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Dealing With The Emergencies


The practice of First-aid is first and foremost a lesson in common sense. Only you can determine your qualifications in carrying out the following first-aid procedures. If in doubt, it is always best to seek immediate veterinary attention.

Before assisting first-aid remember the following:
Don't panic! (easier said then done, I know)
Assess the situation (make sure you are not putting your own life in danger)
Handle your rat knowing full well that any animal will bite when it is in pain and afraid for it's life.

The Aims Of First-aid:
To preserve life,
To prevent suffering, and
To prevent the situation from deteriorating.


SYMPTOMS AND CONDITIONS

ARTIFICIAL BREATHING & CPR

RAT FLING & RAT HEIMLICH MANEUVER



Symptoms noted in RED are considered life-threatening and need immediate Veterinarian attention!
The emergencies are listed in alphabetical order for easy reference.

Allergies:
SEE A VET: If the condition worsens and first-aid treatment does not relieve the symptoms.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Allergy Information
Frequently allergies are caused by food or inhalants and manifests itself as sneezing and nasal congestion, itchy skin resulting in scabs, over-grooming, watery, porphyrin-stained eyes and/or lethargy. If more serious problems can be ruled out, treat with Children's Benadryl liquid, 1 to 2 drops.
Sift litter to get rid of dust or use white paper towel as bedding only.

Animal bites:
SEE A VET: Assuming your rat has survived the attack, do not try to clean or dress the wound yourself, you may aggrivate the condition.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Animal Bite Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Snake Bite Information
I am referring to the bites from cats, dogs, birds, and snakes (venomous, non-venomous, and constrictor). Sadly, because of it's small size, it is unlikely that your rat would even survive such an animal attack.

Bleeding:
SEE A VET: For bleeding that will not stop even with the use of direct pressure or styptic powder, flour, or corn starch. Bleeding from any orifice (eyes, ears, nose, mouth, anus, vagina, penis), or bleeding from a major artery.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Bleeding Information
Rats seem to be on the verge of bleeding to death when they get wounded, especially if the wound is on fingers and toes. For most wounds I let the rat take care of it himself, unless the bleeding goes on too long. If so, I sprinkle some flour on the wound. It will absorb the blood and help to slow the flow. The rat can lick it off himself when he so chooses. Keep in mind that direct pressure applied to the wound can make the rat's injury more painful for him. Try not to panic, blood looks bad, but I can assure you, the rat is pretty unfazed in most cases. And once you have the bleeding stopped don't play with the wound or you might start it bleeding again.
See also "wounds" in this same section.

Bloating (abnormally large stomach):
SEE A VET: Unless you know that your rat is pregnant, see a vet. Bloating can be caused by intestinal obstructions, tumors, megacolon, constipation, and worms.

Broken Bones:
SEE A VET: Where there is the inability to stand without pain. There may be visible swelling and tenderness in the area. In really, severe, compound fractures the leg may have to be amputated for the welfare of the rat. If the fall results in a loss of consciousness. If a spinal/head injury is suspected - DO NOT MOVE THE RAT UNNESSESSARILY - Slip a heavy piece of cardboard under the body, wrap in a towel, and transport immediately to the vet. Crush injuries may also result in broken bones.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Fracture Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Skull Fracture Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Nose Fracture Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Compression Fractures of the Back Information
There may be nothing that can be done with a leg break. Most broken bones heal quite nicely on their own, if the rat can be kept relatively quiet for a few weeks. This can be achieved by keeping the rat in a small, single-level, cage. Pain medication may be needed. Now I know this may be unfair to the rat, but a little bit of pain will remind the rat that is injured and it will stay off the injured leg. If the rat feels no pain at all, it could use the leg too much and cause more damage to the limb.

Burns:
SEE A VET: If the rat is showing distress even after the initial first-aid. If a mild burn has complications. For anything more then a mild burn.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Burn Information
Burns by hot liquids (hot tea, candle wax) or by caustic liquids (bleach, drain cleaner) or by dry heat (fire). The treatment for all is to rinse the offending material away and stop the burning under cool - NEVER COLD - running water. Wash only with a mild soap (Betadine) and water. For mild burns: Cut away the hair around the burn and continue the treatment by applying a cool compress to the area. Do not put any ointments on a burn, it hinders healing and collects debris. Medication may also be needed for pain and shock.

