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Hind Leg Weakness/Paralysis
8 years ago
I found this interesting thread on another group. To view the full thread go to:
Original problem:

A little over three weeks ago Jazmine, a female rescue who will be two the end of April, had a large fatty tumor removed from her back by her shoulders. The day after the surgery she was tipping over to her left side where the majority of the tumor used to be. I figured it was because the weight wasn't there any more so she had to regain her even balance. A few days later, she was showing signs of hind leg paralyisis, twisting at her waist and dragging her hind end, but moving her feet. Called the vet on monday the 19th..appointment scheduled for that friday the 23rd. Between monday and friday she started improveing a little. She was able to stand and walk a few steps without tipping over or dragging her hind legs, but they seem still very slow to react.

She was taken back into the vet and he assessed her. She has reflexes but they are slow, she also responds to pain in her hind feet, tail, and her hind legs..but this is also slow to react. The vet feels that there was possibly some swelling from surgery that could be pinching a nerve. So she was put on dexamethasone .1cc once a day for seven days and B-12 vitamin .1cc once a day for seven days.

That was seven days ago, and there is very little improvement. He is perplexed on what else could be causeing this. Any ideas or help would be great. Here is a video taken of her yesterday so everyone can see what I mean if it works.

Thank you.
Shaz of the rhinelander rat rescue

One Response:

PIt tumor classicly starts with overall weakness, then inability to hold food in either paw, with the rat trying to eat the food from the floor of the cage. Of course, disease processes can digress from classical signs. I viewed the video a few more times, and I don't think this is pit tumor. Her front end is working too well. I think the one paw food hold is just due to weakness or inability to use the back half to sit up. In addition, there is no head tilt, so I would rule out middle ear infection. The classic spinal nerve root degeneration comes on gradually, and you would have noticed her hunching down in the back more and more. So let's rule that out. I think, with the absence of nasal and/or lung involvement, and no general overall weakness ( just hind end) that Myco can be ruled out. If urination and water intake are normal, and she is not dehydrating, then lets rule out kidney disease. I have seen stroke, both in humans and rats, and her pattern of neurological signs doesn't really fit. Would see more of a whole body, left or right sided thing, and I see the division in the middle of the back. I'm not sure I would consider stroke. We are left with possible GDVII viral meningitis ( good nursing care, keep up the B-12 long term, should bring her through) Or, perhaps one of the oddball things Dr. Mike mentioned, like an embolus from the surgery ( again, good nursing care) Or, perhaps a post anesthetic problem (I am not familiar with this scenario. Ask your vet what anesthetic agent was used, and I'll get back to Dr. Mike with that info). This is a very interesting case. Please keep us posted. I'll let you know what else we come up with. Best regards, Lindsay
From: Hutchinson
Sent: Saturday, March 31, 2007 4:48 PM
Subject: Re: ADVICE

Hi Lindsay,
I am unable to view the video for some reason. However, given those signs here are my thoughts on possible rule outs:
Possible clot thrown from the surgery causing a fibrocartilaginous embolism or stroke
Possible Pituitary Tumor that was set off coincidentally by the stress of anesthesia, surgery, etc.
Anesthetic reaction (if injectable or halothane were used).
I like the Vet's treatment approach. Perhaps a tincture of time to give an emboli time to pass or dissolve. (As long as she is eating, drinking, urinating and defecating properly.) Wouldn't hurt to continue the Vit B12 either.
Sorry I don't have anymore thoughts...Dr. Mike

This post was modified from its original form on 02 Apr, 1:05
Rat in similar situation
5 years ago

My female rat, 18 months old, suddenly developed severe hind leg weakness in the past 2 days. She seems to be happy, is bruxing, investigative, no signs of pain when I wiggle her legs. She's not really dragging her legs, but seems to be unable to stand on them. It's like she can't feel her feet or something. She has had an ear infection before, but that was about 6 months ago and recovered with only a minor head tilt since then. Could it be this resurfacing? Or something else?

Not sure...
5 years ago

How is she doing now?  If it seems like she can't feel her legs that really doesn't sound like something to do with an ear infection.  Does she react when you squeeze her toes a little?  If she does then you know she still has feeling at least.  In older rats they do tend to lose functionality of their hind legs over time, but she seems pretty young for that to be happening.  Have you gone to the vet?

Same Problem
5 years ago

Hello- I'm sure my post won't help- but I thought I'd share.

Early this month (April 2010) I noticed what appeared to be a mammary tumor on my rat Izzy's underside. I took her to the vet to have it removed. Even though they are most always benign, they grow to huge sizes and I thought it would be best to have it removed. They put staples in the incision and I was told to bring her in 12 days later to have the staples removed. She was doing fantastic even hours after the surgery. She had a healthy appetite, was able to move well and just seemed overall healthy.

About 10 days after the surgery, she started showing signs of lethargy. Unfortunately that was a Friday and over the weekend she became severely worse and became paralyzed in her front left leg. When she would try and walk she would simply fall to one side- exactly as in your video.

By Monday it was evident she was going to die, but I thought I would ask the vet what was going on anyways when I took her to get her staples out. He said there was nothing they could really do and gave me some antibiotics in case it was an infection.

I separated Izzy from her sister Tilly and fed and watered her by hand. She had the red mucus/discharge coming from her eyes and nose (Which I mistook as blood but later found was just the color of the mucus) and this apparently caused her discomfort because she had the mucus under all of her claws except from the paw of the paralyzed limb.

I basically kept her comfortable until she finally passed away this past Friday 4/23/10. She seemed to be making progress a little after the paralysis and started attempting to eat and hold food in her paws, but it was still too late for her. The whole time her temperature seemed normal up until her death.

The final night I had with her she started displaying an odd symptom- her legs would spasm and she would propel herself a mile a minute unintentionally. By this time she seemed to be half her original body weight as well.

It seems like there is someone out there that could have cured my rat. She was only 18 months old. I'm really upset over the whole thing and I just want to know why this happened. Even though she's gone, I just want to know why in case it happens again. I have been a small animal owner (mainly hamsters) my whole life (I'm 24) and Izzy and Tilly were my first rats.

I really hope things work out for you. If you find out any more about this- please, please let me know.

I'm so sorry!
5 years ago

That's so traumatic, I'm so sorry!  I'm sure your other rat will need extra love now that her sister is gone. Hopefully you guys can comfort each other. 


There's really nothing more frustrating than watching someone waste away in front of you and not being able to do anything about it.  That's actually why I started this group, so that maybe we can all join forces to figure out some of these awful mysteries.  And also the moral support has been really helpful to me personally.  Just knowing I'm not the only one who dealt with something so freaky and upsetting is a big deal for me.  So if there's anything I can do, I'm here to return the favor!


I have to wonder if this is some kind of damage that happens during anesthesia or something.  I seem to remember one of my rats becoming progressively weaker in her hind legs directly after every time we'd bring her in for a surgery.  Maybe it's a reaction to the anesthesia, or lack of oxygen during surgery?  We always had the same vet doing all our rats' surgeries but it was only that one rat who had the problem.  Just like some people don't do well under anesthesia, maybe some rats don't as well, and this is the result.  Maybe we should look into common side effects from anethesia used on humans and see if there are similar cases that have been documented on the human side.