Author Topic: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions  (Read 23293 times)

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2011, 03:22:12 PM »
Whelp, now my vet can't get me in until Friday (the day I already had an appointment anyway), so it looks like it's time to find an alternate vet for emergencies (I absolutely ADORE my vet, but everyone else here adores him too, so he's a busy, busy man). 

I've been calling around all morning trying to find another vet that knows a bit about rats. The only other vet in town who is specifically listed as an exotics vet is a horrible, horrible woman who inexplicably knows next to nothing about rats but somehow still manages to be perfectly confident in herself to the point of being bulldozer-like (example: at first, she refused to refill my prednisone prescription because "rats don't get pituitary tumors so that's not what it is" and she flat-out WOULD NOT give me doxy and baytril and I don't even know why).  A couple of the other places sound like they'll see rats, but they don't necessarily have much experience with them. 

But Cooper needs to see somebody TODAY, so I'll be taking her in somewhere.  I'll discuss the option of an e-spay with whomever I take her to, but I have to admit that I would have a really hard time trusting a new vet who doesn't have a ton of rat experience to perform surgery on my rats.  I mean, if I go with an e-spay, I have to do it ASAP and I don't feel like I'd have enough time to feel out whether I can trust a new vet to do it. But I realize that it's possible that labor could be even more dangerous, so I won't rule out the idea of an e-spay until I discuss it with a vet. 

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On a side note, her skin/fur looks worrisome to me.  I've had rats come in looking just like that, and they turned out to have a nasty case of ringworm.  You might want to do a fungal culture at the vet especially if you are there already.  It couldn't hurt, and if it were me I'd rather know sooner rather than later if it was ringworm.  I could just be gunshy, though, after my experience.

My vet looked at that when we first brought her in, but he said it was most likely just barbering (it's hard to see in the picture, but the hair on her back has a "chewed-off" look to it and she barbers her arms and legs really bad to the point where they're almost bald).  I'll ask about a fungal culture, though. I'm usually of the mindset  that it's better to be safe than sorry.

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I'd also be watching those other girls like a hawk and considering spays for them...

As soon as I realized Cooper might be pregnant, I immediately became horribly afraid that the others might be too.  They all have sticky-outy nipples (which could just be the way they are, or could be from litters they may have had in the past), but Cooper is the only one whose nipples have hair missing around them. And none of the other girls' bellies look round at all (they all still look kind of skinny and a little "sunken" when they stretch out). But how worried should I be?

About nesting behavior - is it normal for a rat to nest frantically one day and then just nest casually after that?  Cooper went through one night of extreme, crazy nest-building, but for the past few days, she's more just been rearranging things nonchalantly.  We'll see what she does after I clean their cage today, though.   

Oh, and Sailorgrrl, I saw that too! I was also like "wait, that seems really important and like it should be plastered all over any site that gives information on rat pregnancy..."  I've been really gentle with her belly, but I still worry.


« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 03:31:32 PM by Bananana »

Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2011, 03:46:43 PM »
As soon as I realized Cooper might be pregnant, I immediately became horribly afraid that the others might be too.  They all have sticky-outy nipples (which could just be the way they are, or could be from litters they may have had in the past), but Cooper is the only one whose nipples have hair missing around them. And none of the other girls' bellies look round at all (they all still look kind of skinny and a little "sunken" when they stretch out). But how worried should I be?

Don't worry at all, cause it won't help anything anyways.   :P

I damn near had a heart attack shortly after putting my neutered male in with his already neutered brother, my 5 girls, and 2 of my friends girls that I was sitting while she was on vacation.  I went to my parents for the weekend, came home, and all the girls seemed HUGE.  I lost it.  I was sitting on the floor, weighing all my girls in tears, and wondering how on Earth I was going to handle 5 litters at ONCE.

I had had a busy week at school the week before, and it turns out they had just chunked up from the lack of out time and fresh foods.  I let them out to get some exercise, gave them their veggies, and weighed them again the next night, and every single one had shed a couple grams.  ::)

Moral of the story- just take daily weights.  If you see big jumps (20-30 grams in 24 hours), then worry!

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2011, 04:02:51 PM »
I got an appointment at 2:00 with a different vet. She said she'll do x-rays to see if we're dealing with a pyometra.  Is there anything else I should ask her to do (aside from discussing an e-spay)? 

I'll also go buy a digital scale today. We have a kitchen scale for getting general weights, but I think it's time to spring for a digital one since it's way more accurate. 

Okay, I'll update when I get back from the vet! Wish us luck!

Offline Blackthorn

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2011, 05:12:02 PM »
Yep, I'd start weighing all the girls and look for big gains, and also note who goes into heat and who doesn't (start tickling those backs).  If they go into heat you can relax.

I hope everything goes well at the vet!