Choking:
SEE A VET: If the rat will not respond to the Heimlich Maneuver. If the rat is conscious and still choking after 4 hours. The rat should be seen by a vet in the aftermath of choking if she continues to show discomfort, or has difficulty eating. The choking episode could have resulted in a torn or bruised trachea, or fluid in the lungs.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Choking And Conscious Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Choking And Unconscious Information
A rat will indicate that it is choking by gagging, drooling, pawing at its mouth, wiping its face on the bedding or crouching low while moving forwards or backwards. Some things that have caused choking are startling the rat while it is eating, picking up a rat while it is eating, and certain foods such as peanuts, peanut butter, mashed potatoes, really fresh bread, and cream cheese. Some rats just naturally eat too fast, and in their haste, something gets lodged in the throat. If the rat is still breathing, do nothing except to comfort and let the rat work it out on its own. Try the Heimlich Maneuver, or the Ratty Fling if the rat is not breathing and/or the rat is unconscious.

Coat condition is poor, and/or the rat is itchy:
SEE A VET: If the condition worsens and first-aid treatment does not relieve the symptoms.
Get out the flea comb, the toothbrush, the mini flashlight and the magnifying glass. Comb and look through the coat thoroughly. You may find scabs, cuts, raw spots, broken hairs, etc. You are looking for evidence that indicates external parasites, over-grooming (barbering) from self or cage mate, dry/flakey skin that could mean dry air/low humidity, or the condition could be due to a lack of essential fatty acids (EFAs), or too much protein in the diet. Treat with Ivermectin if it is external parasites. If you can't catch the act red-handed separate the over-grooming rat from the colony for a week. If the hair loss continues, it is the rat itself. If hair starts to grow back, it is a cage mate. Unless you see skin damage, over-grooming may or may not be a benign problem....you just end up with a ratty-looking rat. The over-grooming could also be due to an over-enthusiastic dominant rat, boredom, or nervousness. Treat with Linatone or cut back on the protein comsumption if it is a diet problem. Use a humidifier if the air in your "rat-room is too dry. And clip the rats' claws to prevent any further damage to the skin.

Constipation:
SEE A VET: For constipation that won't respond to the initial first-aid treatment. If the rat is bloated.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Constipation Information
The inability to pass stools, small, abnormally-shaped stools, passing large, very hard stools, could all indicate constipation. If more serious conditions can be ruled out, try Laxatone or juicy green foods.

Convulsions:
SEE A VET: If the rat remains unconscious after the seizure, if the rat is not coming out of the seizure, or if there are multiple seizures with no end in sight, wrap the rat in a towel and transport to the vet. Always take the rat to the vet in the aftermath of a seizure to determine it's source.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Convulsion Information
In most cases the rat will recover on its own if allowed to remain quiet and with restricted movement.

Crush Injuries:
SEE A VET: Assuming the rat has survived the injury, it will have internal organ lacerations, resulting in internal bleeding, broken bones, and external bleeding. Keep the rat horizontal and immobilized on a stiff, cardboard, "stretcher". Wrap in a towel. Move as little as possible, since head, neck and back injuries will also be involved. Transport immediately to your vet.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Crush Injury Information
Crush injuries are caused by a predator attack, being stepped on, having a heavy object place on top of it, being caught in a door or in a drawer, or by a young child not knowing it's own strength. Usually always fatal.

Dehydration:
SEE A VET: For severe dehydration, if an illness worsens or lasts too long, and if initial first-aid treatment does not relieve the symptoms.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Dehydration Information
The lack of adequate body fluids for the body to carry on normal function at an optimum level. Diarrhea, fever, and long-term illness will cause dehydration. Mild dehydration can be treated by giving fluids (water, juices) by mouth. Medium dehydration is when electrolytes begin to be lost and must be replaced with an electrolyte solution. Gatorade can be used for a quick fix, but long-term illness requires Pedialyte. Severe dehydration causes body systems to break down and complications begin to arise. This condition requires Ringer's Lactating Solution and care by a vet. Dehydration and shock are synonymous. Mild dehydration causes mild shock and visa-versa; severe dehydration leads to severe shock and visa-versa.

