Author Topic: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions  (Read 24248 times)

Offline Bananana

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Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« on: September 27, 2011, 05:17:55 PM »
Okay, I apologize in advance for the length of this.  I wanted to be thorough and give you guys as much information as possible to work with. I tried to format it so it wasn't so intimidating to tackle, though.

Background (for those who haven't seen my thread about them):  A little less than two weeks ago, I adopted four female rats from a long-time GM member who made it sound like she had been running (or working with) a small rescue, and then her life got out of control and she was in urgent need of homes for her remaining fosters.  But when I went to meet her to pick up my girls, I was horrified by the condition they were in.  She had repeatedly told me they were perfectly healthy but they had obviously been horribly neglected in the three months she had them (they were all too thin, all had URIs and mites, one had untreated pneumonia, one had an untreated bladder infection, all were horribly impacted with feces).  Full story starts near the middle of the page here: http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4090578.0

Anyway, given the condition these rats were in versus how the woman I adopted them from had described them, it seems reasonable that she may have been slightly dishonest about some other things too. 

That brings us to the problem at hand: 

The other day, one of the girls (Cooper) started showing frantic nesting behavior (like ripping apart everything in the cage and balling it up in a huge pile in the corner).  I looked her over and noticed that her belly was protruding a bit and she had some hair loss around her nipples.

Pictures:

(if you tilt your screen back, you can see the nipples in the third picture a little clearer)






I've been through a lot of different things with my rats, but this is a new one for me and I need help. This is especially complicated because a) Cooper was too thin when I adopted her and has been gaining weight anyway, so it's impossible to tell whether the weight gain is normal or possibly pregnancy-related, and b) it is possible that she has had a past litter (or litters), which might make her nipples look deceptively pregnantish. 

I can't get in to see my vet today, but he's supposed to call me soon to discuss our options for later in the week. In the meantime, I have some questions:

1. Does she look pregnant to you?

2. Given that Cooper is about 18 months old (possibly younger, though), currently in stable health but recently in very poor health, in your opinion, would an e-spay or labor be more dangerous for her?  I've really fallen hard for this scraggly little thing and I want to do what is best for her (I'll also ask my vet about it, but it's a tough decision, so the more opinions/considerations the better). 

3. What does a pregnant rat's belly feel like? Should I feel lumps? What if I don't feel lumps?

4. If she's pregnant, about how far along does she look in the pictures?

5. If this isn't a pregnancy, what else could it be?

Okay, thanks for any help you can provide. I know this is long, so don't feel like you have to address everything in your answer. Any information at all is appreciated. 


« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 05:22:56 PM by Bananana »

Offline smilez_n_hugs

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2011, 06:00:27 PM »
She looks preggo to me and in the little experience I have when they look preggo espaying isn't an option. In my opinion espay would be better for her but I think she's too far along (hopefully your vet will have a different opinion). As for the feel, just because there aren't any lumps doesn't mean anything either way. A preggo belly can feel just like a fat belly and I would guess she is in her last week.

Offline applecavy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2011, 06:19:28 PM »
She definitely looks pregnant...but I didn't think there were any males at that girls house?
It's possible that this is just from having access to a great diet.

Honestly I would go for the espay (for a lot of reasons) primarily because of her age. 18 months is old for a litter...like...
really old.

I wouldn't want to put her through that. You should see what your vet says, because while spays are obvious risky, this
litter could be much more so. Poor Cooper. Poor YOU.

/hugs.

Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2011, 06:47:10 PM »
1. Does she look pregnant to you?
Going by that first picture and coupled with the fact that she is frantically nesting, I have to agree that yes, she does look pregnant.

2. Given that Cooper is about 18 months old (possibly younger, though), currently in stable health but recently in very poor health, in your opinion, would an e-spay or labor be more dangerous for her?  I've really fallen hard for this scraggly little thing and I want to do what is best for her (I'll also ask my vet about it, but it's a tough decision, so the more opinions/considerations the better).
If what you're seeing actually is a baby bump, she is far enough along that an e-spay is probably going to be a rather risky procedure.  While 18 months is rather old to be having a litter, Rubie is about the same age, and did fine with her litter of 13.  Rubie was rescued just a week before having the Gemstones, also scrawny and rather neglected.  You may have to help her out a bit more than if she was younger, but I think your best bet would be to let her have them (if there is a them).

