They can often look very similar initially but with experience and some slightly different symptoms you can end up telling them apart.
PT - usually in older rats, has a bunch of very classic symptoms like having difficulty grasping or not able to grasp with front paws. Involuntary head bumping when you stroke over their head or head lifting on their own. Clubbed paws, a weakness or looseness through the body, dull eyes, confusion, falling over and then popping back up, having stiff forelimbs and pushing back on them (I call this PT pushback), excessive bruxxing, not eating very adeptly (soft foods etc). You might even think they are blind. They don't usually circle like inner ear but they can a little with the weakness. Losing "edge behaviour" where a rat stops and looks down off an edge, these guys often tumble or slide off.
Inner ear - head tilt, circling, discharge from ear, these are the most common symptoms. Falling from shelves etc from dizziness. Often times a rat will fall and people consider that the injury when its really the dizziness of inner ear infection that causes the fall.
Stroke - this is the hardest one to determine IMO. Usually one side of the body will be weaker, even the mouth on one side will droop.
Our sweet little rat (2 years) unfortunately had to be put to sleep last week on Tuesday.
I am trying to figure out whether I did something wrong.
I had recently given her Baytril and later Novadox for an inner ear infection and the vet said that it had helped, but that her eardrum was punctured, so she prescribed Novacam for the pain and she began eating more.
Her right ear was still smelling and she was scratching it. But on the 30st of July she suddenly had a head tilt to the right and issues with climbing (might have fallen on her right hand, because it was swollen and a bit red) and walking.
I contacted the nearby vet and got Novadox because it had helped for the smell originating from her ear in the past. On Saturday she had deteriorated and I, with difficulty, managed to get dexamethasone sodium sulphate from the vet.
She further deteriorated and I made an appointment with the best veterinary for rats in my country. It did not take her long to tell us that it was best to let her go.
In the last days she also got very agitated and wanted to be with us.
Ok so your lass was never put on a combo of antibiotics? It was always just one after the other? For me with my most persistent cases of inner ear infection I would give baytril and zithromax together for a minimum of 3-4 weeks. Other good combos are baytril/clavamox or baytril/doxy.
Just things to know for the future...combos of antibiotics are usually a lot more effective. You didn't do anything wrong, it's all just experience. I'm sorry you lost your girl
She has never been given a combination of antibiotics. But the nearby vet said that the Baytril had worked well and the other vet said that she didn't have an ear infection before she left us. (But could an ear infection go unnoticed because her eardrum was punctured?)
Can I send you some photos and videos of how she was in her last days?
Is it also possible that an ear infection progressed into another infection while the ear infection got cleared up by the antibiotics?
She probably had a pituitary tumor and maybe an unresolved ear infection.
Friday I asked the local vet if they could prescribe an antibiotic after they said that they could not do anything (did not ask me go there either) and that a CT-scan was necessary. I picked doxycycline because it had a good effect in the past. Obviously in retrospect I should have asked for Baytril for example.
Saturday I had read more and asked my local vet if they could prescribe cabergoline and/or a steroid (prednisone / dexamethasone). I only got dexamethasone (2 mg/ml) and they advised me to wait one day before giving it because I had given 0.1 ml of 1,5 mg/ml Novacam. And they prescribed one drop per day.
Sunday I gave Snoesje one drop (0.03-0.05 ml) of dexamethasone.
Monday Wanted to make an appointment for the same day with a specialised veterinary. Got appointment for Tuesday.
No obvious effect of dexamethasone observed. Dose increased to 0.1 ml. No effect. Afternoon She was very ill. Could not move anymore, did not really eat and drink anymore. Evening/night Only getting worse. Porphyrin build-up. Another increased dexamethasone dose.
Tuesday Excessive bruxing. A few muscle spasms. Knuckling all four paws.
After surgery to remove a fibroadenoma on the 7th of June her coat did not fully grow back.
It feels like I have failed her to be honest. It did not seem very serious at first and Monday afternoon she suddenly was severely ill.