"Special" Rat?

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katievonlou
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"Special" Rat?

Post by katievonlou » Wed Jun 10, 2009 4:46 pm

this might sound like the most stupid question, but how can you tell if you have a "special needs" rat - i don't mean in the sense of head tilt, etc...i mean maybe mentally special?

the reason i ask is because of mini-moo....back story:
mini-moo came to us with her sister milly and while milly was lovely and healthy mini-moo was very tiny (only way we could tell them apart then as they are both PEW dumbos) and we noticed her head shape is very different to any rat we've seen.. now that they are a bit older mini-moo has shot up in size and is actually bigger than milly, however her face and head is still a different shape - it's as if her face is swollen (quite fat cheeks, small eyes) i've taken her to vets numerous times (for different vets opinions) and on every occasion they've said she's very healthy and can't see anything wrong :-|

i've had comments from people who's first words who've met her have been "oh she looks a bit downs syndrome" "she looks weird" :-| ... don't ask!

i'll try and get some photos of her if she'll let me - she's a very jumpy girl...

if anyone can shed any light on this it would be fantastic :D i thought i was being weird when i said she "looked" different, but now others have commented on it maybe i'm not being so weird :-?
katie & the fuzzy butts
ernie, trilbee, hubble, bertie, toots, tiddy, tinker, harley, ivy, merlin, percy, arthur, pip,
sid, pee-wee, elmo, oscar, leia, milly, mini-moo, mama T & lottie

:halo: bluey louie - my beautiful little angel xx

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OllySmirnyAJ
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by OllySmirnyAJ » Wed Jun 10, 2009 5:24 pm

Does she just look different or does she have physical issues such as weak muscles, problems with co-ordination, visual or auditory impairment?

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Marianimal
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by Marianimal » Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:43 pm

*waves*

Piggles is exactly the same - very big, big weird shaped head and teeny tiny piggy eyes!

The Vet has looked at his eyes and he has tiny pinprick pupils and is most likely either totally blind or has very limited eyesight. I took him to see the Vet for a check-up because he kept bumping into things - literally just walking into them - and he bit me quite badly a couple of times where I'd frightened him as he didn't know I was there!

His balance is also really poor; he'll be having a scratch and just tip over, or washing and then he's on his back or side - amusing, but not for poor Piggley! :lol: :oops:

I have looked at photographs of rats with hydrocephalus and he looks just like them! I mentioned this to the Vet and she agrees that it's some kind of brain damage. - I actually wonder if it's hydrocephalus, if his skull is pressing on something that's making his growth hormones go a bit wonky.

Piggly also looks "a bit downs" as well! He gets along fine, but he frightens really easily - I'll put him down and then he'll run in whatever direction he thinks I'm lurking (normally the wrong one :lol: ) to try and attack me.

I'm sure I'll think of other stuff h does that's a bit wonky!
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by GeekyGoth » Wed Jun 10, 2009 8:14 pm

I have a rescue girl in very similar, shes a big girl, quite a big head, she has a head tilt that the owners hadnt noticed which is believed to be from old infection and she really seems "special" very quiet, gentle, just likes to curl up with her friend, she seems not quite "all there" if that makes sense. Shes on meds in case can cure tilt but no change really.
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by OllySmirnyAJ » Wed Jun 10, 2009 9:09 pm

The reason I asked about co-ordination/hearing/sight is that I work with adults who have learning difficulties (including Downs). The things I've mentioned tend to be the most apparent in my experience of human special needs.

Marianimal - your Piggles definitely sounds as if he has some form of special needs as he has both fine motor skill and visual impairment. If it's an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) then hydrocephalus may have been the result, though I would have thought it must have happened when he was young in order to distort his skull (i.e. whilst the bones were still fusing).

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by katievonlou » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:00 pm

the thing i've noticed with mini-moo is that she doesn't really seem to respond to sound - you can make a loud bang that everyone notices, but she sits there in a trance with a silly look, but other times she might notice, but only slightly... if you call/talk to her she doesn't pay much attention, but she will come over if she can smell you it seems :-| i've seen her on a few occasions i've gone over to the cage - i've said "hello everyone" and they all come running apart from her, she'll then look at her sister and then come over, it's as if "oh milly's over there, it must be ok" behaviour...

