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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi!

I've been struggling with getting a URI under control with my two ratties for awhile now and my Vet said I should think about whether something is causing it (bedding, draft, etc?). I've had rats for awhile, and I feel like I've never put as much care as I put into these two! Just wondering if anyone has any ideas, if it's something I'm doing wrong, or if these two are just more prone to URIs?

Food: on Oxbow, supplemented with veggies, and rarely fruits, they very rarely get some honey nut cheerios. I typically give them about 4pcs of veggies a day.

Housing: In a critter nation cage. I use fabric for most of the cage (bottom layer is towel, top layer is fleece, then I add a blanket they can snuggle in). I do use a litter pan with CareFresh, but I've removed it while they're recovering from the URI in case the dust is bothering them. Their cage is in a room that I keep closed because my cats are very prey-driven. No drafts that I can feel when I'm in there. There is a bookshelf that may contribute to dust?

Cleaning: I do a complete cleaning once a week (change bedding, wash the pans, wipe down the caging), I've started doing spot cleaning every day and I change the snuggle blanket halfway through the week because my male hairless likes to pee where he sleeps. I wash all their bedding with a hypoallergenic, non-scented, "natural" detergent and bleach. I don't use dryer sheets.

Any ideas?
 

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Is there a draft where the cage is? Honestly, I felt like I was battling URIs more often with fleece. It's been a lot easier since I switched to ECO bedding with a bit of carefresh in pee zones. It could be the scent of the bleach, maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't think there's a draft near the cage. There's a vent in the room but it's under a bed. I wonder if the bleach may be the culprit..I've switched to non-chlorine bleach so I'll see if that makes a difference. Thanks for the ideas :)
 

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I'm curious here... Why are you using bleach? I'm just curious, since I've never used bleach with my ratties before. :3
 

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It actually could be the bleach.
 

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Don't know if this would make a huge difference, but I have an air purifier in my rat room. It helps with the smell when their cage needs cleaned(I have 7 boys), and collects a lot of dust.
 

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It may not be anything you are doing. Some rats are generally less healthy than others. It sounds like you are doing all the right things.
 

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Bleach really should not be the problem unless you're not diluting or you're not giving whatever you're using it on enough time to air out, but even then it should only cause minor irritation, not illness. I've used bleach for years and have never had a problem. DustyRat is correct, some rats are just more prone to respiratory illnesses. Make sure you're cleaning their toys, food dishes and water bottles with bleach or boiling them if you can. Unfortunately, there are a lot of opportunistic bacteria that naturally reside in bodies (humans and rats alike) that can take advantage of an immune system that is either weakened or fighting something else so it may not even be an outside source that is making your rats sick. Just keep cleaning and maybe try an antibiotic combo if you haven't already.
 
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