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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. As you can tell I'm new to this site and still fairly new to rats. I currently have 3 rats, 2 agouti hooded girls called Enara and Revan, and a black berkshire male called Anakin. I'm seem to have a star wars theme going on at the moment ;) Anyway, I used to have 2 male rats, Lyric and Chess but that was a couple of years ago. My previous rat Lyric had something wrong with him and he was the size of a mouse. My current rats seem to be healthy, well the girls do. I think the male has myco. I only bought him yesterday, while the girls I have had for a couple of weeks. He is currently in quarantine away from my girls and after that is done I hope to move him to a cage near the girls (obviously not the same cage). I read somewhere that rats can catch myco off of other rats, should I keep Anakin away from the girls so that he doesn't give it to them? Also is there anyway that I can help his myco lessen? I cannot currently afford to take him to the vet and I'm not sure of any medicine that could fix him, he is only 6 weeks so I think he would still be classified as a baby. I am trying to keep him warm in his cage as apparently that is meant to help. Any suggestions would be great.

Also, I am currently feeding my rats a store bought seed mix. I have been looking this up online and the best thing I can find to feed them is lab blocks, the only problem is that I cannot find them anywhere. So an alternative that I have found is a mixture of bio-mare and dog food. I already have bio-mare at home and the dog food would not be a hassle to get, however I'm not sure if this would be the ideal food for them. Is there a type of rat food that I can get from pet shops or the supermarket that would be better than this? I am also currently feeding them bowtie pasta, three coloured pasta, cheerios, dried carrot, banana chips, little gems and nibble o's, the last five are used more as treats, though they get a lot of them. I then also feed them carrot, cherry tomatoes, frozen peas, frozen corn, frozen beans and a bag of four different leafy greens, which includes 3 different types of lettuce and spinach. They get fresh veggies everyday. Is what I'm currently feeding them good? The only that I think isn't the best quality is the seed mix that they are eating. Any suggestions would be appreciated :)
 

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I'm fairly new to owning rats also . I just got 2 girls , but I had 2 boys years ago . I had your problem couldn't find any good quality lab blocks any place close by to me . I had to order online , I bought Oxbow . Which I have heard is good because it doesn't have corn or alfalfa .
I surf a lot looking for herbal alternatives to treat my ratties . I found Ratgirls channel on Youtube maybe could help you , until you can get to see a vet for your sick rattie .https://youtu.be/ommfzr6kpAU Here she mentions Echinacea for respiratory problems you can get to a health food store . Congrats & best of luck on your new Ratties :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm not to sure about ordering Oxbow online. I live in Australia so the shipping price would probably be very costly. I've heard that a lot of rats don't like the Oxbow lab blocks. I'm not sure how true that is, but I would like to not pays lots of money on shipping only for hem to not eat it :(

I will see if I can find any Echinacea. It sounds like it could help him out. Thanks for sending me the link :)
 

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LOL I didn't want go into along story about the Oxbow , cause I bought the adult for my 8 &10 week old girls . I also was told they didn't like the juvie big lab blocks . Then just add protein until 6 - 8 months . I had mine on a cereal / grain mix & for the life of me mine would not eat the Oxbow . Come to find out because I had kept the mix in their cage too !! Without realizing they will eat the yummie stuff first - before the stuff that's good for them . After 5 days they wouldn't eat it , crossed my fingers & left the mix out for 1 night . By morning they had finally ate the blocks :)
Just wanted to toss that out for you incase you have a problem , on what you decide to get them . Love the forum so much info, for us somewhat Newbies .
Surly others will give more advice as the day goes on . Maybe some old timers can give you more suggestions .. You welcome !
 

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Discussion Starter #5
If I can manage to find some with reasonable shipping cost, then I will have to try that. Once again, thank you for the advice. I will have to seriously look into getting some oxbow, unless of cause there is a better alternative :)
 

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Pets come with added costs and one of those costs are vet care. If you can not afford vet care, getting the new little boy may not have been a good idea.... to be perfectly honest.

Whenever you bring a new rat home you should do a quarantine, completely different air space is best. At the very least for 2 weeks. There are several things that are contagious and deadly that can be passed between rats. Yes a URI is one of the possibilities.

It is quite common for new rats to be sneezy when first brough home. The change of air and perhaps new bedding and such. If it doesn't go away or gets worse it is definitely something to worry about. If it is a URI, left untreated it can cause serious damage to the lungs and even mean death.

You can buy meds online from bird websites. I am in the US so I am not sure about good sites for Australia. But searching bird sites medicine can be helpful.
Here is a helpful link:
http://ratguide.com/health/bacteria/mycoplasma_mycoplasmosis.php
It lists the names of the meds and the doses, etc..