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #29 on: September 28, 2011, 06:14:38 PM »
Back from the vet, but I don't know how much closer I am to figuring out what's going on  :-\

The vet we were able to get an appointment with was really nice and helpful, but she didn't know very much about rats at all (she didn't know what porphyrin was and she didn't know the general lifespan of a rat). She wasn't able to diagnose anything, but we got an x-ray and an accurate weight, so maybe you guys can help me interpret all the information (the vet just said "well, she looks pregnant...").

Okay, so Cooper has gained 50 grams in the past 6 days (the last time we had her weighed on a vet's scale, she was 340 grams, today she was right around 390).  So there's that. 

The x-ray didn't show any fetuses, though.  Should rat fetuses show up on an x-ray or are their skeletons not yet calcified enough? 

The vet said she didn't see an obviously enlarged uterus or anything, but she sounded kind of unsure.

Anyway, here's the x-ray:



Can any of you tell if there's something going on?  Should you be able to see babies?

« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 06:16:40 PM by Bananana »

Offline Hippidy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2011, 06:27:40 PM »
I think only a trained vet could let you know what they see on that x-ray. Even when my vet points things out to me on an x-ray I think to myself jeeze how do they see that?!

Can you fax this to your normal vet to get an opinion? I hope its good news that there's no baby looking things in there.

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2011, 06:32:57 PM »
I think only a trained vet could let you know what they see on that x-ray. Even when my vet points things out to me on an x-ray I think to myself jeeze how do they see that?!

Can you fax this to your normal vet to get an opinion? I hope its good news that there's no baby looking things in there.

They sent it to our regular vet before we left, so he'll definitely get to look at it, I'm just not sure if it'll be before Friday :(

Offline Hippidy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #32 on: September 28, 2011, 07:05:34 PM »
Aww :( I hope he gets back to you before then, especially if there is something serious there. I'm so sorry you have to wait, I know how hard that can be  :heart:

Offline strangeduck

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #33 on: September 28, 2011, 07:52:59 PM »
Okay....supposedly fetal cat skeletal structure can be seen at 43 days...and since rats never get to be that pregnant, I don't know what that would translate to in rats.  My guess is that you wouldn't see anything.  Rat pinkies are very undeveloped at birth.  Even with my mad Google skillz I couldn't find a single rat x ray showing fetuses.  Jack rabbits, Marmosets and a host of other small animals, but no rats.  And since rats are used so widely in lab studies, I'd think they'd be somewhere on the web.

That being said, it's still not conclusive.  I think at this point, if you don't see babies in a week, you're going to have to assume some kind of pyometra or uterine mass.  :BlueDumboBigEyes:
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Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #34 on: September 28, 2011, 07:59:13 PM »
Okay....supposedly fetal cat skeletal structure can be seen at 43 days...and since rats never get to be that pregnant, I don't know what that would translate to in rats.  My guess is that you wouldn't see anything.  Rat pinkies are very undeveloped at birth.  Even with my mad Google skillz I couldn't find a single rat x ray showing fetuses.  Jack rabbits, Marmosets and a host of other small animals, but no rats.  And since rats are used so widely in lab studies, I'd think they'd be somewhere on the web.

That being said, it's still not conclusive.  I think at this point, if you don't see babies in a week, you're going to have to assume some kind of pyometra or uterine mass.  :BlueDumboBigEyes:

I've been googling like crazy too, but having similar luck.  And I'm really starting to hate rat terriers.  They crowd out all the relevant search results for rat medical stuff because Google is like "LOL, did you say 'rat?' Like a terrier? Okay, here's some information on rat terrier pregnancies!" 

It seems like there should be TONS of information about rat fetal development since they are used so often as laboratory animals, but there inexplicably isn't. 

Perhaps we can approach this from a different angle, though:

Does anyone know how clearly a pyometra would show up on an x-ray? Is it like "Whoa, okay, that's a huge, obviously pus-filled uterus" or more subtle and sneaky? 

Offline Critter Crazy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #35 on: September 28, 2011, 09:04:28 PM »
When I had a girl x-rayed for a pregnancy, she was x-rayed the day before she gave birth to 13 pinkies. Not a single thing showed up on the x-ray, other that a huge white mass inside her abdomen with a darker spot here or there. My vet is pretty savvy with rats, but she's never x-rayed a pregnant one so late & was quite surprised nothing showed up. I would think a pyometra would be similar, but possibly a different shape to the huge white out that was my girls tummy.
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Offline Stacy M

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #36 on: September 28, 2011, 09:08:03 PM »
When searching and not wanting a term, type a - before it, for example: rat -terrier  It makes googling rat stuff much easier!

The only x-ray I've seen of closed pyo, the uterus was pretty white from the pus I guess.

