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help please

1225 Views 11 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Judy Fuller
Three weeks ago I got two 6 week old females and a female rat that was about 6 months old. They were real friendly and ate and drank good. The second day one was sneezing so I took her to the vet and he said to put all three of them on antibiotics. They have one more week to take it but one of the younger ones is acting real odd. She tips her head to one side and runsaround in circles, some times she falls over on her side. She is still eating and drinking good, but someting is wrong. Did she have a stroke? She still wants me to hold her. If anyone knows what is wrong please let me know!
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Sounds like she might have head tilt from the extended illness. I don't have any personal experience with head tilt, so I'm afraid I can't be of much help, but there are several people on this forum who do, so hopefully they will let you know what to do. :)
Yes, she developed an inner ear infection, like we sometimes do when we get sick. It has resulted in her developing "Head Tilt" sometimes called "Wry Neck" a somewhat common problem with rats. Basically their inner ear balance mechanism becomes damaged and they can't get their bearings. They are constantly dizzy.

I know they're on AB's (antibiotics) but you probably will want to take her back to the vet and let her know of this new condition. He/she may want to treat differently, more aggressively, or check to see if there isn't some other underlying cause for her problems.

But assuming what she has is caused by an inner ear infection, and you're treating the infection effectively...

I've got a tilty girl, but I got her after her after her active infection was done. This is what I've gathered together in my experience with her and talking to others. Your goal is to get her condition stabilized as you're doing with the AB's. It might clear up her head tilt, but often it doesn't.

If the tilt does not disappear after the active infection is successfully treated, they learn to adapt to their new constant state of dizziness. As long as it's not too severe, they'll often learn to walk in a straight line again after a while and deal with the worst of balance issues.

They are special needs once they get head tilt, and need a little extra sensitivity to their limitations. What Lispaz (our resident special needs rat lady) told me; They prefer having a 'roof' over their heads, in their cage and otherwise because it seems to help fix their horizon line and make them more secure. They don't like to be held and carried because I'm thinking it's now equivalent to if we climbed onto the "Twirl and Hurl" ride at the local carnival. Lilspaz says when she holds/carries them, she immediately pulls them up under her chin (roof) and holds them close to help them feel more stable. My Aggie seems to feel more secure when I do that to her.

In addition to balance problems-- which you may need to deal with by removing dangerous drops from her world, they also tend to lose their ability to judge bite pressure initially and are more mouthy. It's almost like they use their teeth to balance themselves.

My little girl was quite mouthy with me when I first got her. She'd apply just enough pressure to hurt, similar to when rats 'test' your finger to see if it's food or friend, but harder. Don't yank your hand when she applies pressure, as that will both increase the odds of you being hurt and will also possibly reenforce the behavior. Instead, just hold very still and give a high pitched mousey 'eeek' sound to let her know she's hurting. They will back off.

Aggie no longer puts her teeth on me at all, and didn't after the first couple of days.

I've also noticed that Aggie seems more manic in her behavior. She doesn't amble around, she races. She doesn't say hello, she crashes over you. This is compared to my other rats. I don't know her personality before she got head tilt. It may be that she's just naturally a hyper nutty girl, but it's probably related to her balance issues throwing off her perceptions.

Other than that, just love on her and enjoy her new quirky outlook on life. :)

Spaz will be able to give you good advice on care and long term implications.

Here's some care links dealing with ear infection and head tilt: (scroll down a bit to find the Q dealing with head tilt)

Hope some of this helps, and keep us updated.
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Here's another link about a congenitally tilty rat and her owner's opinion of prognosis and life span. I like that the owner gave her a special cage without ramps and had plexiglass around the base to prevent falls:
Since Story covered all the big stuff I just have one question.

What antibiotic were you given for the sneezes?
Please help

First off, Thanks everyone who answered my plee! The information is wonderful!! Today she is doing better, ate some banana and pumpkin seeds from my hand, I removed the ramps from their three story cage so she has the bottem floor and can't fall. I put an extra nest box in for her, then had to put a bigger one in cause the other two want to sleep with her. The medicine they are getting is Vibramycin Suspension and they will keep taking it till the 8th. Before this happened she was real friendly and would rather climb on me than play with the other two, and she still wants me to hold her (all the time). I don't have a vet close to me that is good with rats and mice but when this medicine is done and she still acts like she needs help I'm going to take her into Portland to a vet that deals with rodents. Thanks again everyone!!
Ahh I thought so. Doxycycline/Vibramycin is not usually strong enough to combat an inner ear infection. I prefer doxycycline added to another antibiotic like baytril not used on its own.

Her inner ear infection was probably brewing and the doxy wouldn't keep it down, so it flared up while ON antibiotics.
please help

I bought her some chicken/veggy and some turkey/rice baby food cause someone said she might have trouble with harder food, she takes the pumpkin seeds but doesn't eat them. ( I will try to get her to a vet tomorrow. Thanks everyone!
You might also want to pick up flavoured baby cereal and moisten it with water...better for her than proteins /baby food.

Good news! My baby girl is doing real well, she's eating great, I got her the cerial and she ate a yogie last night. Her head isn't tillted anymore and she is just a little unsteady walking. Could she have had a stroke instead of the ear problem? She never had ear drainage. Her coat was real soft and shinny but now it is dry and brittle looking, hope that changes soon. Anyway thank you for the sites and advice. Wednsday is her last AB dose and the vet said as long as she kept improving just keep doing like I am andlove her lots! I named her Fawn when I first got her but as much money as I've spent so far maybe I should call her Cash!:talk:
Was her fur shiny and healthy or like overly shiny? Cause they usually get oily looking when they are sick, atleast mine did. I was always told super shiny was not healthy. I may be wrong, vlad or lilspaz could better verify that one i guess. I know the feeling of spending lots on a rattie girl, i spent a decent chunk on Isabel. I got her from the local petco, she is missing her right eye so i got her and immediately took her to the vet, it was a little pricey but it was worth it all to know that she was actually extremely healthy minus the obvious eye issue. And she was also put on meds a month later due to a respiratory issue, she is perfect now! I am so glad to hear that Fawn is doing well!!! Keep us updated :)

No it wasn't really shinny, just real healthy looking. I have been giving her cantalope and watermelon because I could never catch her drinking and wanted her hydrated, plus all my girls love it, anyway I had a really large one so I dryed the seeds and they all liked them. If anyone knows the value of the seeds please let me know. :)
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