Author Topic: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!  (Read 1284 times)

Offline Nyaasu

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Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« on: October 30, 2016, 08:06:46 PM »
(Don't worry - I plan to call my regular vet tomorrow morning, I just wanted to see if any of you have had an experience with something like this before!)

A little while ago, I made a post about my rat, Shulk, who appears to be suffering from a lung abscess or tumor:
http://www.goosemoose.com/rfc/index.php?topic=4109038.0
(Please read for details on what I've done up until this point, so this post makes more sense!)

After trying all that I posted in that thread, we have resigned to only "making her comfortable" at this point - she's currently on pain killers (Buprenorphine) and a steroid (prednisolone), which make her feel much better for now.

However, the other rats (three others - they're her female children) now seem to be showing the similar symptoms to what she has while dealing with this illness!! I didn't notice at first, but it's all starting to become more clear. They're not as bad, but I'm almost sure it's the same behavior and issues:

-The other rats are now also "fine" and peppy when they are awake, but sleep in ways that look very sad/uncomfortable/sick (one of them today had her head flat sideways on the floor, with her eye wide open!!).
-They also sleep a lot more than usual, and only really make the effort to get up when I "have something for them". Usually they always interact with me when I walk by!
-They hang their heads over the sides of the shelves and igloo house sometimes.
-They DO NOT eat their regular kibble (I found all of it this morning, buried in their igloo), and even have become picky with treats!
-One of them appears to be breathing slightly heavy the way Shulk does, only not nearly as bad (yet?).
-Another one (I think I've figured out which one) has been chewing the plastic ramps in the cage, and has been eating even less than the other two, and may have diarrhea sometimes (hard to tell who does, but I think it's her, the same one who is doing the ramp-chewing and eating the least out of everyone).

I have never seen a sickness like this, I know of the respiratory issues rats can have, but antibiotics usually clear those up for me, and I don't usually see "loss of appetite" until the sickness is obviously very bad, or the antibiotics have been started!

They also don't "sound" congested all the time, in fact, it's rare that they make those "sounds" (Shulk has been "quiet" lately, too), although when they do sound congested, IT'S BAD. It's not common (and I've been keeping an eye on it), but coupled with everything else it's scaring me!

So...I'm starting to become worried that this is more than just a mass in Shulk's lung - maybe this is something contagious and now they all have it (or all got it together, and Shulk just came down with it first?)

Right now, I am doing for all of them similar things I was doing for Shulk:

-I run a humidifier sometimes, when I feel the air is too dry.
-I have switched the bedding to "EcoBedding" to minimize dust.
-I give them echinacea drops, usually every day although I hear you're supposed to switch on and off of them weekly or so (so I will!).
-I put vitamins from the pet store into their water.
-I switched their food to "adult" rat food (I was giving them "young" rat food before, I heard it's better for females of any age?), because they are more willing to eat that.
-I open the door and windows to allow fresh air in (but not with a fan anymore, thanks to a tip I got on here last time!) every few hours.
-I replace the bedding every morning, and wipe the shelves down twice a day!!

But antibiotics didn't work for Shulk, so I'm worried they won't work for the other rats, either! I'll see, because I'm sure the vet will help me tomorrow, but is there a kind of sickness that sounds like what these guys have, but doesn't respond to antibiotics, almost at all?

I'm getting scared I'm going to lose them all to this thing, and I feel I'm being annoying, but I don't know what else to do. :(

Any advice or experiences like this?

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 11:40:32 PM »
Make sure that when you open the windows and doir there's no draft at all. What are you using to wipe their shelves? I believe we went through that already but you aren't smoking or using any harsh chemicals around them, or scented anything..., right?

It could be genetics, since they are all related...did you get them from a pet store?

The head hanging from the shelves or igloo, reminds me of congestive heart failure. CHF is made worse by high humidity. Not saying that the humidity is too high...do you know how much humidity you have? Temperature? Rats do better at a constant temperature. Is the humidator germ/molds free?

How often do you replace their hammocks? Do they pee in it and do they smell like ammonia? 

Keep us updated. I hope you figure it out.

Offline Nyaasu

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2016, 12:39:26 AM »
Make sure that when you open the windows and doir there's no draft at all. What are you using to wipe their shelves? I believe we went through that already but you aren't smoking or using any harsh chemicals around them, or scented anything..., right?

It could be genetics, since they are all related...did you get them from a pet store?

The head hanging from the shelves or igloo, reminds me of congestive heart failure. CHF is made worse by high humidity. Not saying that the humidity is too high...do you know how much humidity you have? Temperature? Rats do better at a constant temperature. Is the humidator germ/molds free?

How often do you replace their hammocks? Do they pee in it and do they smell like ammonia? 

Keep us updated. I hope you figure it out.

Ok! I don't feel a draft, but if I do, I will close the windows!

