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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Sorry, I posted this in the 'say hello' section because i'm new here. I'm not sure if this is okay, but I'm copying and pasting here now I can to hopefully reach people who can help quicker and it's quite an urgent situation.
hi,
I have two rats, both boys and brothers, both about a year and a half or so. One of them (Ripley) has had uris on and off for a while (the only symptom being bouts of chirping at first, then gagging with mucus in his mouth). In the past antibiotics (septrin) have cleared them up. This most recent time though (starting maybe a month or so ago) he had mites, so i got them both treated. A little bit after the treatment with ivermectin, though, he started getting the respiratory symptoms and it was back to the vets. They got another ivermectin dose for mites (both times I thoroughly cleaned the cage, replacing their beds), and I was also given baytril for Ripley. He got better for a few days, before symptoms suddenly returned, and I went back to the vets again. This time I was given septrin again along with metacam to use for the first week, and that seemed to clear it up - he finished his two week course. But then two days after finishing (his last dose being last Tuesday night, so this was last thursday very late night) he had very scary symptoms. Incredibly heavy breathing so he was shaking, lethargy, not eating. This was just under a week ago. I dosed him with metacam and more septrin, as well as getting him in his nebuliser with the f10 solution I use at the vets advice (I've had this since he was first having respiratory problems). The next day (unluckily being good friday, so we didn't see our normal vet) he was rushed to the vet, and prescribed a doxy/baytril combo I've been giving him. Along with the nebulisations, airing my room, and using my purfier, things were seeming managed. He would breathe heavily intermittently, but not as bad as before, and showed no other symptoms. Then this morning he was suddenly showing the same symptoms of a week ago. I have a decongestant for nebulisation I'm going to use (acetylcysteine) but I feel at a loss now. The vets said the problem could be mucus in the airways, sort of like athsma because of myco scarring, but I feel like we could be missing something. One option I'm considering is allergies. Specifically, an allergy to bird dander, though I can't be certain. Around the beginning of this latest situation (starting with the mite related itching) I took in a Lovebird who is also living in my room. The problem if this is the case is, I have no where else to move either of them. If allergies are a possibility, are there any easy to obtain and rat safe anti-histamines I could test him with to see if that helps? Any time we need anti-histamines we tend to use Loritadine.
Oh, and I thought I should add two other potentially relevant things: I've always put Vetark Pro-C Probiotics in their drinking water whilst anyone's on antibiotics, until a week after. The other thing is that recently I've been finding a white slime mould on the cage, not sure why. I got rid of this well and truly (I think) with the last cage cleaning a week ago.
Oh, and their bedding is: Unbleached paper to line the bottom, back2nature for the litter trays, fabric sleeping places from fuzzbutt cage comforts, and I had been using normal face tissues for them to carry around and use as bedding, but was unsure if that could be the issue, so have been using torn up unbleachep paper this past week. Their cage is the Liberta Explorer 2nd edition. I switched them to that early this year/late last year from a diy cage made from a cabinet. Oh, another thing is, the brother (Erin) has never had the same issues. he will chirp very lightly occasionally but that's it.
I hope someone has some suggestions for me. Thanks in advance,
Skye

I gave him some metacam since I think that worked last time he was this bad, and I've done the acetylcysteine nebulisation now, and his breathing is seeming worse rather than better. Stress from nebulisation always does worsen it a little at first but I'm concerned if it's just not helped.
I also remembered something I did that could have caused the sudden relapse. I've been giving them fresh food every night, as you should, but last night I added a little bit of parrot food after checking the ingredients over and thinking all the nutrients might help. Could this have affected him?
 

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I'm not familiar with back2nature litter so I googled it. I went on their website and I couldn't find that it was dust free or at least > 99% dust free. So that might be a problem. Also it says it is 99% paper but I wonder what could be the other 1%, if it is soft wood like pine or cedar that would be bad- although it is still only 1 % so not sure if that little would cause so many health problems.
 

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Is the tissue you used lotion-free and such? Torn up paper can be dusty when you ton it up. I would give them the paper whole. I'm assuming you are talking about paper towel, right?
 

