View Full Version : Possibly a URI?

Cavy Carnage
08-18-08, 08:47 am
Well while doing my house work I noticed some funny noises coming from the rats cages. I stood for a minute and could see (and hear) Lola sleeping and her breathing was pretty heavy and she made (trying to describe sound best as I can) what can only be described as the noise a guinea pig makes when its talking, kind of like a long continuous sweet chatter. Now is this a URI? if so how did she get it and what is the treatment for it. I am not to happy with my vet and have tried to locate another with no luck. I just don't want them giving her something she shouldn't have. Any help is very much appreciated.

Rattie Mom
08-18-08, 05:49 pm
Does she make the noise when she's awake too? Or maybe just when she's sleeping or excited? Does it sound like a rattling in her nose/chest...or maybe even sound like (what i call) a "monkey noise"?

You might hold her up (like you would a sea shell) and put your ear to her chest. Can you hear anything other than breathing? i.e. wheezing, wet or gurly sounds?

Is she still eating normally? Is she still active, or acting lethargic? Does her fur look puffy or do you see her sides heaving when she tries to breathe? Something else to look for, that might indicate a URI is sneezing (particulary, wet sneezing) and porophyrn (red tears) around her eyes or nose.

Sadly, rats all have myco...but some may never show symptoms. Something like stress, a weather change, bad bedding (pine or cedar) or even lice/mites can cause a flare up. And they might still get a flare up, at nothing at all.

I'm bummed we couldn't find you a better vet in your area. But if you are forced to see him again, don't let him tell you to separate your girls. Since they are all born with myco, her cagemate has it too....so just because one might have a flare up..the other won't necessarily have one.

If your girl does have a URI, she needs to be on antibiotics. Doxycycline is generally what our vet starts with (Baytril is another good med, and in some nasty cases, we use the combo of the two). Good rattie knowledgable vets will tell you to use the Doxy a minimum of 3 weeks. Rats are not like cats and dogs....they need a longer round of antibiotics to be effective.

Hope that helps.

Cavy Carnage
08-18-08, 07:28 pm
Thank you for coming to my rescue yet again! I really appreciate it.

She makes heavy breathing sounds when she is awake too but in her sleep they were VERY loud. You could hear her in the next room.I didn't notice that she was making any noises etc yesterday though things went wrong yesterday and they didn't get to come out and she hates being picked up so seeing first signs are hard. Her cage is at head height though and she is always at the door ready for food so I would like to think I would have heard her.

Lola isn't the most active rat but she definitely does seem quieter today. I can't really think what may have caused it. They are kept on carefresh and the air conditioning comes on automatically when the temp gets warm so it is never really hot.

My husband has a stephascope (don't ask me why!) so I tried to listen to her heart as she wiggled about and I couldn't hear anything but her heart beating, I also tried with just my ears and nothing either.

Her fur isn't fluffy but I did notice a bit of pale whitish snot on her nose this morning when I first woke her and picked her up (I wiped it off, hope that was ok to do), and yes her body does seem to be heaving when she breathes.

The soonest we can take her to the vet is Wednesday, I know the sooner the better but thats the best we can do. My husband is going to call and see if they can just give us the meds to treat her ourselves but I am pretty doubtful. Are their anything I can do for her? I had heard to give her dark choc and take her into a hot steamy room for a while. Is this myth or can I try it to help her? I hate seeing her suffer.

Thanks for the help and sorry it is so long!

Rattie Mom
08-18-08, 08:43 pm
Well, they can certainly have a myco flare up at any time. Though I have noticed more sneezes and labored breathing (I have a few oldies on heart meds right now), with the A/C on. So even that can cause them problems. If it's on a lot, you might need to drap a wet towel in their room to add a little moisture.

Unfortunately, rats can take a turn for the worst fast...so do watch her closely.

A piece of dark chocolate and steamy shower room, was just what I was going to recommend, if you don't have the ability to get to meds for a couple of days. Of course, chocolate isn't good for any of us (but hey, it's never stopped me from eating it ;) ), but it does have some brochialdialator (sp) properties. A small piece, about the size of half a chocolate chip would be enough. And if you can take her in the bathroom, shut the door and run the hot shower, the steam will really help too. It's not that fun for the humans (unless you like saunas), but stand at the counter, or have her on your lap, so you can be sure she doesn't suddenly jump in...that should help her breathe easier. I had a friend who let her rattie run around the bathroom floor while she ran the steam, and sure enough, he hopped into the tub where the scalding hot water was :eek: . thankfully, she grabbed him right away. But if you have the ability to have Lola higher up, like on your lap or a counter, she'll get more of the steam.

