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Pet Rats/rats breathing


QUESTION: hi there. my rat has started making a pigeon sound from his nose. ive listened to him and his brothers breathing and it all sounds normal. ive got appointment with vets on tuesday but just wondering what it may be? his behaviour and appetite is normal. so going to try the steam from shower see if that breaks anything up.

ANSWER: This sounds like a mycoplasmosis flare up, possibly a respiratory infection.  It sounds like you are catching it right at the beginning and taking him to the vet right away...kudos to you!  Such conditions generally do not go away on their own.

He will need antibiotics.  Here's what you will need to know...make sure that you insist on your vet giving you a minimum of 21 days of antibiotics.  Dont' allow him to convince you that 7 or 14 days is is not.  You need to continue the full course of antibiotics for at least 21 days.  You should see improvement within 3 days or the meds won't work at all.  If they don't work in 3 days, you'll need to try different antibiotics.

Good call on taking him into a steamy bathroom.  Do this several times a day for about 15 minutes at a time, or whenever you can see he is having trouble breathing.  You can also offer a small bit of extra dark chocolate as this can also help to open airways.

Good luck and I would love an update on your little guy when you have a chance.

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QUESTION: went to vets and she could here slight roughness but he was wriggling too much for her to hear properly. so hes on 0.1ml baytril 2xd and 0.3ml loxicom 1xd and a pinch of bisolvon. ive to use the baytril for 2 weeks and see how he gets on. but hes not playing. hes spitting and rubbing medication from his mouth so i used more and mixed it with baby pudding and hes refusing. hes a tough character for 4/5 months old lol. shall be a long process.

Ugh, you have a picky one it seems.  Baytril tends not to be too bitter and many rats will lick it straight-up.  Never heard of Loxicom...perhaps that one is bitter.  You may have to try to mix the meds in different things until you find one he likes, but it is hard to disguise bitter taste nomatter what the sweet mixture is.  You can try some of these rat favorite:  strawberry or caramel syrup, whipped cream or sweet cream, or ice cream (vanilla is a favorite).  

If he continues to refuse all mixtures, you may have to resort to forcing it into his mouth.  This is not easy.  You can visit your vet and ask them to show you how.  OR...if your vet is very closeby, and if it's convenient for you, you can bring him to the vet 2x/day and just have them administer the meds.

Now remember, once your boy is taking the meds completely for 3 days in a row, you should see improvement within that short time.  If you do see improvement, continue the meds for 21 days (ask your vet for an extension of the prescription), because 14 days may not fully destroy the virus and he may have a relapse.  If you need proof of this to convince your vet that 21 days is minimum, I can send you that info (on a website).  If he doesn't improve in 3 days, this combo of meds won't work and different antibiotics should be started.

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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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