Baby rats randomly dying. - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 10:37 AM Thread Starter
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Exclamation Baby rats randomly dying.

About a week and a half ago a friend and I decided to save 10 feeder rats from a immenent death from a local at-home breeder.

3 of the rats were about 2.5 weeks old (had eyes open and pretty active) and 7 were about 1 week old (eyes closed).



We have been feeding every 3-4 hours at this point...the 3 older ones are on normal food and water. The 7 babies are the ones having issues. We have been feeding/helping them excrete them on schedule for over a week now and the babies are suddenly having issues.



They just opened their eyes about 2 days ago and now one just rapidly became ill and died. within a few hours. about 2 hours later another one passed away. They were all healthy and thriving..eating well. Now most of the babies are acting ill. Not moving much..seperating themselves from the group and their color is terrible! The will even have blue/grey blotches on their bellies.



I am wondering if this is megacolon...the 3 older ones from the other litter seem unaffected...the 7 babies have not been defecating as often (or at all) but, I have seen baby feces in the cage..I have seen the 3 older ones grooming the babies and I think they are stimulating them...



I dont know what else this could be with such a rapid onset of literally a few hours.



Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by TetedeMisere; 06-15-2009 at 10:40 AM. Reason: format
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-15-2009, 11:20 AM
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If it was megacolon, it usually onsets a little later and is characterized by unthrifty babies from a young age, with a VERY distended stomach.

I've always had trouble with feeding formulas to any baby animal. Mother's milk is the best thing for them. Perhaps had you put deposits on them the breeder would have been willing to retain them for you until weaning, as taking a baby away from mother is often deadly for them.


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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 07:00 AM
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Sounds like the at-home breeder was a feeder breeder or a BYB about to cull? NO mom to stay with sadly.

It is very very hard to raise young rats especially ones that came from a neglected background. This will happen, they will do fine, then die....its awful but you have no idea whats going on in themat the genetic level.

You do your best, use a soy milk human formula, or a puppy/kitten replacement milk, get them to eliminate, etc...are you still trying to help them eliminate? The older babies may look like they are trying but its not working, especially with the bellies looking like they are.

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 09:19 AM
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Still, I think the babies would have had a chance if they had stayed with the mother. I don't know why a person wouldn't hold them for you till weaning with a deposit, unless they needed them euthed soon or at that size for their snakes.

The symptoms are odd and the only thing I can suggest is to get one to the vet when it first starts showing signs of being off. It really does NOT sound like megacolon, which usually shows up as a distended belly and stunted size at this age, but they normally show symptoms for a while before death. However, the symptoms could be from using formula. Anything but mother's milk isn't ever really very good for baby animals, especially powdered formulas.

I would offer a little bit of LIVE CULTURE yogurt which will introduce beneficial bacteria to their gut and help them digest effectively. Normally they would receive this from being in contact with their mother as well. You can also use products like Probios, Probiotics, or the like.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for all your input. At this point 4 of the 7 have passed.


This breeder only breeds for snake food. These babies would have been dead at this point anyways. He is a backyard breeder and is pretty insensitive about whether they live or die. He would not have held them for a deposit.


Although, I do realize that mothers milk is best...I felt like we didn't have much of a choice. We wanted to get them out of there. We are feeding soy-based baby milk..they are still eating, not as readily though. I do still help them excrete but, still no defication.


This definately seems like something genetic to me because the ones that were 1 week older (who were still on milk when we got them) are thriving and having no issues.


The only other thing I have noticed with them is that they don't seem to be getting bigger. At this point they should be slightly larger and with a better haircoat. I am sure this is something genetic going on.


This breeder is driving me crazy. Although he runs a "clean" (in the hygenic sense) operation..they don't care about genetic issues. They just breed until the mom gets too old then they kill her. If a rat dies they just throw it out. If it's sick they just kill it by unprofessional means.


Also, about taking them to a vet...I live in a very small town..and there is no exotic/pocket pet clinic around. I am a registered vet tech..so, I know lol.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-16-2009, 06:39 PM
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 10:23 AM Thread Starter
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The last one passed last night.


See my post on Adult Cannibalism please.


