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Hello all, I just became a first time rat owner about two weeks ago and I must say it has been a crazy week of ups and downs! Where do I begin...

First off I need to acknowledge that I made the mistake of purchasing my first two rats from Petsmart (and learned my lesson about why I shouldn't have shortly there after). I brought home two approximately 6 week old brown hooded boys named Augustus (Gus) and Genghis. I bought them the biggest cage I could afford (All Living Things three level rat cage), the proper food, bedding, hammocks, and lots of toys. After the first few days at home I noticed their "new home sneezes" began to sound a little more like wheezes and being a nervous first time rat momma, made an appointment with the vet. Granted, my vet expressed to me that while she is not a rat "expert" she has treated them before for URI's etc and seemed familiar with the proper antibiotics so I decided to give her a shot since every other place I called sounded less than interested. About 115 dollars later I was sent home with some Orbax and some tiny oral syringes. She heard some mild chest congestion but did not seem overly worried. Genghis was to get .04ml and Gus (who seemed to be the runt of his litter) was to get .03ml, once a day for 10 days. The first two days I really felt they both perked up, less sneezing and wheezing. Then on the third day I noticed little Gus becoming increasingly lethargic. This was highlighted by his brother Genghis who seems perpetually wired for sound. Gus began to look fluffy and a little more gaunt and I began to notice a small amount of red crusties on his nose. I made an appointment for the next day to bring him back to the vet and despite his symptoms his chest sounded clear. She gave him some sub q fluids and told me to keep him eating and hydrated and to continue with the meds. I picked up some baby food and gatorade and attempted to hand feed little Gus with a syringe but he began to just let it slide out of his mouth. About 6 hours after the vet check little Gus passed away... I am so heart broken, I really feel I gave him every chance but I have a suspicion that the URI wasnt his only problem. I definitely did not expect to go through this emotional and financial roller coaster in the first week of rat ownership but I do not regret getting them at all, I say at least he didnt have to die in the pet store (and had at least a few days of love and treats!!!) :/

This leaves me wondering where to go from here. I spoke with the vet again the day after Gus passed and we decided to up Genghis' dose of Orbax as he is growing like a weed and extend the treatment to two full weeks. He seems very happy, eats like a PIG especially cauliflower and broccoli and LOVES to play and be tickled. He does occasionally make some guinea pig like sounds when eating but as of today I havent heard a peep even after hours of running around. I obviously want to get him another buddy so he does not become depressed and lonely but I wanted to make sure he is 100% before bringing in a new baby. I am also NOT going back to a pet store and instead found a girl local to me who breeds beautiful dumbo boys that will be 5 weeks next wednesday. I put a gorgeous blonde hooded boy on reserve and was hoping to pick him up late next week provided Genghis stays on the upward trend.

Sorry for the long winded post. I am open to all comments and advice. I really need it, I have been stressing a lot over all of this and I just want to have a little peace of mind! Thank you in advance!
 

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Welcome to the forum! I am sorry to hear about Gus.
 

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Yeah I learned the breeder lesson when I had hamsters. You really just get a better quality animal from a reputable breeder.

I did however get really lucky with my first hamster that I got from petsmart. She was really chill and would sit on my chest and nap while I watched TV.
 

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Ahhh that is what I was worried about after I brought my boys home from Petsmart the first little while. I never knew the dangers of getting pet store rats but after researching it I am surprised and relieved that nothing happened. I am really sorry about what happened to Gus, but at least you did all that you could. I wish that pet shops could learn how to properly treat and care for the pets that they sell or not sell at all. I am sure that things will get better though! I feel you got stuck with a worst case scenario right off the bat so, things should get a lot better.
 

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It's crazy. They recently made a law here in CA that pet stores can't sell cats or rabbits. I think they shouldn't be allowed to sell any animals. I hear too many stories like this and it makes me sad since most of the time children are involved and hurt when their new pet dies or gets seriously ill.

In so sorry to hear about Gus. :(
 

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I'm sorry to hear that =/ I'm afraid one of my girls is on her way out and she's also from a pet store, the next time I get rats I will def be looking for a breeder instead.
 
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