Sneezing rats

Discussions relating to all aspects of a rat's health and physique
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D-S-C-S
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Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Wed May 28, 2014 4:37 am

I now have six rats ill list their names and ages (they are all rescues and rehomed rats)
Sergi will be 2 in June
Cuddles has just turned 1
Damon and Stefan are 8 months
Bubbles and Casper are the baby's 8 weeks old
So almost all of them sneeze, most of them were bedded in wood shavings before coming to me (I use fleece blankets and tissue). All apart from 2 (they occasionally sneeze) but the rest sneeze frequently throughout the day. Recently Stefan has produced quite a lot of poryphorin *spelling sorry*, more than usual anyway and he has had runny poop, he is an albino so I know a little of this blood looking stuff is normal. The others don't get it at all, I am assuming ther sneezing is caused by mycoplasmia, but is there anything I can put in their water to lessen the symptoms, I don't want them to feel uncomfortable. I make sure their living space is well ventilated, I don use any sprays around them, I clean them out every other day (change blankets, litter tray etc) one a week I do a deep clean (wash down the entire cage in the bath and wash their hammocks and toys! I also constantly clean their levels of the cage which is massive with wipes like 3 or 4 times a day. Hate feeling as though my baby's aren't comfortable in their own body! I haven't noticed any major breathing problems but I am going to borrow my cousins stethiscope and properly listen to their chest! Any advice would be great thank you :)

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neotoma
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by neotoma » Wed May 28, 2014 12:04 pm

I'd take them to the vet and get their chest checked properly - even with a stethoscope it can be tricky to tell what is ok and what isn't unless you are experienced with rat chests.

Is the guy with runny poo and porphyrin new to your house, or one you have had a while? Either way I would definitely get him checked by the vet, whether or not you choose to take the others.

There isn't something you can just put in the water to help (they need a good diet of course, which depending on how you are feeding might include supplements, but that is a different issue). If they have an active myco infection (i.e an active infection of the lungs causing symptoms) then they need proper treatment just as for any other bacterial infection.

The other thing to look at is your cleaning regime - wiping down several times everyday is quite a lot and will probably encourage scent-marking and urination outside the litter trays. Fleece and tissue can also lead to ammonia smells (which irritate the airways) as they hold the urine - that's probably why you are changing them every other day. It might be better to find a non-dusty substrate that absorbs and neutralises the urine smell better, and change them less often.

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Wed May 28, 2014 2:01 pm

Their diet is good I make sure they get everything they need. The vet I previously used was not experienced with rats at all (they are great with all other pets) but didn't even pick up my boys when I've taken them previously. I've had them for a while the ones who are sneezing, I have made an appointment with a new vet who when I phoned up was already examining some rats! So I feel positive about her, I am taking the 2 worst ones and then see how that goes and will take the rest tomorrow. I heard there was something that you can add to their water that helps with the symptoms of Mycoplasmia. It may have actually been on here I read it, but we will see what the vet says today, their appointment is in an hour. I will try and leave the cage alone for a couple of days but they are extremely messy with their food! That's mainly the reason I'll clean up everyday so they aren't living in a mess! Thank you for the advice :)

sbarnett984
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by sbarnett984 » Wed May 28, 2014 3:01 pm

Vitamins and supplimntes can be added to the water to boost their immune system but it's no replacement for vet treatment. Some vets try to prescribe antibiotics which can be added to their water but it isn't really recommended as you cannot tell how much they are taking and whether each rat has taken the right dosage. Oral medication given idividually is the best way to go
Sam;

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Wed May 28, 2014 11:03 pm

The vets have given them both an antibiotic (baytril) which they get twice a day. She also gave an oral powder to use once a day to help with their breathing, she said they have a mild case of resp disease but because of the ployphryn they could have an infection. Their weight is also perfect for their age, she seed VERY knowledgable about rats and is actuall cheaper than my usual vets which is a plus :) not that I mind as long as they are okay, I'm going to take the rest up to her through the week and get a second opinion on the lumps they have, she has a very high success rate with rat surgeries and is so sweet with them, I'm so glad I went to her. I'm pretty positive they all have resp disease except maybe 1, would like to know for definite. I'm going to look into some vitamins as they are getting on a bit with age, they don't really eat their rat food, but I make sure to give them protein everyday to help that! Thanks again :)

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neotoma
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by neotoma » Thu May 29, 2014 12:19 pm

What is their rat food? Also protein, while essential in the right quantities, should be managed carefully in older rats, especially boys, as they are prone to kidney problems. You need to get the right amount, and also the right type, as some forms are easier for the body to breakdown than others. Do they get fresh fruit and veg?