3. What does a pregnant rat's belly feel like? Should I feel lumps? What if I don't feel lumps?
If you poke around, you may be able to feel lumps, but not always.  It should feel pretty firm.

4. If she's pregnant, about how far along does she look in the pictures?
Rats generally don't show until their last week of pregnancy.  The rescue didn't notice Rubie's pudge until 2 days before she gave birth.

5. If this isn't a pregnancy, what else could it be?
If she isn't pregnant, like apple said, it could just be the change to a healthy diet.  She also could have something wrong internally, like an abdominal tumor, etc.

Here are some pictures of Rubie right after I got home with her, only about 12 hours before she gave birth.



Offline strangeduck

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2011, 07:05:45 PM »
In my opinion (limited as it is, since I've only ever dealt with a handful of pregnant rats in my long love affair with rats) she definitely looks pregnant, and likely much too far along for an e-spay, though that would likely be the safest option for her...if she is pregnant, and is as far along as she looks to me, you'll have babies in the next few days.  I would definitely get the vet's opinion, though, because if you can get her an e-spay, that would be so much better for her.  After all she's been through, having to raise a litter would be rough on her....poor girl...
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Offline Stacy M

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2011, 07:14:10 PM »
I think she is pregnant.  I would concede to your vet's comfort level with the emergency spay.  I know Lilspaz has had e-spays on very obviously pregnant rats, as she has a very experienced vet.

Offline GhostMouse

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2011, 08:48:31 PM »
I've never dealt with pregnant rats, but I did take in a pregnant cat once. I found her exactly one week before she gave birth, and she was frighteningly thin. She looked like a football on twigs, I can't emphasize enough how scrawny she was. The only weight to her body was the five kittens inside. Still, somehow, after only a week of feeding her, she delivered five perfectly healthy kittens with no complications. She's been totally fine since then, and that was over two years ago now.

I know this doesn't directly relate to your situation, but I wanted to reassure you that poor health doesn't always mean that a mother and her litter will be unhealthy. Good luck, I can't believe you're having to deal with this on top of everything else you just went through with these poor girls.

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2011, 09:23:43 PM »
My vet never called me back.  I'm hoping he'll at least call early tomorrow. But if Cooper is as far along as you guys are saying, she's going to pop before I even have a chance to discuss an e-spay :(  (He is the ONLY vet I would even slightly trust to perform a spay on one of my rats, let alone a high-risk e-spay). 

Anyway, I know for sure that the woman I adopted them from has rats of her own and a few of them are males. I texted her today to ask if there was ANY possibility at all that Cooper could have come into contact with her males or any other males (even though I already asked her that before I even adopted them and she assured me that no such thing had happened), and this is what she texted back:

"Certainly hasn't come in contact with a male. My roommate has been the one taking care of the rats for the last few months, but he luckily knows the difference between the three dwarf males and the other cages." 

So.... that makes it even more confusing.  First of all, this is the first time I've ever heard of this alleged roommate of hers who was supposedly taking care of the rats the whole time. I received numerous texts, emails and phone calls from this woman where it was made abundantly clear that SHE was the one taking care of the rats (example: "I'm feeding the girls their dinner now:)")  So I really don't know what to make of this at all. Could she really be that blatant of a liar? The pieces of her story aren't matching up at all :(

For the time being, I'm going to assume Cooper is pregnant and do the best I can. A couple more questions:

Should I stay up with her tonight in case she goes into labor and needs help? 

I don't really have an appropriate maternity cage, but should I at least move her into the lower level of their DCN by herself or set up our travel cage for her? (it's an SP XL rabbit cage - has a deep pan but 1" bar spacing)

Since coming to live with us, she's been on baytril and clavamox and has been receiving weekly injections of ivermectin. If she is pregnant, would those medications harm the babies? I know that baytril is controversial for treating pregnant animals, and I think ivermectin is too, but how bad is the damage? How horrifying is this going to be?