Now, all that aside, I'm curious about the whitish snot you mentioned. Rats don't usually have snot that colored. It's actually looks like blood...it's red. Is there any chance she could have choked on something? I've seen them drool, or stuff come out of their noses after choking. And choking is stressful and CAN cause a respiratory flare up too.

I have a stethoscope too....but for the life of me, I still can't seem to use that thing right. I can hear better by holding the rattie up to my ear.

Best wishes coming to Lola!

Cavy Carnage
08-18-08, 09:00 pm
I really thought we were helping them by keeping the AC at a reasonable temp, I never even thought about it removing moisture. I will def try the sauna/ steam treatment and I have given her a small piece of dark choc to hopefully help a little tonight.

Now I know I should try to avoid all stress but would it be ok to still give floor time? I don't want to stop her having fun if it would be ok for her. Do I try to keep her warm? Well I mean warmer or just leave her be.

It is possible she could have choked, I never heard anything but we weren't around much yesterday/ this morning. Trying to remember what she had last night to choke on. They always get the suebees mix so I guess dried pasta could be, or the dog food. They also got a small amount of yoghurt, apple and cracker.

Anyway she seems ok at the min, spinning frantically on her wheel so hopefully she can hang on till Wednesday.

Rattie Mom
08-20-08, 09:58 am
I'd let her have all the exercise she feels up to. i.e. her normal routine.

The combo of the yogurt and cracker together could cause choking. Not to say that it would. I've had rats choke on pizza crust and soymilk. :eek:

You definitely don't want them to get too warm. Anything over 80 degrees is hard on them, and over 90 is deadly. So the A/C is a necessary evil. If you can keep it from blowing right on them, and try to keep a bowl of water or wet towel near by, that will help.

I think you are doing all the right things and hopefully her vet visit will go well too.

On a side note, do you give them fresh veggies and fruit too? Ours get a variety each day. :)

Cavy Carnage
08-20-08, 10:22 am
Ok well I will let them both run around the bathroom today, I will try to fill up the sink with hot water and make it like a sauna in there at least for a little while.

Well my husband now refuses to go back to the other vets as they were pretty rude/ unhelpful on the phone so today I have been frantically searching for a exotic specialist but after reading lots of reviews im quite apprehensive but so long as she get the right treatment we will just have to pick one. Now what are ok things for them to give her for it, I know you said baytril and doxy? but anything else? And what should we refuse to let them use?

Yes I do try to give them a good healthy variety, that day I was feeling guilty because they didn't get out. Lola hates fruit/ veg though they both love mixed lettuce and spinach. Yesterday was rather weird as I gave her a piece of carrot and she ate it in super speed, should i think anything of that? What fruit and veg do your guys like? I get stuck what to give them at times without being very unhealthy.

Rattie Mom
08-20-08, 03:29 pm
You might refrain from filling the sink with hot water. I'm not sure that would help anyway...and if there's any chance they could get up there...well, you know. :weepy:

It really works best, if the doors are shut and you are in there with her, while the shower is running. yeah, you get kinda sweaty. But just hang out with her on the counter, while the room gets steamy. Unless the other girl isn't feeling well too, you can probably leave her back in the cage, so you can focus all yoru energy on Lola.

Baytril and Doxy really are the best antibiotics to treat URI in rats. Chloramphenicol is known to be another...but is stronger, and in my opinion, not needed for the first flare up (plus, my guys hate it and it has been known to give a few of them, the runs...NOT fun). Zithromax might work too...but it's considered one of the big guns too, and not generally used as a first line of defense. If you think you might want to take this info to the vet (coming from just a rat owner, who has learned directly from her exotic vet). The dosages for rats are 5mg/kg for the doxy and 5-10mg/kg (depending on the severity of the URI) of Baytril. If your vet gives you one or the other, that's great! Both are very bitter, so if there's anyway you can have the meds compounded into something yummy, great. Otherwise you'll need to find something you can "hide" the meds in. A dab of Cool Whip works great for my gang. ;) Some non-exotic vets will try and tell you to put the meds in their water. BAD IDEA! There's no way to make sure they get the doses they need, and the bitter taste makes them not want to drink water. So it's bad all the way around.

I would definitely try and make sure you get enough for 2-3 weeks at the VERY least. if you are only give a 7 day dose, odds are, she's just going to fall ill again, after you take her off.