Diarrhea:
SEE A VET: If the condition worsens and first-aid treatment does not relieve the symptoms. If you see blood in the stool.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Diarrhea Information
Very soft, watery, smelly, unusual colored stool would all indicate diarrhea. Diarrhea may have a number of causes, from the nervousness of being in a new home, to new foods, too many greens, spoiled food, bacterial infections,to the reaction from some antibiotics. If more serious conditions can be ruled out, use Bene-bac - just a lick or 2 from the tube, Kaopectate - 2 drops/oz of body weight twice daily, or add some banana to the diet.

Dislocations:
SEE A VET: For any swelling in any joint and/or limb. Restrict activity by wrapping in a towel until veterinarian attention can be sought. A muscle relaxant can be used to push the joint back into place but the limb must remain immobilized for it to heal, which may be somewhat difficult for the rat.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Dislocation Information
A dislocation is when a ball joint separates from it's socket (ie shoulder, elbow, hip, knee). A dislocation can result when a rat gets one of it's limbs trapped and fights to free itself. Often it is difficult to distinguish a dislocation from a broken bone, sprain, or strain.

Drowning, Near:
SEE A VET: Assuming the rat is still alive and it has responded to the Ratty Fling and CPR. The rat will be treated for shock. Pneumonia and hypothermia may result from the near drowning. You may have to start Lasix treatment for fluid in the lungs.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Drowning, Near Information
Most near drownings occur when the rat falls into the toilet or other exposed sources of water. Use the Ratty Fling to see if you can empty the lungs of water. You may also try CPR. If respiration starts, wrap the rat in a warm towel and transport to the vet.

Ear Problems:
SEE A VET: If anything looks unusual about the inside or outside of the ear. Anything coming from the ear (blood, pus, tissue) needs immediate attention. Lumps around the outside of the ear also need to be seen by a vet. If you see a foreign body (seed hull) inside the ear, do not attempt to remove it yourself. An inner ear infection will manifest itself in an uncoordinated gait and a tilted head. This condition requires antibiotics.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Ear Injury Information
Bleeding from a torn ear can be stopped with applied pressure, with a piece of gauze, and cleaned with a mild soap (Betadine) and water If the damage is minor, nothing more needs to be done, but you may want to glue the torn ear back together with a little skin glue if the tear is more severe.

Electric Shock:
SEE A VET: Assuming the rat is still alive, burns about the mouth and head will be evident. The rat will be laying on its side having difficulty breathing. The most common consequence of electrical shock is pulmonary edema, fluid accumulating in the lungs.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Electric Shock Information
I have heard it said that a rat is attracted to the electric current passing through wires either by feel or by hearing it. Some rats are scared away by a mild jolt or buzz when they feel the vibration on their teeth. Unfortunately, most rats will not survive an electrical shock if they bite right into a live wire. An electrical shock will render a rat unconscious and can also stop breathing and/or heart beat. It can also burn the mouth and head. DO NOT immediately rush in to grab the rat. If it is still in contact with the live wire you may get shocked as well. Turn off the source of the electricity first. If the rat is still alive, start artificial nose to mouth breathing, and CPR, as you rush the animal to the vet.

Eye Injuries:
SEE A VET: If the eye looks anything other then normal. Scratches on the eyeball, blood coming from the eye, the eyeball protruding abnormally from the socket, any swellings around the eye, and excessive porphyrin accummulation around the fur of the eye, which could indicate a foreign body or an eye infection. If the condition of the eye does not improve with intial first-aid.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Eye Injuries Information
Porphyrin looks like blood, but it is not blood...so what is Porphyrin?
Rats have naturally protruding eyes, which makes them suseptable to irritants, injury from play or fights, infections, and viruses. Clean the eye of surrounding debris with sterilized water and a cotton pad. Simple eye irritations can be dealt with by flushing the eye(s) with a natural tear solution and/or applying an ophthalmic ointment.

Fainting (collapse):
SEE A VET: Any episode of fainting should be seen by a vet. Fainting could be a cardiac or metabolic problem.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Fainting Information
Glucose mixed with hot water, and allowed to cool, can be given into the mouth, drop by drop until the animal revives. Glucose increases the blood sugar level. Then take your rat to see the vet for a thorough work up.

