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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi there, I’m a new rat owner as of about 2 ½ weeks ago – I’ve had gerbils, hamsters, and mice, but never rats. I’m so excited to have them! :D

A little history… I have 2 females, an albino (Grace) and a brown & white hooded (Ari).

Grace was the more curious and outgoing one when I first brought them home. She climbed all over the 3 story cage. About a week or so ago, I noticed Grace wasn’t using her left back leg at all. No bruising, swelling, deformity, etc. She just wasn’t using it. Over the past week, she’s started putting more and more pressure on it, but still not 100%. Also, she hasn’t grown at all. She’s tiny. She eats and drinks ok from what I can tell. She’s gotten much less active, I think I’ve only seen her to eat and drink the last couple days. Today, I noticed that her head is always slightly cocked to the right and she puts more weight on her right side when she walks, making her pretty clumsy looking. She uses her left side, but I think she’s leaning to the right. It’s really weird.

Ari… she’s obviously the dominant one. She’s grown, put on some weight, very active. She’s all over the place. But she bullies Grace SO much. If Grace is up, Ari is pouncing on her, pulls her from ledges in the cage, steals food from her. Never draws blood or anything like that, but there’s an awful lot of squeaking when she decides she needs to ‘interact’ with Grace.

Couple questions. I know Grace needs to see a vet, she obviously has a problem. Do you guys have any insight into what her issue is? Also, do you think I need to separate them? I know rats play and I know it’s natural to have a dominant in the cage, but Ari seems super rough on Grace.

Any suggestions or insight would be truly appreciated!! Thanks for reading!
Liz
 

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canis lupus familiaris
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Some...SOME albinos for whatever reason have trouble seeing. The issue is also seen in some siamese rats as well.
 

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Rat Rescuer and Hospice
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The first issue with her left leg sounds like a mild sprain...these resolve on their own usually.

The 2nd one is very serious, her being young and with a head tilt, means she most likely has an inner ear infection. This can affect her growth or she may be a tiny rat. But inner ear infections hurt, and make you sick and dizzy so she needs antibiotics from a rat vet.

Do you have a vet who will treat all your little pocket pets?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks so much for replying so fast and for that info, I wasn't even considering inner ear.... I called a couple vets around that advertise they specialize in small animals, but I have yet to actually see one to know for sure how "specialized" they are.
 

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Rat Rescuer and Hospice
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She will need baytril as a minimum for antibiotics, maybe baytril and doxycycline, or even bactrim/septra or clavamox work well for inner ear infections. Amoxiciilin is useless and the other tetracyclines as well. I would medicate for at least 3 weeks, as inner ear infections take awhile to cure.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, thanks so much, I see the vet Friday. What do you think about separating them? Ari is pretty rough on Grace.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Grace can't be up and about without Ari jumping on her. No blood or anything like that, but Grace squeaks every time Ari does this and doesn't stop until they're separated. Grace can be sitting on any ledge in the cage and Ari will run by and pull her down. It's about the best I can describe it. Just seems like a lot for no reciprocation from Grace.
They've been together as long as I've seen them, which unfortunately is only a few weeks. I got them from a shelter and I was told they were given up together. They are very young, their bodies without their tails are no more than 6" long, Grace is smaller. I expected them to play, but thought this was sort of excessive.
 

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Rat Rescuer and Hospice
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Grace can't be up and about without Ari jumping on her. No blood or anything like that, but Grace squeaks every time Ari does this and doesn't stop until they're separated. Grace can be sitting on any ledge in the cage and Ari will run by and pull her down. It's about the best I can describe it. Just seems like a lot for no reciprocation from Grace.
They've been together as long as I've seen them, which unfortunately is only a few weeks. I got them from a shelter and I was told they were given up together. They are very young, their bodies without their tails are no more than 6" long, Grace is smaller. I expected them to play, but thought this was sort of excessive.
If Grace is sick, then she won't play or want to be pounced on. I would take Ari out more often and see if you can wear her down a little while her sister rests on or near you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Your advice has worked great - Ari is much calmer around Grace in the cage already. And I noticed that Grace has a little more energy this morning, she almost seemed back to normal. I got my vet appointment moved to this afternoon, I'll let you know what she says. Thanks again for all the info!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well I saw the vet yesterday and today I picked up Grace's antibiotics, she has a Baytril/Doxycycline mix. The vet agrees with you that it is probably an inner ear infection unless it's a trauma-related issue from when she hurt her leg. So she'll be on this for about a month and hopefully we'll see an improvement. Thanks again for all of your advice, it's really helped!
 

