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Pet Rats/Illness in a baby blue

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Question
My baby blue rat (about 2/3 months) has recently got a neural infection, his left eye is beyond saving and he has no balance and his left side of his body doesn't seem to be able to move normally. I've taken him to the vet and was given some antibiotics. However, I have two other babies, one is an albino and the other a pale grey. They are a fair bit bigger than him and seem to be being really rough with him, pushing him off the water bottle etc. I have moved him into a seperate cage until he gets better, but I'm not sure if this is right. I don't know if he will benefit from being with his brothers more or not. He is squeaking at random times so I think he might be in pain, but is still climbing and eating and drinking and playing as normal.
If you could give me any advice on how best to care for him until he gets better I'd be very grateful.

Answer
Hi Jane,
I'm sorry your baby is not doing well. Is he getting better on the treatment the vet is giving him?  I think you should keep him separated except for times you can be there to supervise their interactions. For pain you can give him ibuprofen. See the instructions in the First Aid article on my website at www.ratfanclub.org.

The best supplement for rats who aren’t eating well or who are losing weight is powdered infant formula from the grocery store.  (The liquid form goes bad too fast.)  The brand doesn’t matter because they’re all about the same (Wal-mart's store brand is cheapest).  They contain pretty much all the nutrients a baby needs, and they are 50% fat, so they help put the weight back on them fast. Most rat prefer the soy version to the milk version.

Mix the powder with water, juice or even Ensure.  You can mix it as thick or as thin as you need to.  Thick encourages intake of nutrients and can be fed off your finger, thin encourages intake of fluids.  Most rats love it and will lick it out of a little dish. You can also give it with an eyedropper or syringe. You can also soak or mix ground rat blocks in it.

The infant formula is nearly a complete diet for rats. The only nutrients the formula is short on for rats is the B vitamins.  When giving the formula long-term, add enough liquid vitamin B complex supplement to supply 1 mcg of B12 to each scoop of formula, or you can add ¼ Tablespoon of nutritional yeast (available at health food stores) per scoop of powder.  If your rat doesn’t like it, try adding a tiny drop of vanilla extract or other flavoring.  If that doesn’t work, try adding some whipped cream or ice cream.

If the formula is pretty much all your rat is eating, give about two scoops of the powder a day.  One scoop a day is enough if the rat is eating other foods. Feed your rat at least 3 times a day.  A 1-lb. rat can eat about 10 ml of formula at a time, and needs to take in about 30 ml of fluid each day. A smaller or larger rat will need proportionally more or less formula. The formula should supply all the fluid he needs; additional plain water is not usually necessary.

I highly recommend my Rat Health Care booklet which includes this and a lot more helpful info.  You can find more info about the booklet on my website at www.ratfanclub.org on the Books page.
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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