Offline Sailorgrrl

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #37 on: September 28, 2011, 09:09:45 PM »
Oh, I am so disappointed that the x-ray wasn't more conclusive. I wish I had some info re: pyo in rats... my only experience is in dogs, where I do believe the swollen uterus is easily identified on an x-ray (in a recent x-ray of one of my dogs, you could easily tell that he needed to poop before getting the x-ray - LOL!). I haven't seen too many x-rays of rats, but this one doesn't have very good resolution (you can see enlarged hearts from rats suffering from CHF, for instance), because I would have expected to see an enlarged (or normal) uterus. I can't see anything in the pic, and I would have also expected to be able to pick out ritten-like blobs even if you couldn't see clear skeletons. There is some haziness there, as if it's a dense mass obscuring other rattie parts, which makes me wonder if it's not a mass of rittens. But perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part... can you feel lumps in her abdomen (pressing very gently, of course! LOL)?

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #38 on: September 28, 2011, 09:17:50 PM »
When I had a girl x-rayed for a pregnancy, she was x-rayed the day before she gave birth to 13 pinkies. Not a single thing showed up on the x-ray, other that a huge white mass inside her abdomen with a darker spot here or there. My vet is pretty savvy with rats, but she's never x-rayed a pregnant one so late & was quite surprised nothing showed up. I would think a pyometra would be similar, but possibly a different shape to the huge white out that was my girls tummy.

Thank you!! That's extremely helpful.  I can't make out much of any sort of white mass in Cooper's x-ray, but it's comforting to know that it could still be babies instead of a pyometra or other scary, bloat-y-making thing (or maybe it's nothing! That would be the best!)

 
When searching and not wanting a term, type a - before it, for example: rat -terrier  It makes googling rat stuff much easier!

Haha, I already tried the whole advanced search thing without "terrier" and without "dog." It helped a little, but people with rat terriers often just call them "rats."  (related side note: today at the vet, someone in the waiting room asked me what I had with me in the carrier, and I was like "a rat." And they were like "Awwww, is it a puppy?")

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #39 on: September 28, 2011, 09:24:17 PM »
Oh, I am so disappointed that the x-ray wasn't more conclusive. I wish I had some info re: pyo in rats... my only experience is in dogs, where I do believe the swollen uterus is easily identified on an x-ray (in a recent x-ray of one of my dogs, you could easily tell that he needed to poop before getting the x-ray - LOL!). I haven't seen too many x-rays of rats, but this one doesn't have very good resolution (you can see enlarged hearts from rats suffering from CHF, for instance), because I would have expected to see an enlarged (or normal) uterus. I can't see anything in the pic, and I would have also expected to be able to pick out ritten-like blobs even if you couldn't see clear skeletons. There is some haziness there, as if it's a dense mass obscuring other rattie parts, which makes me wonder if it's not a mass of rittens. But perhaps that's just wishful thinking on my part... can you feel lumps in her abdomen (pressing very gently, of course! LOL)?

I can't really feel distinct lumps, but I've been very, very gentle with the palpation, so I might not have been pressing hard enough to feel any even if they were there.

And yeah, the x-ray does seem a little hazy to me. I wish her leg wasn't in the way, too.

Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #40 on: September 28, 2011, 10:54:18 PM »
The way she's positioned makes it difficult to tell, but I think I'm seeing something right beneath that big blob of leg and hip bones.  Does anyone else see the slightly lighter, ovalish thing there?  Since Critter's almost full-term rittens didn't show up on an x-ray, I'm still leaning toward her being preggers.

ETA:  I tried to circle it so you could see what I'm talking about.  The outline of it is just within the circle I drew, and it's more visible on the bottom and right sides.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 10:58:21 PM by eyohkay »

Offline Stacy M

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #41 on: September 28, 2011, 11:05:35 PM »
When I had a girl x-rayed for a pregnancy, she was x-rayed the day before she gave birth to 13 pinkies. Not a single thing showed up on the x-ray, other that a huge white mass inside her abdomen with a darker spot here or there. My vet is pretty savvy with rats, but she's never x-rayed a pregnant one so late & was quite surprised nothing showed up. I would think a pyometra would be similar, but possibly a different shape to the huge white out that was my girls tummy.

Thank you!! That's extremely helpful.  I can't make out much of any sort of white mass in Cooper's x-ray, but it's comforting to know that it could still be babies instead of a pyometra or other scary, bloat-y-making thing (or maybe it's nothing! That would be the best!)

 
When searching and not wanting a term, type a - before it, for example: rat -terrier  It makes googling rat stuff much easier!

Haha, I already tried the whole advanced search thing without "terrier" and without "dog." It helped a little, but people with rat terriers often just call them "rats."  (related side note: today at the vet, someone in the waiting room asked me what I had with me in the carrier, and I was like "a rat." And they were like "Awwww, is it a puppy?")
Hm, well doing that I found some pictures of pregnant rats xrays on a snake forum, I just could only get the thumbnail not being a registered user, I registered though and once I'm approved I'll link back the pictures to here for you.