Thanks for all the information, guys.  And eyohkay, thanks for reminding me about Rubie.  Her story is at least a little bit reassuring.  My vet said Cooper is between 1 year and 18 months (Alicia said she was only a year, but who know whether I can believe that), so it's good to know that she at least has a chance of making it.  When you say I may need to help her a little more, what do you mean?  Like, will I have to help her pull them out?  I want to be prepared in case I have to do that. 



Offline Stacy M

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #8 on: September 27, 2011, 09:30:13 PM »
Never try to pull the babies out.  If any get stuck in the birth canal she will need a vet.

When the vets don't call back, I keep calling.  They do get very busy.

The line about the roommate sounds to me like a setup to absolve responsibility.  After all the other lies you really can't be that surprised  :-\

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2011, 09:39:18 PM »
Never try to pull the babies out.  If any get stuck in the birth canal she will need a vet.

When the vets don't call back, I keep calling.  They do get very busy.

The line about the roommate sounds to me like a setup to absolve responsibility.  After all the other lies you really can't be that surprised  :-\

Would an e-vet who knows nothing about rats be able to help if one gets stuck? Our e-vet is really kind and willing to work with us on things she doesn't know a lot about, but she admitted that she hasn't really worked with rats much before. 

I called my vet a couple times to check back today, but I'll call even more tomorrow if he still hasn't gotten back to me. He's usually really good about calling back  :-\

And yeah, that's what I thought about the roommate story too.  I guess I'll know soon enough, though. 

Offline strangeduck

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #10 on: September 27, 2011, 10:13:29 PM »
While it's certainly not a good situation for the poor girl, most rat births, even in older rats, or rats without optimal care end up going surprisingly well.  I suspect that even if we tell you not to stay up and hover over the mama waiting for babies, you'll do it anyway. 

Make sure she has plenty of nesting material...plain white paper towels if possible.  Babies can get lost in the folds of the fleece, so I'd stay away from that.  Just keep treating her like you have been...maybe throwing in some extra protein (I've yet to meet a rat that didn't go crazy for eggs).

I would definitely move her to the lower half of the CN by herself.  That way, her cagemates are close enough for her to smell and hear them, but you don't have to worry about a non-lactating rat stealing babies. 

Keep us updated!
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Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2011, 10:36:55 PM »
While it's certainly not a good situation for the poor girl, most rat births, even in older rats, or rats without optimal care end up going surprisingly well.  I suspect that even if we tell you not to stay up and hover over the mama waiting for babies, you'll do it anyway. 

Make sure she has plenty of nesting material...plain white paper towels if possible.  Babies can get lost in the folds of the fleece, so I'd stay away from that.  Just keep treating her like you have been...maybe throwing in some extra protein (I've yet to meet a rat that didn't go crazy for eggs).

I would definitely move her to the lower half of the CN by herself.  That way, her cagemates are close enough for her to smell and hear them, but you don't have to worry about a non-lactating rat stealing babies. 

Keep us updated!

Thank you! I'll almost definitely be a wreck no matter what, but it's good to know that she's likely to manage okay. 

Would it be okay to leave her with her cagemates while I'm home to supervise them, but move her away at night?  She's extremely bonded to her sister and doesn't seem like the type of rat who would handle solitude well :(  (she already has some neurotic behaviors like barbering herself half bald, and I want to minimize stress for her as much as possible). And I just realized that I should probably take out the lower shelf so she doesn't have anywhere to drop the babies from. 

I'm making her some hard boiled eggs right now and I'll give her some paper stuffs as soon as I put her back in her cage (I'm halfway tempted to just put a whole roll of paper towels in there to giver her something fun to do!). 

« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 10:38:44 PM by Bananana »

Offline strangeduck

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2011, 10:55:31 PM »
Maybe put her sister with her and just move the sister when/if she has the bubs?  That would probably be less stressful for her.

And, yeah, I'd definitely take the shelf and any hammocks out.  And if you put a whole roll of paper towels in there for her fun, I want to see pictures!!
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Offline smilez_n_hugs

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2011, 11:09:57 PM »
Just be careful with the paper towel, it can get stuck to the bubs and dry their skin out. I have always used cut up fleece strips for preggo moms.

