Author Topic: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress  (Read 763 times)

Offline Sidera17

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Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« on: October 22, 2016, 11:16:50 AM »
If anyone can help, it would be appreciated.

Last weekend, Grey chewed through the hammock support, and the rats fell.  Tannie got a very swollen foot he couldn't walk on.  We rushed him to the vet, where he was prescribed Metacam and Gabapentin.  He seemed to be doing better in the last few days with his foot, the swelling went down, but he was still lethargic.

Last night, I came home from work to find Tannie scrambling to get out of the cage and onto me.  Upon inspection, his nose was covered in porphyrin and he was gasping, breathing only through his mouth.  We rushed him to the vet, who put him in an nebulizing tank and gave him a shot of doxycycline.  She says he may have had a severe respiratory infection come on from the stress of hurting his foot. 

I am worried and don't know what to ask or do.  He is currently hospitalized at the vet.  Does anyone know a treatment or questions I should ask the vet?

Offline BigBen

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2016, 12:20:02 PM »
I'm so sorry you are having to deal with this situation.  I hope your boy will be better soon.

Tannie's respiratory problems may or may not be related to his fall.  I would ask for an x-ray, to rule out other problems or complications (broken rib, lung cancer, etc.).  Assuming you are dealing only with an infection, Tannie's treatment sounds right so far.  He will probably need a course of antibiotic to restore him to health.

I had a similar case, my boy John who, one afternoon earlier this year, suddenly started wheezing and having trouble breathing.  I rushed him to the vet's, where they put him on oxygen until they could diagnose him.  The x-rays showed that it was pneumonia, and they injected a large dose of antibiotic (either doxy or Orbax), and gave me a prescription to follow for the next two weeks.  John perked up on the drive home, and was eventually perfectly fine.
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Offline Sidera17

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2016, 04:35:41 PM »
Thank you Big Ben.  Tannie is going to be x-rayed today, so I hope there will be more answers.  I am puzzled becausr he has no sniffling, sneezing, coughing, or wheezing.  He appears to look like he is gagging, only breathing through his mouth.  I wonder if there is an injury now.  The x-ray will tell more.  He is stabilized, but not improving, despite a shot of doxycycline.  I talked to the vet this morning and she did not sound optimistic.  I'm so worried.

Offline Sidera17

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2016, 09:18:29 PM »
UPDATE:  I talked with the vet and she had an x-ray done on Tannie.  She said his entire right lung is opaque, suggesting pneumonia.  He received a shot of doxycycline yesterday, is getting treated with Baytril now, and also an antibiotic in his nebulizer treatments.  The vet said he is doing no better, and if he does not improve, is going to recommend euthanasia.  I'm pretty much beside myself, as I don't know what else to do. 

I don''t understand how this could have happened or escalated so quickly, as I have had rats with respiratory illness before, and Tannie did not exhibit any signs.  I wonder if it is more likely he has a specific type of bacteria-- if the rapid onset is a clue as to what bacteria he is infected with (as I suspect it is not just myco), and maybe that will give me a clue as to whether the vet can try a different type of antibiotic.  I am going to see if I can request Amoxicillin, which is a class that has not been used yet.  I am trying to look online to see what I can find, but it feels like a race against time.  I don't know what to do.

Does anyone have experience with this kind of illness?  What are rat survival rates from pneumonia of this severity?  :(


Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2016, 11:01:31 PM »
It came so quickly that I think it is a great idea to add amoxycillin to the doxy. Amoxicillin will work on bacteria than Baytril or doxycycline can't do anything about. The bacteria that respond to amoxycillin are often the ones that make a rat go downhill so quickly. It is always good to have amox on hands. Here you can buy it at a very reasonable price.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 05:26:33 PM by Marybelle »

Offline mamarat2

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2016, 08:07:06 AM »
Sidera17 I'm sorry to hear about your Tannie, the only thing I can relate to this is when my girl Taquita choked on a piece of food and aspirated some of it into her lungs. She went from ok to severe pneumonia in about 45 minutes. Due to the food aspiration they couldn't do anything for her and she was euthanized that same evening. Hopefully in your case Tannie just needs some extra time for the meds to kick in, Taq wasn't even responding well to oxygen at the time. Gentle hugs and kisses to your rattie.
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Offline Sidera17

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2016, 10:36:13 AM »
Thank you again for the replies, everyone. 

