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Pet Rats/3 month old rat seizure

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Question
I have two 3 month old female rats that I acquired when they were only a month old. Two days ago I moved them from a one level cage to a larger 3 level cage. I've had their cage in my room since I moved them and hadn't noticed anything until 4am last night. I heard commotion coming from the cage (louder than when they usually have a scuffle), as soon as I turned the light on the commotion stopped. I found my one female at the bottom of the cage on her hind legs staring at nothing and my other female still on the top level in their bed. A few hours later, around 8am, I heard the noises again -- I didn't turn my light on and instead went right up to the cage and saw my female, again, at the bottom of the cage but caught her moving erratically. As soon as I turned my light on she stopped but had her mouth clenched around one of the bars -- I adjusted her mouth so that she would let go and moved her back into the older one level cage just to keep a better eye on her.

Both times after the episodes I took her out and she was very, very calm sitting in my lap. After 2-3 minutes she was back running around like crazy on her wheel like her normal self. I've been keeping an eye on her all day and haven't seen another episode in 8+ hours. She has been drinking water but I haven't noticed her eating too much. She is quite a bit thinner than my other female but I never took too much notice because she hasn't had any issues eating previously.

I was wondering if you could give me any insight as to whether this may be a seizure (and if so, how common is it for such a young rat to show those signs?) or if it may be something else. (I did read in another question/answer that it may have something to do with her estrous cycle.) -- I have been checking the internet for videos of rat seizures and although some of them look somewhat similar, none of them seem to snap out of theirs the way she did as soon as I turned the light on.

Answer
Hi Corrine,
I agree that it is atypical of a seizure for her to snap out of it so quickly. There are different severities of seizures though. It isn't common for young rats to have seizures, but I do have one now who apparently had a few seizures before I got him, but since then he has been fine. So it is possible for them to have a temporary problem with seizures.  I don't know what else it would be, and I've never heard of anything like this associated with their estrus cycle. When a rat is in heat, she can be more jumpy and active, however.

What is their diet?
Deb

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Debbie Ducommun

Expertise

I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at www.ratfanclub.org/helpfinfo.html. If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.

Experience

I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

Organizations
President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

Publications
I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

Education/Credentials
BA in Animal Behavior

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