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I have this rat (Due to his aggression towards other rats, he's a loner), and I got from a pet store (2 months ago) that had him in a tank with 7 others and the air holes at the top were so clogged with dirt that it was a wonder how her could breathe at all, he looked very young (still had that fluffy look young rats have).

When I got him he'd sneeze a lot (multiple times every hour) but it's significantly decreased down now, but he still does on occasion.
He also used to have red stuff around his nose and eyes but that has gone away.
He also used to scratch a lot, but when I noticed that I removed all his bedding and bleached his cage and that erased the scratching.


I keep him in a wire cage, use aspen wood chip bedding, keep my window open for air circulation and have a fan in my room for the same reason. I feed him kaytee gourmet rat food and kaytee healthy support diet.


Currently he sneezes maybe once or twice a day, as a guess. Sometimes not at all (at least none that I catch).
He sometimes has a small amount black crusty stuff around his nose but it comes and goes, he grooms is all off when it comes.

And the vet I took him to said his breathing was only slightly off and that his nasal passages seemed decently clear, that it was probably some mycoplasma and maybe some other viruses, and that keeping him healthy and happy will probably sort out his problems. They said he was in overall good health.


But since there are no small animal vets in my area, this was a cat & dog clinic so I'm not sure if I can trust their verdict, they checked it's nose, eyes, temperature, and breathing.

There's a small animal vet outside my city, but I cannot go there as my family doesn't have a car. I'm 15, my dad hates rats and will not let me take my rat to the vet again, he says "He's fine, I wont let you waste any more of your money on some dumb rodent".


I'm probably being an overprotective mother and he probably IS fine, since I hear that sneezing is normal and probably allergies if it's not accompanied by red stuff.



What do you guys think? Is it really nothing? Will my baby boy be alright? ???


And if you think it isn't nothing, or even if you do, what are some things I could do to prevent it from becoming something more then just innocent sneezing. And if perhaps it IS a URI or something of that nature, (or even if it ISN'T, this would be good for future reference) are there any home treatments? Foods that help?


Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I asked a similar question a few weeks ago and got a great answer, but I'm still worried so I'm asking again with more details and questions.
 

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First a few care tips - move him away from direct sunlight and drafty widows or blowing fans. Also switch diets to a nutritionally complete diet - oxbow regal rat blocks for adults is perfect and available at the store.

Second, it doesn't sound like anything bad that can't be fixed by removing him from drafts. If you can, give him raw honey for a couple days after changing where his cage is and see how he does.
 

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If it is a mycoplasma flare up only antibiotics will help. All rats are born with it as all cows have E. Coli. I agree with switching his food its like $15 at petsmart.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
If it is a mycoplasma flare up only antibiotics will help.
I hear that myco flare ups are normal.
Like when a cow has E. coli, that doesn't mean he's going to die without medicine.
And even if I heard wrong, I have nowhere to get antibiotics.
I'm from Canada, we don't have a Petsmart here, thank-you though.

The pet store in my city doesn't have much variety, but I think I've found some food that's abetter than what I'm currently feeding him anyways.
 

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Unfortunately, dark chocolate is just a symptom reliever. Honey actually acts against illness.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I like the raw honey idea, as raw honey supposedly has antibacterial properties among other things.
But I can't find any in either of the stores in my area.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
But daily sneezes... it feels like a wee bit too much.
Even though he has gotten much better since I got him.

Also, I moved his cage away from all drafts.
 

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I can tell you from experience, having gotten my two boys from a breeder who kept them in tanks when they were young, that myco will probably be an issue. With myco comes the occasional need for Baytril.

My boys sneeze fairly often, probably more than the norm, but I've learned to just try to manage it holistically and only bring them to the vet when it's serious (constant, painful sounding sneezing). It's normal to go through an overprotective mom phase and god knows you'll never completely get over it but you learn quickly what conditions require medication and which don't.

Holistic options I would suggest to lessen sneezing would be to switch him from the aspen bedding to care fresh. Paper bedding, in my experience, is all around the best kind. Sometimes it's dusty, but if you're careful about which bags you buy (brand name carefresh has worked well for me), that shouldn't be a problem. I read online somewhere that spritzing the bedding after you place it in the pan and letting it dry before placing your rats in will control any remaining dust, but I've never tested it and it's never been necessary for me.

