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Sick rattie fighting syringe feeding

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Anne Cedar

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Feb 21, 2020
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Our sweet little gray-and-white rat Meep is quite ill. We took him to the vet and she suspects a tumor is taking up space inside his body, making it harder for him to breathe and killing his appetite. We have an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory to try and make him as comfortable as possible. But since he's already 2, we don't feel that he would do well with surgery.

He is not eating or drinking on his own so I am attempting to syringe feed him every couple of hours. On the vet's advice, I've been thinning baby food (carrot or banana, because those have always been his favorite treats) with some Pedialyte. But the poor guy is using every ounce of his limited energy to fight me!

I feel so guilty every time I try to force food, water, or medicine down his throat. Is he telling me in his ultimate wisdom that it is time to stop trying, or is it more like he doesn't know what's best for him, and my efforts will help him stay more comfortable in his final days?

Does anyone have any tips or tricks for making syringe feeding less stressful for sick rats? Thank you!
 

Anne Cedar

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Feb 21, 2020
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Thanks, great tip! I am feeling so relieved today as Meep finally started eating baby food on his own last night. So hopefully he will enjoy his yogurt without me making him. :) He seems in less distress today, too, though his breathing is still labored. I'm beginning to hope that maybe he's just dealing with a respiratory infection, but still managing my expectations. Would sure love to have this special guy around for another year.
 

Dena

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Nov 13, 2018
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Texas
Could he have a pulmonary abscess instead? If so, steroids would probably do him good. Just not with metacam.
 
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Anne Cedar

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Feb 21, 2020
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Could he have a pulmonary abscess instead? If so, steroids would probably do him good. Just not with metacam.
We went to the emergency vet when I realized how sick he was, but will follow up with his regular vet to see if this is the case. Thanks; it's helpful to know what to even ask the doc!
 

Anne Cedar

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Feb 21, 2020
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Can you post a video of your boy? Let's hope it's a respiratory infection and the antibiotics are curing him.
Good idea; I will do that a bit later today. Yes - my fingers are crossed for respiratory infection being the sole culprit! He is happily eating baby food and cereal mush but hasn't moved back to his rat pellets or started using the water bottle again.
 

Anne Cedar

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Feb 21, 2020
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I'm sorry I didn't get around to taking a video of Meep, but we have followed up with his regular vet. His left rear leg has ballooned to a shocking level - we thought initially it was a case of bumblefoot, but an X-ray shows that he has a tumor in that leg. However, his lungs are clear.

Since he has started eating and drinking on his own again, I decided to go for one more week with pain meds and antibiotics and then we'll take him in to be put to sleep.

The vet said that even though it's a nice idea to try and keep him comfortable and let him pass away on his own, it would involve a lot of suffering on his part. That's the last thing we want for sweet Meep.

Thanks to everyone who engaged with my post. I really appreciate the support!
 

mwp051699

Active Member
Joined
Feb 15, 2020
Messages
32
Definitely add Ensure to his diet. Mine all go crazy for it! But if he doesn't drink it then it may be time to consider the alternative you don't want to consider. If he is open mouth breathing then definitely get to a vet asap to relieve his suffering.
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
17,170
Location
central New Brunswick Canada
I am so very sorry that you and Meep are going through this.
If he needs suplimenting organic soy infant formula thickened with baby cereal is good for providing needed nutrition
I hope that Meep has a wonderful week with you.

Do you know how to have him humanely put to sleep? Most vets do not know how to do this humanely for a rattie.
 

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