Increased breathing rate

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HereticPr1me
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Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Fri May 23, 2014 12:24 pm

My old boy Yuki is getting on now and is developing hld, but has otherwise remained bright and happy.
Recently however Ive become aware that his breathing rate is quite high compared to the others. He has had a couple of resp issues in the past but has cleared without trouble.
I can get a video of this if it helps.

My question is, is high resp rate indicaive of anything ? My first thought was heart issues but he feels warm enough and I cant see any blueing on extremities.
The past few days I think he looks quite tierd and uncomfortable, not fluffed up as such but a tad spiney and well, old :(

This does seem to have come on gradually as its not something Ive suddenly noticed. I'll get him to the vet for a check over of course, but if anyone recognises these symptoms please let me know.
Doug, witless provider to :
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sbarnett984
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by sbarnett984 » Fri May 23, 2014 12:37 pm

Could he be too hot? If he is an oldie, regulating temperatures would be more of an effort, and would account for a higher breathing rate
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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Fri May 23, 2014 4:09 pm

Thats a fair point but I dont think its temperature. It's fairly cool up here in Glasgow and Ive had their room window open plenty to ensure cool air circulates.
Doug, witless provider to :
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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Sat May 24, 2014 4:27 pm

Well just an update on Yuki-san. When I got home from work yesterday I thought his breathing looked more laboured and himself looking very tired so I decided to put him on baytril and added a couple of drops of metacam last night rather than wait for the vet.
We saw the vet this afternoon and she had a good listen also to his lungs and heart - using LeBowski for comparison - and likewise couldn't really draw a clear conclusion.
We did talk about heart issues and although theres no real evidence of circulatory issues or CHF it is still a possibility.

For now she gave him shots of steroid and frusemide to see if that helps and Ive to continue with the baytril. Hopefully my old boy will pick up with that. If those don't help then we may approach it with xray and heart meds instead.
I hate seeing him looking so tired and laboured, especially when there's no clear diagnosis at this point. Whatever is going on it seems to have crept up silently :(

Fingers crossed he picks up :luck:
Doug, witless provider to :
Ratties :smile: ex-lab boys Boxer and Spot
Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 43 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Jess :rattyrainbow:

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acapae_wolf
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat May 24, 2014 4:30 pm

Heart was my first (and only real) thought too. Especially given heat as often those with heart issues will react to temperature rises before the others.

I would try heart meds personally. There's not really any problem with giving them to rats who don't have heart issues, so it's a pretty safe way to see if they'll help or not. Some experienced vets may be able to diagnose based on listening with a stethoscope, but it depends a lot on vet skill and also the specific heart issue in question.

eta - if he's had steroids within 24hrs of metacam for absolute must reasons, shove a fair amount of banana in him tonight.
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Sat May 24, 2014 5:27 pm

Thanks Beri,
The steroid/metacam separation was about 20hrs but I have banana here so he'll get some of that with his meds, thanks, what is that for.. potassium ? It was only 3 drops of metacam so not a huge amount to begin with, just felt I had to give him something.
She did say it can be really difficult to pick out anomalies with rat hearts due to the rate, unless theyre really pronounced so didn't rule it out either, which more or less echos what youre saying.
I will be speaking to her again tomorrow so if he hasn't improved then we'll talk about moving onto heart meds.

His circulation etc does seem ok, but Ive never dealt with a heart issue, or heart meds before - afaik ACE inhibitors and frusemide tend to be the mainstay, correct ?
Doug, witless provider to :
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Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 43 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Jess :rattyrainbow:

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acapae_wolf
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat May 24, 2014 5:45 pm

Yeah, potassium :)

And yep, right with the meds. Not sure how much the frusemide on it's own would do, so regardless of response to that, I'd still do a trial with an ACE inhibitor. As opposed to ruling out heart based on reaction to the above alone, I mean. You should see a result with the diuretic fairly quickly, although I'm not sure how much of that may be down to the steroid. Fortekor is the most ACE inhibitor, but sometimes rats won't respond to it, but will to another newer drug (which I conveniently can't remember the name of).
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Sat May 24, 2014 8:33 pm

Good thanks.
He has been sleeping all afternoon in the carrier, but he just ate a slice of mashed banana and has brightened up quite a bit. His breathing is still as deep and rapid as before, but he seems more active than he was last night so maybe the frusemide is having a little bit of effect - the vet said it kicks in after about 20 minutes and around 3 hrs is when its most effective. Steroids do tend to make them feel amazing at any time, so they probably are doing something.

Fortekor is a tablet right ? I'll ask about the other drug too, good to know. In regards to heart issues, I read on the Rat Health Guide of 2 general types, both of which are treated with ACE inhibitors and that blood tests (BUN) can be done to help diagnose so perhaps that's something they can do on their in-house lab. She did say xrays might not reveal anything, but it could be worth trying to look for enlargement of the hearth or signs of fluid in the body tissue.