Falls:
SEE A VET: If a fall results in unconsciousness, convulsions, paralysis (compression fracture), lethargy (shock, internal bleeding), severe pain, wobbly gait or limping, and swelling of the head (concussion, brain swelling). Always use your cardboard "stretcher", wrap in a towel and transport to the vet.
Rats seem to have the knack of falling, down pat, whether the fall was deliberate or accidental. Most of the time they will land on their feet, shake themselves off, and go on their merry way. Sometimes the landing is not so dignified and injuries do occur. From such a fall, broken bones, dislocations, sprains, strains, and convulsions can result. If you have a rat that is prone to leaps of faith, you might want to place padding around the play area.

Heat Exhaustion:
SEE A VET: If the rat does not respond quickly to first-aid, or appears to be in a stupor.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Heat Illness Information
Heat exhaustion usually occures in the summer months when outside temperatures are raging. Rats may display their discomfort of the heat by sleeping on their backs, or laying in an almost flattened pancake position. Because of their small size, rats can succumb to heat exhaustion quite readily. Their tails, which normally regulate body heat in the same manner as a dog panting, will feel quite warm to the touch at this time. Other symptoms include drooling, lethargy, and unconsciousness. Heat exhaustion is preventable. Don't leave your rat outside during the hot days. Shade may not even be enough to protect them. Don't leave your rats unattended by or on an artificial heat source, ie. heater or heating pad. Hopefully your house is equipped with central air conditioning (mine is), but if it is not, you might consider buying a fan, just for your rats. Give them ice cubes in a large bowl for them to drink and play in. Fill a mason jar with ice cubes and cap it tightly. Place the jar in the rat's cage. He will move to it or away from it as required. If all precautions fail and your rats do succumb to heat exhaustion, submerging him, up to his neck in cool water, or if he is conscious, simply letting him swim in cool water should cool the body down.

Hypothermia:
SEE A VET: If the rat does not respond quickly to first-aid, or appears to be in a stupor.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Hypothermia Information
Hypothermia does not seem to a problem for rats, they much prefer to have their living space on the cooler side rather then too hot. They huddle together, keeping themselves naturally warm. But I can think of a few things that would be cause for concern. Having the cage in a drafty area, especially in the winter months. If you should loose your source of heat during the winter months, and rats that are very ill can succumb to hypothermia. Place a heating pad, set on low, under one half of the cage. This allows the animal to move back and forth, from the heat to the coolness, at will. Place some more warm bedding in the cage during the winter months, or use a hot water bottle, wrapped in a towel, and placed in the cage.

Insect bites or stings:
SEE A VET: if the respiration becomes too rapid or too shallow. If you suspect the insect was venomous, capture it and take it and the rat to the vet. If any area around the head and throat starts to swell.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Insect Bites and Stings Information
On such a small body any bite or sting from a spider or bee can be fatal. Treat with Benadryl, 1 to 2 drops. If swelling is present, a cold pack can be applied. Keep vigilant on the respiration.

Lethargy:
SEE A VET: If lethargy is accompanied by other symptoms; unresponsiveness, spikey fur, sneezing, lots of porphyrin discharge from the eyes and nose, and laboured breathing. All could mean diseases that need immediate veterinary care. If the rat does not respond to the electrolyte beverage.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Lethargy/Fatigue Information
Lethargy is not a disease or an ailment, but a symptom of a number of possible causes. Sometimes a rat will be lethargic for no known cause and then quickly recover. A rat may recover from lethargy with nothing more then a electrolyte beverage.

Limping:
SEE A VET: If the limping does not subside within 24 hours. If the limb swells beyond recognition. This could be indicate of something much worse then a simple injury. Heart disease, infection, broken bones.
Limping is not an ailment, but a symptom of something else going on with the limb. Broken, bones, sprains, strains, and infections, just to name a few, will cause the rat to favor an injured limb. Pain is involved and by not bearing any weight, or some weight on the limb, the rat will limp to get around. I have had rats limp for no apparent reason on occasion. It was probably a fall or a squabble that I did not see. Rest and vigilance is all that is required after a dose of Arnica. I've had a rat stop limping after an hour after just one dose.

Noisy breathing:
SEE A VET: For noisy breathing of any kind, usually an indication of a serious respiratory illness. These noises are described as clicking, sneezing, stuffy nose snuffling, guinea pig squeaks.
There is no first-aid for noisy breathing. Your rat needs to see a vet for antibiotics.

