Pancake (pregnant rat) update. - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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Pancake (pregnant rat) update.

Long story short: the vet I chose to possibly do the espay--one of the highest rated rat vets in Chicagoland--got the flu and had to cancel our appointment last Monday. We rescheduled for tomorrow, and I just got a call that she's still sick and our appointment has now been pushed back until next Tuesday.

I'm positive it will be too late for the espay by then and, to be honest, it probably would've been too late (or Pancake would've been too small) this week.

So, here's where we're at: I temporarily separated Mooshoo and Pancake in the rare case she wasn't pregnant. They both became very stressed at being alone and, when it became clear that she IS (she's not growing in the belly each day), I put them back together. They are MUCH happier.

If I had to guess, I'd say she's got 8-10 days left, and then she's going to give birth. I've been watching for hair loss around her nipples and for nesting behaviors. Nothing yet. Though, she has grown MUCH more timid, and she doesn't want to play as much. She was SO social and playful before. Is that normal?

I've been doing as much research as I can, and I understand that, in a few more days, I'll need to separate them and create a birthing habitat. I do have some questions, listed below. I really do appreciate all of the feedback.


1. Will Mooshoo (the male) be okay being alone for 5-6 weeks? I plan on putting the cages side-by-side.

2. Pancake will likely be 7-8 weeks old when she gives birth. Is that too young? Anyone had experience with mothers that young?

3. We will want to have her spayed as soon as we can after the birth. We'll likely need to wait until the pups are weaned, right? We want to do it ASAP so that we can get her and Mooshoo back together ASAP.

4. Since they will likely be in separate cage for 5-6 weeks, will Mooshoo and Pancake be able to re-bond once they are back together?

5. We won't be able to keep all of the babies. We will do our best to get them adopted into loving homes, and we will take the rest back to the pet store. Will Pancake resent us for taking her pups? As I said before, she is the sweetest rat. Will she stay sweet after the pups are gone?

6. Anyone in Chicagoland interested in adopting some blue dumbo pups?

Thanks, again, for all of the input!


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-03-2013, 07:56 PM
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It's understandable for Pancake to be a bit nervous. Her hormones are going crazy and she's only a baby herself so she doesn't understand what she's feeling.

Mooshoo will not be very happy kept alone for 6 weeks but he won't die. He's at his most playful age for the next few months now and all that time he's going to want to run around and play with his friend who for reasons he can't understand will be locked away just out of reach on the other side of the bars. Still, you don't really have any choice besides adopting another male to keep him company, and then spaying Pancake after her ordeal, reintroducing her and having a trio of rats in the end.

7 weeks old is very young and will be a strain, but she should be okay. Give her extra protein any way you can - cooked chicken or fish, dog biscuits, anything to help her little body with the burden of giving birth and then feeding the little guys. The only rats I've had give birth were well-grown adults though.

Once the pups are at least 5, maybe even 4 weeks old she can be spayed and reintroduced. Mooshoo would probably be ecstatic to have his friend back and you should have no difficulties with them together.

She won't mind you taking away her pups so long as they have already been weaned and are no longer dependent on her. My rats didn't get upset. I don't imagine they know that you took them and they didn't just leave on their own though. Maybe don't let her see you take them if you're concerned.

It is sometimes very hard to find homes for baby rats because they aren't exactly loved by the general public. Post ads on all the classified sites, in papers, on bulletin boards at grocery stores, everywhere and start now. Do be aware that any babies sent back to a pet shop may have a 50/50 (or in some stores almost 100) percent chance of ending up inside of a snake's stomach whether or not advertised as such by the store. Even petco sells indiscriminately to anybody and though they often take in litters for free, they then "adopt" them out for free as well, oftentimes as free snake food. I once saw one guy "adopt" 11 baby rats at once for free there. The only store that tries as much as possible to keep from selling to snake owners is PetSmart but they don't take in litters.

Also be aware she may not pregnant at all. My little Ginger, at the age of 6 weeks, swelled up noticeably more and more each day for 5 days and then it went away completely. I don't quite know why but she never had babies. She's 10 weeks old now and the friendliest little rat ever.

You won't be dissapointed with a girl rat either. They're so playful and curious they always want to explore and play. Although they won't want to cuddle all the time like a male (but sometimes for sure!), they more than make up for it with their antics. They also smell a million times better than the cleanest male and, unlike every male I've had, take to litter box training extremely well too. All of my current rats are girls but I've had males before.

I'm in Northwest Indiana and I'd love to take them if I could but I already have 5 rats and simply cannot keep any more.

And it's probably too much of a hike for you depending on what part of Chicagoland you're located in, but there is a great vet in Chesterton (Indiana) who is very cheap, if a rat ever gets ill.
He once treated a sick rat of mine who suffered from terrible respiratory issues with antibiotics for two months and didn't charge me a penny.

I wish you the best of luck with your little guys. If Mooshoo does end up alone for so long give him as much attention as you can whenever you can, as it'll be all he'll have.

Last edited by Hidden Walrus; 01-03-2013 at 08:12 PM.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 05:52 AM
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I am going to re-post what I put up on Goose...