Good, sounds like I have a clearer course of action then. Alas my stupid shifts mean Im working again tomorrow so I'll have to get a good look at him in the morning and speak to the vet from work but I wouldn't expect any change in treatment for 24-48 hrs (ie Monday) to let the steroid and frusemide cycle through and get an idea of any effect.
Im assuming, whatever the treatment, that if its a heart issue then its a case of management rather than cure :(
Doug, witless provider to :
Ratties :smile: ex-lab boys Boxer and Spot
Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 43 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Jess :rattyrainbow:

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acapae_wolf
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by acapae_wolf » Sat May 24, 2014 10:39 pm

I've never had an x-ray suggested, or even blood tests. I'd be wary of anaesthetic in a rat with suspected heart issues. Would any of them influence your decisions, or would it just be a 'to know for sure' type thing? My vets don't tend testing for things for the latter point, only if the result of said test would add something to my decision-making.
Beri with all at Dandelion Soup
1 cat, 50-70 mice, 2x guinea pigs, 2x gerbils, 2x Syrian hamsters, 2x Russian hybrids looking for new homes ;)

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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Sun May 25, 2014 9:58 am

Oh no it wouldnt be under anaesthetic. He was quite lethargic yesterday so she reckoned it would be easy enough to do a waking xray if he didnt improve.
The thinking was to look for further evidence of a heart condition, in lieu of the more overt things like fluid in the lungs or blueing of extremities.

Im pleased to say though, that he looked much brighter this morning, comparitively full of beans to yesterday, and more like he was when I first posted this thread so either the fruse or the steroid has helped.
His breathing is still more rapid and obvious but he's not sucking it in like yesterday so he looks much more bright and comfortable.
The question is what does that tell us about the cause ? Would that response to fruse/steroid be consistent with a heart condition ?
I'll be speaking to the vet at 11ish so I'll put it all to her and see where we go from here.
Just glad he's responded for now :)
Doug, witless provider to :
Ratties :smile: ex-lab boys Boxer and Spot
Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 43 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Jess :rattyrainbow:

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HereticPr1me
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Fri May 30, 2014 7:17 pm

So having been rechecked the other day there was definitely an improvement in his breathing on the steroids. I spoke with the vet about likelihood of a heart condition and he felt that the steroids would not have changed that.
He also had a listen to his heart but like the other vet couldn't really hear with enough fidelity to speak with any certainty, but nothing abnormal was heard for what its worth.

It was decided that since the steroids had helped ease his breathing (albeit not the rate) that we should keep going with those, and that the situation was more likely to do with lung capacity rather than heart, ie from scarring or even tumours.
I asked about using fortekor and he wasn't keen without any other symptoms to indicate a heart condition, out of concern for reducing blood flow in regards to kidney function etc that might induce worse complications.

He's been looking quite good with the steroids, they seem to be picking him up each time, but Ive noticed tonight that when he's lying his back feet are trembling, as is the tip of his tail.
It's quite warm this evening so Im going to cool him down a bit and see if that helps, but the trembling is a concern - Im not sure what that relates to, any ideas ? :?
Doug, witless provider to :
Ratties :smile: ex-lab boys Boxer and Spot
Budgies Freyja and Haiku.
:rattyrainbow: 43 storytellers loved and lost, most recently : Jess :rattyrainbow:

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beeratz
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by beeratz » Fri May 30, 2014 11:43 pm

I have never seen trembling in that way :? could it be neurological in some way?
Sorry, I probably haven't helped much :oops: but I hope he feels better soon! :luck:
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neotoma
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by neotoma » Sat May 31, 2014 2:44 am

My guess would be lung tumour, sorry. Possibly secondary to one somewhere else. This is roughly what happened with Magwitch last year. I'd try the medication that you can, and then judge it on quality of life.

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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by HereticPr1me » Sat May 31, 2014 9:11 am

I had wondered about it being neurological (something affecting breathing regulation etc) but theres no other effects to support that. Hopefully the trembling is just nerves - he does have a fair degree of HLD so I guess that ties up.

Alison, sadly Im leaning towards lung tumours too, the only time Ive seen that was with my old girl Amy a few years ago. She went through a period similar to this then spontaneously filled with fluid and emergency pts (we suspected it to be a rupture).

I'll keep him comfortable and monitor his weight and eating and continue as is for now. If tumours are at work then as you say QOL becomes the foccus. Poor boy :(
Think its work a waking xray ? Would lung tumours show up ?
Doug, witless provider to :
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neotoma
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Re: Increased breathing rate

Post by neotoma » Sat May 31, 2014 2:48 pm

Depends on the size I would guess. Magwitch was put to sleep as an emergency for what we thought was a non-drug responsive pneumonia (he'd twice had life-threatening pneumonia and pleurisy magically cured by coamox, so we assumed we were getting third time unlucky with that). The tumours were only found on autopsy, which I'd requested to find out if it was CK. Turned out from the pathology the final time there wasn't any notable infection there at all, it was just his body giving up under the weight of the cancer - but the symptoms were just generalised high breathing rate and respiratory distress.

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