ongoing respiratory problems

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rogerroger
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:39 pm

ongoing respiratory problems

Post by rogerroger » Mon Aug 16, 2021 8:19 pm

Hi there. I'm new to this forum and new to rats actually - have always been a guinea pig girl but am a convert to ratties - what joyous little guys they are :-) they've totally stolen our hearts! They are my daughter's but she has graced me with half ownership with one of them :-).
Anyway, we got our 2 rats in January and noticed one of them (Ronnie) sneezing not long after we got them. Trip to the vets and prescribed Doxyclycline. This didnt work so were then prescribed Marbocyl which did the trick. Then Roger started sneezing shortly after so he was also prescribed Marbocyl which worked. Fast forward a few weeks and they both have colds again and so were prescribed Marbocyl which didnt work this time, so then given Synulox. This isnt working either - nightmare. Have spoken to the vets who wants to X ray them to look for legions on their lungs. I asked if we could do a swab? He said yes but may not necessarily work if the relevant bacteria isnt in the nose from where they take the swab. I'm not keen on X ray as seems little benefit (?) and not keen on swab either in case it doesnt work. Also I think both methods require a sedative which is all extra stress for the poor guys. (which in turn will stress their immune system). I asked about trying yet another antibiotic but not keen to keep them on antibiotics all their lives which seems to be the way its going :-( Also how many antiobitics are there left to try? Towards the end of the phone call today he mentioned nubulising which I have read about but know nothing about. Any advice would be really appreciated - which way to go forward etc.
The rats are well in themselves, eating and playing and as affectionate as ever! Thank you!
Also they are 9 months old now.

rogerroger
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:39 pm

Re: ongoing respiratory problems

Post by rogerroger » Mon Aug 16, 2021 9:17 pm

I should also add, they're sneezing but not coughing and also fairly often they make a buzzy clicky sound in their noses. Occasionally they can be a bit spluttery. I've taken all the wood fittings out of their cage, moved it around so it gets more ventilation, and also changed their bedding from Back to Nature paper pellets to Carefresh but tbh the pellets seem less dusty than the carefresh. Also have put them on a better (?) food to help them immunity wise (gone from PAH pellets to Science Selective. BUT if anyone can recommend better food or bedding then I'd be grateful for advice! Thanks

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cyber ratty
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Re: ongoing respiratory problems

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Aug 17, 2021 11:33 am

Firstly, welcome to the forum. :D

Sneezing isn't always a sign of respiratory infection - when rats are very young it could be that they have parasitic bronchitis caused by bladder worms migrating to their lungs, so can be treated with ivermectin, If it is an infection, at that age it's likely to be caused by pasteurella and best treated with baytril and septrin or coamoxycillin. I'm not sure which antibiotic is in marbocyl.

Once they are older, if they haven't come from a good breeder who has selected against myco symptoms, then respiratory illness is often a flare up of myco, and that is best treated with a combination of baytril and doxy. Unfortunately if they are prone to myco, then it's likely to recur throughout their lives.

However, ewnvironment can also cause sneezing - avoid any scented products in the home or when washing their accessories. Back 2 Nature pellets are great, but only suitable for the toilet corners, the main substrate should be something looser and more diggable to meed their enrichment needs. Carefresh is terrible, it's dusty and scented so ditch that, and hopefully they will improve. I recommend shredded cardboard mixed with a good quality shaving, but either is fine if you can't store two bales. My preferred brands are finacard or green mile (aka pillow wad), and megaspread or pureflake extra.

A dry mix scattered over the substrate is far better for them than a boring bowl of nuggets. Measure roughly 15g each per day and adjust it based on their condition as they will need a bit more when growing, and possibly less if their metabolism is very efficient!

Food and substrate can be bought from Rat Rations - you can get smaller quantities of different substrates to try out.

I hope that's a help to start with, but please ask for more details. ;)

rogerroger
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:39 pm

Re: ongoing respiratory problems

Post by rogerroger » Tue Aug 17, 2021 4:46 pm

That's a massive help thank you Cyberratty! I wish I'd joined this forum months ago. Have just ordered some decent substrate and food from rat rations.

So, would you (or anyone else) have any advice on how to proceed now. Should I : -

* ask for more antibiotics (maybe baytril - but not sure about doxy? they had doxy first on its own and it
didnt work)?
* ask for a swab to determine the bacteria? (but this is potentially more stress for the rats?) and vet
said we might not find the bacteria anyway
*. or just to start nebulising. If so which nebuliser to use? I saw someone online say the Pari Compact
one as it makes the particles small enough for the rats.

I feel like the need to do something as the boys have been snuffling almost continually virtually since we got them 6 months ago. We've only been using the Carefresh bedding for the last week so it isn't that and we always used the Back to Nature pellets before then.

Hope you don't mind me asking all these questions, my vet just doesn't really seem very helpful despite being an exotic pet vet - he just wanted to jump to X-raying them.
Thank you!
Sam

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cyber ratty
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Re: ongoing respiratory problems

Post by cyber ratty » Tue Aug 17, 2021 7:28 pm

The doxy may not have helped when they were young if they actually had pasteurella or parasitic bronchitis, so it's still worth trying it alongside some baytril (give them at separate times).

Vets seem very keen on nebulising these days but I'm not convinced it helps, rats tend to get very stressed in a closed space like that anyway.

Unfortunately, vets don't get much training with rats, and in my experience, an exotics specialist just has more toys to play with rather than necessarily any better understanding of the rat. The best vets tend to be 'normal' ones who are keen to research and expand their knowledge as they go, so you could ask around for a vet who has seen plenty of rats, or contact your nearest NFRS registered breeder who should know of a decent rat vet.

Happy to answer any and all questions if I can - I'm not online most evenings though, so won't necessarily be quick. The forum is a lot quieter these days since most people use facebook, and if you need urgent help and you have an account on FB, then Rat Care UK is the best group to join (it's basically a spin off from here). :luck:

rogerroger
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Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2021 3:39 pm

Re: ongoing respiratory problems

Post by rogerroger » Tue Aug 17, 2021 11:00 pm

Thanks again Cybreratty. Yes that makes sense about the Doxy - I think i'll go back to my vet practice and ask to see a different vet.
Also will get my partner to join that fb group as I'm not on facebook.
Cheers!

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