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I just bought this little boy yesterday (he has a cage mate who turned out to be a girl and will be switched on Tuesday).

Anyway, he seems to be okay for the most part but a few things sort of concerned me

-SNEEZING. Sometimes he has little bouts 2-6 sneezes. When he's not sleeping he seems to sneeze once or twice every five-ten minutes, I'd say, but doesn't sneeze much at all when he is sleeping. He was sneezing on the way home, so I don't think it's his new bedding (which is the same as his old one).
-HICCUPING? He sort of has contractions in his upper body as if he is hiccuping.
-SQUEEKY NOISE? He seems to do this infrequently during his sleep, it doesn't sound like wheezing, but the sounds occur in rhythm with his breaths.

He does not
-have porphyrin (sp?)
-he doesn't seem to have trouble breathing.
-doesn't wheeze or gasp for air or seem raspy.
-have mucus on his nose or eyes.
-have difficulty eating (though he does not want to take treats, but maybe he doesn't like them? I've tried several fruits) he does eat his packaged rat food, though.

Also, may or may not be related to anything...

-He makes a clicking sort of noise, but I don't know exactly what it is.
He SEEMS to be grinding his teeth, makes a squeeking sort of grinding noise, appears to be chewing when he's not chewing anything.

As far as behavior, he's extremely pleasant. He's playful, doesn't like to be picked up yet, but I anticipated that. He seems a lot more active than his older (possibly pregnant) "sister" but still sleeps often. He's inquisitive and friendly.

I fed him a little bit of an orange, and I tried feeding him a little Kefir, like yogurt, full of probiotics. He wouldn't touch it (me either). But then, he doesn't seem to like much of any of the treats I offer him, though he did eat some of the orange.

I also read I could give him some ecanecia but one site said the non-alcoholic kind for kids? Is this necessary, because I have a tincture.

Also, I gave him a tiny piece of dark chocolate yesterday and it seemed to help his sneezing a lot, but he won't take it today

Anyway, I really like him. Does this seem like the sort of thing that gets worse? Or can I remedy this without antibiotics?
 

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Sneezing may be new home sneezes, getting used to the environment... hiccups can occur in rats, especially right when they wake up... my boys don't squeak as they sleep, maybe someone else knows about this.

Grinding teeth is good. This keeps their teeth at a good length and can indicate pleasure (or nervousness).

I'd lay off the orange... a little bit sometimes is fine, but citrus isn't very good for males.

Watch him, make sure he's eating and drinking fine. Make sure you know who to call if he's in need of vet care. :)
 

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I think he's beyond new home sneezies if he is wheezing in his sleep. :(
It sounds like you have a URI developing and he will need a vet sooner rather than later. Echinecea is fine as an immunity booster but won't cure any illness.

Watch the oranges with males. Limonene-d is in the peel of the orange and causes cancer in male rats. They also say no orange juice because the rind could be in the pulp. Most male rat owners just boycott oranges altogether to play it safe.

The teeth chewing is called bruxing, and he is keeping his teeth ground down, plus its either a sign of contentment or nervousness/pain.

What bedding do you have him on? It may be the same, but the petstore may have had him on something wrong.

I would start calling around to see if you can find a vet to treat your rat just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I didn't know that about oranges. Thanks though. I only gave him a little bit, but I won't give him any more.

that is a bit disappointing, though, he doesn't want most of the other fruits and veggies I've offered him. :(

He seems to grind his teeth mostly when I let him play in an old blanket (he likes to make tunnels) or when I pet him. I guess that means he's happy, he seems happy at the time.

I'm still watching him. He eats and drinks, seems to be sneezing a little less, actually, so I'm hoping that it is just new home stuff.

He's on care-fresh bedding and I mix it with some plain paper towels I cut into shreds (cutting seems to not fray the edges, makes less dust).
 
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