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 Post subject: Adopting rats with Bordetella?
 Post Posted: Mon Nov 20, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 3
Hi all,

First time posting here but long time member!

I am currently on the look out for some new rats, having owned several over the years. After a few busy years having babies and buying a house I’m not in the position to be able to have some lovely ratties again and I can’t wait!

I happened to pop into my local Pets At Home today and noticed that in their adoption area they had a pair of male rats who had been in the store for 7 Months :(

I asked the assistant about the rats and she said they had Bordetella, and gave me a little information about them. She said they can’t be housed with other animals as the disease can be passed on to other pets. That they may have respiratory problems and may need antibiotics from time to time. I left the ratties feeling a little sad for them in their tiny glass home.

So I am just wondering if anyone has any experience of looking after rats with this disorder? Should I steer clear? I know that getting pets from chain pet shops is never wise, however I just feel so bad for this pair and feel that no one else will adopt them :(

Any advice would be great. Thanks in advance!


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 Post subject: Re: Adopting rats with Bordetella?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:44 pm 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Bordetella is a strain of kennel cough that rats can catch from dogs who have recently been vaccinated (the vaccine is live), it's a severe acute illness and may kill 1/3 or 1/2 of the rats in the colony, but all will need to be treated with antibiotics and immune sysytem boosters. The rats you saw can't have had bordetella!

Perhaps the member of staff meant they have chronic respiratory symptoms? If so, then they will be caused by myco, which all rats have, so they pose no risk in that sense. They may need regular courses of treatment if their symptoms flare up badly though.

However, all rats from PAH in theory could be carrying any of many types of virus, and therefore pose a risk of transmitting the infection on - so 2 weeks quarantine in a separate airspace (i.e. a different building, change of clothes, etc.) is advisable.

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 Post subject: Re: Adopting rats with Bordetella?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:51 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 3
cyber ratty wrote:
Bordetella is a strain of kennel cough that rats can catch from dogs who have recently been vaccinated (the vaccine is live), it's a severe acute illness and may kill 1/3 or 1/2 of the rats in the colony, but all will need to be treated with antibiotics and immune sysytem boosters. The rats you saw can't have had bordetella!

Perhaps the member of staff meant they have chronic respiratory symptoms? If so, then they will be caused by myco, which all rats have, so they pose no risk in that sense. They may need regular courses of treatment if their symptoms flare up badly though.

However, all rats from PAH in theory could be carrying any of many types of virus, and therefore pose a risk of transmitting the infection on - so 2 weeks quarantine in a separate airspace (i.e. a different building, change of clothes, etc.) is advisable.



Thank you for the response! All very interesting to read.

I’ve done some further research and asked around the rat community also. PAH advised that the rats could not go to a home with any other pets and couldn’t be housed with any other rats. It would seem this is not the case! I have adopted them now and they are both happy and healthy as far as I can tell. No signs of respiratory problems at all. I don’t currently have any other rats but may get them Health checked by a knowledgeable vet soon before I think about expanding the ratty family.


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 Post subject: Re: Adopting rats with Bordetella?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:02 pm
Posts: 2717
Location: warrington, cheshire
Well done for taking them in. Yay, happy rats.

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:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.


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 Post subject: Re: Adopting rats with Bordetella?
 Post Posted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:31 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 07, 2012 5:09 am
Posts: 3
Caza66 wrote:
Well done for taking them in. Yay, happy rats.


Thank you! :D I couldn’t stand thinking of them in the little tank for any longer.


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