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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 03:53 AM Thread Starter
 
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Can rats catch colds?

I'm not even completely sure it's a cold but I just don't know. I have three girlies, all under a year old, and today I noticed my oldest, Bella Lugosi, acting strange. Her eyes are half lidded and she seems to be having trouble breathing- I can't hear anything, like no wheezing, but her chest is moving really rapidly. She doesn't move around too much but then again she's gotten sort of fat recently and moves about she usually does, except she doesn't scuffle as much as before. Her cage mates are fine.
The things that have recently changed that could be affecting her are the introduction of a new rat (whom the first two get along with fine and seems to be having no issues of her own), the weather getting colder (her first winter), and while this isn't exactly new, I can't keep my roommate's cat out of here and the cat just sits on my bed and STARES at the rats. Sometimes they stare back, and sometimes they ignore her. But that cat's been there since day one so I'm not so sure about it.
I don't know. What can I do? Should I just throw some blankets in there? is there like some medicine? I wish she could tell me what's wrong.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 05:13 AM
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Rats can't catch colds -like us humans get, therefore they can't catch them from humans. However they can have cold like symptoms -but that is likely due to other respiratory infections. Go to this site. http://www.80stoysale.com/ratsickness.html it will tell you of all the things that your rat may or may not have to better understand what it might be. Also any rat that you get unless you know the person you got them from very well and the care they give it alway qurintine your rat becuase it could have something wrong with it and give to the the other rats.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 06:51 AM
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Once a rat gets sick, it usually cannot "get better" on its own. It sounds like your girl has a URI (upper respiratory infection), with her lethargy, rapid breathing etc. You can listen to her lungs by lifting her up to your ear (like a phone receiver and put her side against your ear. Wait until she has stopped moving and listen to her breathing. Do you hear any gurgles, squeaks, wheezing with her breathing? Listen to both sides. This is called rat phone. There should only be the sound of her heart and whooshing as air is inhaled and exhaled.

Has her appetite diminished or she 's not eating, drinking? Is there any red discharge (porphyrin) around her eyes/nose? Is her fur puffed up as she sits there?

It sounds like she is ill, and needs to get to a vet for antibiotics. Do you have a good vet that will see rats? Most dog/cat vets won't considering rats "exotics" and they don't know their health or issues well.

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Last edited by lilspaz68; 10-14-2009 at 06:54 AM.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 09:29 AM
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Also, if you cannot get your rat to the vet ASAP, go to your local pet store (Petco or Petsmart) usually, and get something from the "bird" isle called Ornacycline, it's a tetracycline based antibiotic, you just put it into their water, be sure to change out any unused water daily, it's slightly fruit flavored, so they won't really taste the medicine. There are tablets, I like the packets that you just pour into the water, there is less setiment.
This is just a short term solution until you can get to the Vet.
If you have other pets, your vet may see your rat as a courtesy to you. Please let us know how your rattie is doing...I hope she gets to feeling well soon!

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath."
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TweedleDeedle3 View Post
Also, if you cannot get your rat to the vet ASAP, go to your local pet store (Petco or Petsmart) usually, and get something from the "bird" isle called Ornacycline, it's a tetracycline based antibiotic, you just put it into their water, be sure to change out any unused water daily, it's slightly fruit flavored, so they won't really taste the medicine. There are tablets, I like the packets that you just pour into the water, there is less setiment.
This is just a short term solution until you can get to the Vet.
If you have other pets, your vet may see your rat as a courtesy to you. Please let us know how your rattie is doing...I hope she gets to feeling well soon!
Putting abs in water is not a good idea at all. It was an old school type of medicating...there are many reasons not to do this;

1) Ornacycline is a very very weak antibiotic for rats to begin with. For a URI or resp. issue Doxycycline is the best of them. You can order in doxy in a pinch.

2) you cannot guarantee how much meds the rat actually will receive. Dosages of antibiotics are carefully decided based on 3 things, the rat's weight, the concentration of the ab (antibiotic) and the recommended dosage.
www.ratguide.com recommends this;

10 mg/kg to 20 mg/kg , PO , q8hrs

PO is orally, every 8 hours (3 times a day). With water dosing you have no idea how much they are getting, whether they are being underdosed or overdosed.

Say we make up 25 mg/ml tetracycline for example;

a 300 gram rat should get .12 cc's 3 times a day
a 400 gram rat should get .16 cc's
a 500 gram rat should get .2 cc's

3) a medicated water bottle has to be scrubbed out and replaced EVERY day since it can promote bacterial growth inside the bottle

4) a rat often won't drink "tainted" water, so they may not drink at all and dehydrate...a sick rat that is dehydrated is in serious danger.

If you do decide on getting the ornacycline, determine how many mg/gram or kg it is then we can work out an oral dosage with a syringe.
I get pills and capsules from my vet and make up my own meds all the time...very very carefully.

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 06:56 PM Thread Starter
 
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I don't hear anything weird when I "rat phone" her... just her heart and the hffhffhffhffhff of her breathing. She's not bleeding out of anything and her appetite is normal. However, her fur IS puffed up when she's just sitting.
Oh dear, I don't know if there's a vet around here who looks at rats... do you think if I called the PetCo, they'd know of a vet?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 07:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghost Stories View Post
do you think if I called the PetCo, they'd know of a vet?
It's worth a try!

Poor baby.. I'm pretty sure there's a place here on PT that'll help you find a vet, or we will right here on your thread if you want. I'd be of little help there but the others will be able to help, I'm sure.

Good luck, and Get Well Soon Bella!
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 07:06 PM
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It does sound like a URI, especially the ruffled fur is a symptom. It is pretty deadly left alone.

I am not so sure about PetCo knowing of a vet because many people in there really don't know what they are talking about anyway. But you never know!! Worth a try! Some PetSmarts have a vet built in (Banfield) and you could try there if there is one in your area, but I have personally had bad experiences there (all vets are different though). You could try searching for exotic vets in your area, I think there is a special search engine to find vets...oh whats it called? Best Wishes!


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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-14-2009, 08:12 PM
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Phonebook vet ads usually state wether they treat exotics. Go through the phone book - if it doesn't say in the ad, call and ask. You can ask the vets if they know of any other vets that will treat rats.


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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-15-2009, 11:03 PM
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The Ornacycline does make the water bottle funky, but again, it was a very short term solution until she could get to a vet.
I do hope your little one is doing well! Please let us know.
Get Well Soon Rattie!

"The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath."
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post #11 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-16-2009, 02:38 PM
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I have used it before on my male mice untill they get into a vet and it has helped temperaly untill the vet can see them. Also the ferret cold stuff or a vaper thing can help but that is only an over night till you can get in the next morning. Although consolt your vet 1st and ask what you can do till you can be seen they may take you in right away. keep us posted.
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post #12 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-18-2009, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thank you everyone who responded. I took Bella to the vet yesterday- my roommate recommended a good one, they had a rat specialist who keeps pet rats- and I got her some medicine. I'll clean their cage COMPLETELY today to see if theres something in there causing a problem, and hopefully she'll feel better. Thanks so much for all your tips! The websites recommended were very useful!
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post #13 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-28-2009, 02:11 AM
 
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my rats sneeze after wrestling around in their cages. its so cute.
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