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Juno is sick :(

2503 Views 17 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Vladina
So I don’t know if you guys remember me, but I posted pictures a couple months back of my two rats, Juno and Layla. They’re six months old now.
So I had quite a scare this morning when I peeked into Juno and Layla’s cage and saw blood in their food dish. I took them both out of the hammock, and saw that there was something wrong with Juno. She was very lethargic and was moving strangely: she was all hunched up instead of stretched out when she walked. I’d held her the day before and noticed nothing wrong with her. I also couldn’t tell where the blood had come from. I was freaking out because I had to be at my high school to play with the band at graduation, and couldn’t take her to the vet. But luckily my dad was able to take her. It was horrible having to sit there for three hours not knowing what was wrong, especially when none of my friends really understood. When I told my friend Will why I was upset, he just looked like he was trying not to laugh and said, “I can always catch you another one from my basement”. :/
Turns out Juno has a urinary track infection. We were given antibiotics to treat her with. The more severe problem though (and I guess this could be related to the urinary track infection) is that she’s very dehydrated. For that we’re giving her electrolytes mixed with corn syrup four times a day. We’re also supposed to make sure she drinks, and keeping her in a warm environment. Right now I have her in the bathroom, sometimes running the shower to keep it warm in there.
I would just really appreciate some support or tips from you guys right now, because I’m certainly not getting any from my mom, who just keeps bugging me to study for finals. I’m really scared that Juno’s going to die, and I don’t know what I’d do then. I know I've taken very good care of my girls, but I can't help thinking this is something that I did. L
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aww i hope juno turns out to be ok
I hope the ABs make her feel better soon!

Just some general advice: always make sure she has 24/7 access to plenty of fresh water. You should also give her access to dry food, plus supplement her diet with fresh vegetables and some fruit. If she seems like she isn't drinking enough, you can give her some more water-heavy veggies, like lettuce or celery.
I am so sorry about Juno. :(
And yes, we all certainly remember her and Layla. You posted wonderful pictures of them awhile ago. Your father was very helpful and kind to take her to the vet for you. Hang in there and do whatever the vet advises as well as the great tips I know you will get on the forum. And as a supportive comment, don't pay any attention to the ignorant or mean spirited comments from friends at school or relatives who just don't understand how special and loving the relationship is between ratties and their people. We all love our ratties just like children and we know how special Juno and Layla are to you. I would have gone to the ends of the earth to save my two boys when they were sick. So we are here for you. Ignore the cruel comments you might hear. Just silly people who have not had the experience of how special our rat babies are to us. Hang in there, okay? And give my love to your girls. Keep us posted on how Juno does.
Good news: Juno seems to be doing better.

She's much more active and curious and is grooming herself, eating, and drinking. She's so good about taking her medicine--the electrolyte corn syrup mixture she'll just lap right up from the syringe, I don't have to force it at all. :) The antibiotics are harder because she doesn't like the taste, but one way I can tell that she's feeling better is that when I flip her over onto her back she struggles and pushes the syrings away with her little hands. She wasn't doing that this morning.

Breyer: both my girls always have access to fresh water, and I do give them fruits and veggies several times a week. I think the problem with the dehydration was that with the urinary tract infection make her urinate much more than usual, and she was losing the water she was drinking that way. Or maybe she just wasn't drinking for some reason. But I have a dish of water in the cage she's in now, and she seems to be drinking it. I took your advice and gave her some tomato, which I think also has high water content.

Layla is missing Juno. :( She runs around in the big empty cage looking for her, and when I walk by she clings desprately to the bars like "what have you done with my sister?!" D:
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Aww, poor Layla! She misses her sister! Does Juno have to stay in a separate cage for some reason or can you put her back with her sis? I just hope they both don't get depressed from being without each other? I am SO glad Juno is improving, what a relief!

When you said you flip her on her back for her there a reason this is done with ratties getting medication? Anyone know? We never flipped our rats on their backs for their medication so I was curious?
It's what the vet told my dad to do when he was there with her. Apparently it helps her swallow or something? I don't know any other way to do it, but if you know another way to give antibiotics from a syringe, that would be great, because she really hates it. x.x I can't get her to just lick up the antibiotics like I can with the corn syrup/electrolytes.