I visited Tannie yesterday with one of his brothers, Bernie.  He is still the same as he was when we first brought him in.  He seemingly needs the oxygen to function, and has had no improvement despite now being on Baytril, Amox, nebulizer Orbax, and a shot of doxycycline.  My gut tells me that this was not a slow-onset myco issue, because he had no symptoms before this.  I think there is one antibiotic left to try: azithromycin.  If that does not work, the prognosis is not good. 

Tannie is still in good spirits, and was happy to see his brother.  He even crawled out on me and gave me some affection before having to go back into the tank.  I am still at a loss of what to do.  He has heavy amounts of porphyrin on his nose and paws, and that is not changing. 

Is there a chance this could be a tumor?  Or could I have caused him to aspirate when administering meds?  (This seems less likely, as he licks them off the syringe and doesn't fight.)  It is sad to me because I feel like he is not sick enough to be PTS, but he is not going to recover. 

Anyone make an O2 tank for their ratties?

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2016, 11:23:59 AM »
I'm sorry he isn't doing better. Antibiotics need 3 days to show some results so there's still hope IMO. A tumor or abscess(es) on the lungs should have shown on the XRays though, so probably not it. Have you been in a petstore recently? Or petted any small animals other than yours? Could it be Sendai or SDA...For the O2 box, I made one for my Gribouilli who had  congestive heart failure...I bought a oxygen concentration for over $1,000 online, but you can rent a tank (you need a prescription) for way cheaper, I just wanted to have one on hands in case I need it in the future. I just made a hole in the bottom of a plastic bin to get the tube in (O2) and a dozen holes on the top to let the air out. I put water, food and her space pod in it. There was still enough room for her to walk around. You are taking care of him so well, you  are  such a good rat mom. I hope Tannie shows improvement soon.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2016, 11:34:04 AM »
As far as food aspiration, it is very unlikely because rats have those flaps (can't remember how they are called) in the back of their mouth that can hold the food in their mouth- it is because of those that rats can't vomit either. So you didn't do food aspiration with the syringe, especially if he was licking the meds. Now it is still possible he could have choked on some foods, and some got into his lungs...rats can choke on anything, I had a rat choke for 10 mins on a piece on Oxbow once, she was fine. Foods that are more likely to make a rat choke: mashed potatoes, potatoes, peanut butter, gummy bears, anything like that.

Offline Sidera17

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2016, 05:44:15 PM »
Thank you for all the replies and help.  We helped Tannie cross the Bridge this afternoon, after the vet called because he was in increasing respiratory distress, so he had to be sedated.  By the time we got there, he was unable to function for more than a few minutes outside of the oxygen tank or he would gasp for air.

I still don't know what could have caused such a sudden onset of pneumonia, and why it was untreatable by antibiotics.  I hope I did right by him.  He's at peace now.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2016, 06:14:06 PM »
Oh no I'm so sorry:( The only way to know for sure what happened is a necropsy; in case you wanted to be certain for closure... In any case, you did everything you could possibly have done to help Tannie.
I'm so sorry for your loss. Rest in peace sweet Tannie.

Offline MinervaThonosi

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2016, 06:49:27 PM »
Sorry for your loss. -hugs-

Offline BigBen

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2016, 08:38:01 PM »
I'm so sorry! :'(

One of the reasons rats are so hard to treat is that, as prey animals, they are very good at hiding illness, so very often they are quite sick by the time we become aware of their symptoms.  Please don't blame yourself for not picking up on the problem sooner--you did your very best for Tannie, and he knew it.  Furthermore, pneumonia can come on suddenly, and it can be deadly.  If I hadn't happened to have been there to hear John start to wheeze, or if traffic had slowed my dash to the vet's, he might very well have died before I got there.  It was a very close call, as it was.  And he wasn't noticeably sick before that afternoon, I promise you.  At least your beautiful sweet Tannie is no longer suffering, and he is waiting for that day when the two of you will again be able to share scritches and kisses. :heart:
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Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Emergency- Rattie with respiratory distress
« Reply #13 on: October 26, 2016, 11:10:58 AM »
So very sorry to hear about your loss. You went to amazing measures to try to help. The only thing I wonder is if a lung tumor would have similar opacity to pneumonia on an x-ray? I have heard from some of our rat gurus that tumors are very often underdiagnosed because myco flareups are so common.

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