Food is quite different depending on where you live. In the US we prefer lab blocks, but I know in the UK they feed mixes instead. I am not sure of what the food is suggested in Australia.
The oxbow lab block is in my opinion the best out there and seems to be very well loved by rats. The young formula is not loved, rats do not seem to like the taste & it is not as high quality as the adult. But if you can get the adult version I highly suggest it.
I do not prefer mixes as most are full of junk & chemicals. It is also packed full of foods that should be a treat and not fed daily- such as seeds which are quite high in fat.
I am not sure what bio-mare is. If you choose to feed dog food, it needs to be very high quality, You should also be wary of the protein content. I prefer adults to be fed 14-16%, babies 18%. High protein levels can cause health issues.
 

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No one expects to have to take their wee one to the vet. 95% of people pick a pet without ever thinking of vet costs. If this was a major factor, many people would never get a pet. Not everyone is well off enough to absorb these unexpected costs. I live from pay check to pay check and need to watch every penny. I would definitely make the effort to see the vet if something was wrong with my little ones, but there are obstacles that I have to also consider.
 

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I really can't contribute much to the health related questions-I have yet to bring new rats home and I'm still doing my research, although when it comes to vet bills having a small emergency fund (however unrealistic that may be) may be beneficial for emergencies. Rats may develop certain chronic illnesses that will require a life time treatment and medication, so being prepared for those things, although less expensive than for larger animals, may be beneficial. I had a rabbit for eight years, nobody thought when we bought him- "oh he's going to develop kidney and digestive issues, require antibiotics and gut stimulants, arthritis treatments, and IV fluids every other day, nightly feedings of critical care, and cost thousands of dollars"- much of it during a time when there was little income source, of course we loved him to pieces and would of done anything that we could, but that probably would have been a factor in choosing to purchase a small animal before we fell in love with him. I know you've probably heard this a million times on this thread already, but it can certainly be something to think about. Taking him to the vet now if whatever is going on persists or worsens may save you in the long run
 

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I remember hearing about a dog food that is great for rats. I just need to find the name.
 

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Its this one: solid gold holistique blendz.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can afford vet care, it's just that I cannot get him to the vet until I get paid, which unfortunately isn't for awhile. Last year I had a cat get bitten by a snake. He needed medical attention but the anti venom didn't work, therefore I also had to pay to get him cremated. My mum helped me pay for some of it, but the over all cost was a lot. 6 months before that we also had a horse that required medical attention from a paralysis tick, he didn't make it either and this was his second one. Also recently one of our dogs was bitten by a paralysis tick and also needed medical attention. Whenever one of my animals requires medical attention I try to get them to the vet as soon as possible, however with 2 paralysis ticks and a snake bite I am a bit low on funds. I am trying to get my vet funds back up though.

I know to always do quarantine as I have had to do it with all different types of animals in the past. If he does end up having myco, would it be best to keep him separate from all other rats? Or could he still get a companion?

He isn't just sneezing. He is also sometimes making a sort of squeaking/snuffling sound, maybe even a little wheezing. He is also cleaning his face a lot more than my other rats do. I don't want him to suffer or die, that's why I am trying to find some other remedies to help him until I can afford a vet. I didn't have time to check him over at the pet shop because I got there just as it was closing. But I think he may have been like this from there as he was doing it before he even got in his cage. Another thing which I did forget to mention about him is that when I got him home her pooed on me. That's not really a problem for me, but I noticed they were mushy and yellow in colour. He has stopped doing them now so I just assume that it was what he was eating before I got him, though I'm not to sure.

I read the site and found it very informative. I shall have to see if I can get any of the meds online.

I'm still trying to find out what the best method for me to feed them would be. I don't want to feed them seeds everyday, which is what they currently have. However I do need the food to be affordable where I am. Bio-mare is a horse food for pregnant horses. It kind of tastes like weetbix which I think I read somewhere that rats can eat. I'll have to see if I can find a dog food with the right protein levels. Is there any requirements for the other levels in the dog food?

Thank you for your help and the link to that site :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I used to have an emergency vet fund, however I had to spend a lot of money when my cat got sick. My horse and dog also got sick but my mum paid for them, therefore she wouldn't be able to lend me the money for him. I am aware that animals need medical attention and I also know that I'm not the best at picking an animal as most of the ones I get have problems with them. I am going to take him to the vet as soon as I can afford it as it is a thing that needs to be done.
 

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I will have to see if I can find that brand where I live. I haven't seen it around before, but that doesn't mean it isn't here :)
 

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Sorry to hear about the vet thing. I know how that is - stuff happens. At least you know you can afford basic vet care, it's far more than what most owners do.

I had a rat with myco. He and his extended family came from a petstore that happily breed sick rats (I didn't find out until it was too late). So, I housed him with another rat from the same petstore. They did as well as can be expected, considering. But I can't say whether or not it would be advisable to house him with a non-sick rat.

