended that you freeze most of it and thaw a little at a time for use.
To freeze the mixture use an ice cube tray. Pour each tray section 1/2 to full, depending on number of babies. Once it is frozen, put each cube in a separate ziplock snack bag. Alternatively you could just pour the formula directly into the bags without making cubes first.
When you want to use the frozen formula, take out a baggie and either leave it to thaw in the fridge or place it in warm water to thaw. You could also put it in your pocket until it is your body heat’s temperature. Formula should always be given warm.
Babies love this stuff and usually absolutely flourish. This is an RAA special; you won’t see it anywhere else!
 

selk

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Messages
8
Location
NULL
Sigh, I learned the hard way when I was handraising a wee mousie to feed it slooooow. Poor little one didn't make it after displaying similar symptoms :( Hope your little tyke pulls through!
 

Christina

New Member
Joined
Aug 13, 2018
Messages
0
Location
Arizona
Hi, all! Sorry for not replying earlier.

The baby is doing amazingly well. I had planned to come back and do an update to help anyone else who might need the same help in the future.

The feeding method obviously was a problem. Despite several different methods and tools, he continued to aspirate some of the formula each feeding. You're right, Selk, I'm sure the speed of feeding as well as the amount of formula being pushed in had something to do with it.

So we have very small, very thick baggies on hand due to my husband's work (he sells gemstones, each stone goes into its own thick plastic 2"x3" baggie). I cut a very small hole in the corner of one of these bags, the size of which makes it so suction or pressing on the hole is required to get the fluid out. If it drips out on its own, then the hole is too large. Sometimes it takes a few tries to get the hole size just right. Then while feeding I am careful to not let it become suctioned shut by keeping my finger down in the baggie while he nurses.

He immediately took to this method. I actually think it helped him mentally as well. Being able to grab onto something more like a nipple, suck at his own pace and have something to knead while nursing..

This stopped any and all subsequent aspiration from occuring. We turned up his heating pad a smidgen to make sure he stayed warm. We also gave him two rounds of a small dose of B6 to help his body absorb the excess fluid. Seeing as b6 is a diuretic, we were also careful to give him electrolytes. He would get a feeding of formula with b6 in the morning and then a feeding of electrolyte solution the next morning. Definitely made him pee more! And we monitored his dehydration level by the good old pinching his skin method.

As of writing this, the clicking has totally stopped. His eyes are opened and I'm excited for him to start trying solid foods soon!

I don't know if any of that will help anyone, but that's our story. I forsee a very long and incredibly loved future for this little dude.

Thanks to anyone who tried to help. The little guy appreciates it!
 

selk

Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2017
Messages
8
Location
NULL
Oh that update was so lovely to read! This little one is lucky to have you.
 

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