Pet Rats/Sick Rat


This morning I woke up to my rat (Meeka) coughing and heaving like it needed to throw up but obviously can't. I waited it out but it did not get any better. I researched online and saw the "rat fling" I was nervous to this because I did not want to hurt her. I ended up doing it and a small piece of food did come up. She did stop coughing but then she started wheezing and sounded like she couldn't breath. Two hours later I looked at her and she had red discharge all over her mouth and nose. I live in a small town and we have no vet around that looks at rats. I'm very close to the vet in town and she said shes not a rat expert but could look at the problem. She said her temperature was low and she sounded like she had a respiratory infection. She prescribed 0.1 ml of clavamox. I'm just worried cause Ive read online that a lot of vets don't prescribe the right antibiotic for rats and they give too much. And the vet admitted to not knowing much about rats. I'm just worried i don't want to do more harm then good. I'm really worried about my poor little baby. She's almost 2 years old, has always been healthy til this point and weighs close to 1 lb. I'd appreciate any help

Hi Corinne,
Normally you want to do the fling only if the rat is having trouble breathing, because if not, you could make it worse. Clavamox (actually just plain amoxicillin) is the best antibiotic to try first, so that's good. But I'm not sure she is getting the right dose, which should be at least 10 mg/lb twice a day. What is the concentration of the Clavamox, that is, how many mg/ml?  For it to be the right dose it should be 100 mg/ml.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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