Pet Rats/breathing


opened mouth
opened mouth  
QUESTION: i own an african soft furred rat named templeton, today i was in the mouse room and i heard a weird squeaking. my rat ha this mouth open, breathing quickly, and squeaking at the same time. he never bites and he bit me. what should i do?

ANSWER: Hi Hadley,
I don't know anything about the African soft-furred rats. If he were a domestic rat I would say he had a gasping attack caused by respiratory distress probably caused by a bacterial respiratory infection. But I don't know if that was the case for him. You'll need to find a vet who might be familiar with them, or at least be able to look up information about them.

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

QUESTION: im pretty sure its the same with him and other rats, my vet doesn't work with rats, what do you do for gasping attacks?

See the section on Respiratory Distress in the First Aid article on my website at on the Rat Info page, and the article called Respiratory & Heart Disease. I highly recommend my Rat Health Care booklet which you can read about on the Books page.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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