Pet Rats/my rattie

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QUESTION: I bought Katie and adele from our local pet shop that was cliosing. As of today they are a year and a half old. Very active and playful. The only difference now is Katie that she is making very weird noises. Lots of "chattering" which I think is cute, the newest noise is very unusual. Almost sounds like a human baby softly babbling. I am very worried about her. I switched bedding and just only realized that it is pine. I am removing it and getting aspen tomorrow. But her appetite is good, no bloody leakage around her eyes or nose.she is playful. I just don't understand the noise. Adele does not appear to make the noises either.I love my ladies and worry a lot. I really hope you can help me figure this out.

Sincerely,

Rattie mama
Mandy Armer


ANSWER: I'm so sorry for my delayed reply.  When you say "chattering", could the sounds possibly be more like clicking noises, or chirping, or monkey sounds?  These descriptions I mentioned are often used to describe a rat with a respiratory infection.  If these descriptions fit what your Katie sounds like, then she will need antibiotics or it will get worse and could turn to pneumonia.  Is she also sneezing, wheezing, or have labored breathing?

The pine in the bedding could definitely have been the cause of the flare up.  If you switched to aspen and the noises stop, then that certainly was it.  But if the noises continue, it could have caused and infection that wont go away simply by switching to aspen.

If you do not know of a good vet with experience treating rats, please reply with the city and state you live in and I can check my resources to help you find one.

Please write back and let me know how she is doing and also if you need additional help.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I changed the bedding and washed the cage, she has stopped the clicking and chattering, however, now she seems to be reclusive, she stays in her house all day, except to come out to eat and drink. She will accept snacks and a gentle petting but only for a moment. I switched the bedding to the carefresh premium natural bedding. Thank you for responding.

Answer
She is not feeling good.  Have you tried putting her chest close to your ear and listening to her breathing?   Does it sound labored?  Is there any wheezing?

A good sign however is that she IS eating and drinking.  If she were extremely ill, she would not eat or drink.  If her reclusive behavior continues for more than a day or two, I would highly recommend taking her to see a good vet who has experience treating rats.  He will check her general health and listen to her lungs to make sure that, if she did indeed have a resp infection, it is gone.  An antibiotic may be in order if the vet determines that her breathing is labored.

Please let me know in a few days how she is doing and feel free to write again if you have any other questions.

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Irene Murphy

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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.

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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.

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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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