Overweight Rattie

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elricsgirl

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
13
Location
Oregon
My Stanley will be 2 years old in about a week and he's overweight. 1.96lbs. Possibly more at this point. My vet had me cut down on treats and just mainly stick with veggies and his normal food (Oxbow).

Right now he eats: A few small pieces of carrot, cucumber (his favorite), mixed greens (no spinach), 2 small pieces of apple (probably the size of a fingernail), 3 or 4 peas and a couple of Cheerios (okayed by the vet at his last check up). This is aside from his regular food each day.

I cut waaaayyyyy back on cheerios last year and no longer offer gerber puffs. I also cut back on carrots and peas. He hasn't lost an ounce. He gets to be outside of his cage as long as he would like each afternoon. He usually poops out at about 45 minutes to an hour.

He's always had an issue with buck grease and I've read that can be hormonal. Could hormones or a thyroid issue be causing this weight issue? He's also very lazy lol. Always has been. I try to make him chase me for veggies, but he's on to me and just sits lol.

I'm at a complete loss because he isn't a young man anymore and I'm starting to see some strain on his hips. I'd like to hear from some rat families so that I can suggest things for my vet to check. Please don't get me wrong, our vet is great and a rat owner herself. I was overfeeding him previously and wasn't aware. She educated me and set me straight. But now I fear there might be something else going on since he hasn't lost any weight.

Thanks in advance!
 

Rattdad

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Mar 9, 2019
Messages
21
Location
Rhode Island
I have a big boy myself. I was able to get him to lose a little weight, but he really does love to eat. He's older too, about 2 1/2 years. His cage mate (who was just put down yesterday, RIP to my little sweetie) was pretty severely disabled from an inner ear infection; she was always severely underweight, always struggled to eat, refused to eat outside of the cage, and was very particular about what she ate. So it was very important that I leave soft foods for her to find around the cage so that she could keep her weight up. Naturally, my boy would find her food and eat it himself. So I had one severely overweight rat, and one severely underweight one, with no solution in sight. I eventually found that she liked ground-up Teklad mixed with oat milk, but this wasn't interesting enough for my boy to bother with.

If he's a big boy even with you cutting out the treats, he's probably just compensating by eating Oxbow. He might have a stash somewhere. Any chance you could switch to a food he's less interested in? Teklad maybe? There are some good posts here, I believe from Shelagh/lilspaz, where she makes specific recommendations about the number of pellets/day for weight loss. My boy has lost out on some of life's pleasures due to his weight--he's just not as mobile as a smaller rat. But he's a good age, gets a let of love, and I've had rats who were healthier weights but also lost out on experiences due to other health problems (surgeries, tumors, etc.). My big boy is an ex-lab rat from a place that did psychological testing, and he managed to survive the experience with a very sweet, loving disposition. No joke, a lot of American men, myself included, could learn a lot about masculinity from this boy.

My advice to you is, don't be too hard on yourself, continue to work on him losing a little weight, but don't expect miracles; and give him lots of love and even the occasional treat.
 

elricsgirl

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
13
Location
Oregon
I'm so, so sorry for your loss. My first rat was a rescued lab rat and they are just so special and wonderful.

I really appreciate your comments. Thank you. I've been beating myself up like crazy. He's so sweet and I hate to see him slowing down because of his weight. I've seen some pretty judgmental and harsh comments to people with overweight rats in other forums, so I was hesitant to even post.

Stanley has always been pretty lazy. He's never been a good jumper or climber, even when he was a baby. He prefers to just walk around and explore quietly with the occasional jog or hop every now and then. I try to encourage him to move, but he just looks at me like I'm nuts and flops or crawls inside my sweater lol. His brother has always been a lot more active. He doesn't even try to get into his space pod anymore.

He's due for his yearly check-up this month, so I'll speak with his vet about maybe changing/limiting his food. She has hesitated about limitation in the past because it's so hard to find a good balance for his brother.

The rat in question is the grey and white fluff-ball in the foreground eating half of his cucumbers and leaving the rest in a pile 😂.

IMG_1204.jpg
 

lilspaz68

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Jul 21, 2007
Messages
23,959
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Toronto, Canada, Earth
Sometimes rats will be genetically fat and at his age there wont be a lot you can do about it. I've got a couple of biig boys here too, just keep the diet as healthy as you can. If hes not super fond of carrot you can stop them as they are full of natural sugars. Just do your best and don't stress too much. You could try a cat feather toy (real feathers not the boa one) yo see if he'll move around a bit more to get it.
 

elricsgirl

Member
Joined
Jan 18, 2019
Messages
13
Location
Oregon
I can cut the carrots out, for sure, and I ordered a feather toy. They have both always been really disinterested in toys, but maybe this will be different! I have a whole box full and a wheel that they never touched. They would rather have a toilet paper roll and a box of tissues to play with. Sweet little weirdos.

Thank you so much for the comment. It really helps.
 

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