Manic tilty rat with loss of wanting to play

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Hey all,

Here I come again with another health wise question on my babies. One of my little ones (6 months old now) had a several inner ear infection when she was very young (8 weeks old) which was treated perfectly. Unfortunately she kept her head tilt and is now classified as a manic tilty. I am always careful with her as I know she can easily get infections. She also got spayed a while back which went fine as well. Unfortunately, Since 4 days she hasn't been so enthusiastically coming out of the cage with her sister to play. She has sort of gone out and in and seems really quite scared (totally different behaviour for her as she is usually the energetic crazy one). She does still eat but not with as much enthusiasm either. We took her to an experienced rat vet for a check up and she did not have an ear or lung infection, all seemed well. But her behaviour is still the same so we thought to check if she'd respond to pain meds.

We gave her a normal dose of Meloxidyl (for 4.6 kilos as she is 460 grams) and she responded within the hour with getting much more playful again and her usual self. From this I think it is clear that she is in some sort of pain but I have no idea what could be causing it. Now that the medication is wearing off, she is back to her scared in pain self, which is very sad to see. I will definitely call the vet tomorrow as well but if anyone has any tips to be on the look out for, that would be great.

Kind regards,

Nynke
 

Big Schpog

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 8, 2020
Messages
438
Location
British Columbia
All 3 of my girls are on metacam now. My oldest is just starting to get arthritic and HLD and weighs 503g and we're giving her .1 mls twice a day. My other two are only just coming to a year old and they are also getting .1 mls twice a day. All of them are being treated for a mild/moderate URI for a month via Baytril and Doxy. Sometimes you gotta just do what makes the rat feel better. Find the lowest possible dose of metacam to keep her happy and comfortable. Also, check to see if she has any symptoms of blood in urine or coming from the vagina. Use white fleece/white tissues to figure out if she's bleeding.
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Thank you for replying. We haven't noticed any blood from her urine (yet) but will keep an eye out for it. I have checked for bleeding from the vagina last week when this started and didn't notice anything strange. Would it be very noticeable if there is blood on the fleece where they are peeing? We have light grey fleece on there now but no blood stains are showing. Is a URI something that happens as frequently as a respiratory infection? And how do they contract it usually? We clean the cage weekly and the fleece blankets in the cage every 1 or two days depending on which ones they are (they have their favorite peeing spots).

I would like to not put her on medication (especially antibiotics) if I'm not sure what is wrong for the risk of making bacteria resistant for the antibiotics we are administrating. I know the pain meds are anti inflammation as well so maybe they'll help if it is something small?

Kind regards,

Nynke
 

Dena

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2018
Messages
345
Location
Texas
Check her teeth. If they are growing funky, that could be her problem. Also, message lilspaz. She may have more of an idea for you. Hope she gets better soon!
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,383
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
You are smart to get her back to your vet. Changes in behaviour like this often indicate something wrong,plus the relief when you tested for pain is concerning.
If you have carefully examined her all over (her body, limbs, smelled her ears, checked her mouth/teeth) for anything more obvious then a vet visit is definitely in order.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nyn

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Hey all,

I called the vet this morning and unfortunately our normal vet who is experienced with rats is on holiday. The woman who I had on the phone advised to continue with the pain meds until Thursday as there are also inflammation stoppers in the pain meds. She also said that check-up was probably not necessary at this time but that we should check in again on Thursday to see how she is doing. Both my rats were checked on respiratory illnesses on Friday and were found completely healthy in that aspect. I hope we are doing the right thing:)

Kind regards,

Nynke
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Just a little update, her urine was clear and we have no idea what she has. She is doing a bit better we think but she is still on pain meds. She's had a tiny lump in her cheek which the vet checked out yesterday and which has gotten smaller with the pain meds/anti-inflamitory. So the vet checked her eye for damage (all fine) and gave us some eye medicine (soligental) to drop 3x a day in her eye to be sure if it is a clog it will clear. Her teeth were fine as well so that is not the issue. We were going to leave them home home a pet sitter this weekend when going to a cabin, but decided to take them with us. Hard choice though as it will also be stressful for them to be moved.. but at least we can take care of them (with the eye drops and pain killers). If anyone has any more advice on what could be wrong with her, we would love to hear it. She's been eating, peeing, pooping and drinking normally. She's just restless and scared and really unfocused when she is out of the cage..
 