Something you might want to consider getting (though you probably don't have time to get it and take it to your vet) is the Rat Health Care Guide. It has a lot of useful info for rat owners, and some med info too. Before I found my exotic vet, I took the RHC guide to my regular vet in hopes it might help.

As for foods our ratties like: Frozen (thawed) corn, peas, cooked pasta, cooked sweet potato (no skins), canned cooked kidney or black beans, baby carrots, blueberries, grapes, watermelon, cantalope, (I usually give just one kind of fruit a day), broccoli, kale, cilantro, cooked rice, the occasional scrambled egg, soy yogurt, oat milk, soy milk, even some cooked chicken or turkey. We don't give our rats lettuce, as it doesn't have enough nutrional value for them. I'd stay away from salty things like chips and crackers. But I've been known to share my left over blueberry pancakes, cheese omlett, mac-n-cheese with them. As for treats, we buy the honey flavored animal cookies that you can get in the bulk food section of the store.

Cavy Carnage
08-20-08, 06:28 pm
I was only going to fill the sink in addition to the sauna idea but I will refrain from doing that.

I had no idea they did a health record type book for rats, I will definitely have to get one, where abouts can I buy them? You don't by chance know if they do them for rabbits too?

I will be sure to make sure the meds are the right dose and hopefully won't have to tell the vet I don't think a certain med is a good idea. I haven't found a vet that only specializes in exotics but they were recommended by another non exotic vet and after having read the reviews and more confident in this one than any of the others I had been calling.

I normally feed 3-4 different items each day. Is lettuce a thing to stay clear of or is it ok for them to have even if it has no nutritional value?

One more question is what kind of wheels would you recommend? They have one wheel in the smaller cage but none in the larger cage. Also any toys that you think are great for them. Don't neccesarily have to be for rats. I don't mind buying stuff but preferably not from a pet store and I don't mind attempting to make something!

Rattie Mom
08-20-08, 09:05 pm
Here's the link to the Ratfanclub site:

Rat Fan Club (http://ratfanclub.org/books.html)

I do have to be honest when I say, my vet would laugh me out of their office, if I tried to tell them to refer to it. I say that, only because, Debbie Duccomon is not a vet, and many vets do not agree with her medication advice. Not to say there is not VERY useful info in this book. I learned a lot when I first had ratties. I do encourage you to give it a look and see what you think. Before I found my exotic vets...I took my Rat Health Care book with me to my cat/dog vet, and he seemed very interested in reading it. So it all depends. Take it with a grain of salt.

Not sure if you've seen this site. But lots of useful rat info, and a forum to talk to other rat owners too. It's the RatsRule forum site.

Goosemoose Pet Portal - Goosemoose Pet Portal - Index (http://www.goosemoose.com/component/option,com_smf/Itemid,118/forum,rat)

Hey, if your ratties like lettuce....let them have it. :D Too much spinach isn't good...but it's like with Bunnies,...you just want to give them small amounts.

You might want to check some bunnies sites for more bunny info. I have two bunns, but have learned what I know from my vet and the rescue I adopted them from. I have also looked at bunny sites.

I would DEFINITELY recommend the Wodent Wheels. They are very safe (solid wheels are the only way to go). The silent spinners, I hear are also good, though I've not yet had one.

Here's a pics of our cages. You can see the wodent wheels. Also, maybe it will give you some other toy ideas. Our rats love lots of hammocks, pvc pipe, igloos, litter boxes, my husband even makes them nice wooden boxes that he finishes too. We actually have quite a few of those "run about balls"...though we would never put a rat in one to roll around the room..No sir! They are sleeping areas...thank you very much. hee hee.


Rattie Mom
08-20-08, 09:07 pm
A few other cage pics. We don't still have all of them in use...but we it should give you some decorating ideas. :)


Cavy Carnage
08-21-08, 09:15 am
Well I now feel like I am hitting my head off a brick wall. It's like im having to watch her slowly die and I can't do a thing about it. Right now I am in tears, I don't what to do.

We went to the vet appointment and things went terribly. The vet was rude, hardly looked at us and made out as if we didn't know a thing and she was always right. Anyway she told us numerous things, alarm bells started ringing when she said we should seperate them and have them in different rooms entirely. Then I should house her on newspaper and she scuffed at the Suebees mix. Through out the exam she kept telling us sh

We came away with SMZ-TMP (Also known as Bactrim, Septra, Sulfatrim and Co-trimoxazole). I checked online and found info about it on guinea lynx that its mainly used for guinea pig with UTI's but also used on lung infections and a couple other things which I forget. So is this really ok for a URI? We are to go back in a week to have her checked but I really don't want to, the whole thing was awful and even my husband commented she was rude and patronizing and he is oblivious to a lot of things.