As for complications the only experience I have is when one girl's contractions stopped mid-labour so we rushed her to the vet who gave her a shot of oxytocin. Luckily the mom was okay but she lost a baby in the process :(

Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #14 on: September 27, 2011, 11:20:25 PM »
Okay, I gave her some paper towels while she was hanging out on the couch with me (I couldn't resist - rats carrying paper is pretty much the funniest thing ever) and she started eating them. Like, actually ingesting them.

Can she choke on the paper towels or harm herself if she eats them?

EDIT: I gave her an egg. I have never seen an animal eat that frantically.

How much egg can I allow her to have?
« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 11:26:51 PM by Bananana »

Offline Siana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #15 on: September 27, 2011, 11:25:49 PM »
Oh poor girl.  She's either preggers, or there's something else going on.  I also think it's too late for an e-spay once they start to show like that; the Rescue I work with no longer spays late term after we lost some during late term e-spays.  I know some people recommend it on here, but I don't know if they've actually had experience with it, and if they're quite aware how much riskier it can be due to the increased blood flow and stress that's already on the rat's body. 

If this person you adopted from actually is telling the truth about her having no contact with males and she isn't pregnant, another possibility could be a pyometra.  A few years ago a friend and member here took in a pregnant girl, however she showed no signs of giving birth.  Eventually it was decided the best course of action was to operate and it turns out she had a pyometra.  Her uterus was filled with pus and it was the size of a softball.  Given the fact this person has lied or omitted other things regarding these rats, odds are you can't reply on her not having contact with males so pregnancy is likely, but it's still a good idea to keep in mind there could be other causes for this weight gain.

If you haven't already, I recommend you read the Ratguide section on breeding.  It's an invaluable resource and also covers what to do in the case of labour emergencies. 

Regarding the drugs she's on, the makers of Baytril have  studies that show no evidence of carcinogenic or teratogenic effects in rats at higher doses of up to 50mg/kg, so provided those studies can be trusted, they shouldn't impact on the babies' development.  With Ivermectin, the risks could be cleft palates, but that refers to rats that were given Ivermectin daily throughout the whole pregnancy, so hopefully it won't affect these babies.

Re the paper towels, it's ok if they ingest a little bit.  Odds are she's just testing it out and will stop soon.   I have a rat that treats any paper products like chocolate.  I can't read anything with her about, although I must admit having a couple of pages nibbled on my Rats of NIMH book was kinda cute. :)

Good luck with her.  Hopefully things will be as trouble free as possible.










Offline Bananana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #16 on: September 27, 2011, 11:36:05 PM »
Oh poor girl.  She's either preggers, or there's something else going on.  I also think it's too late for an e-spay once they start to show like that; the Rescue I work with no longer spays late term after we lost some during late term e-spays.  I know some people recommend it on here, but I don't know if they've actually had experience with it, and if they're quite aware how much riskier it can be due to the increased blood flow and stress that's already on the rat's body. 

If this person you adopted from actually is telling the truth about her having no contact with males and she isn't pregnant, another possibility could be a pyometra.  A few years ago a friend and member here took in a pregnant girl, however she showed no signs of giving birth.  Eventually it was decided the best course of action was to operate and it turns out she had a pyometra.  Her uterus was filled with pus and it was the size of a softball.  Given the fact this person has lied or omitted other things regarding these rats, odds are you can't reply on her not having contact with males so pregnancy is likely, but it's still a good idea to keep in mind there could be other causes for this weight gain.

If you haven't already, I recommend you read the Ratguide section on breeding.  It's an invaluable resource and also covers what to do in the case of labour emergencies. 

Regarding the drugs she's on, the makers of Baytril have  studies that show no evidence of carcinogenic or teratogenic effects in rats at higher doses of up to 50mg/kg, so provided those studies can be trusted, they shouldn't impact on the babies' development.  With Ivermectin, the risks could be cleft palates, but that refers to rats that were given Ivermectin daily throughout the whole pregnancy, so hopefully it won't affect these babies.

