Please advise - my little Squeak isn’t right

MichelleB

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Hi everyone. Would be grateful for some advice please - I have two girls (sisters), Bubble and Squeak. They’re just over 1 year old. Squeak has ants in her pants and never normally sits still but for the last few days I’ve noticed she’s become quite clumsy and will fall down the last bit of the ladder. She’s never been a big eater like Bubble but always snatches food from me and holds it. Today she’s been very quiet and when I gave them fresh veg and a little fruit, she didn’t grab it with her hands she sort of stuck her nose to the ground and ate it like that or off my fingers? I cooked a little sweetcorn and peas and gave her that and it’s like she hadn’t eaten for a week! She seemed ravenous but couldn’t hold the food and was moving her head around and pushing the food against me to chew it. I don’t know how to upload a video but hope the photos help. She has been grooming herself a bit which I think is a good sign but not sure if she’s hurt her back falling... she’s always been quite fearless and just GOES whether she can reach or not so has fallen to the floor a few times (only about a foot or two onto carpet).
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Kye

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To post a video put it on YouTube then link it here... Does she have a head tilt.? Does she walk in circles.? She could have an inner ear infection among other things. The video would help a ton though
 

MichelleB

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Thanks Kye - no, no head tilt and she’s pacing back and forth but not in circles... hopefully you can see these ...

 

Kye

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I don't want to alarm you more but- That is quite concerning to watch... It could be something neurological. I'll message lilspaz to see this seeing as they've had experience with a lot of different problems when it comes to rats.
 

MichelleB

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Thank you so much. I’m absolutely devastated and been in tears all morning... poor little thing. I’m so grateful for your help even if it’s bad news. Best to know. I’m trying to get an appointment with an exotic vet today too
 

LJC

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Might be worth calling Anton Vets to discuss, they would maybe suggest sending through the video rather than travelling with Squeak which may add to her stress. They viewed images of my goldfish to work out what was wrong with it (21 years old) and if it could be saved.
Good luck Michelle and Squeak x
 

Kye

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Thank you so much. I’m absolutely devastated and been in tears all morning... poor little thing. I’m so grateful for your help even if it’s bad news. Best to know. I’m trying to get an appointment with an exotic vet today too
I'm just upset I can't help more... I'm really hoping lilspaz can get in here and help out, I know how hard it is to have ratties who are sick. I'm glad you're trying to get a vet appointment. While the person has some points if you travel her with her sister it can reduce stress, also having something like a towel they can hide under if they want can help but ultimately you may not find out what's wrong without bringing her in. I'm so glad they found someone like you though, I can tell you care considering you are even trying to help and reaching out to people who could know more.
 

MichelleB

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Aw thanks so much Kye. They are spoilt little babies for sure but I adore them 🐁 managed to get a vet appt today - thank you LJC xx
 

MichelleB

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Might be worth calling Anton Vets to discuss, they would maybe suggest sending through the video rather than travelling with Squeak which may add to her stress. They viewed images of my goldfish to work out what was wrong with it (21 years old) and if it could be saved.
Good luck Michelle and Squeak x
😘👍
 

lilspaz68

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I'm so.sorry but I'll assume your beautiful girl is like 15 months old or more? She is showing classic signs of PT or pituitary tumor. :/. It's a tumor that grows on the pituitary gland and once it grows big enough it presses on the brain and causes many crazy symptoms of which you are seeing. Inability to grasp with front paws, etc.
I'll link my article below of a simple home test you can try but I'm pretty sure from the videos she will fail it. It's scary looking but not necessarily painful, just very confused and out of it.

You will have to tell the vet you suspect pituitary tumor as a lot of vets aren't experienced with it. PT is ultimately fatal but sometimes you can manage it with medications. First and foremost you need a steroid (don't let them give you Metacam as it doesn't work on PT) and if you see an improvement on the steroids you can ask for a prescription of bromocriptine. You can fill this at most bigger drugstores and it's an actual treatment for human PT. It only works on prolactinomas but those are the most common type rats get so it's worth trying. The basic treatment is 1/2 of a 2.5 mg tablet once a day. I've had varied responses to bromo but my best was a completely immobile 26 no old boy who lived almost symptom free for another 6 months.