The shelves I was cleaning with kid's hand wipes (I figured, if they're gentle for kids they're OK for the rat paws to stand on, but maybe that wasn't a good thought!), but they do have a slight scent. Earlier today, I thought of that, so I was planning on switching to just a wet paper towel (wet with water only!), so I will do that from now on!

There is a smoker in the house, and I once smelled the smoke from her in the house, and asked her politely to always smoke outside and not near the open window. Usually, it isn't a problem at all, and I never smell it within the house, she just made a mistake once and was too close to the window. I can't imagine cigarette smoke is any good for ratties, especially Shulk with her lung issues!

As for strong chemicals around them, I don't clean much in my room with things like lysol, for that reason, so I think I'm good there!

The humidity may be too high! I noticed condensation on the ceiling above it, so now I use it much less. It also rained here today, so I think I won't need it for a while. What is a good humidity level for them? I don't know what the level is in here, unfortunately.

The temperature does fluctuate...our heating system is terrible and not consistent. I'll see what I can do about that! What is a good temperature for them?

The humidifier is new, I just bought it, it's actually a Vick's warm steam humidifier for sick people. xD But it sure humidifies a room pretty well.

The hammocks I've been VERY attentive to since this started! I have three cycling, and I replace with a cleaned one every 2 or 3 days. I smell it every day, and when it smells like pee, it's out.

They always do sort of "liven up" at night, lately, so they're awake now, in varying degrees. xD I know rats are usually nocturnal, but these guys tend to be awake for more of the day than they have been lately! I know their level of lethargy is unusual right now.

I gave them all a listen and no one sounds stuffy tonight (except Shulk).

I'll keep watching them and see if anything new comes up!

Thank you for helping me! :D

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2016, 02:01:08 PM »
Also make sure they drink as much water as before. Oftentimes, rats won't drink as much water if there is vitamins in it. Change the water daily as it will taste horrible after a few days:) How are they doing today?

Offline Nyaasu

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2016, 07:10:15 PM »
Also make sure they drink as much water as before. Oftentimes, rats won't drink as much water if there is vitamins in it. Change the water daily as it will taste horrible after a few days:) How are they doing today?

Oh these guys drink their water, that's for sure. I have to refill very often. But I will remember what you said about the taste! The vitamins do turn the water slightly yellow, so I imagine it's not completely tasteless!

Today they saw two of my rats at the vet, the ones I thought were the most affected, and now everyone is on a round of Azithromycin!

However, I have a question. The vet said to give .7cc to Shulk, and .6cc to the smaller rats. I had been giving Shulk Azithromycin before, but I think I misunderstood the dosage and I was giving .07cc, because .7cc was most of the syringe!!

Please, can you tell me if you think the correct dosage is really .7 (the larger part of one syringe)? If so, I have been giving Shulk too little medication, and now I feel terrible! But also, .7cc is a lot, and I don't know how I'll get them to eat it all. xD

Thank you for everything!!! :D

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2016, 11:09:10 PM »
It all depends on the concentration of the med and whether giving a low dose or high dose and how much the rat weighs, but with the limited information you provided, I would guess that .7 ml is more likely to be correct. .07 ml would be an extremely small amount unless the meds are very concentrated.

The rat guide lists two oral suspensions, one with a concentration of 100 mg/5 ml (20 mg/ml), and the other 200 mg/5 ml (40 mg/ml). Note that it is possible that your vet has prepared their own suspension at a different concentration, but assuming you were given one of these preparations:

The dosage amount in the rat guide ranges from 15 mg/kg (low dose) to 30 mg/kg (high dose). Assuming a 500g rat, the following dosages are possible:

Low dose, low concentration:
(.5kg * 15mg/kg) /(20mg/ml) = .38 ml

High dose, low concentration:
(.5kg *30mg/kg)/(20mg/ml) = .78 ml

Low dose, high concentration:
(.5kg * 15mg/kg)/(40mg/ml) = 1.9 ml

High dose, high concentration:
(.5kg * 30mg/kg)/(40mg/ml) = .38 ml

So, for example, if your vet prescribed at the higher dose (normal for rats with respiratory issues) and is using the less concentrated suspension, and your rat weighs a little less than 500 g, then .7 ml would be right in the ballpark. But in order to know for sure, you need to know the exact weight of the rat and the exact concentration of the azithromycin.

Offline Nyaasu

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2016, 09:29:58 PM »
It all depends on the concentration of the med and whether giving a low dose or high dose and how much the rat weighs, but with the limited information you provided, I would guess that .7 ml is more likely to be correct. .07 ml would be an extremely small amount unless the meds are very concentrated.

