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Discussion Starter #1
I hope this is the right place. I just recently decided to litter train my rats and still had a HUGE bag of carefresh available. I filled their brand new litter boxes with that. But I've noticed their sneezing has gone up ever since I put that in their cage. They have been pretty good about useing their potty, but I just am starting to believe Carefresh isn't good for their health. I'm worried that it will start another myco flair up which I'm in no position to afford atm after the HUGE vet bills of Odin recently and the HUGE vet bills of Joshu right when he died.

Well, today I noticed Bert woke up with porphyrin stains and periodically would shake his head. It's not a tilt shake, it's almost like he's shaking off something. He's VERY active still and it lessened when I got him away from the cage and he woke up a bit. Could this be the start of an ear infection or something? His ears don't smell, he's not dizzy and his head isn't tilting, he just shakes. He just started this today and has been sneeze/porphyrin/headshake free until then. He did shake his head when he was attacking my hand before, it looks like he gets so excited he shakes his head agressively with play. But this time he did it when he wasn't playing.

I don't know, gah I wish I felt more comfortable with my current vet. She never seems to give me enough antibiotics, only a weeks worth at a time and always charges $20 for a weeks worth/rat on top of the $48 checkup fee. Also with current vehicle situations I can only go back there when she's open on a saturday, the next one being the ninth. And THAT was when I was planning on taking Gidgett in for showing signs of adrenal disorder (a six year old ferret I have) That is probably going to be anywhere from $100-$200 and I know I will only be able to afford the medicine to treat it right now until I can save up for her $600 surgery.

So I geuss what I am asking is, do you think Bert is fine and that this is just his thing? Do you think it's the carefresh's fault? Or do you think I should rush him into the vet A.S.A.P. Like I said, he's only sneezing in the cage and he was doing the head shakey thing more in the cage. Right now he's cleaned off all the porphyrin and hasn't sneezed at all since he's been playing with me. I havn't even seen the shakey thing but once. In the cage when he just woke up, he sneezed and shook his head more.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Another thing I want to add is since everyone has been getting sick lately, I started them on an echinacea/goldenseal combo to up their immune systems. This will be the second day they are on it. Each rat gets about 2-3 drops of the echinacea and goldenseal/day. I have to put it in a small portion of grain mix to get them to eat the biter goldenseal :p
 

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the porphrin was probably just sleepy eye goobers, same with the head shake. some of my rats will shake their head when just wakin up from a deep sleep. then they stretch and go get food or lovings. i wouldn't worry too much about it.

the snezzing could be due to the new smell of the carefresh. give it a few days and if it doesn't get better then take the carefresh out and replace with something that has less of a smell. also, if its near the bottom of the bag the snezzing could be due to dust. with things being new in the cage i wouldn't imediately assume illness. work out if its environmental first. and by the sounds of it (only snezzing in the cage) then i would say that's what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Yeah, I think I'm going to buy wood pellets anyway. Bastian likes to play in the litter like it's New years eve lol. He throws confetti EVERYWHERE!

Thanks for the reply Twitch. I might go ahead and take him in when I take Gidgett anyway just in case. It's a five paycheck month next month, so I can afford it.

He's also a very high energy rat. So it's probably like my ferrets in that they shake to get their energy up and running when it's out time. One second they are dead to the world, the next WOAAH LOOKOUT!!
 

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your welcome. let us know how the vet goes with him and gidgett
 

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Some people like Carefresh but I found it made all of my rats sneeze when I was using the one bag I purchased. Never again for me!
 

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i think carefresh changed the composition of their product or something, because it's been much more dusty than usual, and kind of rough, in hard little clumps. i switched to using carefresh ultra, which is softer and less dusty and more like the regular carefresh used to be.

alas- i've been lured in by marketing- "ULTRA? well, this stuff must be great! i'll buy it." but it works.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yeah, we had a bag of ultra and it was better. I just brought some YN and it smells better to me, Bert didn't wake up with porphyrin stains this morning and was barely sneezing. I did a good clean around the cage too, which was needed. He doesn't seem to be shaking his head as much but still does it every so often. It confuses me, sometimes I think it's just a personality quark, he's a very hyper ratty for a boy and loves to play and be ferocious. Right now he's scratching his ear and eating the wax :p Another thing he loves to do silly Bert.

Actually, in general I hear less sneezing in general. Even from my chronic resp boy. I don't think we will be useing the rest of the carefresh. I'll probably donate it to the shelter when I can because there is quite a bit left in the 50 litter bag, more than half lol.

I think Yesterdays News changed their forumula, I used to hate it.
 

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^^ i TOTALLY agree. i used care fresh and had to change the bedding CONSTANTLY i about 2 or 3 corners of the cage due to where they like to drop their bombs and wee. it also made my rats sneeze a lot more. now that i've tried yesterday's news their sneezing has reduced and the smell has reduced. i bet it's uncomfortable to sleep on, but i give them fluff and fleece to use on top of it in their igloo.

newspaper is amazing, i've heard of people putting it in their shoes to "soak up" odor.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
They have fleece floors, but I got a good deal on a lot of used ratty equipment and corner boxes a decent size were in that deal! I couldn't find these anywhere before! So I decided to use them.

I LOVE fleece bedding though, it's a lifesaver. We have a large number of animals in a tiny apartment so I have to keep up on them a lot to keep it smelling fresh. I wish we had a larger apartment but I'm going to look into moving to a two bedroom soon. It is a large one bedroom but a two would be so much better for us.
 

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I have a crosscut shredder I got for $29 and I put in unprinted newspaper I get for $2 a roll locally and it comes out in tiny confetti, works great in the litterbox and it must be hyoallergenic. If I had a bunch of clean cardboard I would try that, The best litter in England is a shredded cardboard.
Spider
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'm starting to think his ears are bugging him D: Here is a video of his head shaking. I figured out how to do video on my camera. I don't know why I just never noticed the video setting before, it's RIGHT THERE!



He does it at the beginning. I didn't catch him but he was tugging at his ears a lot today cleaning them D: I hope he will be fine until I can get him to a vet. I suppose I can look into getting him in sometime this week, problem is I don't have a car D:

He seems healthy and happy, just has been a little preoccupied with his ears and has the whole head shake thing. Do you think I could clean them out in the mean time? How would I go about that.

Also I don't know sometimes he looks a little tilty and others he looks straight on. It's very hard to tell if he is or not.
 

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i don't know. they're normally pretty good at cleaning their own ears. and i'm not sure you'd be able to get a rat to sit still long enough to clean them out anyway. or even what to use for that matter. but getting him checked by a vet certainly isn't a bad idea. if his head is starting to tilt its probably an ear infection. you don't want to wait for the tilt to be pronouced because it'll be so hard to clear up. if he's tugging at them a lot then that's probably another good sign that they are bugging him. hopefully you can get him to a vet soon.
 
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