another thing (i don't know how relevant it is) she seems to have a compulsive attitude - there's a wheel in the cage that no one pays attention to but her, but she'll always run in it - top speed for a hour...i know it doesn't seem that weird, but she becomes really distant if you take the wheel away, but that might just be her favourite toy :lol:

it's not the top of her head that looks swollen though (i looked into hydrocephalus just in case) her head appears ... like ... the only way i can describe it is if it was a very swollen face in a human? it seems her cheeks/side of her head/jawline are really big, that's why she went to the vets at first as her face looks that fat she has to squint her eyes :-|

this will sound so so stupid, but it looks a bit like this ladies face, but obviously on a rat, not a human :lol:

scritches to everyone's special ratties :love: :love:
katie & the fuzzy butts
ernie, trilbee, hubble, bertie, toots, tiddy, tinker, harley, ivy, merlin, percy, arthur, pip,
sid, pee-wee, elmo, oscar, leia, milly, mini-moo, mama T & lottie

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by Marianimal » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:22 pm

OllySmirnyAJ wrote:The reason I asked about co-ordination/hearing/sight is that I work with adults who have learning difficulties (including Downs). The things I've mentioned tend to be the most apparent in my experience of human special needs.

Marianimal - your Piggles definitely sounds as if he has some form of special needs as he has both fine motor skill and visual impairment. If it's an ABI (Acquired Brain Injury) then hydrocephalus may have been the result, though I would have thought it must have happened when he was young in order to distort his skull (i.e. whilst the bones were still fusing).
It could well have happened when he was little - I haven't had him from a baby as he was a rescue. He does look very much like the photographs of rats with hydrocephalus, but I wonder how bad it could have been as he's still here now? I have a special needs rat! :lol:
the thing i've noticed with mini-moo is that she doesn't really seem to respond to sound - you can make a loud bang that everyone notices, but she sits there in a trance with a silly look, but other times she might notice, but only slightly... if you call/talk to her she doesn't pay much attention, but she will come over if she can smell you it seems i've seen her on a few occasions i've gone over to the cage - i've said "hello everyone" and they all come running apart from her, she'll then look at her sister and then come over, it's as if "oh milly's over there, it must be ok" behaviour...
Piggy is a bit odd with sounds as well - it's like he's in a little bubble and then he suddenly springs back into life again! He seems to respond more to vibration than anything else; I tap on the floor near him and he'll come over to say hello.

He knows where the cage door is and what sound it makes as he springs at it as soon as he hears (feels vibrations?) it! He knows the layout of the room now and will jump from various things onto other places - I'm always impressed when he manages that!

He gets very foofy with me if I frighten him. I try to stay out of his way for a little while afterwards as I always think he's alright and then he sneaks up on me! - My arm is quite sore after the last one of those! I'll pick him up in a towel if he's still grumpy when i's time to go away as I really don't want to drop him and do any more damage! - I wince when he goes near my toes now as well, which is a bit mean as he's a sweetie really!
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by katievonlou » Wed Jun 10, 2009 10:25 pm

Marianimal wrote:
Piggy is a bit odd with sounds as well - it's like he's in a little bubble and then he suddenly springs back into life again! He seems to respond more to vibration than anything else; I tap on the floor near him and he'll come over to say hello.

He knows where the cage door is and what sound it makes as he springs at it as soon as he hears (feels vibrations?) it! He knows the layout of the room now and will jump from various things onto other places - I'm always impressed when he manages that!

He gets very foofy with me if I frighten him. I try to stay out of his way for a little while afterwards as I always think he's alright and then he sneaks up on me! - My arm is quite sore after the last one of those! I'll pick him up in a towel if he's still grumpy when i's time to go away as I really don't want to drop him and do any more damage! - I wince when he goes near my toes now as well, which is a bit mean as he's a sweetie really!
sounds exactly the same as mini-moo! she seems to respond to vibration rather than sound.. she also gets quite distressed if you try and grab her, she acts like she's hardly handled, but she's out for a good 2 hours every day! if i'm cleaning the cage i have to grab her with a towel just to get hold of her whereas the others all happily get in their carrier by themselves :lol:
katie & the fuzzy butts
ernie, trilbee, hubble, bertie, toots, tiddy, tinker, harley, ivy, merlin, percy, arthur, pip,
sid, pee-wee, elmo, oscar, leia, milly, mini-moo, mama T & lottie

:halo: bluey louie - my beautiful little angel xx

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by GeekyGoth » Thu Jun 11, 2009 7:25 am