Smythius

Member
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
5
Location
Earth
Just a little update, her urine was clear and we have no idea what she has. She is doing a bit better we think but she is still on pain meds. She's had a tiny lump in her cheek which the vet checked out yesterday and which has gotten smaller with the pain meds/anti-inflamitory. So the vet checked her eye for damage (all fine) and gave us some eye medicine (soligental) to drop 3x a day in her eye to be sure if it is a clog it will clear. Her teeth were fine as well so that is not the issue. We were going to leave them home home a pet sitter this weekend when going to a cabin, but decided to take them with us. Hard choice though as it will also be stressful for them to be moved.. but at least we can take care of them (with the eye drops and pain killers). If anyone has any more advice on what could be wrong with her, we would love to hear it. She's been eating, peeing, pooping and drinking normally. She's just restless and scared and really unfocused when she is out of the cage..
Are there ANY other animals in the house? Dog or cat especially. If medically the animal seems fine then something about it’s surrounding must be making it uncomfortable.
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,383
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
It sounds like shes possibly having another inner ear infection flare-up and will need those antibiotics.
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Thank you for the reply. We have no other animals in the house and even bought an humidifier which should help with the dry winters. We have now given her the eye medicine for one week and have another check up tomorrow with the vets. When we give her the medicine for her eye, sometimes this releases more polyphorin and she starts sneezing. But her eye has cleared up a lot. The lump in her cheek is gone as well. Last week Thursday her ears were still clear. The vet should be able to see an ear infection right? She is still on some cough medicine as well which is being put in her water (bisolvon)
 
Last edited:

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
This is video of her getting the eye medicine. She really hates it and wants to scratch. Now she isn't sneezing when she got them and there is no poryphorin. But sometimes the poryphorin comes out of the corner of her eye while administrating the medicine. I gently try to massage it into her eye as the vet said it was of importance she didn't immediately wash/scratches it out which she has a tenancy to (as you can see in the video). The lump in that cheek is gone and she isn't squinting as much. The lump had been there since her previous ear infection (last August) and she didnt show any of the problems in the mean time.
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,383
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
The scared and unfocused behavior makes it sound like shes dizzy. The only way to see infection in the base of the ear canal is with a camera or scope.
 

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Yes indeed, well she is a manic tilty so she is always a bit dizzy. Our vet always checks the ears with the otoscope. It is slightly challenging as Cis is always moving but last Thursday her ears were fine (according to the vet)
 
Last edited:

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
She has recently gained a bit of wait (470 grams now, she accidentally ate the kidney food of our other rat). Our vet did say she might be less playful due to her weight? She isn't super fat and we have put her on a strict no snack diet (normal pallets) and hid the kidney friendly food of her sister.
 
Last edited:

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
I have added a photo from before (3 months ago) and now. She usually cleared up a bit when waking up as this photo was taken when she just woke up. But her eye is a lot better now. It looks like im holding her quite tightly, but I swear I'm doing it gently. She moves her head a lot so it is difficult to take clear photos of her
 

Attachments

  • 20210302_190742.jpg
    20210302_190742.jpg
    22.4 KB · Views: 59
  • 20201125_115407.jpg
    20201125_115407.jpg
    64.1 KB · Views: 53
Last edited:

Rattdad

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Rhode Island
I've lived with a rat who was disabled from an inner ear infection--by beloved Pumpkin. My rat was much worse than yours. Here's some input, for what it's worth.

First, the infections can come back, quickly, so I think it's important to have antibiotics on hand. My Pumpkin's infections went away, and then would come roaring back; I should have just kept her on antibiotics, and she did eventually end up staying on antibiotics (at vet's direction). Of course, you'd also want to have her taking probiotics (yogurt, etc.).

I had good luck with meclizine. It's a motion sickness drug. Dramamine, also a motion sickness drug, can not be taken for extended periods, but meclizine can. Meclizine might help with the dizziness. It's over the counter here in the US and I can give you dosing info if you want. I originally bought it from the vet, but started just mixing it myself with a mortar and pestle. It's worth a try. If your rat has head tilt and shows dizziness that is worse some times than others, you might keep some on hand.

NSAIDs are anti-inflammatories, obviously, but it might be worth trying a steroid like prednisone. You would want to speak to your vet about this. Prednisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory and you would have to taper it very carefully when she stops taking it. It also depresses the rat's immune system, so you would definitely need antibiotics in tandem. But prednisone, for my rat, definitely had a positive impact. It's not a long term solution, but it will definitely relieve a lot of the symptoms. If your rat's quality of life is currently suffering, and if this turns out to be related to an inner ear infection, prednisone can work wonders (for a time).

