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halfwaynowhere
02-08-2010, 02:32 PM
About three weeks ago, two of my rats got out. I caught one after four days, but the other one was loose until just after midnight this morning.

When I caught her, I put her back in her cage (which is now escape-proof), and noticed she was acting funny. At first I thought she was just sort of crazy from being put back into captivity from being free for a while, but the more I watched her, the more I realized something was wrong.

She appears to be completely blind. She seems to be bug-eyed more than normal for rats. And she is moving her head all over the place- up, down, side to side. She's clumsy. There is definitely something seriously wrong with her.

I fear she may have gotten into some sort of chemicals. I haven't found anything yet that has been chewed, but I've got all sorts of hair products, makeup, and other chemical stuff all over my room. Who knows what all that junk can do to a little ratty?

I'm torn. I know rats live fairly simple lives, and are incredibly adaptable. She doesn't appear to be in pain, but with all that crazy movement, I can't help but wonder if she's suffering, or if its just something she'll get used to.

Her sister and buddy seem to be helping her out. They immediately took to cuddling with her. I had moved the cage to a different part of my room, and moved the water bottle to the other side of the cage so it was easier for my to get to, so she didn't know where to find it, but as soon as her sister took a drink, she ran right up to it and got a drink for herself.

I'm sure she's beyond any sort of treatment at this point. I just have to figure out what her quality of life is going to be life, and decide whether to let her live, or have her euthanized.

Any insight on how to determine quality of life for a rat? She's eating and drinking, and has been keeping herself clean (her coat was nice and soft when I found her, so she's been taking care of herself). Anything in particular I should be looking for? This is a hard decision.

Tiggy
02-08-2010, 02:49 PM
There really is no easy answer for this one. I'm sure someone else in the community with more knowledge might be able to offer you some practical advice and/or assistance. Unfortunately the best I can do is express my empathy for this difficult situation.

I had two pet rats years ago, and they were such a joy to have around! I still miss them to this day. I just can't imagine what you must be going through right now. I really hope you find an answer you can live with.

*hugs*

Exo
02-08-2010, 03:24 PM
How old is the rat?

halfwaynowhere
02-08-2010, 05:41 PM
How old is the rat?

She's pretty young, probably around 4-5 months old.

Teal
02-08-2010, 07:24 PM
:( I'm sorry to hear.. it's just so hard when you can't figure out what's going on.

If she is eating/drinking/grooming/acting normal aside from the weird head movements.. she could have experienced head trauma while she was lose, or - like you said - maybe gotten into some chemicals. For the post part - after exposure to chemicals, it can take up to 7 days to kill a rat.

Also, there is the possibility of an ear infection.. that would cause her to shake her head all around and appear disorientated because it throws off their equilibrium.

I would take her to the vet, and have a vet check her over... if she doesn't find any internal issues, you may just have to wait it out.

Shell
02-08-2010, 08:22 PM
:( I'm sorry to hear.. it's just so hard when you can't figure out what's going on.

If she is eating/drinking/grooming/acting normal aside from the weird head movements.. she could have experienced head trauma while she was lose, or - like you said - maybe gotten into some chemicals. For the post part - after exposure to chemicals, it can take up to 7 days to kill a rat.

Also, there is the possibility of an ear infection.. that would cause her to shake her head all around and appear disorientated because it throws off their equilibrium.

I would take her to the vet, and have a vet check her over... if she doesn't find any internal issues, you may just have to wait it out.



Having been a vet tech for 7 years, I 100% back up everything Teal just said :) Good luck with your rat, hope everything works out. They are great pets.