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Is Your Pet Rat Sneezing? The Facts You Should Know
Being a “ratty parent” can be worrying when your little ones do things like sneeze. My goal with this article is to clear up your confusion so you can feel better and your rat will be fine.
Below are the things that can make your rat sneeze:
This very common and incurable respiratory disease among rats can flare up throughout its lifetime. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing and, in advanced cases, gasping for air. Sometimes sores can develop in the lung tissue, making it difficult for the rat to breathe. While humans are able to catch mycoplasma from other humans, we cannot catch it from rats and vice versa.
However, there is good news. As long as their immune systems are not compromised, most rats with mycoplasma can live long and active lives, despite outward symptoms. The key is to feed them a diet rich in vitamins (especially vitamins A and E) and take extra precautions to avoid exposing them to dust, smoke, drafts and bacteria.
If your pet rat develops “Myco flare-ups”, it may need to be treated with drugs such as Vibramycin, brand name Doxycycline, or generic brand name Baytril. These drugs will suppress symptoms and prevent the development of scarred lung tissue.
The main difference between mycosis and pneumonia is that the former causes symptoms of dry wheezing that come and go, while the latter manifests as wet, stuffy, wheezing and runny nose. The porphyrin can be excreted from the nasal passage of the rat and fluid can collect in its lungs. Babies who are infected may not show symptoms until months later.
Pneumonia is highly contagious to any other rat within sneezing distance, so you should immediately quarantine the affected rat until you can get it to a vet.
A pneumonia treatment includes the drugs Baytril, Doxycycline, and a machine called a nebulizer. Medicines are given in vapor form several times a day.
Cold or allergies
In the event that you need to take your little one to the vet to be treated for a respiratory condition, you may decide to administer a small amount of over-the-counter cold or allergy medicine.
Also, if your vet approves of the idea, you can try treating your rat yourself this way over the course of several days. However, you have to be careful when doing this, as you don’t want to use something that can cause more harm than good. Also, if her condition worsens, go to the vet immediately.
Here are some general guidelines:
- Use liquid medicines for children, not preparations for adults.
- Give the medicine as often as you would for a child. However, make them extremely tiny doses (0.10 cc for an adult and less than half that for a baby).
- Use a decongestant or expectorant for the cough, not a suppressant.
- Avoid formulas that contain alcohol.
How to minimize respiratory illnesses and symptoms, in general:
- Keep the air moist. Counter the drying effect of heaters and air conditioners by adding miniature fountains, plants, and even water jars to the room.
- Humidifiers and vaporizers work well to keep the air rich in moisture. but avoid keeping them too close to your rat’s cage (at least 4 feet away).
- In an emergency, you can take your rat into an indoor bathroom with a warm shower. Don’t take her too close to water. Just let her inhale the steam for 5-15 minutes. It helps loosen the mucus stuck inside their lungs.
- Make sure your rattie has the right bed.
- Sudden sneezing may be due to an allergic reaction to a change in bedding, food, soap or in general their environment.
- A cold, tiny piece of baker’s chocolate is known to relieve symptoms of respiratory distress.
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