I have to keep Juno seperate for now because we have her in an environment with high heat (I think the vet said being cold had to do with either the infection or dehydration? I don't know). But we're going to put her back after 24 hours or so by herself. I wish I could put them back together now, too. :(
Yay, I am glad the girls get to be back together soon. :)

Yeah, as for the flipping a rat on its back for medication, I could swear I remember someone on the forum saying that their vet recommended that for some reason and that when they went to a vet who specialized in small animals, the second vet said that it was actually dangerous to do that with a rat and could cause choking or something similar? Anyone on the forum remember this? Hopefully some far more experienced veterans on this forum will chime in on this topic? :confused:

I used to put my rats' medication drops onto a soft piece of bread that would soak up the medication and then mask the icky smell and taste of the medication with something yummy, like a good dab of their favorite baby food. My own small animal vet actually said that many small animals she has treated tend to love pina colada flavored mix/syrup that you can get at the grocery store. Has that sweet coconut taste and seems to mask the bitter taste of meds. My boys would gobble up their "treat" of bread soaked in some baby food or pina colada flavored syrup, not knowing that there was yucky medication under it. And no trauma or stress of having to force a syringe in their mouth. :)
But, that was my vet so I know there are other opinions out there.
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UPDATE: Juno is back with Layla now, and they both seem very happy to be together again. Juno is still not quite herself, she's a shaky and her balance is a little off. But she's certainly better than she was. I can tell she's still dehydrated because when I pull some skin away it takes a couple seconds to go back into place, which is how you're supposed to tell. But she's drinking and I'm still helping her out with the electrolytes, and hopefully she'll be back to normal soon. :) We're going to take her to the vet again on Wednesday so he can take a look at her again.

Vlad: the idea with soaking a piece of bread with the medicine worked like a charm, thanks!! I'm giving Juno her antibiotics this way every time now. :D
I am so glad she is doing better, yay! And how great that she is back with her sister! I bet they are both very happy to be reunited. :)
So the bread soaking thing worked eh? Wow, she eats the bread with the antibiotics without you having to mask it with anything? I had to put our boys' favorite baby food on top of their bread/medication for them to eat it!
Yeah, I didn't have to mask it. Maybe it doesn't actually taste that bad? Who knows? :D I have to give her the piece of bread away from Layla because otherwise Layla will try to take it away, haha.
Ha ha, yep, it is impossible for one ratty to get any kind of food or treat without the other one saying, "HEY, what about me??" :D
So I'm continuing with the antibiotics (I put a little peanut butter on the soaked bread now, because she stopped eating just the bread), but it's getting harder and harder to get her to take her fluids--she won't just lick them out of the syringe anymore, and there's too much of it to do the soaked bread thing. I hate force-feeding her the fluids more than anything because it's extremely stressful for her and I feel like I'm losing her trust. I think we're probably going to schedule another vet appointment for Wednesday afternoon, because I don't feel comfortable stopping the fluids unless the vet tells us we can. She's still not completely back to normal--she's sleeping more than usual, and her eyes aren't quite as bright as Layla's. I can't help worrying a lot about her even though I know she's better than she was. I just want her to be happy and healthy. :(
Unless it's a Baytril suspension, my Russell will NEVER take his meds from the syringe. (Doxycycline is especially bitter, and he has never taken it willingly.) I am actually surprised that she's taken it from the syringe at all! What I always do for Russ is to make a mixture with the medicine using baby food squash, a drop of honey and the dose of medicine. I heat up the squash in the microwave for 15 seconds, put some of it on a spoon, measure the meds in the syringe and then dump it on the spoon with the squash, then add one small drop of honey. Mix it carefully with a little mixing stick (I use a chopstick!), and then he eats it that way.

Sometimes he likes to be picky, so if he stops eating it directly off the spoon, I put it on my finger and he'll lick it off that way.

If he refuses to lick it off my finger, I then mix in some rolled oats with the mixture, and he almost never refuses that!

Try this with Juno, and hopefully it won't be such a struggle!
It wasn't the medicine she was taking straight out of the syringe, it was the mixture of electrolytes and corn syrup that she was taking for dehydration. But she stopped doing it for some reason, I guess she got tired of the sticky texture and didn't want it anymore.

Thanks for the suggestion though! I'll try it when I give her the mixture next. :)
Yes, great suggestion from Breyer, I agree. Rolled oats and sweet flavors are so irresistable to ratties. I hope her suggestion works for you. It is so hard to force meds into your ratties when you know they stress out over being force-fed. I just never had the heart to do it with my boys, so I understand how you feel.
I didn't really have the heart to do it either: my dad had to do it most of the time because I'm too much of a softie to hold her and force-feed her fluids while she's obviously upset. :(

But good news: she doesn't need the fluids anymore. I talked to the vet today and told him that Juno's urine was clear now, and he said that basically meant that the antibiotics were working, the infection was clearing up, and she's probably no longer dehydrated. She's pretty much completely back to normal now: the improvement from just this morning is pretty huge. I'm so relieved. :)

Thanks, guys, for your support and suggestions. They helped a lot! :D I'll try and post some pictures of both Juno and Layla soon: I took a bunch over spring break that I never got around to uploading.
I am SO happy that Juno has improved so much, that is great news! Very relieved! You must be so happy to have her feeling better. Great to hear!! Can't wait to see new pictures of the girls. Hats off to your awesome Dad too, for helping with Juno. :D
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