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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 05:16 AM Thread Starter
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Sneezing Rats

My girls Layla and Juno are 3 months old now, and they're both becoming amazingly affectionate and friendly. Juno especially acts more like a male than a female, the way she's always in the mood for cuddles. I love them so much, it's fantastic having rats again. ^.^

One thing though...sometimes I'll hear them have little sneezing fits. I'm not sure if it's just one of them, or both, but I know it's not normal for them to be sneezing that much. The bedding I'm using is Kaytee Soft Granule Blend small pet bedding--I switched to this from CareFresh when CareFresh ended up being much too dusty, and that fixed the sneezing problem for a while. As far as I can tell, sneezing is the only symptom, their eyes and fur are clear and shiny and I haven't seen any porphyrin around their eyes or nose, ever (I did, however, see some red spots on some of their nesting material, but it was a very, very small amount.

I'm not really sure whether to change beddings again, or take them to the vet, or what. Any opinions on bedding that is the least dusty? This is scaring me to death especially because my first two rats died of respritory infections when they were less than a year old.

EDIT: Forgot to mention that I sometimes hear a clicking sound that I originally thought was bruxing, but now I'm pretty sure it's something else.


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Last edited by lyramon; 02-09-2011 at 05:46 AM.
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 11:16 AM
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Hi Lyramon,
It is good to hear from you again. I still remember what gorgeous girls you have from those pictures you posted of Layla and Juno.

I know how scary it can be to hear your babies sneezing. The fact that they are sneezing a lot and you also hear clicking is not a good sign. I would highly recommend you take them both in for a checkup with a good small animal vet so he/she can listen to their lungs. In the meantime, I would say you should try the least dusty option for their housing which would be removing their bedding and replacing it with flannel or fleece lining. Even if you have towels that do not have that looping that their toes can get caught in. I always used layers of fleece and non-looped fabric for my boys to avoid any dust from regular bedding. I hope this helps a bit? You will get more advice from the other rat moms on this forum too, I am sure. Keep us posted on how your girls do? Do you have a vet that specializes in small animals/exotics?

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice. I'll see what I can do about switching to fleece: I was thinking about it anyway since the platforms in their cage are made of metal and I know those must get cold in the winter. I did a search for exotic vets in my area and one came up that isn't far at all, although I'm not sure how much they specialize in exotics. I'll call them and see, I guess.

Thing is, as I'm still 16 and living with my parents, all the decisions I make about my pets have to go through them first, and my mom especially will take some convincing about both the bedding change and the vet appointment: she's unwilling to spend as much money or time on them as she would a dog or a cat. She already thinks it's excessive that I completely clean their cage every two days or so, but to me it's necessary.

I'll keep you guys updated!


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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 03:01 PM
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You are a GREAT rat parent, Lyramon and I am sorry that your mom does not understand the importance of taking the best care of Layla and Juno. Rats are the same as any other pet. They are living, breathing creatures just like dogs, cats or any other pet and the size of the animal doesn't matter. Maybe if you explain it that way to your mom, she will understand better. My local exotic animal vet has treated mice, gerbils, birds, lizards, turtles, rats, you name it. And they are all important to the people that love them.
Speaking of cleaning their house, you are awesome! Keeping their house clean is so important and I used to do the same as you...cleaned my boys house every 2 days like clockwork. Even daily spot cleaning. So keep up the good work. You are a super rat mom! Keep us posted on the vet visit and let us know how your girls are doing. (Maybe let your mom read this post!)

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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 04:00 PM
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I think the vet is your best option, but I understand that it's hard to convince a parent to spend money on the vet! You're being a great rat mom like Vladina said
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 08:13 PM
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you are a great rattie parent. If you decide to switch to fleece or the like be sure to add a litter box with bedding so their pee and poo wont soak into the towels and whatnot. They are usally easy to litter train. Also a quick bedding chamge can cause sneezing in rats. But I'd continue to keep an eye on them. I liked yesterdays news bedding without baking soda the best. It's cheaper in the cat section..


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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-09-2011, 11:10 PM
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Oh yes, I forgot to mention the litter tray for the rats on top of the fleece/fabric!

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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
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They already have a litter tray filled with Yesterday's News that they semi-use (they have several other places that they use as well, I've been trying to train them out of it). So it should be an easy transition to fabric if that's what I decide to do.

