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Question
hey, i have a white rat who used to be really active when i first brought him home. but after sometime i noticed he was having difficulty breathing, i also noticed this tumor kind of an outgrowth on his chest. the vet said that i had given him a bath way too frequently. the vet gave some anti congestion tablets which cured him for a while but the problem returned again. i dont know whether i am taking good care of my rat should i not give him a bath? and its VERY cold here and he is so slow all the time and now he is not waking up his breathing is slow. do rats go into hibernation? what should i do???

Answer
Dear Graima,

You MUST keep the rat warm. Rats are very delicate creatures. The best would be to put a heating pad under part of the cage, on warm, with a towel in between. There ought to be a place the rat can move to if it gets too hot. He should also have a nice box or some kind of house with lots of warm bedding in it.

Rats do NOT hibernate. If he is not waking up he is very sick. He must go to the vet. The vet should give him antibiotics. He needs a rat vet, not a standard dog and cat vet. In the States that means a vet trained in "exotics" or "pocket pets."  Rats do not just get congestion and get over it like a person could. A sick rat needs antibiotics every time. If your vet is not sure what to give him, I recommend doxycycline and amoxicillin.

Get him warm right now, fast. I recommend putting him against your skin under your shirt and going under the bed clothes. Make sure he can breathe, but get him warm. Keep him warm.

You rarely have to bathe your rat. Males only need bathing if their backs get very greasy. The smell of a male rat is normally actually pleasant. If he is stinky his cage probably needs cleaning. It is very, very important to keep a clean cage to avoid respiratory problems.

So in short 1. Warm him up, 2. Get him to the emergency vet, 3. Get antibiotics, 4. Make his cage very warm, 5. No more baths unless he is very greasy.

I really hope he is OK.

Best of luck and health to him.

Squeaks,

Natasha

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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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