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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys!

So, my rats are very new. Of course that means they are prone to sneezes, but I went to the vet today and it turns out that it's pneumonia. I use plainn care fresh bedding in a 10 gallon tank with a cage topper (I now know this isn't ideal, so I'm getting a full wire cage very soon. I love my little pups too much to let them have inadequate housing). I read that some people use fabric scraps as bedding instead of paper, or the absolute no-no of wood bedding (I wouldn't want to sleep on wood chips, either)! Since they are having such severe respiratory issues, I thought that maybe it would be a good idea to stop using the paper based bedding and maybe make my own out of fleece scraps and fabric scraps. I'm a crafter, so I literally have tons of it. I actually have more yarn than I have fabric scraps, though. Would yarn scraps work as bedding? I know this sounds sort of weird, but in my mind it doesn't seem that much different than using fleece scraps. Though, there is at the same time an added danger of them eating it. I have dye-free tide pods already and having a bedding I could wash with my other laundry every two days sounds like it might be healthier for them.

Has anyone tried this? Or, has anyone even scrapped bedding all together and just put down pieces of fabric for them to use like a little carpet? That's how the top part of my page is, and I use binder clips to hold them down. Which, in your opinion, is the best option?
 

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Yarn would be liable to being caught around nails and necks. I think it sounds dangerous. Go fleece.
 

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T-shirt scraps could be a good idea, I've never tried. I use Eco-bedding, its brown paper gone through a shredder basically. I used it for my super sensitive guy, there is virtually no dust. I've sure you could make your own. I give them paper towels to toss around and stash were they want for softness. I use Planet Petco recycled paper pellets to collect and absorb urine on the very bottom. This has some dust, but no where near as much as standard Care Fresh. It worked well for my sneezey guy.

Also, are you sure its pneumonia? Because when my boy got pneumonia he seemed half dead. I had to hand feed/water and nurse him back to health. He had to get steroid shots and nubulized, followed by antibiotics. The whole thing was terrible. Is it a standard URI?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Millie's is a standard URI I think, but Daisy's has progressed to pneumonia. The doc is treating Millie as if it is, too, because she was also exposed and has early signs of it. I think we caught it right as it turned to pneumonia, too. I've been given antibiotics for them both. I was up with Daisy most of last night and got pretty scared because her sneezes would get so bad I thought a few times that she was having seizures. Her breathing is also really heavy. Did they treat yours with albuterol? I was just wondering because I went to an urgent care vet today but will be able to hopefully take them to someone who treats exotics later this week. I have asthma myself and often have to go on the nebulizer when I get respiratory infections and was wondering if they did anything similar for rats. I am looking into everything possible that I can discuss with the vet so that I can get her well as soon as possible.
 

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Oh man I'm so sorry. For rats, I had to take a tuperwear and poke holes in it. There's a mixture of saline and...I don't remember what they put Nimbus on that time, something beging with D .I'm trying to go through old bills and posts to see if I have it somewhere. I got an over the counter nebulizer and put the hose in a hole I cut out, put Nimbus in there for a few minutes at a time. It was the steroid shot that saved him. Baytril was always a factor to.

Someone sent me this link at the time and it was a life saver. Guide to nebulization is about half way through. You could print it out and show it to your vet, theres lots of information.

http://ratguide.com/health/lower_respiratory/pneumonia.php
 

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I have taken brown paper grocery bags, cut them into lots of tiny strips, and crumpled them up. I've also used hay with good results.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh man I'm so sorry. For rats, I had to take a tuperwear and poke holes in it. There's a mixture of saline and...I don't remember what they put Nimbus on that time, something beging with D .I'm trying to go through old bills and posts to see if I have it somewhere. I got an over the counter nebulizer and put the hose in a hole I cut out, put Nimbus in there for a few minutes at a time. It was the steroid shot that saved him. Baytril was always a factor to.

Someone sent me this link at the time and it was a life saver. Guide to nebulization is about half way through. You could print it out and show it to your vet, theres lots of information.

http://ratguide.com/health/lower_respiratory/pneumonia.php
Thank you so much, I really needed this. It's a great resource. I'm going to see about building a nebulizer chamber in case things get really bad. I'm also calling an exotics specialist tomorrow to see if they have nebulizing as an option for when I see them this next weekend.
 

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I would go ahead and built the nebulizer, because pneumonia means things are already really bad.

For bedding, you can use plain newspaper. My girls love to tear it up and make nests out of it. The other alternative is fleece, although you will be doing a lot of laundry once they get bigger. Tissue paper - the kind that you use for gift wrapping, is wonderful nesting material. They usually have it at the dollar store, often in fun colors and patterns.
 

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I buy cheapo toilet paper (Scott brand at Walmart) for extra bedding and it could be used for dust-free bedding in this case. I also bought straight tissues from Walmart that I haven't used with the rats yet, but could be a good option for you. Paper towels could work as well.

I wouldn't use newspaper as it has a strong odor. Fleece is always a good option, though, if you don't mind either cleaning or throwing it away when it gets dirty (I'll admit, I just toss used fleece in the trash nowadays).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I made some fleece bedding last night from my scraps, with some pretty good results. It took forever, but I think it was worth it - because now, the girls are actually starting to poop in their litter box! :D I put a little bit of the carefresh in the litter box - just the smallest amount, and they did the rest by making a sort of nest there and pooping in it. I am so immensely happy about this, because they cage actually looks presentable, and they're not pooping in their sleeping hut! Maybe the change in bedding was what they needed to start seeing where the litterbox was.
 
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