Poisoning:
SEE A VET: If your rat displays any of the following symptoms: Pale, cool, clammy skin. Rapid, weak, erratic, pulse. Burns around the mouth. Stumbling, erratic, gait. Disoriented behavior. Drowsiness, lethargy, breathing difficulties, seizures. Take the suspected poison and the rat to the vet.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Poisoning Information
A free-ranging rat that is allowed access to the entire house can get into all kinds of mischief. Let's just say that whatever a human toddler can find to put into it's mouth, a rat can find the same things, and be quicker about it. Anything from toxic plants, to drugs (both theirs and yours), to chemicals (kitchen, bathroom, rat bait), to spoiled food, is fair game to the rat. In whatever area you allow your rat to play - RAT PROOF, just as you would child proof your home. Rats stash things that they like, and it is not unheard of to find a stray aspirin in their goody pile. But rats have a survival tactic that may just save their lives. They take a small bit of something and then they wait and see if it makes them sick. If it doesn't, they polish off the "food". So that stray aspirin that you found in their stash may have been too bitter to swallow. RATS CAN'T VOMIT! So you can't give them anything that will make them throw up to rid their stomachs of the poisonous material. Stay away from the salt water, the hydrogen peroxide, and the epacac. And tell your vet this too because they will try to treat poisoning in rats the same way they treat poisoning in cats and dogs. So what do you do? Keep the Activated Charcoal handy. If your rat is acting otherwise normal you can mix half a capsule of activated charcoal with a teaspoon of jam. It looks gross, all black and such, but the rats love it. Let them eat as much as they want. Activated charcoal absorbs toxins in the digestive tract and allows these toxins to pass harmlessly from the body. The rat's stool will dark black for a couple of days.

Shock:
SEE A VET: Shock is life threatening and needs immediately medical care.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Shock Information
Learn the normal color of your rat's skin, especially the feet, tail, ears and nose. Siamese rats naturally have dark feet. Chocolate, and Black rats may also have dark feet if they are solid colored. Light colored rats will have pink skin. Any deviation in the norm should be cause for concern. Loss of color (paleness) to the gums, nose, and other extremities would indicate shock. Shock is the result of any illness, especially where dehydration and/or bleeding are involved. Rats can go into shock with the loss of blood either externally or internally due to bleeding toes or vaginal bleeding.

Skin Changes:
SEE A VET: If the skin changes color from the norm, and if you feel lumps, bumps, or abnormal growths.
Pale skin and gums indicates shock.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Shock Information
Bright red skin and gums can indicate toxemia (systemic infection).
see also: Yahoo! Health, Toxemia/Sepsis Information
Blue, grey, or a purplish tinge to the skin can indicate heart or respiratory ailments due to lack of oxygen to the extremities.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Heart Failure Information
Lumps, bumps, and abnormal growths could indicate abscesses and cancer (both benign and malignant). There is no first-aid for these conditions. They all need to be checked out by a vet.

Spinal or Nerve Injuries:
SEE A VET: For a proper diagnosis because these conditions might be able to be treated and keep your rat happy for some time to come.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Pituitary Tumor Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Spinal Cord Trauma Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Osteoarthritis Information
Symptoms may include a wobbly gait, tenderness in the affected area, difficulty breathing, or the inability to move front legs, rear legs, or both. If the symptoms came on suddenly from an unknown cause, the ailment could be stroke, or a serious accident, seek immediately veterinarian care. If the symptoms came on gradually, it could be pituitary tumor, osteoarthritis, spinal cord degeneration. These conditions occur mainly in old age and are incurable but with a veterinary's help should be sought to help your rat live more comfortably. There is no first-aid for these conditions.

Sprains and Strains:
SEE A VET: If pain and discomfort are still apparent after 24 hours. The condition may be worse then you think, or it not be a sprain or strain at all.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Sprain Information
see also: Yahoo! Health, Strain Information
Both sprains and strains are caused from sudden overuse of a limb as in fighting to free itself from being trapped or a fall. Sprains are an injury to the ligaments around a joint. Apply ice for about 10 minutes if the rat will put up with the procedure. Don't do this for too long or you will cause the rat to get hypothermia. Strains are a painful injury to the muscles that involves the tearing of some muscle fibers. Apply ice first and then heat, if the rat will put up with the procedure. In order for the limb to heal, the rat has to be kept quiet for a couple of weeks. This can be achieved by keeping the rat in a small, single level cage. See "Broken Bones".

