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Pet Rats/My little girlie needs help asap


I have a female rat about 3 years old who came down with a respiratory infection about a month ago. I have had rats for about 5 years now and needless to say they are my life. I have seen many illnesses come and go and I have had a few rats come and go, God rest their little souls. Back to my question, when my girl got sick I started some tetracycline. I saw improvement, but then she seemed like she started going back down hill again. So I started back with the tetracycline with some amoxicillin for any secondary infection. Within the last week, she has gotten much worse, lost some weight, and when she "tries"to eat, and when I give her meds, she is doing something I've never seen before. She will take food and spit it out and rub her chin on anything and everything in site. She does this when I give her medicine also. She is not doing it in a way like its scent marking, but like there is something wrong and she can't eat or take meds properly. Again, I've never seen this before. I would have already had her to a vet but my other female just had surgery and the costs was double what the "high" end was supposed to be. Please help me, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have done so much research, but nothing giving me an idea as to what going on with the chin rubbing.

Thanks in advance,

The chin rubbing sounds like she has tasted something nasty and is trying to get all traces of the taste out of her mouth. I would recommend mixing her medication dosages in something that will mask the bitterness of the medications. Ensure, syrups, etc all work well. My rats do the same thing if I don't mix their meds with a flavor additive.  

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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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