Thank you for all your help!
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 05:08 PM
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raising baby rats can be so difficult, make sure then are warm enough i put a little warm water bottle rapped in a wash cloth in the den with mine and they would snuggle up against it like it was there mother. i tried soy on them and i dont know if it was an alergy or what but they started getting thin pretty fast. i am alergic to dairy products so i bought goats milk from a local farmer. when i was talking to her she told me that many animals can drink it and it works very well. even shared her success story about when she raised a bunch of orphined kittens who loved the stuff. i tried it on my ratlets and they grew quite plump over time. i also tried adding baby vitemin added rice cerial witch they seemed to love aswell. so i dont know maybe you should try it. it worked for me
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 05:28 PM
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Sounds like they were just too young for you to keep alive. They are so tiny at that age and they cannot thrive without mom. I've been in an emergency situation before where I had to care for a litter of babies whose mother sadly died, and after talking to several vets and orphan animal caregivers, realized it was way too much for me to handle. So I went to the pet store, and ordered a lactating mother rat.


I don't mean to sound rude, but, it seems that all that happened was these babies suffered until death for weeks, as opposed to dieing for a purpose.


I would hope you don't plan on "saving" any more baby rats any time soon...
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-28-2009, 05:47 PM
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Well, like she said, sometimes its better not to try to save.
Unless baby hamsters are at 8-10 days old there is no saving them...just extending time and pain.

Its very sad...but its true. Dont take offense.



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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 01:20 AM Thread Starter
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I appreciate all of your comments and support. I certainly feel like this was a genetic issue, as all of these babies died suddenly only a few days away from being weaned.



These babies were about 2.5 weeks old when they died. and I think they were capable of thriving if they did not have a genetic issue. I absolutely DO plan on saving more. Although, it is a very difficult job to feed them every 2-3 hours and all the other "motherly" duties...it definately has its rewards...I feel that these babies lived at least a week longer because of us taking them in..instead of being thrown in a freezer or in a snakes mouth.



I'm sorry, but I do take offense when someone is telling me that I basically tortured baby rats for over a week when that is absolutely not the case. The 3 older babies (by 1 week) were on formula for over a week..and they were fine. Please be careful with your comments as you obviously did not throughly read my posts about age and time frames. I was not trying to save pinkies, as I would think THAT would be an almost impossible task.



On a brighter note, we found very loving homes for the 3 older babies! At least they will have a happy ending.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 02:49 AM
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 06:14 AM
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About this 20 posts deal, why not just put up links from your pic hosting site like photobucket?

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 06:17 AM
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Most babies that are under 2 weeks will not make it without a mom. The week-old's barely had a chance. They will seem like they are thriving and just die...I doubt it was genetic, its the way of life, and happens all the time.

I would stick with the older bubs...they are much more aware of their surroundings and their own life, and are likely to make it and able to be adopted out as wonderful and lucky pets. The young ones will break your heart. My vet told me that a girl kept going to reptile expos and pocketing week old babies and bringing them to her. Even with all her expertise very few made it. I would look into getting a lactacting mom next time you want to try with teeny weenies.

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 06-29-2009, 01:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TetedeMisere View Post
I appreciate all of your comments and support. I certainly feel like this was a genetic issue, as all of these babies died suddenly only a few days away from being weaned.



These babies were about 2.5 weeks old when they died. and I think they were capable of thriving if they did not have a genetic issue. I absolutely DO plan on saving more. Although, it is a very difficult job to feed them every 2-3 hours and all the other "motherly" duties...it definately has its rewards...I feel that these babies lived at least a week longer because of us taking them in..instead of being thrown in a freezer or in a snakes mouth.



I'm sorry, but I do take offense when someone is telling me that I basically tortured baby rats for over a week when that is absolutely not the case. The 3 older babies (by 1 week) were on formula for over a week..and they were fine. Please be careful with your comments as you obviously did not throughly read my posts about age and time frames. I was not trying to save pinkies, as I would think THAT would be an almost impossible task.



On a brighter note, we found very loving homes for the 3 older babies! At least they will have a happy ending.
I never claimed that they were pinkies. I am well aware of the growing stage of baby rats and what they look like at one week old.


I stand by what I said before.


It's not wise for you to "save" week old baby rats again, seeing as you couldn't keep these 7 alive. But that is just my opinion.


I guess I could be considered a "feeder breeder", but I, on the other hand, actually care about ALL of my rats. So when I hear something like this, it just seems like a waste to me.


Good to hear that the 3 older ones survived.
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