His cagemate was by himself after the other sick rat passed, and with lots of daily interaction, he did alright. But then again, I had lots of time to spare and he was never very social with his cagemate anyhow. So keeping your sick rattie by himself could really go either way. Some pets love companions, others are okay without it.

As for other types of food, do you think you would be able to find any of these foods in your country? They're not as good as Oxbow but if you can't find anything better, these would still be acceptable foods -

- Harlan Teklad Global Rodent Diet (you'd want the 2014 or 2016 variety)
- Mazuri Rodent Breeder 6F
- Burgess SupaRat Rat Royale

(more info on the above can be found in this awesome sticky: http://www.ratforum.com/showthread.php?216530-Rat-Food-Recommendations-amp-Reviews-(WIP) )


I also found the following brands that are apparently sold in Australia. They're really not the best quality, but I suppose it's something..

- http://www.lauckemills.com.au/misc3.html
- https://petsplus.com.au/pet-shop.asp?id=524

the protein for both of these foods is too high (20%) and they're made of low-quality ingredients.

If at all possible, I'd HIGHLY recommend ordering Oxbow online. It truly is the best food and is well-loved among ratties, so I'd doubt you'll have to worry about wasting your money on it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I suppose I will just have to keep him by himself. If I end up getting a rat with the same problem, then I may house them together. I'm not sure how likely that will be though. I am currently trying to convince my parents to lend me some money to that him to the vets but they don't have all that much at the moment, not to mention that my mum isn't a huge fan of rats.

I did some research and Burgess SupaRat Rat Royale is available in Australia, but the other two are not. Apparently there is meant to be one store that sells it. I'll have to check it out next time I go that way as the store is around an hours drive give or take away from us. I may end trying to order oxbow in but I'll have to see how things play out with the other food first.

Thank you for the links, they were very helpful :)
 

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No one expects to have to take their wee one to the vet. 95% of people pick a pet without ever thinking of vet costs. If this was a major factor, many people would never get a pet. Not everyone is well off enough to absorb these unexpected costs. I live from pay check to pay check and need to watch every penny. I would definitely make the effort to see the vet if something was wrong with my little ones, but there are obstacles that I have to also consider.
Im sorry but vet cost should always be an expected thought about cost. It is just as vital as having money for a cage, food, etc... Yes we can hope & pray that we never need it but that doesn't mean we should not be prepared for it. It is very likely at some point in its life any pet would need to see a vet.

I am sorry but I do feel strongly that if one can not afford vet care at all then yeah they should not own a pet. Watching an animal die a slow painful death full of suffering is just cruel.

Put money aside each week to set up a vet fund. Start a savings account and even if you can only put $10 in a week it is something. Look around at what you can cut out in your life to make alittle more wiggle room. having a credit card just for emergencies or care credit as well. No animal that we take in and promised to care for should ever suffer.

Now I will say, I totally understand sometimes life throws a curve ball at you. There is a huge difference in getting a pet knowing you can not afford a vet or its care and being prepared but life throws so much at you- like a job loss, health issues, accidents, stuff you did not plan for and it left your finances drained for the moment. There is a very big difference in those two situations though.
 

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Unfortunately, not everyone has the funds to put aside. If I did, I'd also have a car repair fund because that happens and a death/funeral fund because that happens. I have adopted many pets over the years and never could afford to sock away "just in case" money. I think a large majority of people are in the same boat. Now, if something comes along, then I will sacrifice a car payment or eat Ramen for a month to insure my pet is cared for. If we did it your way, no one would have a pet because I tell you a large percentage never anticipate a vet bill. I think I need to stop posting on this site and just lurk. The people on here have a way of making you feel like you suck because you can't devote yourself 100% to your pet. Who does? I work, I have family AND I make time for my two little girls. I got shamed into buying a huge cage and after that I learned my lesson about getting advice on this site. Now I weigh all options and go with what my gut tells me. Just because I don't save for vet care doesn't mean that I shouldn't adopt a pet.
 

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I did manage to convince my parents to lend me some money to take him to the vet. My mum still didn't see the point in taking a rat but I managed to get him in. The vet thinks that my rat may be under stress from bringing him home and that he may have a little bit of a respiratory infection. He gave me some baytril to give him for five days. I have to give him 0.5 mls a day. I read that baytril isn't good for younger rats. I am going to continue to give him the medicine as that is what my vet told me, but should I be worried? I don't think the vet specialises in rats but he is the closest, the other vets are around an hour away and I'm not sure if there are any specialists. I also got some echinacea and I know I'm not meant to give it to him while he's on antibiotics, but what is the recommenced time on and off of it? Also how much would I give him for his age (6-8 weeks)?
 
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