We are to give her this medicine twice a day, 3 drops each time. It came in a 1/2 oz bottle. How do I know how much is in each drop, is each drop a measured drop? I guess I need to see how much is in each drop to see if this medicine will last 2-3 weeks if it is even ok to give it to her in the first place.

Your cages are fantastic, what kind are they? Also about the wodent wheels, are the ones you have wide? They look rather slim (Not trying to be rude just Lola is quite big) it is probably just because your cage is big and therefor makes things look small.

I will def look at the sites you gave me links too though I have a few times checked out ratsrule.com

Anyway thanks.

Rattie Mom
08-21-08, 10:13 am
I am SO sorry you had to go through all that. That is just not acceptable for vets to be rude! You are their client afterall! But with that said, I too have had vets get all full of themselves and not listen to what I have to say. But geez, to "shhh" you? >(

Do you feel the other vet you went to, was better? Granted, he thought the abscess was a tumor (honest mistake)..but was he otherwise more knowledgable than this new one? If you have no other choice, perhaps you might take her to him the next time, to see what he says. Just a thought.

As for the SMZ (also called trimethaphrimsulfa (sp) ) IS a med used for URI. Although it personally would not be one of my first choices, it IS a med we've used before. To be honest, I completely forgot about that one, because it's not one I've had good luck with. In all fairness to the med, I just have problems getting it past my rats. They HATE the taste of it, worse than some of the others. We've used it when the others fail, so to say it's not a good med, wouldn't be fair.....because in my case, my rats were being put on it, when their URI's became more advanced than the standard meds couldn't help. Rats are prone to severe respiratory problems and many eventually succome to them. So I would still say the SMZ is one to try.

I would definitely give it to her though. How is she feeling otherwise? Is she declining more? If so, you might need to bite the bullet and get her to the other vet in hopes you might get the baytril. But if she's holding her own, give the SMZ a try. The vet didn't tell you to put it in water did she? Try the cool whip method and see how that works, ok? As for how it's mixed and how many drops to use...I don't know that I could help, not knowing the strength etc. I'm way more familiar with baytril and doxy.

I would give the SMZ a week like the vet said, but definitely get her back in for a check up (somewhere) to be sure you get more or a different med at that time.

Hang in there! :)

Actually, I think in the pics I posted (I'm at work now and can't view the pics anymore) I think I have both sizes of Wodent Wheels in the cages. The ones that are white, are called the Wobust wheels (all the wheels come in many colors). Those are about 5-6 inches wide, and the only wheels we use anymore. We have fat fatties at our house and definitely need the bigger wheels. I think the black w/blue wheels are what they call the Sr. Wheels. Those are only about 3-4 inches wide. They work for young and small girls..but that's about it.

here's the link to the Wodent Wheel site. They don't sell to consumers directly anymore...but there should be links to where you can find them in stores or online.

Wodent Wheel Description (http://transoniq.com/)

We get our cages from Quality Cage (Quality Cage Company (http://www.qualitycage.com)) and Martins (Martin's Cages Inc. - The source for all your pet cage needs. (http://www.martinscages.com)).

pink piggy lips
09-14-08, 10:54 am
Here's the link to the Ratfanclub site:
Hey, if your ratties like lettuce....let them have it. :D Too much spinach isn't good...but it's like with Bunnies,...you just want to give them small amounts.

I just want to clarify that while iceburg lettuce is a no-no for rabbits, rabbits actually do need the dark, leafy lettuces on a regular basis. Mine get greens every single day. Sometimes I add a little kale (like once a month in frequency), but they get a plate of greens regularly. That is 1/3 of their diet. Hay, pellets, greens. Just wanted to clarify. I've heard rats are not supposed to have so much of that. Correct me if I'm wrong there.

Cavy Carnage
09-15-08, 01:30 pm
Yeh I think rattie mom just meant rabbits should only get spinach in small amounts, rabbits do need a variety of greens/ lettuce daily. I am not really that informed about rats diets but I just now use the mixed lettuce as a treat for when they have been good so I can reward them without feeling guilty they will get fat.

09-19-08, 09:37 pm
Spinach is very high in vitamin A and through the roof in oxalic acid. It's not really too great for all small animals.