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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from taking my two boys, Sherlock and Mr Watson, to the vet. They're about 2yo and both are sneezing and showing somewhat labored breathing. Watson was on doxy/baytril a couple months back for this and did well on it (he's off it now). The vet says Watson's lungs sound a little "crackly". Because Watson has had all these symptoms for a while we did an X-ray. The vet says his lungs look fine and are expanding all the way as well (do all lung problems show up on an xray?). She wants to try an oral bronchodilator to see if that helps with his breathing, and doesn't think he needs to be on antibiotics. She says Sherlock's lungs sound fine. Sherlock has a sore on each back foot and the vet wants him on antibiotics to help clear them up and keep them from getting infected. We call him "spider-rat" because he climbs everywhere, even on the cage bars haha! I'm sure that's where his sores came from.

All this being said, I feel like changing their surroundings could possibly help matters with their respiratory health. Because it's winter here, and our heater is running constantly, I feel a cold mist humidifier could help things. Have any of you had good experiences using these? Also, is there an inexpensive gadget out there I could get to measure the humidity levels in our bedroom (this is where the boys stay)?

I've also decided to stop using paper bedding (carefresh, clean & cozy, and the like), and use fleece instead. I plan to line all platforms with it, and will also give the boys tons of ratty-sized fleece blankets for them to bed down and snuggle with. Regarding washing, I use a free & clear (no dyes or perfumes) laundry detergent for my family as we are sensitive to dyes, perfumes and the like. I understand this is fine to wash the fleece in. But we also use Bounce free dryer sheets which have no perfumes or dyes. Is this safe to use, or is it ABSOLUTELY NO dryer sheets or fabric softener regardless of how "free & clear" it is? I want to do what's best for the boys in an attempt to help clear up their respiratory issues.

The vet did also mention that their respiratory health would be improved if they both lost some weight. They are both just a tad over 500g. Do y'all think this is too high? I'm considering getting the largest Wodent Wheel to see if the boys will run in it. I'm sure that would help trim them down a little IF they will even use the wheel, that is.

I'd love to hear everyone's opinions on all of this. Thanks!
 

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Humidifiers work great I find! I got one for my girls when they got sneezy and it worked wonders.

I wouldn't use a softener for the fleece, just the detergent. Although, I hand wash mine with baby shampoo unscented Johnson brand and then once it's rinsed, I let it soak in really hot water and a cup of vinegar to get rid of any smells. It smells neutral and doesn't seem to make them as sneezy.

Do you have any ladders or ramps in their cage? If so I'd take them away so they're forced to climb and jump more for exercise. And like you mentioned, add a wheel and see if they like running on it :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Erika, thanks! We got the humidifier up & running last night and also bought a gadget which measures temp/humidity and it's sitting at 48% right now, so far so good. I removed the paper bedding last night and lined with fleece and threw in lots of rectangle pieces of ratty-blanket-sized fleece. I think it's too early to gauge whether this is helping their respiratory health, although I'm sure it will.

There are 4 levels in the cage with ramps. I feel the levels are two far spaced for them to jump (although I could be underestimating these guys haha), and another concern is that they are entering older age at 2+yo (guestimate since they were rescues). That paired with the respiratory problems they're having make me cautious of creating too much mandatory jumping/climbing. Maybe I'm over-protective of them--I don't know. I will order the wheel today so hopefully I'll have it by this weekend or early next week. I can't find a Wodent Wheel in any pet store locally, so must order online.

Thanks again for the info on the laundering. I didn't use any fabric softener and the fleece came out fine without any static elec. which surprised me, but cool! They seem to like their new environment with lots of blankies and no paper bedding, YAY!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Annnnnnnd they LOVE the fleece! They don't even seem to be chewing on it like I thought they might!
 
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