The rat guide lists two oral suspensions, one with a concentration of 100 mg/5 ml (20 mg/ml), and the other 200 mg/5 ml (40 mg/ml). Note that it is possible that your vet has prepared their own suspension at a different concentration, but assuming you were given one of these preparations:

The dosage amount in the rat guide ranges from 15 mg/kg (low dose) to 30 mg/kg (high dose). Assuming a 500g rat, the following dosages are possible:

Low dose, low concentration:
(.5kg * 15mg/kg) /(20mg/ml) = .38 ml

High dose, low concentration:
(.5kg *30mg/kg)/(20mg/ml) = .78 ml

Low dose, high concentration:
(.5kg * 15mg/kg)/(40mg/ml) = 1.9 ml

High dose, high concentration:
(.5kg * 30mg/kg)/(40mg/ml) = .38 ml

So, for example, if your vet prescribed at the higher dose (normal for rats with respiratory issues) and is using the less concentrated suspension, and your rat weighs a little less than 500 g, then .7 ml would be right in the ballpark. But in order to know for sure, you need to know the exact weight of the rat and the exact concentration of the azithromycin.

Thank you so much for all of this! It turns out BOTH my options for their dosage was wrong, this time! He had told me .7 while I was in the office, but the second night they were on it, I noticed the box from the pharmacy said .33!! So I called for clarification, and it was actually .33 that was the correct dose for this round!

I WAS giving Shulk too little for those first two weeks...I was giving her .07 instead of .7. :( I am worried that because she was given .07 instead of .7 for two weeks, she may have developed a resistance to this medication! What do you think? I called the vet to ask that too, but I think they misunderstood what I was asking.

Tonight, my other rat, Shulk's daughter Tank, looks AWFUL. She is moving "in slow motion", and mostly wants to be alone, lying flat and breathing hard. I took a video to show the vet, and I'm going to tell them about it ASAP. :(

Now Tank looks exactly like Shulk, but without all the build-up Shulk had before this point!
I'm very worried, and I have never seen anything like this. :( I have seen respiratory infections before, but this one, if that's what it is, isn't responding to antibiotics.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2016, 04:54:33 PM »
Shouldn't they get something like amoxicillin too? In case the infection is not caused by mycoplasma.


http://www.ratfanclub.org/resp.html

Offline Nyaasu

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 04:35:36 PM »
Shouldn't they get something like amoxicillin too? In case the infection is not caused by mycoplasma.


http://www.ratfanclub.org/resp.html

I will ask, although I am getting the feeling my vet is starting to become annoyed that I keep asking for different meds.
He keeps saying to stick with the one (azithromycin), even though she was on it for 3 weeks (and the first 2 weeks I gave her FAR too little by accident, possibly making it worthless now!).

I still want to fight for Shulk, because there are days when she is doing very well, and I believe that her not getting better on azithromycin is MY fault, not necessarily a sign that she is ready to die, but the vet and the assistants pretty much keep telling me to keep doing as I have been doing, antibiotics are no longer working, and she is only in "maintenance".

My vet is amazing, they have done so many awesome things for my rats over the years, but with this case I feel I am not being understood, my mistakes aren't being factored in, the lung mass has been seen as a reason to give up entirely, and my frequent calls are seen as an annoyance. Even if the other antibiotics won't work, I want to try them anyway - if she will die either way, why the hell not?

I don't know what to tell them...I don't want to tell them how to do their job, but Shulk is still alive and well after a full month, the time left they gave her to be alive, and not only that, she is strong, eating well, and playing. She just sounds stuffy and is congested, and while I understand some of that is the mass, I don't feel like she's down and out yet.

How do you ask a vet for something like new meds, without sounding like you're trying to tell them how to do their job? :/
I know doctors hate the whole, "I googled it, and I think I have (this)", so I assume vets are the same way. xD

Offline Nyaasu

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 04:36:45 PM »
OH! And an update on all the younger rats - they all seem fine now - Azithromycin probably has set them right. :D

Now it's all about doing the best I can for Shulk, still!

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2016, 02:24:17 PM »
You can buy amoxicillin online without a prescription. Amoxicillin is always great to have on hands in case you get rats lethargic very quickly, it can save their lifes before the vet opens the next day. I like having it on hands, just in case.

« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 05:25:16 PM by Marybelle »

Offline mamarat2

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2016, 02:35:47 PM »
You can buy amoxicillin online without a prescription. Amoxicillin is always great to have on hands in case you get rats lethargic very quickly, it can save their lifes before the vet opens the next day. I like having it on hands, just in case.



Amoxicillin is not always the go to for all rat respiratory problems. 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 05:25:23 PM by Marybelle »
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Something spreading to all my rats, possibly?!
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2016, 02:41:40 PM »
You can buy amoxicillin online without a prescription. Amoxicillin is always great to have on hands in case you get rats lethargic very quickly, it can save their lifes before the vet opens the next day. I like having it on hands, just in case.



Amoxicillin is not always the go to for all rat respiratory problems.

And fish amoxicillin not always the best option, even if it's accessible without a scrip. 
« Last Edit: November 14, 2016, 05:25:31 PM by Marybelle »