View Full Version : Trouble giving meds for URIs... and another tumor.

01-01-09, 10:04 am
It's been awhile since I've posted here; life has been quite chaotic as of late.

Hopefully you all remember my girls Emmy and Sapphy. For a quick recap, I rescued them from being put to sleep in a college lab, but sadly they underwent many weeks of testing first. They were administered benadryl shots every day and forced to run on a treadmill to see what effect it had on their hearts. Poor babies! :weepy:

They've made great progress in the year that I've had them; they've upgraded cages several times from the 10 gallon fish tank they were in when I got them to a 60" tall, 30" wide, 30" long wire cage with lots of toys.

Everything has went well, with only one minor setback. Emmy developed a mammory tumor last summer; it was removed around July. Everything went well and she made a full recovery... but now it's back! I found it last week, right in the same spot. Now I'm not sure what to do. It cost $200 to remove it last time, and I'm currently in extreme financial distress. My pet medical fund is cleaned out due to a string of bad luck with one of my piggies. Also, if I do have it removed again, I'm not sure how her age and prior medical history may effect the recovery (she's a year and a half old). The vet suggests letting the tumor go until it causes her discomfort and then have her put to sleep, as the tumor will just keep coming back otherwise. The thought of that breaks my heart! I'm so unsure of what to do.

The other thing that is causing me incredible grief is that both girls have popped up with URIs. For Christmas, a friend thought it would be a good idea to get me another rat. Thoughtful, but she went about it the wrong way. She purchased the rat from PetSmart--obviously not considering how I feel about that place. To make matters worse, she risked even more: she simply stuck the new rat, who has since been named Bella, into the cage with Emmy and Sapphy while I was at work one day... thinking it would be a nice "surprise." Ok, ok... yeah, it was a nice thought, but NO. She didn't properly introduce them, as she knows nothing about rats, so thank goodness they got along and didn't fight. Secondly, Bella needed to be quarantined, especially coming from PetSmart.

Now, in the 2 1/2 to 3 weeks since I discovered little Bella in my girls' cage, Emmy and Sapphy have both began exhibiting symptoms of severe URIs! Bella has no symptoms. I assume that Emmy and Sapphy contracted the infection from her, although the stress of moving into a new cage in a new room with a new rat could have compounded the problem.

I noticed the girls seemed to be "snoring" when they were asleep; within a couple of days the sounds were coming from them even when they were awake and they had poryphrin (sp?), the red discharge, coming from their eyes. Their hair was all poofed up and they were much lazier than usual. They were also sneezing a good bit.

I consulted my vet and was prescribed Baytril. The bad thing is, although my vet is trained in exotics and used to treat them, she no longer does so and focuses her attention instead and dogs and cats. She made an exception for me, however, and performed Emmy's tumor removal. With the girls having URIs, however, her treatment has proven disappointing. She gave each girl a 10-day run of Baytril (pill form), despite my protesting, as I know they need at least 21 days worth. Today is day 3 of the medication, and Sapphy seems to be showing some signs of improvement already. Emmy, however, seems to be getting worse and won't accept her meds.

I tried crushing the pills up in whipped cream; Sapphy took it but Emmy would not after the first taste. Yesterday, I tried a small little bit of cake icing, thinking it would better conceal the bitter taste of the meds. Still, with Emmy I'm having no luck. I can only get about 1/2 a dose at most in her before she refuses anymore. I've tried having my fiance hold her while I give it to her orally through a syringe, but she squirms and I cannot for the life of me get the syringe in her mouth. I know this causes her more stress, which isn't what she needs right now, but I don't know what to do!

Emmy seems to be getting worse. She barely opens her eyes, and her breathing is hard and fast, causing her whole body to heave quickly over and over with each breath. She's very lethargic and uninterested in food.

Please, please, please... any suggestions you have on how to get these meds in her and any other way to help, please let me know ASAP! I'm scared she won't make it much longer.

Taking her to another vet isn't really an option at this point. The closest exotics vet is about 2 hours away and costs $75 just for the initial exam. Right now, I'm cleaned out financially.

Oh, and I've also been trying the "sauna" idea. I've let the bathroom get good and steamy and took them in their to see if that will help with their breathing. However, I'm worried about them getting too hot. How long should I be taking them in the steamy bathroom for? It gets awful warm in there!

Thanks so much for any and all suggestions!

01-02-09, 12:18 pm
Crush the pill and add it to some flavored water/juice/chocolate or strawberry syrup and syringe it to her. If she won't eat it in pill form with foods, this may be one of the only ways to get it into her. Just do it slowly and push the syringe back to the back of her mouth. If she fights a little at least you are still getting the meds into her. When I had to do AB's with my Izzy, she would fight me tooth and nail and it looked like she was getting distressed at times but I just took it slow and got the meds into her.

Usually when you do a steam bath, you only want to do it for a few minutes at a time and several times per day as needed. When you bring them out of the steam bath make sure they aren't cooling down too fast as it could make them sicker.

01-02-09, 07:17 pm
I'm very sad to say Emmy passed away.

I had tried everything I could think of to get the antibiotics in her with a syringe. Whipped cream, cake icing, baby food, juice... when she didn't resist the meds last night I knew it was bad news. She wouldn't swallow what I put in her mouth and she was lurching with every quick shallow breath. I let her breathe some steam in the bathroom, fed her Nutrical... she was barely responsive. She could only waddle... that's when I knew she wouldn't make it through the night. I've learned that when an ill animal begins to hobble/waddle to the edge of the cage, it isn't far from passing away. I've had both a rabbit and guinea pig do the same.

I sat with her and cuddled for hours last night, regardless of having to be at work early this morning. Emmy was never one to want to be picked up and cuddled; I always had to catch her to get her to come out of the cage. But last night every time I would put her back into her cage she would slowly waddle back over to the edge and wait on me to put my hand out before climbing back up my shirt and onto my shoulder. She didn't want to leave me. :weepy: It broke my heart to finally tell her goodbye and put her back in the cage with her sisters in the wee hours of the morning. I knew it would be the last time I saw her alive. She held on as long as she could. I don't think she wanted me to see her die. :weepy:

I've been an emotional disaster all day. She, along with her sister Sapphy, were my first two ratties. Emmy, being especially sweet, taught me to love rats just as much if not more than I do my GPs and dogs. So basically... I'm heartbroken.

Now I'm worried about Sapphy. She's looking a little better... but with the added stress of her sister being gone, I'm really worried she may take a turn for the worst.

RIP Emmy... have fun climbing all over the Rainbow Bridge, sweetheart. Momma loves you baby. :love:

01-02-09, 07:50 pm
Oh that is so horrible. I'm so sorry. :(

Does your friend know what happened so she won't try this again, maybe trying to cheer you up by getting you another? Myco and SDA are so so common in petstore rats. It might be a good idea to tell your friend this -- even going into a petstore without changing your clothes when you get home can infect your pets.

I really hope your other rat is okay and I hope you can find a vet who is better with rats. Good luck.

01-03-09, 01:05 pm
I'm very sorry for your loss.