The Kaytee food brand is a seed mix, right? I would definitely stray away from seed mixes. They're very fatty and generally the nutrient pellets end up ignored. That's the stuff that's actually important and most rats won't even touch it :/. I really strongly advocate for Oxbow Regal Rat, but it's pricey so if you're relying on your own income that might be impossible. I can tell you that every rat I've introduced to Oxbow has immediately abandoned their seed mix and ate it up happily, so switching shouldn't be a problem (do it cold turkey), but if you buy a cheaper brand it might be more difficult.

Chocolate and mint are good for clearing up the sinuses. To be honest, I've also used ginger and wasabi for my rats. Causes a lot of sneezing initially and then clears em right up.

But if it gets to the point of a URI, which does often happen, the only way to clear it quickly is an antibiotic, generally Baytril. That means a vet visit. Sometimes if you go to the same vet reliably and they know of your rats myco condition they'll provide the prescription without asking for a check up but you need to foster that relationship first. I hate to say it, but sometimes rats just need vet appointments.

I hope this was pretty comprehensive. I know what it's like caring for rats who came from non-ideal conditions as babies, and they definitely struggle with sneezing :/. There's very little you can do except monitor. How long have you had him? Are you sure he has to be a loner--if so, is he friendly with you?
 

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You may find just changing him out the window may help. You can try him on towels if you suspect the bedding.

Raw honey is super helpful to have around and is great for sniffles and for injuries. It's antimicrobial so it's both antibiotic and antiviral. My vet recommends it for everything he can.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I can tell you from experience, having gotten my two boys from a breeder who kept them in tanks when they were young, that myco will probably be an issue. With myco comes the occasional need for Baytril.

My boys sneeze fairly often, probably more than the norm, but I've learned to just try to manage it holistically and only bring them to the vet when it's serious (constant, painful sounding sneezing). It's normal to go through an overprotective mom phase and god knows you'll never completely get over it but you learn quickly what conditions require medication and which don't.

Holistic options I would suggest to lessen sneezing would be to switch him from the aspen bedding to care fresh. Paper bedding, in my experience, is all around the best kind. Sometimes it's dusty, but if you're careful about which bags you buy (brand name carefresh has worked well for me), that shouldn't be a problem. I read online somewhere that spritzing the bedding after you place it in the pan and letting it dry before placing your rats in will control any remaining dust, but I've never tested it and it's never been necessary for me.

The Kaytee food brand is a seed mix, right? I would definitely stray away from seed mixes. They're very fatty and generally the nutrient pellets end up ignored. That's the stuff that's actually important and most rats won't even touch it :/. I really strongly advocate for Oxbow Regal Rat, but it's pricey so if you're relying on your own income that might be impossible. I can tell you that every rat I've introduced to Oxbow has immediately abandoned their seed mix and ate it up happily, so switching shouldn't be a problem (do it cold turkey), but if you buy a cheaper brand it might be more difficult.

Chocolate and mint are good for clearing up the sinuses. To be honest, I've also used ginger and wasabi for my rats. Causes a lot of sneezing initially and then clears em right up.

But if it gets to the point of a URI, which does often happen, the only way to clear it quickly is an antibiotic, generally Baytril. That means a vet visit. Sometimes if you go to the same vet reliably and they know of your rats myco condition they'll provide the prescription without asking for a check up but you need to foster that relationship first. I hate to say it, but sometimes rats just need vet appointments.

I hope this was pretty comprehensive. I know what it's like caring for rats who came from non-ideal conditions as babies, and they definitely struggle with sneezing :/. There's very little you can do except monitor. How long have you had him? Are you sure he has to be a loner--if so, is he friendly with you?
I've had him for about 2 months, the pet store said he was a loner, though I do plan on at least trying to introduce him to a friend when the time is right. He's friendly with me, always licking my hands, he's very sweet and gentle.