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Thu May 29, 2014 12:35 pm

In their food is a mixture of oats and seeds and nuts biscuits which are 12% protein (for dogs) different types of cereals plain with no sugar or salt of course, muesli etc. it's all made up in bags now but I researched it for a while and spent a lot of money for good quality food for them to make sure they get everything they need, only problem is they don't eat everything! They will pick and choose which I know is a problem. Yes they get fresh fruit and veg in the morning and at night, I try to keep it interesting so they get lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes grapes banana apples etc in the morning and at night it's cooked veg broccoli etc! And I usually add in some extra of what we have they come and get a few bites (honestly, I probably spoil them more than I should) overall though their diet is very healthy as I eat healthy clean foods always. I'm not sure if I should change the dry food though? I feel like they do get enough nutrients and protein in what they get everyday anyway, so I would like to continue making their food. I don't like the pet store rat foods, I think they should have variety and good tasting food! The 2 babies I have though I've been strict with them just now (not as many treats as the big boys, but because were bonding I treat them with plain popcorn which they LOVE!) they too love their grub, lettuce especially and tend to go to that first.

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Thu May 29, 2014 12:40 pm

I should probably add that they are all rescues which came to me in bad states, all but 1 was bedded in wood shavings and hay etc so were sneezing before I got them. The one who was bedded with wooden pellet type stuff doesn't seen to hav any symptoms actually. Also I use a wood based cat litter for their litter trays which when peed on breaks down and goes powdery, could this be affecting their disease? I change it out regularly anyways but any suggestions I could use as a substitute incase this could be making it worse? I want to eliminate anything which could cause them more irritation etc.

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neotoma
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by neotoma » Thu May 29, 2014 12:50 pm

Definitely lose the wooden pellets. Wood-shavings (big high quality ones that have been dust extracted) are increasingly being used again as it looks like they weren't as bad as everyone thought for a while, but anything dusty, or which breaks down to dust will be an obvious respiratory irritant. Urine on wood powder could be a major cause of the sneezing.

As far as the dry mix goes, I wouldn't base a mix for oldies on oats - better to have a wide mix of grains. However, the reason they may not be eating it is they are full of yummier stuff. I feed mine their dry mix in the early evening, and their veg and any extras in the later evening. During the day they can browse on any leftovers they can dig up from the scattered area (which usually means the less popular bits of the dry mix), so that by early evening again, everything has been gone for a couple of hours, and they are hungry enough to eat what they are given.

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Thu May 29, 2014 1:22 pm

I will lose the pellets right now then, what would you recommend as a litter ? Also I've noticed everytime I change the liter Stefan try's to eat it?!?! Even when there's plenty of food in the cage which worries me because it's very odd the others don't do this. These are the first male rats I've owned, the rest were female when I was much younger. To say the least they keep me on my toes. They don't like to be in their cage so I have it open pretty much most of the day and they come and go as they please. I also change their food completely every night at the same time, fresh everything and wash their bowls so I think I'll need to cut down on what I'm doing it seems, I think I overdo everything with them hoping to help them but actually it could be affecting their health! Because they are sick and on antibiotics they have won my heart over and I'm mixing in their medicine with yummy treats so theyl have it (jam, rice pud, yoghurt, custard) sorry for all the info I just want to be as detailed as possible so that anything anyone picks up on they can point it out, I've posted quite frequently here since I found the site, everything worries me with them, they all (except 1) came from a terrible background so I just want to do the best by them. Thank you so much for the advice!

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neotoma
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by neotoma » Thu May 29, 2014 1:53 pm

I use 100% paper pellets in litter trays. You want a non-dusty brand, and preferably unscented. Someone else will have to tell you want the current favoured UK brand is though, as I haven't been there for a few years.

I'd try to relax a bit. Managing problems in rats from bad backgrounds can be a pain, especially with resp issues, but if the fundamentals are done well (good vet care, good food, good environment), they can live long and happy lives, even with some chronic problems. The odd thing done non-ideally is generally not a crisis and won't make a big difference as a one off (only exception to that is not getting good vet care when needed)

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AlisonR
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by AlisonR » Thu May 29, 2014 4:03 pm

I think Back2nature is a good paper pellet brand, or finacard have papelit (i think its called) which i found wasn't dusty at all but i think i found it less absorbant than back2nature.

D-S-C-S
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by D-S-C-S » Thu May 29, 2014 4:37 pm

I will be going to the store once my fiancé gets back from work tonight so I will have a browse at the products! I really didn't think about the litter, I feel terrible! They have been using that since I got them, I've taken it out and put some cut up tissue paper but no doubt they will be so confused by it and try to sleep there (I hope not) do you have any idea why Stefan tries to eat the litter? Is he hungry? Like I said there is ALWAYS food available and yummy food at that cereals nuts dried berries etc so I'm wondering if he's okay, I actually forgot to mention it to the vet when we were in, I mean it's not a huge deal but every so often I'll find him eating a bit! He's a strange one he eats everything non edible (tries to anyway) like plastic and my jewelry but he just kind of chews that which I know is normal but he will finish a whole pellet of litter!

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RavenMoon
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Re: Sneezing rats

Post by RavenMoon » Sat May 31, 2014 12:26 pm

Rabbits will eat cardboard when they are lacking natural fibre even when surrounded by hay. Perhaps your boy, if he is filling himself up on protein and sugars, is craving fibre and the litter smells the most suited? I would try to adjust the way you feed them so that they have to eat the dry mix, and if possible get some things like dandelion from pesticide free gardens for them to munch on. There should be a rat safe plants list online.

With regards to absorbent litter, I use fitch bedding as I use it for the bunnies, and think its ideal. You can order it from their website.

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