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Discussion Starter #1
One of my rats, a young male (about 6 weeks) has been making on and off wheezing noises. It generally happens when he's anxious and excited and then stops when he's calmed down. I took him to the vet and had him examined, and she said it was some kind of upper respiratory infection but is not in his lungs. She said she could prescribe antibiotics for him but was hesitant because there are no other signs of illness besides the on and off wheezing. ie, no discharge from his nose, he's drinking and eating properly (I've been paying close attention to his eating and pooping to make sure he's got an appetite) and he's still quite active (playing with his cagemate and running around all night as usual) and especially that he is not wheezing all the time, only when he's excited or distressed. She basically left it up to me, saying that the options were a) give him antibiotics b) sedate him and look inside his throat or c) see how it goes. I chose option C, and there doesn't seem to be any changes in his health, though I did get a humidifier and have been feeding him one chocolate chip per day (they say it helps, and my other rat doesn't like chocolate chips so there's no danger of him stealing it away, conveniently enough!)

It's been a week since he first started wheezing and a few days since I took him to the vet and basically nothing has changed. He still makes the noises on and off, but he seems pretty active and healthy. The vet said that she didn't want to give him anti-inflammatory drugs because he's still very young and the side-effects of antibiotics could be worse than the symptoms he's experiencing now because he doesn't seem to be really suffering. Still, the sounds he makes are worrying, and I'm wondering if I should take him back to the vet and get him some antibiotics. What do you guys think? Have you seen something similar before?

(Oh, and as a side note, my other rat is perfectly fine. The vet wasn't concerned about him... she said rats often have different immune systems, so he's just more resistant than the other guy.)
 

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Get antibiotics. URIs are just a flare up of myco but can easily lead to a secondary infection like pneumonia.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Okay. I was leaning to that but still unsure, so it's nice to have someone back me up! I'll set an appointment right now.
 

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You won't need to treat your other rat. You could try other things like changing them to scentless/softener free towels. But you already are using a humidifier and it hasnt helped much.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hmm, okay. Last time when I took my rat to the vet, I took my other one with him just in case... should I bring them both this time too, just for company? I figure it'll make him less anxious, but maybe I'm just unnecessarily stressing them both out.

I have them on fleece and I handwashed them with scentless detergent, so it shouldn't be that.

I tried running a hot shower and taking him into the bathroom, but he really didn't like it! It didn't seem make the wheezing noise worse, but he was burrowing into my shirt trying to avoid the steam.

Anyway, I've set an appointment, so he'll be seeing the vet again this week.
 

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Since your rat is so young, ask your vet about using Azithromycin. It is safe for use in rats who are very young, like yours.
Here's some info on Zithro:
http://ratguide.com/meds/antimicrobial_agents/azithromycin.php
I know some rat owners have had a lot of success with Zithro.

Clavamox is also safe for young rats:
http://ratguide.com/meds/antimicrobial_agents/clavamox_amoxicillinclavulanate.php

Either one of these and you should not have any ill affects.

Also, just to clarify the chocolate thing a bit: use a very very very dark chocolate, the highest percentage of cocoa there is. (Like 90%, it's super biter). You want it to be the most pure, not have all the sugar and milk that is added to "milk chocolate".
It is only effective when a rat is actually in distress though (having a hard time breathing). The cocoa acts as a natural Bronchodilator(meaning it "opens up" the lungs/airways).
If you give it to him everyday, it's not really doing anything except giving him something yummy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Man, the forum keeps cancelling and deleting my text before I can comment! Third time's the charm, right?

Thanks for the info. I'll bring it up when I see the vet tomorrow.

I read this article and it suggested pure baker's chocolate is a bad idea. I don't even think my rat would eat it since he's not that fond of the semi-sweet anyway (he doesn't snatch it away and gobble it down the way he does, say, egg). I will try looking for something a little darker and see how it goes, though. I've been giving it to him at night before I go to bed (once I turn the lights off he starts running around, getting excited and wheezing... )
 

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I think you should re read the information, as it suggests that bakers / low sugar / dark chocolates are more beneficial than milk chocolates.
 

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To clarify, straight from the article you posted:

"Theobromine, as well as other drugs mentioned do have therapeutic effects when given at the proper dosage and are used in the treatment [...] Theobromine is found in higher concentration in unsweetened baker's chocolate (15mg/g) than in milk chocolate (1.5 mg/g).*"
 

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Discussion Starter #10
"Dr. Castiglione specifically suggested not feeding any baker's chocolate, or products such as homemade chocolate cake or frosting made with large quantities of baker's chocolate. I would assume that rats would not even want pure baker's chocolate as it is not sweet and even has an unpleasant flavor. "

That's the part I was looking at.
 
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