Re the paper towels, it's ok if they ingest a little bit.  Odds are she's just testing it out and will stop soon.   I have a rat that treats any paper products like chocolate.  I can't read anything with her about, although I must admit having a couple of pages nibbled on my Rats of NIMH book was kinda cute. :)

Good luck with her.  Hopefully things will be as trouble free as possible.

That's fantastic information, Siana. Thank you!  And the more I think about it, the more I think an e-spay just sounds too risky at this point (from what people on here have said and from what I've been able to find elsewhere on the internet). 

I had also considered pyometra as a possible cause of her symptoms (I think that's the scenario I'm most scared of).  But she's been on clavamox and baytril for the last ten days for a URI - should that have helped, or could a pyometra just not respond at all to antibiotic treatment?  Would an ultrasound or x-ray help to diagnose a pyometra?  (And if so, which would you recommend?)


Offline Stacy M

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #17 on: September 27, 2011, 11:53:33 PM »
Oh poor girl.  She's either preggers, or there's something else going on.  I also think it's too late for an e-spay once they start to show like that; the Rescue I work with no longer spays late term after we lost some during late term e-spays.  I know some people recommend it on here, but I don't know if they've actually had experience with it, and if they're quite aware how much riskier it can be due to the increased blood flow and stress that's already on the rat's body. 

You know, it is fine to disagree with people about it not being a good idea, but was the passive-aggressiveness really necessary?  So are you suggesting that Lilspaz, HVRR, and various other rat experienced and rat educated people who have done late e-spays just weren't as intelligent as you were to realize that there is a greater risk of blood loss?  I also wonder if people who are against e-spays because of their negative experiences ever considered that maybe some vets are more skilled with such surgeries...

Offline Siana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2011, 12:43:03 AM »
Oh poor girl.  She's either preggers, or there's something else going on.  I also think it's too late for an e-spay once they start to show like that; the Rescue I work with no longer spays late term after we lost some during late term e-spays.  I know some people recommend it on here, but I don't know if they've actually had experience with it, and if they're quite aware how much riskier it can be due to the increased blood flow and stress that's already on the rat's body. 

You know, it is fine to disagree with people about it not being a good idea, but was the passive-aggressiveness really necessary?  So are you suggesting that Lilspaz, HVRR, and various other rat experienced and rat educated people who have done late e-spays just weren't as intelligent as you were to realize that there is a greater risk of blood loss?  I also wonder if people who are against e-spays because of their negative experiences ever considered that maybe some vets are more skilled with such surgeries...

Sorry, I didn't mean to sound that way.  I just often see it being recommended by people that haven't dealt with that kind of thing before - if Shelagh or a rescue had recommended it, then I would have told her my experiences with late term spays.   Apologies if I came across as passive aggressive, it certainly wasn't my intent.  I've actually also never seen anyone on here actually do late term e-spays, so if they have and it's been successful, that's great. 

I'm extremely pro e-spay.  We spay most females that come into the rescue, especially the ones suspected of being pregnant, and do end up having been pregnant in the early stages.  We just are very hesitant to do it with rats that are obviously pregnant.  Most vets are too. 

Offline Siana

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2011, 02:52:21 AM »

I had also considered pyometra as a possible cause of her symptoms (I think that's the scenario I'm most scared of).  But she's been on clavamox and baytril for the last ten days for a URI - should that have helped, or could a pyometra just not respond at all to antibiotic treatment?  Would an ultrasound or x-ray help to diagnose a pyometra?  (And if so, which would you recommend?)

An x-ray would show a pyometra - not so sure about an ultrasound.  It's one of those things were you don't want to disturb her if she is pregnant and take her in to the vet, but at the same time, if it is a pyo, do you wait?  It's a judgment call, and I don't think there's a clear cut right thing to do.  But usually when they get to the nesting stage, they're close to giving birth, so since she's nesting,  I'd personally probably leave it a little while to see if she does give birth.  Odds are she probably is pregnant. 


Offline lilspaz68

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #20 on: September 28, 2011, 07:36:45 AM »
I haven't actually done a late-term spay, only recently discovered that my vet will spay up to almost birth, so you will see more in the future I imagine.