String protruding From Mouth or Anus:
SEE A VET: IMMEDIATELY!!! Do not attempt to pull on the string to remove it!
This can happen with cats. I have never heard of it occurring in rats, but with rats, you never know what they might get into, so I chose to add it to the first-aid list. Don't pull it! The string may have become entangled around flesh in the digestive system. Pulling on it will rip and tear the gut, causing far more damage.

Trapped:
SEE A VET:
see also: Yahoo! Health, Information
Your rat has its head, foot, leg, caught in the bars.

Unconsciousness:
SEE A VET: For unconsciousness due to an unknown reason.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Information

Urination difficulties:
SEE A VET: When straining to urinate, inability to urinate, producing too much or too little urine, or abnormal color to the urine. May indicate infection, urinary tract blockage, diabetes or kidney disease.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Information

Wounds:
SEE A VET: For those that are an inch or more long and require stitches.
see also: Yahoo! Health, Information

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CPR:
The combination of heart message and artificial breathing. Determine which basic life-support technique to employ for an unresponsive rat.

Is the Rat breathing? Observe rise and fall of the chest.
• Yes: Clear the airway, pull the tongue forward and look for obstructions.
• No: Feel for a pulse.

Does the Rat have a pulse? Place a finger over the femoral artery located in the groin.
• Yes: Employ artificial breathing.
• No: Employ CPR.

Artificial breathing (mouth to nose breathing):
• Lay the rat on a flat surface (palm of your hand will do) with its right side down.
• Open the mouth and clear the airway.
• Pull the tongue forward and close the mouth. Hold the mouth closed gently with two fingers.
• Purse your lips as if you were going to give a kiss (the kiss of life perhaps?).
• Place your lips over the rat's nose. Blow into the rat's nostrils. The chest will expand, if it isn't, breath into the nostrils a little harder.
• Release your fingers and lips to let the air come back out. Excess air will escape through the rat's lips, preventing overinflation of the lungs and and overdistension of the stomach.
• The breathing rate is one breath into the rat every two seconds. Do this 2 to 3 times and then check for breathing.
• Continue until the rat breathes on its own, or as long as the heart beats.
• Hopefully someone will be driving you to the veterinarian's office while you are doing this.

CPR:
• Continue with mouth to nose breathing.
• Push the rat's leg up until the paw is parallel to the chest and the elbow rests comfortably on the side of the chest. Where the tip of the elbow rests is where the rat's heart is.
• Place the soft pad of the finger that is next to your baby finger over the heart. This finger, BTW, you will notice does not have a lot of strength in it, therefore, there shouldn't be too much danger in pressing so hard as to break a rib or bruise a lung.
• Compress the chest firmly six times (1 compression per second), administer a breath. Then repeat. If possible, do not stop the heart message while administering a breath.
• Pause every two minutes for 5 to 10 seconds to check for a pulse and spontaneous breathing.
• Continue until the heart beats on its own, or until no heartbeat is felt for 15 minutes.
• Hopefully, someone will be driving you to the veterinarian's office while you are doing this.


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The Ratty Fling:
This procedure should only be used if the rat is not breathing and/or the rat is unconscious.
• Hold the upper torso of the rat, on it's side, in one hand. Make sure the head is cradled by your fingers.
• Use the other hand to hold the rat's hind end against the inside of your forearm.
• Holding the rat firmly in that position, raise it above your head. Make sure there are no obstacles in the way of your arc. Swing downward in a rapid arc. The rat's head will be facing the ground between your legs.
• Do this 3 or 4 times and then check to see if the food has been dislodged and/or the rat is breathing.

Rat Heimlich Maneuver:
This procedure should only be used if the rat is not breathing and/or the rat is unconscious.
Face the rat away from you and facing the floor.
• Hold the rat firmly with one or two hands.
• Feel for the sternum (a flattish bone below and between the last ribs). With the middle finger over the sternum, press in and up sharply 3 times.
• Check to see if the food has been dislodged.


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