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The white slime moulé is definitely not good for URI, but since you got rid of it, it should be ok. I would clean his cage every 3 days, especially now that he has an URI. Do you use scent/perfume free detergent? What do you use to clean his cage and accessories?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I'm working on getting the benadryl, I've had to ask my mum to get that due to disabilities, so waiting on that. the back2nature is only in litter trays, and I use it because I noticedl very little dust with it, as opposed to carefresh and the like. it's cardboard pellets.
I don't use anything scented for myself and them. the tissue was unscented face tissues, and the paper is unprinted newspaper pretty much.
I clean the cage with baking soda and water or vinegar and water. the latter mostly being for bedding and such, to neutralise any ammonia.
 

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Discussion Starter #7

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Raw peanut (roasted is fine) is really bad for rats and you have Peanut kernel & chopped peanut kernel here- not the peanut for say, but the kernel is raw (or it would say roasted) so that might be bad too. It has raw lentils, I know cooked lentils are fine- not sure about uncooked lentils though. I would stop the parrot food, unless someone else says that day lentils and raw peanut kernel is ok. Orange oil might be a problem, especially for make rats.
 

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You need to use a dish liquid soap to clean your cage like Dawn blue or a scent free liquid soap. Just baking soda and water or vinegar won't clean the cage well, that is probably why you got some moulé on your rat cage:( Let us know if the Benadryl helped. I hope your little guy will feel better soon:)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
ah, okay, didn't catch the orange oil and the other things. we have a scent free dish soap i can use from now on. i don't have the benadryl yet, but am a bit confused as the active ingredient seems to be different here in the uk from the us. the only way to get the diphenhydramine hcl appears to be in a product called nytol, which comes in 25mg tablets and is used for sleep. the benadryl has instead Cetirizine Dihydrochloride. i'm gonna go for the nytol i think, since it has the right active ingredient, but dosing might be a pain.
 

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ah, okay, didn't catch the orange oil and the other things. we have a scent free dish soap i can use from now on. i don't have the benadryl yet, but am a bit confused as the active ingredient seems to be different here in the uk from the us. the only way to get the diphenhydramine hcl appears to be in a product called nytol, which comes in 25mg tablets and is used for sleep. the benadryl has instead Cetirizine Dihydrochloride. i'm gonna go for the nytol i think, since it has the right active ingredient, but dosing might be a pain.
Can you get the baby/toddler liquid version? Otherwise, you would have to crush the tablet to a very fun powder and mis it with syrop (do NOT put the tablet in their drinking water). If the tablet is sugar coated it will be difficult to crush it and mix it evenly in syrup.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
there doesn't appear to be a baby/toddler version or liquid version unfortunately :( couldn't find anything else with the right active ingredient other than more tablets, so i'll have to try my best with the tablets. fingers crossed they aren't sugar coated. how would it be best to make it up into a liquid? i've not done that before, just putting things in smoothies for palatability. would water be best, or i have a strawberry syrup that i could use? not sure what would store/mix well.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
just got the packet open and the tablets are quite big, luckily, so i should be able to get it into half, maybe quarter, to mix up, which should keep me from needing to mix up too much, and reduce the amount of sugar coating that's needed to be mixed.
 

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hopefully it is a fast dissolving kind of tablet. If it is it would dissolve easily in warm syrup. You need to measure the syrup so you know the concentration of the med and how many ml you will have to give him. That is why it would have been easier with a liquid med since you could have given him straight, but a tablet will do- try to find one that says fast dissolving. Let us know.
 

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just got the packet open and the tablets are quite big, luckily, so i should be able to get it into half, maybe quarter, to mix up, which should keep me from needing to mix up too much, and reduce the amount of sugar coating that's needed to be mixed.
Ok. If it break easily, you shouldn't have too much problem crushing it with the back of a spoon. Put the syrup (warm) in an appropriate container, add the med (powder) and shake really well for at least a minute. Check if it is well dissolved. You need to measure how much syrup you use to be able to get the appropriate dose with a syringe (no needle)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
don't think it's sugar coated. should i mix the syrup with some water first? i don't want it to be too thick to syringe properly
 

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The trick is that it is easy to syring feed, but tasty enough (cover the med taste) so your rat just eat it straight out of the syringe. Otherwise you will have to mix the med-syrop mix in baby food which is ok but more work for you.
 
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