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Rat is falling over, losing balance and lethargic...

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Sabelline

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Sep 2, 2013
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Michigan, USA
Tonight I came home to find my rat Bentley in a poor state. He is wobbling a lot when he walks, and sometimes just completely falling over on his side. He's not making much attempt to move about his cage like usual, mostly staying in one spot. He's not eating very much either, nibbled on a treat but gave up on it shortly after. He is normally a very curious and outgoing rat, this is not his usual self at all. I also noticed his nose had a bit of dried blood on it.

He is around a year and 9 months old. He used to sometimes walk in circles for a while, perhaps this is a related symptom. I'm very alarmed by his behavior and worried. Has anyone experienced this before, or have an idea of what it may be? Any ideas as to what I should do?

I plan on taking him to the vet, and will call them in the morning.
 

Silvermoon20

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Can you post a video of him? It really helps the people here to figure out whats going on with a rat if they can see their behaviour. It could have been a stroke, could be a PT, an inner ear infection or a few other things so a video will help.
 

Sabelline

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Right now he is just laying down, not moving much at all. I'll try to get a video of his balance issues once he is up and moving again and post it. What is a PT?
 

hopefloats

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How is his breathing? Ear infections can cause that also so can strokes. Do his legs and tail feel warm or cold.
 

Sabelline

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Here is video I just took of him, if it helps any. He is still very unsteady, walking in circles and falling over.

[BBvideo 450,375:2anvbe4q]http://s601.photobucket.com/user/skittell08/media/Bentley-sick_zps63d0383a.mp4.html[/BBvideo:2anvbe4q]
 

Sabelline

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His breathing seems normal, I don't hear any wheezing or loud breaths. His tail and feet are a little chilly. If it is something serious, what should I do for tonight, seeing as the vet is closed by now? I plan on keeping him on one level of his cage so he can't hurt himself by climbing and falling.

Thank you all for your responses-
 

hopefloats

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Does his ears smell funny? Rub his ears and see if you hear liquid in there. Ear infections can do that to him. You can also try to hand him a cheerio to see if he can grasp with both hands or not. he is a bit young for PT but it doesnt say it cannot happen. I would probably lean towards an ear infection.
 

hopefloats

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Sabelline said:
His breathing seems normal, I don't hear any wheezing or loud breaths. His tail and feet are a little chilly. If it is something serious, what should I do for tonight, seeing as the vet is closed by now? I plan on keeping him on one level of his cage so he can't hurt himself by climbing and falling.

Thank you all for your responses-
give him some scrambled eggs to eat and some ensure if you have it. He needs to keep his strength up.
 

Carol Weekes

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His eyes still look quite bright. Can he use his front paws to hold food? It may very well be inner ear infection which will require a good antibiotic like baytril or amoxicillin and a steroid like prednisone to overcome. With pituitary tumor, they will usually lose strength in the front paws to hold food, among other things. But if he's just circling, this could be an infection. Do you have any antibiotic on hand to give him? He needs to see a vet, for sure; even if it's PT, a steroid can slow the progress. How is he eating?
 

Sabelline

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Michigan, USA
Well I just gave him a treat and it seems he was able to hold it in his paws but fell over after trying to nibble a bit. But yes he is using his front paws pretty well still. He is not eating as much as he usually does, just nibbling a bit at treats. But it seems a great effort for him to be stable enough to eat, so that may be the reason? I'm trying to help him out with eating, helping him lean on something.

I don't have any antibiotics on hand, unfortunately. But I plan to call the vet first thing in the morning. I do have some ensure I can give him though.

Should I separate him from his cagemate for the night? My other rat is acting perfectly normal, so far.
 

Silvermoon20

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It's usually better not to separate them as that is actually very hard on most rats. I agree that its most likely an inner ear infection. I'm sorry I didn't explain what PT was, I should have...I just lost a rat to a PT so I just don't like talking about them much right now. If its an inner ear infection he will need antibiotics, probably a combination of baytril and doxy or baytril and zithro and he will also need steroids to bring down the inflammation and swelling. Im really hoping you can get into see the vet tomorrow or if not that you know someone who has meds who can use temporarily. He will need the steroids as soon as you can get them into him.

Im hoping lilspaz, victoria, sq or Jorats will weigh in soon as well.
 

Sabelline

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I have blocked off the upper level of their cage, kept them together, and removed any items that may cause him to fall if he climbs on them. Gave him some ensure too since he's some having trouble eating without falling over. Will do my best to get him into the vet's tomorrow morning, and if not, I think I know a friend who may have some extra antibiotics.

Thank you all so much for your help, support, and knowledgeable input! I am hoping and praying he will be on his way to recovery soon :)
 

victoria

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I agree that's most like an ear infection, especially if he has no issue holding food. Not all rats with ear infections will have pus in their ears so if you can't see/smell anything, don't think that it's less likely.

