Shock & CPR
By Debbie Ducommun
There are two types of shock we need to be concerned about: electrical shock and physiological shock. Electrical shock can occur when a rat chews through a power cord. Electrocution can cause unconsciousness and can also stop breathing. In this case, you must do mouth-to-nose respiration to start the breathing again.
Place your lips around the rat’s nose and blow into her lungs. You will have to blow fairly hard, enough to make the chest expand, but not too hard. After blowing 2-3 times, check to see if breathing has started. If not, firmly massage the chest for a couple of seconds and then blow in their nose again. Alternate the chest massage with blowing into the lungs. Firmly slapping the body can also stimulate breathing. Do not give up too easily. You may have to work for several minutes to restore the breathing.
Electrocution can also cause burns, especially to the mouth. Burns are not always obvious on animals with fur so if your rat has been electrocuted, a veterinary exam is good precaution.
Physiological shock is a condition where the circulation system shuts down because of blood loss, extreme stress, or other failure of normal body systems, and is an extreme emergency. The symptoms include extreme lethargy, dull eyes, and low body temperature. Keep your rat warm and her head lower than her body while rushing her to the vet for an injection of dexamethasone and possible fluid therapy.