I plan to get a job so that I can afford better things for him. But being 15, that's kind of hard. The pet store in my area doesn't sell the Oxbow rat food. Only Kaytee rat food. I hear hamster food works too, so I've been thinking about that. Or even making my own mix, but all the recipes seem expensive and complicated, with many ingredients that I don't even know what they are.

I've only had one visit to the vet. But like I said, it's a cat and dog clinic, so I'm not entirely sure I can trust half of what they say, as they know very little about rats.

When they met my rat they said "It's good you're keeping him alone, male rats don't get along with other males and since they cant be neutered, keeping them with girls is a bad idea".

So they clearly have no clue what they're talking about.
 

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Ahhh. Yeah, clearly. I get that too--I've had some bad experiences this past week with a cat and dog vet :/. But the good news is, if you know it's myco, you only need to visit them to get the medication you know you need: Baytril. For emergencies they won't do but for a URI you can mostly rely on the internet.

Kaytee works in a pinch, to be honest. You aren't hurting him any. I'd pick the sunflower seeds out (they're mostly fat) and give him carefully chosen treats to balance it out. Rats need wheat/grains, so some uncooked pasta would be good. If you have a paypal or some kind of credit/debit card, Amazon is also an option. I'm in college and that's what I use. Shipping is pretty fast from the Oxbow vendor.

As for the cage mate, introducing two males is hard. I'd think it over. I think it's ideal for rats to be together but in certain circumstances, when you weigh your options, it ends up making the most sense to keep your rats alone and just give them as much attention as possible (which means having him out of the cage for several hours a day). You're doing your research and clearly intend to do what's best for your rat, and you know your rat better than any of us, so just try new things when you want and observe how he reacts.
 

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Introducing adult males to baby males is actually quite easy in most cases. If the male is aggressive obviously no introduction is going to work but there are two guides on how to do it Stickied on the forum - it's also worth adding that generally you can see aggression if you set two cages near each other for a day.

If you can buy online, you can actually get Baytril, amoxicillin, and doxycycline online for birds or fish and we can walk you through dosages. At less than 3 sneezes a day it's a bit early for medication.
 

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Ahhh. Yeah, clearly. I get that too--I've had some bad experiences this past week with a cat and dog vet :/. But the good news is, if you know it's myco, you only need to visit them to get the medication you know you need: Baytril. For emergencies they won't do but for a URI you can mostly rely on the internet.

Kaytee works in a pinch, to be honest. You aren't hurting him any. I'd pick the sunflower seeds out (they're mostly fat) and give him carefully chosen treats to balance it out. Rats need wheat/grains, so some uncooked pasta would be good. If you have a paypal or some kind of credit/debit card, Amazon is also an option. I'm in college and that's what I use. Shipping is pretty fast from the Oxbow vendor.

As for the cage mate, introducing two males is hard. I'd think it over. I think it's ideal for rats to be together but in certain circumstances, when you weigh your options, it ends up making the most sense to keep your rats alone and just give them as much attention as possible (which means having him out of the cage for several hours a day). You're doing your research and clearly intend to do what's best for your rat, and you know your rat better than any of us, so just try new things when you want and observe how he reacts.
Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate it.
 

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Introducing adult males to baby males is actually quite easy in most cases. If the male is aggressive obviously no introduction is going to work but there are two guides on how to do it Stickied on the forum - it's also worth adding that generally you can see aggression if you set two cages near each other for a day.

If you can buy online, you can actually get Baytril, amoxicillin, and doxycycline online for birds or fish and we can walk you through dosages. At less than 3 sneezes a day it's a bit early for medication.
I don't have a credit/debit card or paypal, so buying online isn't something I can do. I'm just going to try and keep him healthy for now, hopefully it is nothing. I don't think the vet in my town carries any of those meds either. But even if they do I haven't got any money on me at the moment, and my allowance is only $20 a month, which is always spent on food and bedding, but I plan to go job searching tomorrow.

It's good to know that if he is sick, it hasn't gotten bad yet. I'll begin saving money here and there so that if his condition does get worse, I can afford take a cab (about $55 one way) to the next city over. There's a vet there that I took my last rats to, the vet knew nothing about rats but I sure they carried Baytril and maybe amoxicillin and doxycycline too.

Thanks for the help.
 
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