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Scootaloo
Scootaloo  
I got new pet rats today, there is one young beautiful one I picked in particular since she was very active and loved to scoot around and about, so I named her Scootaloo. When I was in the pet store (there are no local breeders in my area or else I was considering adopting one) I check her out and she seemed okay. I am not sure of her age though, she appears just a bit bigger than some of my largest mice. She was the smallest of the bunch and was very active, but when I brought Scoots home I noticed she makes a weird squeaking noise. Sometimes its a purring but other times it sounds like sneezing and sniffling, I am worried she might have some type of breathing problem. Right now I have her in a separate place in case she has something so she doesn't pass anything on to my other rats and mice.

Answer
Dear Stan,

Beautiful Scootaloo (who would have loved my pretty badger dwarf Scooter, who was her color) has a respiratory infection.

I hope you like her enough to keep her and help her get well. It is best that she go to the vet. It is possible to get the right antibiotics without a vet, but when the rat is already sick, she should not have to wait for them to be ordered. And the vet can check her out to be sure what she should get and whether there is anything else wrong.

It may be expensive for a rat you just brought home, but it is good insurance for the future that she have a clean bill of health from the vet now.

If a vet visit isn't possible for Miss Scoots, check out the article on respiratory infections on Debbie's site:

http://ratfanclub.org/resp.html

Her suggestion is to start with amoxicillin and if the infection is too strong, to add doxycycline. Your vet could probably decide right away if the rat needed just one or both. Also, your vet will give you the exact medication and dosage so you don't have to figure it out.

Bring the other new rat/s too, so the vet can at least listen to their lungs. They may want to put them on antibiotics as well, as a precautionary measure for their own health or the health of your other rats.

The rest of Debbie's site is extremely useful too.

What you absolutely have to do now is quarantine well. Not only do you need to wash your hands, arms, and face, and change your shirt, between rats, you need to blow your nose very well too. There are illnesses, notably Sendai virus, which can survive in your nose for three hours. I certainly hope the pet store isn't selling rats with Sendai, but they sold her with whatever she is sick with. In any case, always hold your original rats first; change and clean; and then Scootaloo and co. She can keep living with the other rats that she came with, since they have all been exposed to the same thing.

And do tell the pet store they are selling sick rats. They may or may not care. If the rats are overcrowded and/or in an aquarium and/or (ack!) on cedar or pine, this is a really good way to have sick rats :(.

Best of luck to the beautiful Scootaloo. I hope she feels (and sounds) much better very soon.

Squeaks,

Natasha

Looking at the photo more carefully- is she an odd-eye? They are very special :) but maybe it is just the flash.  

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Natasha Millikan

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Consider me a sub, when no one else is available. NOTE YOU MUST NOT HAVE ONLY ONE RAT. JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP (because there are smarter people than me there!!): ***** https://www.facebook.com/groups/RatsandMiceareAwesome/. ***** Excellent sites: http://ratguide.com/ **** http://lilspazrats.wikispaces.com/ **** http://www.ratbehavior.org/rats.html **** http://www.ratfanclub.org/ **** http://www.sandyscrittercity.com/ **** http://www.ratwhisperer.net/ ****

Experience

I have had rats for 3-1/3 years and have researched them extensively. I am a mouse expert with 40 years' experience with mice. The two species are similar and yet also quite different.

Organizations
My Facebook group is Rats (and Mice) are Awesome. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RatsandMiceareAwesome/

Education/Credentials
I have a Bachelor's and two Master's degrees in Linguistics

Awards and Honors
I am honored that my rats love me!

Past/Present Clients
My Facebook group, Rats are Awesome, serves at the moment 5300 members, and, considering all the huge rescues, probably averages 5 rats per member. That means my clients are about 25,000 rats!!!

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