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Pet Rats/Resporitory problem or heart failure


Hi, I have a male rat. Ive had him since december 29 2011 though I dont know his exact age. He's always had respiratory problems but they usually went away with Baytril. Recently he has had really bad weezing and sneezing and it doesnt seem to go away with Baytril. The weezing has been on and off since september 2013. I've had him on baytril but it doesnt seem to do anything. I mixed up amoxicillin but that didnt seem to do anything after a week. He has those fits where his sides cave in and hes constantly sneezing and coughing for about an hour. I dont know what to do. The vet said it could be congested heart failure but he couldnt hear anything so he wasnt sure if it was or wasnt. I guess i just wanted another opinion. I also have a video of one of his most recent fits but i dont know how to upload it with the right format. Thank you for your time.

Hi Cynthia,
The only way to know if his symptoms are caused by respiratory or heart disease, or both, is his response to treatment. You want to try treating him with a bronchodilator, prednisone, and/or heart medications.

See the article on Respiratory & Heart disease on my website at on the Rat Info page. I suggest you send a link to your vet, or print it out to give to your vet.

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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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