Tilly is very similar, she just kinds sits and Potters about and responds in a quite limited way, I don't know if she will improve with loving care or this is how shell always be but she's a wonderful little girl and mostly gentle unless she thinks I'm sneaking up on her then she floofs at me. I have got very little awareness about these girls previous life so no idea if there has been head trauma but tilly is most definatly "dopey"
Whiskers In The Ear small animal rescue often has animals seeking forever homes.http://www.whiskersintheear.bravehost.com

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by katievonlou » Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:51 am

i managed to get some photos of mini-moo :D usually she just runs away and hides... i did noticed that when i opened the cage door everyone came running to say hello, where as mini-moo just ignored me and stayed in the igloo, sometimes popping her head out....

so, here's mini-moo (she looks like this all the time, she's not sleepy btw):
Image
she's the one on the left in the bottom photo...

and her "twin" sister milly for comparison:
Image
katie & the fuzzy butts
ernie, trilbee, hubble, bertie, toots, tiddy, tinker, harley, ivy, merlin, percy, arthur, pip,
sid, pee-wee, elmo, oscar, leia, milly, mini-moo, mama T & lottie

:halo: bluey louie - my beautiful little angel xx

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by PurpleCatti » Thu Jun 11, 2009 11:34 am

I had 'Special Jim'. Jimmy had an ear infection as a baby and we noticed after the infection had cleared (the tilt never did) she was not only completely deaf but she was also a bit brain damaged.
She got on better with people than rats as I think ALL her hearing had gone and she couldn't hear the others 'talking' so didn't really communicate to them brilliantly, she would scream at them if they annoyed her though.
It took Jim MONTHS to learn things that other ratties did without thinking. Jim would trot along with her head wagging and it wasn't until she was about 6 months old she managed a ratty canter. It took her nearly a year to pea fish, she always hated water as it took away her only decent sense left, smell. She was ruby eyed so I don't think she could see anything.
Jim's balance was pants and she would topple of shelves, people, sofas given half a chance so you had to have fall breaking hammocks and keep one hand under her.

She did adapt amazingly though, when after free range I would give them dinner the others would come running when I clanked the food bowls together. Jim of course couldn't hear it and would continue doing her own tilty thing or chasing her tail but if I banged my hand on the floor she would come running, I think she could feel the vibrations.
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by Marianimal » Thu Jun 11, 2009 12:17 pm

This is turning into a really interesting thread! - You never seem to hear much at all about brain damaged rats and how they get on, lifespan, etc.

Mini-moo looks similar to Piggles - he's hairless so he's a bit odd looking anyway! :lol:

Image
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It's hard to get a photo of him where you can really see his massive head! He doesn't look very "ratty" either where he's all puffed up and squishy looking!
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by Jessalina » Thu Jun 11, 2009 2:54 pm

I've always thought Pablo was a bit 'special'. He has a congenital eye thing so his sight isn't great and he appears to be almost completely deaf too. I have to be very careful when hand feeding anything tasty as he'll grab and often miss! He's always been bottom of the pecking order, his brother used to bully him rather a lot. He just lives with Bernard now who's a lot gentler but Pablo's still a total wuss and squeaks the place down during any little scuffle. He loves his mummy, but is definitely not a cuddler lol.
He's quite hyper for a buck (even now at almost two) but very slow on the uptake at the same time. Another thing is he's never shown any interest at all in the girls, even during freerange he just bimbles about on his own, usually destroying my things :lol:
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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by OllySmirnyAJ » Thu Jun 11, 2009 3:33 pm

oh gawd bless all these 'special' rats ! x

Katie - obsessive behaviour, e.g. the wheel, is quite common with Learning Disabilities (fixed routine is very important too in some cases)

Marianimal - Piggles head does look a similar shape to this piccy of a 9 month old with mild hydrocephalus

Image

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Re: "Special" Rat?

Post by katievonlou » Thu Jun 11, 2009 4:22 pm

OllySmirnyAJ wrote:oh gawd bless all these 'special' rats ! x

Katie - obsessive behaviour, e.g. the wheel, is quite common with Learning Disabilities (fixed routine is very important too in some cases)
that's what lead me to think about she might be "special" she's the only one who uses the wheel and gets really annoyed if anyone else shows any interest in it - i saw the other night that mini-moo was in the wheel and oscar and milly wanted to climb in and she just puffed up and started kicking them :lol: she's really defensive over it
katie & the fuzzy butts
ernie, trilbee, hubble, bertie, toots, tiddy, tinker, harley, ivy, merlin, percy, arthur, pip,
sid, pee-wee, elmo, oscar, leia, milly, mini-moo, mama T & lottie

:halo: bluey louie - my beautiful little angel xx

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