Your girl looks classically pregnant to me, but I read carefully and saw that no one suggested weighing her daily to see how much weight gain is going on, and if its increasing steadily.  I find once they are gaining over 10 grams a day consistently, you are very close.   If your little momma is 18 months there's also a chance of reabsorption as well.  TBH I would take her to the vet to ask if they are comfortable with an e-spay this late in the game.  Figure out where she is in her pregnancy (by weight gain) and then make up your mind.  It's a very tough call, and I am glad I am not the one making it.

She looks soo much like my 3-legged Inca in that last pic  :heart:

Offline Critter Crazy

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #21 on: September 28, 2011, 08:00:58 AM »
Just keep her on a top-notch diet & build her up. Due to her poor health & the pregnancy, I'd be inclined not to have an e-spay done, but rather let her have the litter, & remove the bubs to a foster mother if available. If not, well, just let her raise the litter. I've had a few rescues do extremely well with litters after a good diet & lots of TLC. In saying that though, I have a lot of room & time on my hands.
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Offline eyohkay

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #22 on: September 28, 2011, 09:58:46 AM »
Thanks for all the information, guys.  And eyohkay, thanks for reminding me about Rubie.  Her story is at least a little bit reassuring.  My vet said Cooper is between 1 year and 18 months (Alicia said she was only a year, but who know whether I can believe that), so it's good to know that she at least has a chance of making it.  When you say I may need to help her a little more, what do you mean?  Like, will I have to help her pull them out?  I want to be prepared in case I have to do that.

No problem!  There's no telling how old Rubie actually is, but we were told 18 months, so that's what I'm going with.  As far as helping with the bubs, I just meant supplementing their diet.  I didn't have much luck getting any of mine to take formula, but I gave it to Rubie often, and when they started trying out solid foods, I started making them a "mash" of KMR powder, HT crumbs, water, and various flavors of baby food.  They went nutso over it and it gave Rubie at least a little bit of a break from feeding.  I actually still catch her nursing occasionally, and Monday was 5 weeks.  ::)  Despite her health, the whole crew has done wonderful (minus the 3 we lost, which was obviously no fault of Rubie's).

Offline Blackthorn

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #23 on: September 28, 2011, 01:29:53 PM »
I also thought possibly pyometra.  If it's a pyo, antibiotics don't really help (they might provide a stall, but not a cure).  Only cure for pyo is a spay.  She is definitely either pregnant or having a major medical issue.  Based on her health history and the lies of her prior owner, honestly I think either could be possible.  :-\  Considering the furious nesting and her previous owner's evasiveness, though, I think pregnancy is more likely.  However, I'd try to rule out pyo ASAP if she doesn't give birth very soon.  I'd also be watching those other girls like a hawk and considering spays for them...

I've done late term e-spays.  I don't *like* doing it, and it's not something to undertake lightly, as it IS riskier, but sometimes it is necessary/the best decision.  I think once they are far along it is very much a situational dependent choice best made taking all factors into consideration with your vet.  I don't like how a lot of people automatically label them as "too risky" because sometimes they ARE the better/less risky action, all factors considered, but it should definitely be an educated choice and it is never an easy one.

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. :P

Offline Sailorgrrl

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Re: Possible pregnancy in rescued lady rat - need opinions
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2011, 01:55:46 PM »
I'm sorry to hijack your thread, Bananana, but we seem to be going through the same thing at the same time!
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4090976.0

I did follow the link that Siana gave above for the Ratguide, and it says that you can feel fetuses in the 2nd-3rd weeks, but don't press on the abdomen because you can damage the babies! EEP! That's the first time I've seen that warning; of course, according to other sites that mention that you can feel the babies in a late-pregnancy doe, I have been feeling my girl's tummy to try to verify if she's pregnant. Is it a big problem, damaging the bubs in utero by pressing the tummy? And of course, I've watched her squeeze herself into some pretty tight spots (like between the food dish and the cage bars)... will that damage the bubs, too?

EDIT: Oh, and your girl looks preggers to me, too, if the pictures all over the web are any indication. I also read on the Ratguide site that a doe's coat will stretch out and look thin if she's carrying a large litter. Could that be what you're seeing, Blackthorn, and not ringworm?
« Last Edit: September 28, 2011, 01:58:00 PM by Sailorgrrl »