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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 08:42 PM Thread Starter
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Puffy/fluffed rat: causes?

Well Russell is currently on his 5th week of baytril and doxy...we're trying a long course of it to see how it helps with his respiratory problems. Today we had a bit of a setback, though: at dinner time, when I was giving him his medicine, I noticed that he was really puffed up. I remembered reading elsewhere that if your rat is looking puffy/fluffed up, you should take him to the vet. So, I called and luckily we still had one hour left before the clinic closed. I got him in for an emergency appointment, but the vet wasn't able to tell what was causing the puffing. He checked his glands, listened for a long time to his breathing in both lungs--that was, of course, still a bit noisier than in a completely healthy rat, but not even close to respiratory distress.

The vet said that he couldn't diagnose a cause for Russell's puffiness, so he said to just keep an eye on him. I did get more Baytril (I was running out, so he decided to extend the prescription for another 3 weeks).

So... any ideas as to why a rat gets puffed up? Is there anything else I should be looking for? He isn't making any breathing noises, and the only difference in him today is that he has been sneezing quite a bit more today than yesterday.


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-07-2010, 11:57 PM
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Breyer,
I am sorry about Russell.
I am thinking the same thing that you thought..that puffed up fur means that something is wrong but then your vet said he/she was stumped about the puffed fur and said his lungs were not too bad. Hmmm. I hope some others reply to this post with some advice. In the meantime, I will get my rat health care books out and refresh myself on symptoms of illness, etc. I could swear I remember reading about puffed fur. I will let you know what I find out. Kisses to little Russell. I will send healthy thoughts his way.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Vlad. Everything I've read says that it can be a sign of pain--but the vet palpitated his whole body, checked his lungs, etc. and didn't find anything wrong...other than that he could hear a bit of fluid in his lungs (but that's normal for him). This morning he's almost back to normal with his fur, still a bit fluffy but not as bad, but he's still sneezing a lot. I'm going to give him some sudafed after he finishes his breakfast...


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 11:29 AM
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Yep, I checked my rat books and saw the same thing. They basically list puffed fur as one of several different symptoms of illness to watch out for, so not anything you don't already know. So frustrating. I wonder what in the heck is making Russell sneeze so much? I am glad he seems a bit less puffed up though. Keep me posted on how he does, okay? I am thinking about him. Marc also sends Russell his love.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 03:30 PM
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I don't know if it actually helps, but Louna had a URI ever since I adopted her. I put her on baytril+doxy for a month last december because she had transparent mucus coming out of her nose.
She had stopped any sneezing/wheezing/ clicking etc but after a month and a half, she started sneezing again. She still to this day sneezes and has a few days in the month when you can hear her breathing, however, it has never gotten worse and seems to be completely stabilized. She is very active, she eats like a pig etc...
What I've been doing is putting grapefruit seed extract in her water. It's good for humans to sort of kill bacteria and fend off viruses and stuff like that (i use it to not catch stomach flu!)
Now I'm not saying it's working for sure, but I have a feeling it might be helping. I put 3 drops in her huge bottle.
I don't know if it's safe either for males since you can't give them citrus fruits...
but I thought maybe a herbal supplement of some sort could be somewhere to turn since antibiotics alone aren't necessarily working completely.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 03:52 PM
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Yes, that is a good question about grapefruit extract and whether that would work with male rats, good point Dustette. That was the first thing I remember reading about male rats in my books: "don't feed male rats citrus."
Breyer, I had a thought, and I am sure you already went over this yourself when you were trying to think of what might be causing Russell's sneezing problems, but, how about their bedding? Is it possible Russell could have an allergic reaction to the bedding? Or no? Just brainstorming. I always used towels and blankets for Wolfie and Klausse to keep the dust factor down (of course when rat owners choose to go the toweling and blanket route, we need to change all of that daily...I think I did ratty wash about 7 days a week.
It was just a thought. You are probably saying, "Duh, Vlad, that was one of the first things I checked out!"

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for these suggestions, you guys! Dustette--I'm not sure about grapefruit, but I believe it is not recommended for boys. I do use echinacea with them on occasion, so I'm definitely going to give them some tonight with their water. Vlad, I had thought about environmental stuff like blankets, but they've had the same type of blankets since they first came to live here, and I still wash them the same way, etc. I just can't figure this out!!

The good news is that as soon as I came home this evening, I said hi to him and he jumped right out of his hammock and came bowling out the door of the cage as soon as I opened it. He's eating his dinner like a champ right now, and even his whole morning routine this morning was exactly the same as always--eating, drinking, pooping, playing, sleeping. All normal. He's still sneezing a bit more than usual, but I also noticed that his fur is back to normal now. Hopefully he'll stay that way.


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-08-2010, 07:05 PM
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Ahh, what a relief to hear that! I am sooo glad he is doing his normal happy ratty activities Breyer, that is great! We used to give our boys echinachea drops too, about 2 times a week. Oh man, it is still very hard to use the past tense with Klausse and Wolfie. Hits hard every time. I am so happy to hear your update on Russell and that his fur looks normal again.
Keep us posted!

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks, Vlad. Today Russell and Stanley are extremely hyper, running all over their playpen and attacking each other because they're so excited for breakfast. Russell's fur is normal, but he is still sneezing a bit more than usual. Changed blankies, echinacea in water. Tomorrow is cage-cleaning day. Now they are having some dry oatmeal for breakfast (their daily routine) and loving it.


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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 08:05 AM
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Even perfectly healthy rats can have puffed up fur, was it cooler at that time? They do it to stay warmer. I have seen puffy rats in the morning and several hours later, brighteyed and smooth. Puffy coat is not a symptom, just an additional one to lung noises, excessive porphyrin, lethargy etc...on its own it really means nothing

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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 02:01 PM
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Breyer, so happy to read your update this morning with Marc. He says, "Go Russell go!" Since our babies left us, it is so nice to be comforted by reading about other ratties that we love and seeing how they are doing. I was tickled to read that your boys were excited for breakfast and enjoying their oatmeal. They both sound like they are full of energy and happy. You give them such a nice life. I still wish I could think of a magic solution to Russell's sneezing. But I am glad he sounds happy and hungry this morning. Marc, as you know, is a big Russell fan, since he found out that Russell is the weaker of your two boys and so he feels for Russell and wants him to be well. Marc said, "does Breyer have a video camera? I would love to see video footage of Stanley and Russell!". So there you go. Don't know if you have ever done video footage of the boys, but their fans have spoken.

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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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Oh lilspaz, thanks for that info! Maybe he wasn't actually in pain, then. It's good to know that there are other reasons for fluffed up fur!

Vlad--I have actually taken MANY videos of the boys over the past year! I just do it with my old digital camera, though, nothing fancy. I'm not sure how to post videos on here, though... have any ideas?


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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 02:37 PM
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How does One post videos on the forum?

Eeep, I am not sure how to post videos on the forum. I am such an idiot when it comes to computer stuff, as you know. Anyone else on this forum have advice or instructions on how to post video? I am titling this reply with some key words so hopefully someone will see it.

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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 10-09-2010, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
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Ok, actually I just decided to upload some to youtube! I'll post a new thread now!


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