 

MichelleB

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I'm so.sorry but I'll assume your beautiful girl is like 15 months old or more? She is showing classic signs of PT or pituitary tumor. :/. It's a tumor that grows on the pituitary gland and once it grows big enough it presses on the brain and causes many crazy symptoms of which you are seeing. Inability to grasp with front paws, etc.
I'll link my article below of a simple home test you can try but I'm pretty sure from the videos she will fail it. It's scary looking but not necessarily painful, just very confused and out of it.

You will have to tell the vet you suspect pituitary tumor as a lot of vets aren't experienced with it. PT is ultimately fatal but sometimes you can manage it with medications. First and foremost you need a steroid (don't let them give you Metacam as it doesn't work on PT) and if you see an improvement on the steroids you can ask for a prescription of bromocriptine. You can fill this at most bigger drugstores and it's an actual treatment for human PT. It only works on prolactinomas but those are the most common type rats get so it's worth trying. The basic treatment is 1/2 of a 2.5 mg tablet once a day. I've had varied responses to bromo but my best was a completely immobile 26 no old boy who lived almost symptom free for another 6 months.

Hi! Yeah almost they’re both 14 months now. I just don’t want to be selfish and prolong the inevitable... she’s been clumsy for a few months but I didn’t think anything of it because she’s so active but she’s been this way for the last couple of days and it’s heartbreaking to watch. I’ve had to break the peas out of their shell for her today cos she can’t even do that anymore. She seems confused and just walks back and forth at the bottom of the cage it’s awful to watch. Bubble has always been the one with health issues and Squeak has never had issues so I’m devastated. Thank you for your advice
 

MichelleB

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To post a video put it on YouTube then link it here... Does she have a head tilt.? Does she walk in circles.? She could have an inner ear infection among other things. The video would help a ton though
She is going in circles actually - I thought you meant like a tight circle, but watching her she’s definately doing that ☹️
 

MichelleB

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Hi guys. Just back from the vet. Sadly she’s confirmed it’s definately a PT but can’t say how bad it is without sedating and scanning Squeak and I don’t want to put her through that if euthanasia is inevitable.
For now, the vet gave her a steroid injection to try and buy some time. For now will just spoil her rotten and work out what’s best for her sister Bubble when Squeak goes.
Thanks a million for all the advice and love - this is cheeky Squeaky in better times 🐁❤️xx
 

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lilspaz68

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the steroid injection is dexamethasone, but vets are usually very conservative with it so it may only show some improvements. It only lasts 2-3 days then she will regress unless they sent you home with oral prednisone to give to her?

Offer her soft liquidy food she can lick up and she will stay more hydrated and belly full.
 

MichelleB

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Thanks so much. The vet did say she was going to give her a ‘big dose’ but of course I’m not sure how much that would be...
No, not sent home with anything. I asked her for a sedative for when the time comes to calm her a bit (cos they both hate the carrier) - we used to use ACP on the dogs at the vets where I worked but she suggested diazepam so just sorting that out and trying to work out if I get 2 more adults for Bubble (sisters - 2 years old who need rehoming), 2 babies (last time it was Squeak who hated them) or euthanise her with Squeak .... seems unfair I know, but what if the new rats don’t work out and she ends up alone anyway 😟 any advice?
 

lilspaz68

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if you get a good response to the dex injection then call them and ask for prednisone solution to give her orally. She may not need to be put to sleep right away. Sometimes PT symptoms will plateau for months with a bit of extra care (soft foods) etc daily. Each case is different.
 

MichelleB

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if you get a good response to the dex injection then call them and ask for prednisone solution to give her orally. She may not need to be put to sleep right away. Sometimes PT symptoms will plateau for months with a bit of extra care (soft foods) etc daily. Each case is different.
Ok thank you 🙏
 

lilspaz68

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You can msg me if you are concerned or not sure about any improvements, the first thing that happens is their eyes brighten up and they seem less confused and dozy.
 

MichelleB

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You can msg me if you are concerned or not sure about any improvements, the first thing that happens is their eyes brighten up and they seem less confused and dozy.
Amazing thank you. I did notice her bulging bright black eyes were quite grey this morning. Poor little thing went downhill so quickly 😟
Thanks again x
 

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