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Pet Rats/My Rat has just started Baytril. Questions concerning side effects and behaviour.


Hi Debbie

On Tuesday (01.03.2016) I took my rat to the vet for what seemed to be a bad eye infection and to do a general checkup. The vet examined her and said theres nothing to serious as of yet and gave me Baytril to give her, 0,15ml twice a day  for a week via needless syringe and told me to simply keep her eye as clean as possible. I always do as much research as possible before taking a pet to the vet and everything my vet said I had read in many rat related article and websites.

Since Tuesday, Her eye infection seems to have cleared up as she now allows me to stroke that side of her face like before without any complaint and since taking the Baytril so far, she has had little to no Porphyrin discharge that I can see, and she has hardly sneezed at all.

The one thing that has been worrying me since Tuesday's vet visit is that she had been more sleepy than normal. I still gave her her Baytril dosage as the vet told me and have been since then.

Yesterday (Thursday 03.03.2016) her eye was clear and she seemed a lot more active again, so I have come to believe she was more sleepy due to feeling a bit down and sore from the infection.
She has also been grooming herself more than I have noticed before and seems more intent of getting everywhere (it is quite humorous to watch) and has been 'Hiccuping' a lot more, but for short amounts of time, since starting her Baytril course.  (she also seems a bit sleepy again today (Friday 04.03.2016).

I have read a few online articles stating that 'hiccuping' can be both from happiness, relaxation and contentedness and can be perfectly normal and healthy as well as a sign of respiratory illness. and that the grooming too is a sign of trust and contentedness.

My questions are: Is the Baytril perhaps making her 'hiccup' more than normal or is it a normal 'happy hiccup'? and is it possible that it may increase her heart rate and breathing rate? (As I maybe never really noticed how fast her heart beat and breathing rate were until I started monitoring her as closely as I have been.)

And also is she maybe more sleepy due to the Baytril? (I have read on many sites that this isn't a known side effect of Baytril)

This is the first time I have used Baytril and I'm happy to try it as I lost one of my first rats due to a respiratory illness that had progressed badly before I or the vet I used to take them to could identify it, and thus am becoming quite a paranoid owner as I'm not used to it or how it effects rats.

Sorry for such a long message, but I prefer to give as much detail as possible.

Thank you so much for your attention to the above and I appreciate any opinion or advice you may provide.

Hi Jessica,
Baytril does not normally have a side effect of sleepiness, but an individual can have a unique reaction to a drug. So, it does sound like the Baytril does have a sedative side effect for her. A sedative can cause many rats to have slightly bizarre behavior, including increased grooming. Sounds like it would be better to use doxycycline to treat myco in her rather than Baytril.

I'm glad her eye is better. Keep in mind that the usual cause for persistent porphyrin deposits around just one eye is some sort of irritation, or debris in the eye. Hairless rats often get debris caught in the inside corner of their eye that must be cleaned out regularly. In hairy rats it is usually an eyelash rubbing on the eye, and there is nothing you can do for that. As soon as the eyelash falls out, it will be fine for a while, but it often just grows back in again.

What looks like hiccups is a sneezing jag caused by the mycoplasma respiratory infection. Sometimes they make an audible noise, but not always. In both coughing and hiccups air is expelled from the mouth. When rats exhibit this behavior, you can see that their mouths remain closed and air is only expelled through the nose, therefore it is sneezing, not coughing or hiccups. I know it is caused by mycoplasma because lab rats, who are myco-free, never do it. It's usually not possible to eliminate them completely. If your rats only do it occasionally, you don't have to worry about it.  But if they do it a lot, or if they start doing it more often, then you want to treat it with antibiotics that work for myco. I recommend starting with doxycycline.

For more information see the article about Respiratory Disease on our website at and I highly recommend my Rat Health Care booklet which you can see 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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