START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
Group Discussions
Excessive coughing/sneezing/"hiccups"/wheezing
10 years ago
My big book of rat health says that one of the most common rait ailments is respiratory infection. The most common form of this is Mycoplasma, a very contagious (not to humans though) and incurable bacteria. Most rats have some of this in their system, but not all show major symptoms. Although there isn't a cure, you can manage the illness to keep your rat happy and relatively healthy for a long life. Early symptoms: - Excessive sneezing or coughing; Hiccups (actually sneezing) - Wheezing (sometimes sounds like a whine) - Red goo around eyes/nose. Although it looks like blood, this is their "snot". You may also find it on bedding and cage walls from when they sneeze. Things that can aggravate respiratory illnesses: - Smoke (from cigarettes, incense, fireplaces, etc.) - Ammonia from a dirty cage. - Aromatic oils in the bedding (pine, cedar). There are lots of good bedding alternatives out there. If you like wood shavings, use Alpine, which has no aromatic oils. - Vitamin A or E deficiency - Genetic predisposition Medications to manage Mycoplasma: - Oral antibiotics, such as Chloremphenicol or Clarithromycin. You may have to mix it with something yummy. - Inhaled antibiotic, such as Gentamycin. You'll need a nebulizer for this (http://www.cchs.net/health/health-info/docs/0300/0352.asp?index=4297). You can modify the nebulizer to make the mist flow into a box covered with a towel and it works pretty well. The medication is inhaled directly into the lungs so it really gets at the source of the problem. - Anti inflammatory meds, like Prednisone (for advanced mycoplasmosis) - Broncodialators, like Aminophylline (again for advanced mycoplasmosis) Other things that may help: - Humidifier - Non-drowsy pediatric pseudephedrine - VetRX or Vicks Vaporub - Echinacea and Goldenseal - Vitamin B6 - Olive leaf extract and Grapefruit seed extract My handy book has doseages for most of these things, so if you want more info to talk over with your vet, please let me know and I'll pass it on.
Hmm
10 years ago
Are rats supposed to sneeze a little bit?
Welcome Catriona!
10 years ago
Yeah, they'll sneeze a little from time to time, usually from sniffing stuff and inhaling particles of dust or whatever. But if they're just sitting there sneezing repeatedly for no apparent reason you might want to keep an eye on it. If it seems persistent you probably want to check it out. By the way, I was meaning to tell you in your forum that your picture is SOOOOO adorable! The feet are so cute!! Is that one of your current ratties?
Oops - wood shavings
10 years ago
I was just reading my first post and the alternative wood shavings should be ASPEN, not alpine . That's what I get for being too lazy to get up and look at the package!
Hm,m
10 years ago
Thanks! I know, my babies are really cute, but which one did you mean? My profile pic is Pamper, but she died last year of brain cancer. The forum group pic is Harvie - one of my current ones. But with my rats, sometimes they're washing themselves and suddenly sneeze three or four times. Not that often, but often enough for me to notice. And also, sometimes they do 'jolting' movements, usually when I'm petting them and they're purring they suddeny go 'bob, bob, bob, bob' (not in sound, in movement).
Bobbing and sneezing
10 years ago
Some rats are more susseptible to respiratory disease. Our Rocky is like that. If they sneeze when grooming it is probably because they kicked up dust in their fur and it is ok. If you see the brown staining of porphyrin on their noses and notice wheezing it isn't so good. I know Rocky is having a bad day when I can hear him breathing from the other room. Children's echinechea drops can be put in the water for a week or so if you suspect your rat is coming down with something. I also make sure to clean the cage well if Rocky looks like he is getting sick. Ammonia in the urine aggrevates things. We use aspen in the litter box and as bedding in the bird house sleep quarters but for general bedding materials we use flannel or fleece rags. Aspen is expensive here and needs to be special ordered. I've noticed the bobbing with our boys too and it spooks me a little. If I disturb them by picking them up and giving a little shake or jostle they snap out of it but I don't know if it is some kind of neurological twitch or if it is hiccups or something. I've not found any resource to tell me what it might be.
Listening to your rats
10 years ago
Oh, and if you suspect something is wrong, put your rat's side to your ear (looks like you are listening to a little ratty radio) and listen for breathing noises. You should hear the heart beating and some tummy rumbles but you shouldn't hear breathing from the lungs, just sniffing from the nose end. You should probably try it with a healthy rat till you get used to what it is supposed to sound like. If I can hear Rocky breathing it means there is starting to be congestion in his lungs and I get him on his antibiotics quickly. Also, if your rat is sick you should be sure to provide a warm place for him to rest with no drafts. Depending on what kind of cage you have it might mean putting some towels in to make a nest or a bucket of some kind to block drafts.
Hmm
10 years ago
Ok, so I need to: Hose the cage to get rid of any NH4 (take the rats out first) Wonder why all my friends have bobbing rats and don't know why Cuddle my babies Take them for a checkup at the vet
Bobbing
10 years ago
I'm not sure, but maybe the bobbing is the "hiccuping" that the Rat Health Care book metions in connection to respiratory prolems. Just a thought.
Hmm
10 years ago
Oh dear. I thought so too, but didn't want to voice it. Oh, why are my vets so stupid?
Anyone found any new miracle cures?
9 years ago
My newest girl, Chloe, has come down with a respiratory thing and the antibiotics the vet gave her didn't really solve the problem. She got better while she was on them but as soon as she was done with the prescribed cycle the infection came right back.

