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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sigh. This is gonna be a long post :(

I picked up 4 baby rats 3 weeks ago from a shelter. They were scheduled for euthanasia, which I thought would be senseless, and I took them in as rescues to be adopted out at a later date ( I have a very small, small animal rescue) . Well, needless to say, I really got attached to the little boogers...I haven't owned rats in over 15 years, and I discovered just how much I really enjoy them.

Well, the cage that they were kept in was very dirty, very ammonia filled and watered my eyes. The smallest female (considerably smaller than the rest) sneezed the whole 3 hours home. By the next day of being on clean bedding, though, her condition was much better and virtually stopped after another day, so, naturally I assumed it was just from the ammonia. A little over a week ago, the sneezing returned. No porphorin staining or anything like that, and she seemed active. She still lagged behind in size compared to the siblings. So, I took her to the vet last week, and her exam didn't go as well as expected...the lungs sounded 'coarse' and we discussed myco, as well as the possibility of her having lung scarring because of the conditions in the shelter cage, and the possibility of chronic respiratory illness. Anyway, after she worsened and couldn't even move without sneezing and looking and feeling absolutely pitiful, I made the decision to have her euthanized.

I have to say that I was a vet assistant for several years and this was a very difficult decision for me and I cried all the way home, thinking about it. She was such a sweet and loving little personality, and loved to be cuddled.

Her sister is now alone. She seems perfectly healthy, and I know that she is very lonely. My question is: in this situation, would you go ahead and adopt a couple of rats to quarantine to be later added to the remaining sister? Or, should I just wait to see if any symptoms arise in the sister first? What would you do? And, (I haven't read any posts yet) but is quarantine typically about a month for rats?

Thanks,

a
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock&#03

I would adopt two more rats and keep them quarantined (typically 3 weeks). By then, if the first little girl is sick, her symptoms will show and you can figure out what it is and how to treat it. Same with the new girls.

I'm sorry to hear about the first girl, that must have been a difficult decision, especially for one so young :(

I hope all goes well with your remaining girl, and the friends you adopt for her :)
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock

Hello Ms Doolittle, welcome to the forums!

Please take a moment to read the site rules and enjoy your stay! :)

...

You say the remaining sister, what about the other two rats... are they boys?

If so, I would get another girl, or two girls, and start the quarantine - three weeks and in a separate airspace, if you can.

Did you have the remaining three checked over at the same time? Were they showing any symptoms of any illnesses at all?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock&#03

Yes, sorry about that! The other two are males, so obviously, they are separated. The other female was taken to the vet, too. She has had no symptoms, and continues to eat, grow, and play as normal. The males were doing fine, although, just in the last day, the REW male has begun to sneeze. So, now, I'll be doing another vet consult and trying some meds. I just hope it isn't something contagious, because I don't want to bring in new rats, just to infect them. I was hoping it would just be a myco flare-up.

I have separate airspace, no problem with that. Although I was originally going to adopt them all out, now with the sneezing, etc. there is no way in good conscience I could place them elsewhere. Not to mention the fact that I'm attached now.

I do wonder, how do rat rescues deal with such problems being as myco and other respiratory illnesses are so prevelant with rats?

a
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock

Another thing to consider: Spay the female or neuter the males and intro them to eachother. They will already be used to the scent, you don't have to risk infecting a new one and you get down to one cage! And spaying provides great health benefits to females down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock&#03

Yes, that's true, I could have them altered.

I would be more apt to neuter, since it is so much less invasive and the time under anesthesia is much shorter. Although, I do worry about putting them under too much stress...honestly, I'd really rather opt not to do that. My clinic is extremely expensive regarding surgery procedures, and I'm not crazy about putting an animal under anesthesia unless it is a life or death type situation.


Naturally, I don't want to put any new animals at risk getting sick (that would just be cruel), but I also hate to do an elective surgical procedure. Anyway, I guess I'll give it some more time and see what happens.

a
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock

As I said, with females spaying dramatically reduces the chance of getting mammary tumors later on in life with females. It's pretty ridiculous how much the percentage goes down. So you would more than likely be saving her from one or more surgeries in the future. But it's up to you. I wouldn't do it with any vet of course. I've known many rat people that have large colonies of all spayed and neutered males and never have lost one in a spay or neuter. But their vets are GOOD. Of course it's the vets that are very good that tend not to be the priciest. Often times vets will charge outrageous amounts for a rat spay or neuter when they just don't feel comfortable doing it. So it's probably a great idea to shop around to see if you have a highly recommended vet that has done many rat spay/neuters first.

But yes it's your call, just informing you that while spaying may be invasive, it could dramatically help female rats in the long run. I don't have females, but if I did I would DEFINATELY get my girls spayed.

http://www.rmca.org/Articles/spay.htm
And article about just that.
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock

MsDoolittle said:
I just hope it isn't something contagious, because I don't want to bring in new rats, just to infect them.
Well, if you are bringing new rats into a separate airspace, it shouldn't be a problem. Three weeks is supposedly long enough for any hidden illnesses to show in any of the rats - at least SDA and Sendai (sp?), I think - so you should be ok doing that.

Like Poppyseed says, spaying females can have great health benefits for them, if you can find somewhere reasonable to do it.

I think, if I were you, I'd wait a week or so and hash out any potential problems with your current rats, first, though. If your remaining female seems happy enough, just make sure she gets loads of play time until you can get her a friend or spay her to go in with the boys. Rats shouldn't be kept alone, but for a short while and if you are spending lots of time with her, it should be ok.
 

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Re: Should I go ahead and add a rattie to my 'flock&#03

I'd get two more and QT them. youd be able to notice most sickness in the girl by the QT ends.

Also, I'd tell the shelter the conditions were bad. A shelter is meant to save animals, not sicken them.
 
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