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 Post subject: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:39 pm 
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I recently rescued two female rats from an ad on Craigslist, and I'm worried that they may have a respiratory infection either now or in the future. They aren't showing any signs of being sick, they're not coughing, wheezing, breathing abnormally, etc., but the previous owners were heavy smokers so I'm concerned it may have had an impact on the rats' respiratory systems. Does this warrant a visit to the vet? I'm leaning towards taking them in just in case they do have a respiratory infection or something else so that I'll be able to catch it early, I just wanted some other people's opinions.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:43 pm 
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Probably not. If their previous home had caused any sort of respiratory flare-up, you'd have noticed by now.

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 Post subject: Re: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 9:27 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:32 pm
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Wouldn't it be a good idea just in case? I don't want to regret not getting them a check up if they do end up coming down with something later that I could have caught or prevented now. I've read that rats are really good at hiding their symptoms because they're prey animals, and I'm pretty new to fancy rats so I may not be able to identify all the symptoms in time before it's too late. They were also constantly subjected to breathing in cigarette smoke for the majority of their lives and I'm very worried about their little lungs, so I think I'm going to get them an exam just in case. Sorry for kind of answering my own question.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:27 pm 
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If you're that worried then you may as well go just to ease your own mind. :lol: Rats are absolutely good at hiding things like pain, but respiratory symptoms not so much. I suspect it's like how you can put on a brave face if you've got a splitting headache, or stomach cramps, but if you're coughing and sneezing you can't really suppress that.

What will be useful is evaluating the vet while you're there. Are they calm and confident handling the rats? Do they sound like they know what they're doing with treating rats? If not, are they willing to do the necessary research and give treatment a go? Most vets will have had very little training in rats and very little experience with them (or anything that isn't a cat or dog, really), and some of them won't even bother trying. :roll: So if you're going anyway, you may as well evaluate the vets available to you in advance of something actually serious coming up.

Most respiratory illnesses in rats, incidentally, are flare-ups of bacteria already present in the rats' respiratory tracts. There's no way to prevent the bacteria getting there, and no way to eliminate them completely, other than going back in time, delivering the rats via caesarean section, and then hand-rearing them and keeping them locked away in sterile conditions for the rest of their lives. :P Other than good husbandry (using low-dust bedding, not filling the room they're in full of smoke and perfumes and other airborne irritants) there's not a lot you can do to prevent flare-ups. And honestly, I tend to leave the rats to it for the first few days to a week if they're just sneezing and wheezing, not actually struggling to breathe, and they're otherwise looking well in themselves. Often they sort it out on their own; that's what their immune system is for after all. I'd rather not leap for antibiotics at every sneeze; that's how you end up with antibiotic-resistant bacteria down the line.

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Poo-shoveller to: Zephyr Delanynder, Lia, and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:52 pm 
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Ok thank you. I think I will take them just to get an exam. I will evaluate the vet while I'm there. Thanks for that advice! The rats were pretty neglected and not well taken care of at all by their previous owners so I would definitely feel better about getting them a check up. Both rats are about 5-6 months old and I doubt they've ever been to a vet before so I think it will be good for them. Maybe it will be the first of all their annual check ups. Thanks for the help!


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 Post subject: Re: Should I take my rats to the vet?
 Post Posted: Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:07 am 
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Just for future reference, yearly check-ups aren't really a thing with rats. Partly because they don't live for very many years anyway (2 years on average for most pet lines), partly because they don't need/can't have vaccinations, and partly because with them being so small, if they're not obviously ill to your eyes then there's usually not much for the vet to see either.

Checking them over yourself regularly at home, however, is a good idea. There are a couple good guides here:
http://ratguide.com/health/basics/basic_health_check.php
http://www.isamurats.co.uk/health-checking.html

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Poo-shoveller to: Zephyr Delanynder, Lia, and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
Avatar by Ursula Vernon.


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