So far I see a possibly pregnant rat, she might not be pregnant at all, BUT you keeping them together will ENSURE a pregnancy and a potentially risky pregnancy and labour which you are trying to prevent. You need to remove her from him UNTIL she's spayed. You need to weigh her daily with a digital scale to see if she's gaining pregnancy rat rather than baby growing fast weight. You think she's at 11-14 days? This is when weight gain truly starts, and at 6 weeks MOST vets will not spay as she's too small.

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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-04-2013, 11:17 AM
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Also, is Pancake the blazed rat? If so, she may be a high-white carrier, especially if she came from a pet shop, which would complicate things even further. There is a sticky about it on the forum.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-05-2013, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for this thoughtful responses. You've all been a great help. I've separated them, only letting them run around together briefly and under my watch. They still seem very stressed when they aren't together, but hopefully I'll know more after Tuesday's vet appointment.


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-05-2013, 07:39 AM Thread Starter
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PS--Pancake is not the "blazed" rat (had to look up what that meant), she's the solid blue. However, I'll keep an eye on Mooshoo (the one with white markings) just to be safe.


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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-05-2013, 12:07 PM
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Keep us updated.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:06 PM Thread Starter
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Will update tomorrow. Vet appt. in the morning.


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 05:03 PM Thread Starter
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Update: By some kind of new year miracle, Pancake is NOT pregnant. I can't explain the round, full tummies that convinced me she was, but that's gone, too.

She's getting spayed on Friday morning and the vet said that I should keep them together until then to eliminate stress. If she does get pregnant in the next few days, it'll be early enough not to matter for the spay.

After the surgery, she'll have to stay in a separate cage for two weeks. So, I'll have to make sure they have plenty of play time together to prevent any re-bonding issues after the two weeks is up.

And I'm a little worried about her chewing on her stitches, which rodents are prone to doing.

Hopefully, all will go well!

Truth be told, I'm a teeny tiny bit disappointed. I know it's best for her and for us, but it would've been fun to have some rattie pups.

Thanks, again, for all of your help!


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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Also, I've been concerned about lots of sneezing. The vet couldn't detect any URI, and she said that--likely because they're pet store rats--they may just be "sneezy rats" forever.


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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 10:50 PM
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Hmm, well good luck anyway. Hopefully she will do well with the spaying


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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 06:14 PM
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How did she do with her spay surgery? Sorry I missed this thread but I hope they sent you home with oral metacam to give her. IF they didn't go pick up infant liquid ibuprofen (Advil grape flavoured, dye-free is one most rats love) to keep her pain controlled. THIS is the main reason rats will pick, if they don't get any or enough pain medication.

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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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She did great. Woke right up from anesthesia and started eating. She got her second dose of metacam this morning, and she seems like her normal self. I'm really surprised at how quickly she seemed to bounce back.

Mooshoo (our male), on the other hand, is stressing me out.

Of course, we had to separate them for a couple weeks while Pancake heals. Truth be told, I think we're going to go ahead and schedule a neuter for him. They are fighting a bit because he tries to mate, and I don't see that stopping, even if she's spayed now.

But ever since the day she went to surgery, he's been making some strange respiratory noises. My wife is joking that I've become a hypochondriac about them, Googling "rat noises" all the time. But I just want them to be healthy!

Mooshoo's noises either sound like a guinea pig type of grunting/squealing or he has little sneezing fits. Keep in mind, he was just at the vet this past Tuesday for a check-up, and the vet said his lungs sounded clear. Maybe he developed something between then and now?

He's still pretty active, eats a lot, and there's no discharge of any kind. When I listen to him, he sounds clear, but I'm no expert.

Should I wait it out a couple of days? Is it just the new cage? Or should I take him back to the vet and ask for some antibiotics?


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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 06:15 AM
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Yay! Glad to hear she's recovering well.

As for Mooshoo, I'd be inclined to doubt it's the cage. Go ahead and take him in. Rats as a rule are not vocal unless something is wrong. He may be starting with an upper respiratory infection URI.

Rats commonly carry a bacterium in their little bodies called mycoplasmosis or myco for short. It is harmless to humans, but it is very contagious, extremely difficult to get rid of, and constantly attacks their little bodies, specifically their lungs and in females, their genitals. It's so contagious that it's very difficult to find a rat in the US who doesn't carry it. Occasionally, usually due to stress, a rat's immune system will drop and the myco flares up causing inflamation, which leads to a secondary infection in the form of URI, or if it attacks a little girl's genitals, a UTI or other genital related infection.

Once an infection takes hold, the only treatment is a round of the right kinds of antibiotics.

The best 'prevention' (not really a prevention so much as a minimizer of attacks) is keeping a low stress environment (difficult, but we do our best), having a healthy diet, keeping the temperatures in the room from dipping too low, keeping good air quality in their environment, keeping a clean cage, and lastly obtaining rats from a proven breeder who breeds for strong immune systems.

Rats are going to be prone to more myco flare ups anyway as they age due to lowered immune systems, but for younger rats, the sooner you treat a flare up and secondary infection the better. It's much easier if caught early, and minimizes scarring on the rat's lungs. Some rats are just prone to more flare ups and infections and have to stay on a chronic maintenance round of antibiotics their whole lives. This is not good for the rat obviously, and not good to prevent antibiotic resistant strains of the myco, but it happens.


So, in short, go ahead and take your boy in. He may not be having a myco flare up, but if he is you want to treat it aggressively.


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