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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 03:19 PM Thread Starter
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Worried rat owner

I'm a new rat owner- I've had my girls for five days now. One is a black dumbo rat and the other is a black hooded fancy rat. I did a lot of reading about making sure to listen for sounds that could mean they're sick, so I might just be paranoid, but I really want to make sure they're okay because I'm ridiculously attached to them already. <3

I checked out chattering and bruxing and squeaking to find those to be normal, but they're making a huffing sound that worries me. Like, the sound it makes when you breathe out quickly through your noise- that sort of thing. I'm not sure if that's normal, if it has some sort of meaning, or if it's just because they're sick. I think the fancy rat does it more than the dumbo rat, but I know they've both done it.

Also, something that REALLY freaked me out, what when I was holding the fancy rat last night and she started to... convulse, I guess. It only lasted a few seconds, but she was shaking with every breath in this weird way. She's never done that before that I've seen, and she didn't seem bothered by it, but I certainly was.

Does anyone know what these things might mean and if I need to take them to a vet to have them checked out? I got them from Petsmart, which claimed they were "vet assured", but I'm still worried.

Oh, and on a completely unrelated note, does anyone have any tips for bonding with them? My fancy rat is the sweetest animal I've ever encountered and is so friendly, but the dumbo rat is very skittish. She hasn't nipped at me since the first day I got her, but when I take her out of the cage she can't seem to relax. I give her treats so she'll know I'm a friend [just rice krispies so I don't fill her up with treats] but any advice on how to get her to warm up to me would be very much appreciated. :]
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 10:50 PM
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Well it doesn't really sound like URI so don't freak yourself out. It is probably nothing. If it makes you feel better then I would bring it to the vet. By the way PetSmart people are baloney! They told us that "Oh yeah two hamsters will be fine together." Well then we learned that they aren't fine together. Its because they just hire people not special people for animals. =)


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-03-2009, 11:05 PM
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If you're really concerned find yourself a qualified exotic vet. Not a cat/dog vet and definitely not the Petsmart vet. Their "vet assurance" lasts 14 days. I bought a rat because I couldn't locate a local breeder and she got sick and died a month after we got her.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 06:31 AM
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Lets start with the huffing...it could just be a quick exhale of breathe, they make when sniffing things, it can be louder and rapid. Are their eyes bright, no excessive porphryin (red discharge around eyes and nose), their fur is soft, and sleek, their breathing looks normal, they are active, eating, pooping and peeing normally?

If yes to the above I wouldn't worry unless you see a sign of illness. (lethargy, loss of appetite, all breathing noises that are obvious, etc).

Now the convulsions.
Is it a shiver when you hold her? This is nerves and will pass eventually.

If its a rythmic jerk forward over and over for up to a minute, then she has the hiccups.

Btw ALL domestic rats are fancy rats. Dumbo is just ear placement, rex is just a coat-type, see what I mean?

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilspaz68 View Post
Lets start with the huffing...it could just be a quick exhale of breathe, they make when sniffing things, it can be louder and rapid. Are their eyes bright, no excessive porphryin (red discharge around eyes and nose), their fur is soft, and sleek, their breathing looks normal, they are active, eating, pooping and peeing normally?

If yes to the above I wouldn't worry unless you see a sign of illness. (lethargy, loss of appetite, all breathing noises that are obvious, etc).

Now the convulsions.
Is it a shiver when you hold her? This is nerves and will pass eventually.

If its a rythmic jerk forward over and over for up to a minute, then she has the hiccups.

Btw ALL domestic rats are fancy rats. Dumbo is just ear placement, rex is just a coat-type, see what I mean?
It sounds like a quick exhale of breath- I just wasn't sure if that was normal. It's not really a shiver, more like the rythmic jerk, so if it's just hiccups, that's a relief. And thanks for clearing that up, I wasn't sure. :]
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2009, 08:30 PM
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One of my girls twitches when she's REALLY excited. She usually then jumps in the air and does the adorable hop-run, too, lol. We call it the "Oh BOY!" hop.


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NMGA miniature meat goats, Silver Fox and NZW Rabbits, Muscovy ducks, several breeds of chickens, fancy mice and rats in Michigan
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