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Pet Rats/Rats in a pet shop


I am filling in at a pet shop I used to work at. Its tiny with only one person working at any given time. Someone brought in their three rats in a wire, 3 tiered cage which has wood based cat litter in the base, but it is not accessible by the rats.
One of the rats has been sneezing since he arrived, they are just over a year old. I was hoping it was just from the change in environment, but have noticed a little bit of mucus around the nose and now one of the other rats is starting to sneeze.
The owner of the pet shop is not a fan of rats so he leaves them for me to deal with. He won't pay for them to go to the vet. Do you have any advice on what I can do to help them? The shop is a little draughty cause I have to keep the door open and its getting cold now. I tried to cover them up but the owner got mad and removed the cover.
I am also worried that if he doesn't sell them in the next couple of days he's going to kill them and sell them as snake food. Could really do with some advice. Thanks!


Sorry for the delay.

Many rats will experience sniffles and sneezes when they first come into a new environment. Mucus from the nose could indicate an respiratory infection or it could just minor irritation from all the new smells. Respiratory infections can be treated with Baytril. You can purchase it from pigeon suppliers- you might even carry it in your pet store.

I do hope that these little guys have found a new home since your letter.  

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Shawna Laufer


Nutrition has always been an interest of mine as well as creating stimulating environments for rats. I conduct product reviews on my blog so I can take questions regarding products marketed or intended for rats. Other questions regarding basic husbandry, feeding, grooming, and other pet rat care will be accepted. I have very little breeding experience so I would not be able to answer much in the ways of breeding or genetics questions. I can help with some basic health care questions but am not a vet and always suggest contacting your vet for serious inquires.


I have over 13 years of experience with pet rats, having worked in several pet stores, as a veterinary tech assistant, and with my own pet rats. I run a highly regarded blog on the subject of pet rat ownership ( with a corresponding YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have been and always will be open to questions and comments.

A photograph of my lady rat's cage is being published in Worth Publishers' college textbook "How Children Develop, 4e" by Robert Siegler, Judy DeLoache and Nancy Eisenberg on the subject of how complex, stimulating environments and how they relate to the brains of rats.

I have some college experience, but not in the field of animals. I completed the majority of an at-home Veterinary Technician course which I was unable to complete due to financial reason. The majority of my knowledge on rats have come from personal experience, conducting my own research with the help of published medical studies and journal, the internet and through other knowledgeable 'rat people'.

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