So good news! I talked to my dad, who loves my rats just as much as I do, and we made an appointment for them tomorrow at around 4:30. I'll let you know how it goes, and I'll keep my fingers crossed that they are ok. They haven't been sneezing as much in the last couple days, so that's a good sign.


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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 09:11 PM
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keep us posted and feel free to share pics.


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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-10-2011, 09:34 PM
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Hooray for your Dad! What a guy! Tell your Dad he has excellent taste if he likes your rats as much as you.
Rats are simply amazing and wonderful.
I am so glad they are going to the vet. Then you will feel better knowing what may or may not be wrong. Keep us posted!

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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phew!

The verdict: they are both perfectly ok! I'm so relieved: although I do feel a little stupid for taking them in for nothing. The doctor thought that it could have been something such as dust in the nose. I'm still not sure about the clicking noise I heard...but he listened to their heart and lungs and said they were both very healthy, so I'm reassured for now. Phew.

I am still thinking about switching that bedding though, just as a precaution. For those of you who use fabric: I have some questions. Won't the rats chew it up? How do you attatch it so it stays down? Do you use a double layer? Should I line the platforms with material as well? I'll do some internet research to try and find some answers, but any input is appreciated. ^.^


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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 07:43 PM
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Lyramon,
I am SO glad the rats are okay, that is great news!!
What a relief for you, eh? You should not feel silly about taking them in, as you didn't know whether they were okay or not, so it is a weight off your shoulders to learn they are healthy!

Hopefully Breyer, who uses fabric, will respond to your questions about fabric, as I THINK she clips the corners down somehow? Breyer, was that you, or someone else?

I never really had a problem with my two boy rats, Klausse and Wolfgang, chewing up stuff too bad. At least not the base towels, because I would spread out the fabric and fold it so it matched the width and length of their house base, then by the time I put their litter tray on it, in a corner, and their hidey huts and toys, food dish, etc, all of those things pretty much weighed the toweling/fabric down on its own and it stayed put.

I would throw a few extra flannel or fleece blankies in there, in little piles, for them to cuddle in, or chew on and just for general playing. Rats love to play and nap in cloth blankies!

Also, yes, I liked to line their platforms and shelving with fabric too. I would just fold up the fabric into a rectangle to fit the diameter of the platform. Sometimes the boys would sleep on top of it and other times, they would push it aside and sleep right on the plastic shelves, probably because they felt cool and smooth on their tummies.

I am sure you will get lots more advice on this. Cloth and fleece/flannel fabric are great for keeping zero dust around your babies, for their delicate noses.

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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-11-2011, 10:52 PM
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Hi! I'm just getting around to reading this thread now for the first time, but I'm glad the sneezing turned out to not be anything serious.

To answer your questions about fabric: Fleece (I use polar fleece) is really the only kind of fabric I recommend using in a cage because their toenails will not get stuck in it. I don't actually line my cage with it, because my boys like their plastic shelves. Instead, I make various sized blankets out of the fleece and place them on their shelves. They like to fluff them up into little nests and piles to sleep on/in. I also make hammocks out of the fleece which my boys sleep in for their longer naps. I attach the hammocks to the cage with binder clips, which are very safe and easy to use.

As far as chewing is concerned, I wouldn't worry too much. Although they might chew some holes in the fabric, they won't digest it and as they get older (at least with my boys, anyway) they seem to chew it even less. Mine almost never use their blankets to chew on, now.

I'd recommend going to your local fabric/craft store (I go to Joann's) and buy a few yards of polar fleece when it is on a good sale. It will last you a LONG time. You can also check their scrap sale bin where they often have leftover fleece for really cheap prices. You'll find that this method is quite a bit cheaper than putting "animal" bedding throughout the cage!


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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:01 AM
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some people also use smooth hard surfaces as well but you'd still need some blankets in there to keep them warm. --just another idea while I was thinkning about it.


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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 02-12-2011, 12:28 PM
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My two rats sound like they have been sneezing lately, it was more like a snuffeling noise, almost like he is trying to clear his nose. I cleaned out his cage but it doesn't seem to get getting better. Picasso had it too once but he just stopped on his own so i am hoping Pablo will too...
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