This is just an informational point, and perhaps your vet already told you this... the inner ear (which controls balance, finding your way in the dark, etc) is really important in rats, since it compensates for their poor eyesight. In an inner ear infection in a rat, bacteria migrates up from the lungs and into the inner ear. Once it happens, it's possible that it becomes easier to happen again--my vet said, the path is easier the 2nd, 3rd, 4th time. So it's really important to take care of those bacteria as thoroughly as possible. I would NOT do a short antibiotic course on a rat with an inner ear infection (what my original vet did for my Pumpkin). You also might consider antibiotic ear drops.

Regarding something you said in one of your posts about antibiotic resistance... The bacteria in your rat isn't going to become resistant to antibiotics, as I understand it. Resistance to antibiotics happens to all people, animals, etc, as a result of the overprescription of antibiotics, antibiotics in livestock, etc.... It doesn't really happen to one specific individual, or their individual bacteria, it's something that is happening to all of us, and it happens whether you take antibiotics or not. The worse thing a rat owner can do is, do a short course of antibiotics, because this might not kill all the bad bacteria and bring the infection back worse than before. There's a lot of disagreement among rat owners regarding how long a course of antibiotics should be. Most vets I've known will do two weeks of them, but I believe the thought on this board is, 4-6 weeks is better--I'm curious what lilspaz thinks. ONe thing's for sure, though: you need to be extra cautious with your ratty, since she's already had an ear infection. A longer antibiotic course has a better chance of killing the infection for good.

There is lots of good info on the web, and I think lilspaz is just an absolutely amazingly generous and knowledgeable resource. I've consulted her a few times, and her rodent medical instincts are really good. I think this web page is really good on the subject, and mentions some stuff that I didn't see elsewhere in my own research:


Good luck, feel free to message me. Your rat is a good healthy weight, which is certainly more than I could ever say for my beloved Pumpkin.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Nyn

Nyn

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2020
Messages
74
Location
Netherlands
Hey Rattdad, thank you for your extensive reply! It is super difficult to say if she is getting better or worse as every day is a bit different. Her eyes were checked by the vet last Wednesday and she said all looked good. For her first antibiotics (the time she had the bad inner ear infection) she was on a combination of Flagyl and Sinulox which she was on for 8 weeks. She got checked every two weeks by the vet but in the end, they had to puncture her ear drum to get rid of the infection completely. This is why she is partially deaf as well (we think).

She is indeed still very tilty and jerks her head up quite a bit. I can check the Meclizine out at the vets coming Wednesday to ask if this would help. Where we live (in the Netherlands) we are selling way less drugs over the counter though, so it might not be as easy to come by (for instance antibiotics are solely sold on prescription). We do still have some left over antibiotics from last time that are still within their due date that we will keep for emergency situations. We would indeed never give a short course of antibiotics because indeed this would not kill off the amount of bacteria in their system.

Lilspaz has helped us previously as well and she is absolutely amazing in diagnosing over the Internet (even though that's super hard to do). So we are extremely grateful for the medical advise she has provided us with. We will continue to monitor our little babies with love and see if an X-ray is necessary to see if her pain is coming from somewhere else. She is grooming herself quite extensively these days and I'm not sure if she does this because she is in pain. She is eating and drinking normally though so that is generally a good sign 🥰

Thank you again for everything!
 

Rattdad

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
40
Location
Rhode Island
That's interesting your vet punctured her eardrum--I believe the vet on the site I linked to mentioned this as a possibility, but my vet didn't do it for my Pumpkin. But her eardrum did eventually rupture on its own, which, from what my vet said, might have led to antibiotics (topical) getting into her ear more effectively. I never saw any sign of improvement, however.

I'm not sure about grooming being a sign of pain--I think grooming is a good sign, in a rat.

Antibiotics are by prescription only here in the US as well, but we are able to buy fish and bird antibiotics through the mail. If it does turn out that you need a prescription for meclizine in the Netherlands, you might try one of the 'natural' cures for vertigo. I was always curious how these might work on Pumpkin. Here in the US, next to the meclizine/dramamine on the pharmacy shelf, one can also find several homeopathic remedies for vertigo... you might give one of these a try, if you come across it.

Good luck, your rat is very cute!
 
Top