Eyohkay, to me, that looks like movement, which can mess up x-rays like that (and is probably also why this one isn't very clear, since she wasn't sedated).
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 11:07:09 PM by Stacy M »

Offline Sailorgrrl

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #42 on: September 28, 2011, 11:07:37 PM »
Yes! I see what you mean! And there's actually two more oval-ish shapes above and slightly to the left, where you might not expect football shaped organs to be. I don't know how to do the circles on the pic and then upload it again.... Do you see them, eyohkay?

Offline MaatAset

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #43 on: September 28, 2011, 11:18:16 PM »
I see a bunny and something shaped a bit like Florida... oh that probably doesn't help..  :D

Seriously though, good luck and I hope it's not anything serious!  I only ever dealt with one pregnant rat, and I never once suspected she was pregnant until the day I came home and found 15 rat pups in the cage with her.  :yelcutelaugh:

Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #44 on: September 28, 2011, 11:26:56 PM »
I saw those, but assumed they were just other organs cause I'm pretty sure she would only have one uterus.  :yelcutelaugh:

I'm not really sure what movement would look like on an x-ray, Stacy, but I'm seeing a distinct oval.  The bottom part of what I'm seeing could possibly be from movement of her leg bone, but I'm not sure how her moving what explain the right edge of the oval.

Offline Siana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #45 on: September 28, 2011, 11:56:25 PM »
Hm.  Was the vet at least able to discount the possibility of a pyo by looking at the x-rays?  On Ratguide there's an x-ray with a rat with a pyo which apparently shows a uterus full of fluid.  I've always been told you can see late term babies on x-rays, but now I'm wondering how accurate it is.


Regarding weight gain, it can be so hard to tell when you get in rats that were previously underweight in their previous home.  One  boy that recently came to me gained around 10g a day for over 10 days before finally slowing down on the weight gain. 





« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 11:59:22 PM by Siana »

Offline cerulean.blue

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #46 on: September 29, 2011, 12:06:30 AM »
I saw those, but assumed they were just other organs cause I'm pretty sure she would only have one uterus.  :yelcutelaugh:


Actually rats have a Y-shaped uterus like a cat or dog, so the horns would extend to the sides.

I think what Sailorgrrl meant by the other two oval shapes were these, which I saw as well:



I'm don't know much about interpreting x-rays, but I can pick out some organs, and I'm not sure what those ovals would be. My dad said muscle, but that doesn't look right to me. :dontknow: I tried to look up x-rays of pregnant rats on Google to compare, but didn't get any that were big enough to be  useful.  :-\

ETA: I'm not sure how accurate this is... I was trying to find out on Google when a rat fetus's skeleton calcifies during gestation. I got mostly snippets of scientific journal papers, and from those, it seems the majority of calcification occurs in the last week... at least that's what I got from it. Like I said, I'm not sure it's accurate since I couldn't find a source that said definitively that calcification occurs at this time frame, but it may be why it's hard to see babies on x-ray.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 12:14:35 AM by cerulean.blue »

Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2011, 12:18:01 AM »
I saw those, but assumed they were just other organs cause I'm pretty sure she would only have one uterus.  :yelcutelaugh:


Actually rats have a Y-shaped uterus like a cat or dog, so the horns would extend to the sides.

I think what Sailorgrrl meant by the other two oval shapes were these, which I saw as well: *snip*

That's just... weird.  But yeah, I did see those, but was mainly just looking for obvious signs of babies/pyometra... which I assume wouldn't be up near her ribs?

The one on the right looks like an aliens face.  Just sayin'.

Offline Critter Crazy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #48 on: September 29, 2011, 12:24:34 AM »
They look like storage deposits to me. I had a girl given to me (rescue) who was towards 3 year mark, but she'd been very well cared for by her old owner & she had some soft mounds on her rump & back. They turned out to be fattie tissue, storage for when times are tough ;)

However, for Cooper, could be fluid swelling or a bunching on the muscles as she's twisted. In saying that though, I swear I can see a creepy looking skull. It's upside down, but it's stright up from the top left of the 'R', under a vertebrae in front of the pelvis. I could be imagining it, I've been staring at it for like an hour lol
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Offline Siana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #49 on: September 29, 2011, 12:35:48 AM »

However, for Cooper, could be fluid swelling or a bunching on the muscles as she's twisted. In saying that though, I swear I can see a creepy looking skull. It's upside down, but it's stright up from the top left of the 'R', under a vertebrae in front of the pelvis. I could be imagining it, I've been staring at it for like an hour lol

I was thinking the same thing about the skull, but like you said - stare at it enough, and you start to see things that may not actually be there.