Polyarthritis in rats (or so we suspect)

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If you’ve been following this blog for a while you’ll know that in January my one male rat Vodka suddenly seemed to have broken his right front paw. With some TLC and time it healed suprisingly well. Then, to my dismay, his left front paw started showing the same symptoms.

No sooner had Voddy healed from that (which I thought was just really bad luck and maybe just a sprain), than his right back foot suddenly flared up too! It was far more pronounced than with the other feet and I managed to get a few pics of it (to prove I’m not making this up, lol!)

When swelling started

When swelling started

Poor Voddy :(

Poor Voddy 😦

Limping away

Limping away

The next day: very bad swelling and pain

When it happened this third time I got the poor boy to the vet asap, as I’d realised that I might have been wrong about that ‘broken’ paw the first time. Three times on three different feet was just too weird…

At first, after some initial research, I thought it might be cardiomyopathy or another heart problem, which can sometimes manifest as recurring swelling on the limbs. That worried me! Heart problems in such a young buck? 😦

When the vet checked out the foot, however, he said it was too strange to only have signs of heart issues in one paw at a time. Also, he listened to Voddy’s heart and took an X-ray, both of which told him that Vodka’s heart is perfectly normal (praise God!).

But the X-rays did give the vet another clue: Voddy seems to have signs of arthritis in his swollen paw. The vet mentioned that dogs and cats can get a condition called polyarthritis, which often shows up in random joints and then disappears after a while. The vet didn’t know that it could happen to ratties too, but said that’s the most likely problem here.

Armed with a cocktail of Prednisone and Baytril to give to Voddy once daily, I left the vet’s feeling much better. Of course such strong meds are not a long-term solution, so I’ll have to research some dietary and other changes I could make to help a young rat with arthritis. But I’m hoping the initial treatment will reduce the pain and swelling on that poor precious pink paw!

One thing that really made me smile through all this was how Moon, Vodka’s best friend, made sure he was as close as possible to Voddy’s hospital cage so he could watch over him:

Company for a friend in need

Company for a friend in need

Can you see why these little animals have taken over my heart so completely? 🙂

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2 responses »

  1. Aw shame!
    I only had them in the sick bay if the big cage was dangerous for some reason (such as still being drunk after surgery ). They usually take care of their sick, like Moon is trying to do. I’ve even had the alpha chasing away others so the sick one could eat the yoghurt first; before he even had some himself.

    • Aww, so cute! Well we only kept him confined while his brothers were bouncing around like maniacs and hurting his poor paw. Now that he’s healing we’ve put him back with company and he’s the one terrorising them again 😀

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