If you can get to the vet tomorrow, a steroid may help with the head tilt. If not, or if your vet won't give you a steroid, you should get a high dose of Metacam for the first few weeks. If you give a steroid, you only need it for a few days and then switch to Metacam so you don't have the immune system suppressed for too long.

As with respiratory infections, a combination of to antibiotics seem to work better than one antibiotic alone. Antibiotics that tend to work best for ear infections are Baytril with Chlorpalm, Clavamox or Azithromycin. Chlorpalm and Clavamox tend to cause GI issues so it's best to start giving probiotics right away if you go with those. Ear infections are stubborn, so you should treat for at least 4-6 weeks.

If your vet isn't very experienced with rats, you should print out the pages for each of the drugs on Rat Guide to take as a reference, as well as this page, outlining the citations: http://ratguide.com/meds/reference/refe ... ources.php . (Prednisone, Dexamethasone, Meloxicam, Baytril, Azithromycin, Clavamox and Chlorpalm.)

Good luck! Is it a holiday in the US on Monday as well?
 

Tinypaws3

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Jun 2, 2013
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Sounds like my sweet boy, Haze, that I had to have put to sleep. :( He had a pituitary tumor. He was an older ratty though. I'm not sure how common PTs are in younger rats, I'm sure others will know. I have a feeling it's more likely to be some kind of inner ear infection.

Let us know how it goes at the vet <3 I'll be sending your little guy lots of good vibes. I know how horrible it is to see them like that. :(

When Haze was unable to eat, I fed him baby food and pediasure every few hours, it helped keep him hydrated and he loved it.

It might be best to see a vet for antibiotics, as a vet an measure out the right dose for your ratty's weight. Though, I'm sure if you were able to weigh him, someone here would be able to figure out the dosage. (Make sure it isn't expired as well, I know Baytril in clear liquid form lasts forever, but meds that have been mixed/compounded don't last as long).
 

victoria

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PTs in rats younger than 18 months are very rare, younger than a year practically unheard of. It's possible but really not probable.
 

Sabelline

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Sep 2, 2013
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Location
Michigan, USA
Update~
So this morning, I checked on him right away and he's not as mobile as last night. Laying on his side and wiggling a bit, but he can't really even stand on his own. Yes, it is a holiday today here, Labor Day, so I had quite a bit of trouble finding a vet that was open today. I called six different places, and the last one (which sadly we have had bad experiences there with our dogs) was the only one open.

They were not very thorough, and honestly asked me less questions than you guys here did. I still did my best to describe all symptoms and suggest what you guys said as a possible cause for his symptoms. The vet didn't give a very conclusive answer, but leaned more towards ear infection. Essentially she said if he wasn't significantly better within 48 hours, to give up on him and assume its a tumor. They did however give him a fluid injection, that is supposed to slowly disperse over the rest of the day. They also sent me home with a few days supply of Baytril. I have given the first dose. I have also fed him a bit of baby food through a syringe, which he was reluctant to lap up.

He is now back in his cage, laying down on a fleece blanket. He's had a tiring morning, his cagemate is doing a good job of letting him rest. Not terribly pleased with this vet visit, so I'm considering taking him to a different one tomorrow, but I am also worried about putting him through the stress of going again. Any suggestions?

Again, thank you all for your advice and support!

Here he was on the ride home, very lethargic still.
 

victoria

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You need to take him to another vet, he won't get better with only Baytril. He needs an anti-inflammatory, can you pick up some infant Advil/Motrin at a drug store? If you give us his weight, we can help you with a dose. It's a good idea to check his Baytril dose, vets sometimes pull dosages out of thin air or make errors. Do you know the concentration of the Baytril and his weight?
 

dspch911

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Dec 31, 2012
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Location
Chicago, IL
Sorry your rattie is sick and I hope he's feeling better soon :heart: :cuddle:

Don't give up your rat he looks a lot like my Finn! Opinions I got from here were ear infection and UTI from my video, but unfortunately he has kidney disease/failure. The first day or two I didn't think he was going to make it - he looked exactly like your describing now - just laying there and shaking. He is showing some progress on Prednisolone, but when we take him off of it he declines again. You need to get to your regular vet or one that specialized in exotics to have his ears looked at and a urine test done.
http://youtu.be/NxKRuNRwyvw
http://youtu.be/qCzLeZO2nWU
 

Sabelline

Active Member
Joined
Sep 2, 2013
Messages
32
Location
Michigan, USA
Okay, my normal vet should be open tomorrow so I will try my best to get him in. Really wish this wouldn't have happened on a day when so many places are closed, I feel bad just not being able to do anything to help :/

I'm not sure of his exact weight, I'll check if the vet wrote it down. He's not a huge rat, medium sized I would say. Let me check the Baytril for the concentration. We may have some motrin or advil on hand, what will it do to help?

Also, his eyes are twitching a lot, going back and forth. He has also been making a chutting noise with his teeth while he's laying there, he used to do that when he was running around exploring. Is this a good sign?
 
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