Has anyone found anything new that really beat a respiratory infection?

One thing I think may be aggravating it is we have to have the air conditioning on for most of the day (live in San Jose CA and it's very hot). I think it's really making us all ill, but it's either that or the little rodents slow cook. Any tips on making the air conditioning less brutal?
Are your little ones directly in front of a vent?
9 years ago
Making sure your little ones are not in the direct path of the cool air flowing out or a fan blowing directly onto them. If you can place a small room air filter/ionizer nearby as well, this will help reduce the level of respiratory irritants in the room as well. Aside from that, the only treatment for URI that I know of is Terramycin.
Triple Injection
9 years ago

I STRONGLY recommend you give the following information to your vet and ask him or her to give your little ratty this injection. There is some new information out that giving Dexamethisone in conjunction with Enrofloxacin (Baytril) has a more robust effect on rat URIs. The Aminophyllin eases breathing problems.

This information is from a friend on another rat forum to which I belong and it works. Best to you and your ratty.

Cindy

***********************

Hi Cindy.  I may be able to help.  I've been through this several times.  You can save them.  My vet, may she rest in peace, recently published a paper in Exotic DVM magazine.  She gives the recipe for her rescue shots which have saved the lives of MANY of my sick babies.  Take this to your vet and they can make it up for you.

 
0.2 mg dexamethasone + 5 mg aminophylline + 4.5 mg enrofloxacin + 2-3 ml saline
 
I give one injection per rat in addition to any antibiotics I'm giving them orally, usually baytril.  It usually just takes the one injection.
 
If your vet wants to see the article, it's Respiratory Disease in Pet Rats by Barbara Deeb, DVM, MS, in Exotic DVM vol 7.2 for May 2005.  My best rattie girl in the whole world is on the first page of the article.
Dexamethasone (spelled incorrectly in last post!)
9 years ago
One more thing, rats often sneeze during and after grooming to produce more fluid to clean with. You'll see it after they drink water, too, to draw out a more liquid solution for a better, cleaner rat!!!
Heading to the vet right now
9 years ago
I'm heading to the vet, armed with teh new info for the injection.  I'll let you know how it goes!

Thanks so much you guys!
How did it go?
9 years ago

What did the vet say? How is your furkid? Waiting anxiously...

Cindy

So sorry for lagging
9 years ago
The vet was totally open to doing the injection.  We did it, and it seems to have really helped.  She's also on doxycycline and trimeth/sulfa, but I'm haaving a real hard time getting it into her.  She won't eat anything I hide it in (jam, chocolate sauce, bread, COOKIE, maple syrup, honey) and sometimes she spits it back out when I put it directly in her mouth.  I've resorted to annoying wrestling matches, and since she's the squirmiest, noisiest rat we have it's very dramatic with both of us squeaking and huffing and puffing.  But whatever the case, so far she is getting better! 

Thank you so much for the info.  I'm definitely going to spread the word as much as I can!
Hurray!
9 years ago

I am so glad your little ratty is better. The injection is nearly a miracle if you ask me. I'm surprised more vets haven't discovered it yet. It's right there in the Exotic Vets mag.

Anyway, wrap your little darlin' with a towel like a burrito, making sure to get those little front paws under the towel! Then insert the syringe gently into the side of the cheek while holding the head still (ha!). That's the best way I know to give meds to squirmy rats...

Congrats again. I'm so pleased to read the results.

Cindy