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Hey guys, i know this has been mentioned before but I just need some more specific advice :)

My two new ratties (about seven weeks old now) I bought last saturday have been sneezing a lot since I brought them home. I wasn't too worried about it because it's a new home and environment and stuff, but it hasn't gotten any better, and for one of the ratties it's even got worse--he's sneezing so hard he ends up squeeking really loud. Very little discharge and just a little bit of porphyn. They both have a very good appetite and are drinking a healthy amount.

But I took them to the vet anyway, best vet around here for rats (I had one rat prior to this with a very bad case of lobar pneumonia, so i bounced around vets until i found this one), and the vet there said that their lungs and heart sound fine, but she is still going to put them on doxy / baytril for a week. Thing is, in addition to me being afraid to give the little guys medicine, she mixed together the doses at 30mL of both doxy and baytril (it's like a 20:1 water : medicine mix), and it is next to impossible to get them to take it from a syringe, even in the rat-burrito. Plus they are so young i don't want them to be afraid of being handled already because i'm forcing medicine in them.

So this is where I don't know what to do: should I try a different bedding (I'm using carefresh at the moment--I know one other forum member switched from carefresh to fleece, but how does that work?), give them more time to maybe get over it, or use the medicine? Any tips about how to get the medicine in them would be appreciated, too.

Also just because I can, here some pictures :) Sorry for the quality, hehe, they are phone pics

http://img521.imageshack.us/img521/4453/img170vg9.jpg

http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/6509/img165ud4.jpg
 

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i think you should try them with the medicine, but i know how you feel about not wanting them to be afraid of being handled.you could try just giving them loads of treats when you give to to them, but apart from that i dont know how you could stop them being scared.
 

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If you use fleece you'll need to litter train them, get a large-ish plastic container fill it with a bedding type different from the carefresh (yesterdays news is a good litter) and put some poops into it, move all poos into the litter pan, they should catch on after a few days.. or weeks.. I found my boys much more likely to use their litter boxes with felt bedding

^ basic litter training
 

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first I will say it is great that you had them checked out by a vet & the vet said they sound good

now... as for sneezes that "may not" be illness related

it could be just the initial stress & acclimation to their new environment. This could take a little while to work out

it could be fragrances that you use in your home such as laundry soap, air fresheners, candles, incense, hair spays/styling products, colognes, perfumes, cooking smells, fresh paint, insecticides... I think you see my point. I could list dozens of other products. Just like with people with allergy reactions you would have to systematically go through all of this to figure out if any of these items are effecting them. Keep in mind that the rats sence of smell is like 100 times better than ours.

it could be a draft in the room you keep them in... check for drafts & don't place them in the directly line of where you have air conditioning ventilation. That is if you do have AC, I'm in the south where everyone has some type of environmental control. If you do have this, check the intake filter. These can become very dusty. Check the vents that blow back into the living space for dust as well.

I had to switch from carefresh. I know a lot of people have a lot of success with it but one of my rats sneezed herself silly while on the stuff. I've switched over to Harlan Teklad Aspen & no more sneezing.

I think you should follow your vets prescription but if you have concerns, call them back. Antibiotics are a tricky medication... if you are prescribed them, you have to take them properly & for the duration of time prescribed. If you take them wrong you allow the infection to build up resistance toward the medication which will diminish the effectiveness in future treatments. If they are not taking it then the doctor may have to give you a different method of delivery. There is more than one way to get the rats to take their meds. Often it is easier to mix the dose into a favorite food. If it is diluted into a large measure of liquids it could be rather hard to get them to take the entire dose. I've seen many different recipes that people have used to hide the yucky flavor of antibiotics. I've used the peanut butter balls & I've mixed meds in a sweet vanilla flavored syrup.
 

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My girls had some bad sneezies when I got them, and I actually ended up switching FROM fleece TO carefresh, and it's worked so well. I also took down a Glade Scented Plug in, which also seemed to help.

Also, with the antibiotics, make sure they get some yogurt when they're done, to replace the "good" bacteria the abs will kill along with the "bad". This goes for humans, too!
 
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