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Maintenance steroids?

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Rattdad

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One of my rats is fairly disabled after getting an inner ear infection almost a year ago. She's on antibiotics and has been on steroids for a little bit, at the beginning. I wonder sometimes if I could put her on a little dose of steroids along with the antibiotics to see if this helped her at all (with the understanding that the steroids will have a negative effect on her immune response). I've talked about this with her vet, who would probably be ok with it, but as more of a last resort kind of thing. This rat's health is not great but I do love her and think her quality of life is actually pretty ok--she gets around the cage okay, sleeps a lot, and just needs a little extra attention with respect to eating (and meds).

Anyone ever have a rat on a low dose of steroids for a non-tumor related situation?
 

Beccabooscott

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I had a rat on steroids on and off. She had some skin condition, where she had multiple wounds all over her body. She would go on the steroid until the condition got better. But eventually it came back and she would go back on and then off until the steroids didnt help anymore and I had to put her to sleep😭 I dont know what condition your rat has, but if steroids help and prolongs her life longer and makes her more confortable I would give it a try. I also had a few rats in there old age that were put on metacam to make them more comfortable. And it helped prolong there life longer.
 

lilspaz68

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You mentioned your girl had an inner ear infection before and since then she's been on steroids? Generally with inner ear infection you treat with a good combo of antibiotics and steroids initially to help reduce the inflammation causing the head tilt. After that the tilt often remains even after the active infection is cured. The rat adapts to her new tilty life and depending on how bad the tilt is may need some modifications by her owner.

Can you say what symptoms you are seeing that makes you think the steroids might help?
 

Rattdad

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She was on steroids initially, when the infection first hit, to treat the very severe vertigo. The steroids helped, but I switched vets to someone who had more experience with 'exotics' and she was put on antibiotics for a longer course, with no steroids. She got better, still a little head tilt and poor balance, and was taken off the antibiotics... but after a bit, the symptoms came back and were harder to treat. She's on antibiotics long term now, because without them I think the infection will recur. She has a weak left side, and walks better when she has some traction and a good wall to lean against. She is pretty disabled, though. She can eat on her own, but mostly gets around by skooching, etc. The vet tells me eventually the antibiotics will stop working, and she'll need to be euthanized, but I'm continually evaluating her quality of life. She actually gets around okay in the cage, where she doesn't really need to 'walk' all that well to get around (Martin's 95).

Symptoms? Main thing is she skooches and flops around and shows signs of long term vertigo from a recurrent inner ear infection--not unlike if she had a stroke and was partially paralyzed. Nothing is going to 'cure' her, but I thought steroids might reduce the inflammation in her inner ear, at least a little, and give her a bit better quality of life for whatever time she has left.
 

lilspaz68

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Can you get a video of your lass? How old is she? How long ago since she originally got the inner ear infection? She may have had a stroke or possibly has PT which the video would help me determine.
I think it depends on her age and condition as to whether you want to try long term steroids.
 

Rattdad

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She had the first inner ear infection at the end of January 2020, recovered for the most part, then had a relapse about a month later, and that's when I seriously considered euthanizing her... before bringing her to her current vet. She should be about a year and a half old--one of a big group of feeder rats who were dumped in the snow in Ithaca and then rescued. Lilspaz68, thanks for your input but I prefer not to post a video and I do actually really trust her current vet in terms of determining whether she had a stroke or some other underlying issue.

I read over this thread to see if I left anything out and the only thing to add is that this seems to be one of the more severe inner ear infections that lead to bad vertigo, and she did get better with antibiotics, but I believe she's always going to be susceptible to more ear infections. Anyway, your wisdom is much appreciated, but I'm pretty confident in the diagnosis--I just am curious what I can do to make the quality of life better. The thinking being that the low dose of steroids might lower inflammation in her inner ear further and lead to some small improvements.
 

lilspaz68

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just curious, is she waving her head around and moving in high speed? That's a fairly rare presentation of inner ear infection, and like the tilt they stay this manic way even after the infection is cured. I call these guys manic tilties.
 

lilspaz68

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Ok good. So if you think maintenance steroids will help.her just try for the lowest effective dose. I use dexamethasone every 3 days for my chronic sickies (pulmonary abscesses) but dex lasts 3 days. Prednisone is better at daily dosing.
 

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