Author Topic: Weight loss questions  (Read 359 times)

Offline RooRat

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Weight loss questions
« on: March 13, 2017, 09:37:49 AM »
Pyp is a big boy. His daddy was HUGE. His brother was big. And Pyp weighed 2 pounds (or 1 pound 15 ounces at the vet, just shy of 2 pounds) a couple months ago. He's always been big, with some fats but not too much fats. He's large, but not obese by any means. He just turned 2 on Valentine's Day and still gets around well.

Anyway, during our past few cuddle sessions, I've felt his hip bones a little more easily than I used to. I weighed him last night and he weighed in at 1 pound 13 ounces. He's lost 2 ounces, which is a little surprising because he's been on a diet for months with no change at all. I actually stopped following his diet and started giving him yogies more often (instead of once a week, we went back to one every couple of days) because the diet didn't seem to be having any effect at all so I figured he was just a big boy  :yelcutelaugh:

How much weight loss is concerning? He doesn't really have any other symptoms. I thought maybe he was drinking more (he'll lick at the water bottle for 5+ minutes at a time - I checked the flow and it does work, so that's not it) but he didn't drink much overnight so maybe not. I'm going to keep an eye on the water intake and if it increases, we'll go to the vet. His breathing has always sounded a little funny, but he's had checkups and they've listened to him breathe and said there's nothing wrong. Of course, I'm all worried it's early renal failure (weight loss and long drinking sprees) or CHF (weight loss and his weird breathing sounds). I'm thinking about just taking him in for a wellness checkup to calm my nerves.

His whole family was sickly (pet store rats who just got to breed willy nilly - his sisters developed tumors before they were a year old and his brother had ringworm, pneumonia, recurring abscesses and a tumor and passed before he a little after he turned one) and the fact that Pyp has lived 2 years without any major medical issues is shocking to me!
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Offline Been to the Mountaintop

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2017, 09:59:37 AM »
No wisdom, but best wishes. I do love those two-handers as BigBen calls them.
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Offline BigBen

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2017, 06:46:14 PM »
A certain amount of weight loss is normal as a rat begins to age.  As long as the decline is slow and Pyp remains alert and active, I wouldn't worry about it too much.  Rapid weight loss, however, would indicate a vet-worthy problem.  At this point, it is probably safe to start him on treats to help him keep the weight on.  (At Pyp's age, a little extra weight can provide a reserve in time of need.  I tell myself that, too--every time I get off the scale, lol!)

My three Connecticut brothers, who all reached the ends of their lives in the period from September to November last year, started feeling a bit bony not long after their second birthdays.  Peter went first from PT, whereas the other two remained quite active till within about a month of their deaths.  Peter's littermate John went next, developing CHF and wasting to the point where I had him put to sleep.  James, who was from a later litter, lasted a month longer, but grief apparently hastened his decline.  He died naturally while I was away on an overnight visit to my mother.  Although they started getting bonier after turning two, the boys nearly made it to their third birthdays, the longest-lived rats I've had so far.

So even if Pyp seems a bit thinner, don't worry just yet.  He could still last a nice long time.  Please keep us posted.
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
RatCode:  1m0f18r !B C? D+ F S-- ocA reC sM a+++ e++++ n

Offline RooRat

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #3 on: March 14, 2017, 09:40:27 AM »
Thank you for the reassurance! I'll skip the vet visit for now (we're going in for a nail trim but that's it) and document his weight every day for a while. If it drops dramatically, we'll go in.

He's still eating like a pig ::)
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Offline RooRat

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2017, 11:39:52 AM »
Update: apparently he's gained weight :yelcutelaugh: In January, he weighed 1.75 pounds. Now he weighs 1.81 pounds. So all my worry was for nothing! Looks like we're going back on restricted yogies.
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Offline BigBen

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 11:48:34 AM »
That's ratties for ya!  Always surprising.  Glad to hear all is well.   :thumbsup2:
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
RatCode:  1m0f18r !B C? D+ F S-- ocA reC sM a+++ e++++ n

Offline RooRat

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Re: Weight loss questions - now mommy is worried about something else!
« Reply #6 on: March 25, 2017, 08:57:11 AM »
I think I just need a dedicated "Pyp's mom is always worried about something" thread.  :yelcutelaugh:

His feet were cold last night. I've noticed it a little in the past - he walks across my neck and his little feet feel chilly against my skin. It's gotten worse recently. They're not blue. His appetite is fine (ravenous, even - he snatches food instead of taking it ::)). His breathing sounds a little weird but it has for a while and the vet wasn't concerned when I took him in, so I don't know. He definitely doesn't like to be held still and won't stay put when I try to pet him on my shoulder (always moving!) but I don't know if that's just him or if it's a symptom. What I can't find online is a list of symptoms that explain early symptoms, progressing symptoms, and end-stage symptoms. It's always just a list of symptoms. What are the early symptoms? Can a rat have cold feet and weird breathing and still have a good appetite?
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Offline BigBen

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Re: Weight loss questions
« Reply #7 on: March 25, 2017, 09:20:04 AM »
Pyp sounds fine.  The temperature of his feet will vary, depending on the relationship of the core body temperature to the surrounding air.  Even more so with the tail, because it is the primary thermoregulatory mechanism of the rat's body.  If the body is trying to lose heat, the tail and feet will feel warmer; if it is trying to conserve heat, tail and feet will feel colder.  This will vary from moment to moment.

Bear in mind that while the tail is served by three major blood vessels, the feet are comparatively less vascularized, so they will always feel cooler than the rest of the rat's body.  Also, they have a lot of surface area compared to the rest of the body, so there is more opportunity for the blood in the feet to cool.  My grandmother always had cold hands (that side of the family tends to have circulatory problems), and her line was always. "Cold hands, warm heart."  True both literally as well as figuratively, I guess.

Blueness of feet and ears would indicate hypoxia (lack of oxygen), regardless of temperature.  That would be a serious symptom indeed.

Rats vary in their willingness to be held.  I've had a number of boys who liked shoulder riding, and a number who didn't.  Some boys like cuddles more than others; I've even had a couple of boys who were just about as active as girls.  Of my current crew, Bartholomew, the solitary guy, likes being held, and even when he's out running around he will periodically come by and want to be picked up.  Then he'll want to get down and run around again.  The other boys don't like being touched as much.  They will ride my shoulder, but they prefer to go off and hide.  Periodically they will come and want to sniff my face, but they tend to shy away if I start petting them.  But if I leave them alone, they will quite happily sniff at me and climb on me.  That seems to be their way of showing affection.

My beautiful sweet Peter liked to stick his head in my mouth; that was his way of demonstrating possession, especially if other rats were around.  When it was just the two of us, he often liked to climb up on my shoulders and sit.  I would often take him on appointments with my spiritual director, and he would happily brux on my shoulder for an hour or so. 
What is a rat?  King-sized love in a pint-sized package.
RatCode:  1m0f18r !B C? D+ F S-- ocA reC sM a+++ e++++ n