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Well I saw the vet yesterday and today I picked up Grace's antibiotics, she has a Baytril/Doxycycline mix. The vet agrees with you that it is probably an inner ear infection unless it's a trauma-related issue from when she hurt her leg. So she'll be on this for about a month and hopefully we'll see an improvement. Thanks again for all of your advice, it's really helped!

Awesome!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, it's been about a week since Grace has been on the antibiotics. I've followed the prescription exactly. She was doing great for a few days, remarkable energy and playfulness. She was looking great.... until last night. I noticed she hadn't come out to eat or do anything all evening. She seems very lethargic and just tired. I sat with on the couch all night with her cuddled up in a blanket and she just slept and slept. This afternoon, I woke her up to give her the medicine and she was very heavy on her right side, almost walking around in circles because she was so unbalanced. I had to leave her like that while I went to work and I don't get off shift for another 2 hours. I'm going to call the vet about it when they open and hopefully get her in today.
 

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oh no... i hope and pray that little grace is ok.. get her to the vet asap...
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
My vet isn't in until tomorrow afternoon, so we're waiting until then. And it's just unbelievable, Grace is a thousand times better today all of a sudden. She's still clumsy looking when she walks, but definitely not the lethargy that I saw the other day. She eats and drinks and plays with Ari... I have no idea what to do with her.
I also wondered about what 'Blacksheep' wrote about blindness after my initial post. Watching Grace walk around, it really looks like she might be blind in one eye. She uses her whole left side to walk and look around, almost like she can't see out of her right eye. Would that explain her clumsiness?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update. The blindness seems to be worse. She sniffs everything like crazy like it's the only way she knows how to get around. She walks backwards without any regard for what may or may not be behind her. When she's out of the cage, I have to watch her like a hawk because she'll just walk right off the couch like it's nothing. She'll walk around in tight circles sometimes like she's trying to find something. But all in all, she can get around the cage really well and has no problem climbing in and out of hammocks, getting to the food, finding water, etc.
And Grace saw the vet again. The vet thinks whatever was causing the head tilt and other symptoms is now progressing neurologically. She agrees that Grace has some sight issues. Right now she's still eating and drink great, she's gained some weight (was only 92 grams, but is now 148 grams!), and quality of life is good. I just have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she's not suffering and continues to thrive, but otherwise I have myself a special needs rat now. :)
 

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Aww.. Poor little Grace... Please give her some loving from us and Hector the Rat.


So did you talk to the vet about blindness? Is she really blind? Or does he think its something neurological? And she has gained 56 grams.. thats like half her original body weight. So I guess she was under fed. Keep giving them lots of attention and love.. Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The vet said there wasn't a good test for blindness since they don't have pupils that react like a dog or cats do. Just by the way she walks and acts, the vet said it really seems like she's not seeing well. Not sure on the cause, but she really thinks its got to do with whatever was causing her initial head tilt issue. A lot of know knowing for sure.
She's running around playing with Ari right now, so I think everything will be ok as long as nothing gets worse. Thanks for all the love and support, Grace, Ari, and I really appreciate it!
 

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Poor Grace, I am sorry she has some troubles. Sounds like your vet is trying everything to determine what the root of the problem is. I am glad she has you to help her and look out for her. She is such a sweetie pie. So is she doing better with Ari now, as far as Ari being less of a bully and so forth? Let us know! Loved the new photos you posted. Adorable girls. :heart:
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Yeah, they're much better. After the antibiotics were started, Grace got her energy back, but then the vision problems came into play. She gets around really well and definitely can hold her own when Ari wants to play. She seems like a perfectly healthy, although probably mostly blind, rat. The vet never did find anything out about what might be causing Grace's sight issues... leave it to me to stump a vet every time :rolleyes:
 
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