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Pet Rats/Pet Rat Gasping!


My sweet little guy, Kimbo recently, fell victim to a horrible gasping attack and it was rather sudden.  I rushed him to my vet, where they simply nebulized him and gave him shots of prednisone and another that I cannot remember the name.  He was also put on Baytril, twice a day.  He was doing much better for the last three days and now, today, he has begun having breathing trouble again.  Is there something else I should be doing besides Baytril?  He is only a year and a half, and all of this started so suddenly!

Now for another of my rats..
My sweet baby girl, Pending, is 2 years and 3 months old.  3 months ago she started having very labored breathing after playing for short amounts of time. Her breathing was so incredibly bad that I thought I was going to lose her for sure.  You can see a video that I took for my vet of her breathing when it was at it's worst (  Now, these last 3 months have been a battle!  She has been on Doxycyline, then Doxy and Baytril, and now she is on Baytril and Cephalexin.  She is doing better when it comes to her breathing (good days and bad days), but I feel like she is not as active or happy as when she was younger.  Is there anything more that I should be doing to help her?  I want to make it so that she only has good days, with no more breathing troubles!

These rats are my whole world and I am extremely afraid of losing them.  I don't know how I would cope or their cagemates would cope.  There has to be something I can do.

I'm so sorry to hear about the respiratory issues your babies are having.  Trouble breathing is one of the most distressing feelings rats can have.  As a matter of fact, there are a few things you can do at home but if it becomes extremely serious, you might consider going back to your vet or perhaps seeking out a second opinion from another vet (if possible).  

Rather than try to explain what you can do in my words, I'm going to send you to an excellent web page on The Rat Guide website.  At the very top of this page is a lot of information about respiratory distress and what you should do:

Just to address what you said about your fear of losing are probably aware that the lifespan of a rat is between 2 and 3 years although occasionally, a rat can live until 4 years.  I hate to bring this up to you but Pending is over age 2 and severe respiratory infections can take a big toll on elderly rats.  You didn't say how old Kimbo is but if his respiratory problems are chronic, you may want to discuss with your vet about putting him on Baytril for the rest of his life so he doesn't relapse when meds are completed.

I hope your babies get better soon.  Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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