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Discussion Starter #1
More questions ^^. My psychology class has two rats, Scabbers (who is missing the tip of her tail) and Dobby (with big, Dobby-like ears). For the past month or so, Scabbers has been wheezing, sneezing, and has nosebleeds every once in a while. Should I bug my teacher to take her to a vet?
 

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Definitely! Sneezing is bad enough but wheezing is a very bad sign. Sounds like she's having respiratory issues which will require antibiotics to clear up. What you're seeing likely isn't a bloody nose but porphyrin. Rats have a red pigment in their tears, so when she has a runny nose it can look a little like it's blood.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Ok, I'll tell my teacher as soon as I get back to school. But Scabbers isn't the first rat we've had that sneezes a lot. Could it be something in the room that's making them sneeze?
 

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It could be but with Scabbers it sounds like more than that. Rats are very prone to respiratory infection. They are all born with mycoplasma pulmonis and occasionally as they age it will flare up and need to be controlled with antibiotics (though it's impossible to completely eliminate from their systems). Sometimes they get secondary infections as well. Good luck with getting Scabbers illness under control :3
 

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Well it could be something causing this.

Classrooms are very often very cold or drafty especially when empty because when rooms are full of people our presence raises the temperature so that same room empty will cool off & become chilly. The constant rise & fall of temp could aggravate them.

What type of bedding are they kept on & how often is it changed?

Is your teacher enforcing proper handling procedures with the rats by hand washing both before & after interacting with them?

Are the students supervised when interacting with them & is anyone making sure they are not being feed things not good for them? Or to make sure nothing is being placed in their cage that isn't safety checked first?

I would encourage you to tell your teacher to have them seen by a vet just because they are prone to so many things that are unknown simply because they are exposed to so many people. At the same time check with the teacher about the other things I mentioned because if they are healthy there is something irritating them. It could very well be the chemicals the janitors clean the facility with.

Investiqate, investigate... never assume.
 

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A1APassion said:
Well it could be something causing this.

Classrooms are very often very cold or drafty especially when empty because when rooms are full of people our presence raises the temperature so that same room empty will cool off & become chilly. The constant rise & fall of temp could aggravate them.

What type of bedding are they kept on & how often is it changed?

Is your teacher enforcing proper handling procedures with the rats by hand washing both before & after interacting with them?

Are the students supervised when interacting with them & is anyone making sure they are not being feed things not good for them? Or to make sure nothing is being placed in their cage that isn't safety checked first?

I would encourage you to tell your teacher to have them seen by a vet just because they are prone to so many things that are unknown simply because they are exposed to so many people. At the same time check with the teacher about the other things I mentioned because if they are healthy there is something irritating them. It could very well be the chemicals the janitors clean the facility with.

Investiqate, investigate... never assume.

Some very good points A1APassion :). If students have rats or mice they just got from an unreliable source at home they could bring in illnesses. What kind of bedding they are on is another good question I overlooked. And the chemicals that janitors use to clean the rooms definitely didn't cross my mind and could definitely be quite an irritant to a rats delicate respiratory system.
 

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A couple of my rats were wheezing, and when I took them into the vet, he said that it was environmental (I live in a REALLY old house at school... we're talking 1920's here). He recommended that I get a humidifier and put it right next to the cage... and sure enough, the girls aren't wheezing anymore!
 

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I've heard that putting a humidifier directly next to the cage is actually a bad idea. In fact, I believe someone's rats once died because of it. Something to do with over-saturating the air they're breathing with moisture.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I sadly have to answer no to most of those questions. Scabbers and Dobby are both so spoiled with junk food brought back from the cafeteria that they won't eat rat food very often. I can't tell you how often the bedding is changed, but it's some kind of soft paper specifically for rats. Most of their toys were found in the school's lost-and-found and probably aren't sanitary at all, and none of my classmates ever think to wash their hands before handling them. My school's pretty old and drafty, so temperature is a problem for the humans too ^^. As for cleaning products, also a possibility. But the classrooms are, sadly, only vacuuned occasionally.

But I'm at school right now and going to Psychology in about half an hour. I will definitely have a serious conversation with my teacher about our babies' well-being. Thanks for all the help!!
 

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well unless "all the above" can be eliminated or radically changed (of which I highly doubt is possible) or unless the class rats are taken to a home where they can receive proper care... their fate is sealed.

This is the biggest problem with classroom pets. Often they get the very poorest of care. Of all the classroom pets I have known in all my years of being a student & now being the Mother of three kids in school... very VERY few have ever received proper care.

I told the story on here already about what happened to the class pets over the summer at the high school two of my kids attend

sad, sad, sad

Honestly, if they are removed from the class, proper housekeeping is done for them & painstaking measures to get them on a proper diet might help them to live a life expectancy that we all hope for with our raties but if they remain there in poor conditions & eating, excuse me... crap pushed through the bars, things don't look good.
 

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Darksong17 said:
Some very good points A1APassion :). If students have rats or mice they just got from an unreliable source at home they could bring in illnesses. What kind of bedding they are on is another good question I overlooked. And the chemicals that janitors use to clean the rooms definitely didn't cross my mind and could definitely be quite an irritant to a rats delicate respiratory system.
We can never assume that rushing to the vet will be the end all /cure all/ make everything all better choice until you investigate all possibilities of what caused these symptoms in the first place. I mean, they could very well have URI's & need to see a vet but rushing them off the vet, having them treated & continue medication to the end of the scrip is going to do little in regards of full or partial recovery so long as the conditions in which they are kept that caused them to be sick doesn't change.

I mean if you really want to get deep into it... the crap food, drafty conditions & unsanitary handling might be something could have easily lived with & it is their genetic background & previous generation history & tendency to be prone to failings.

I applaud everyone who rushes their pets to the vet but they have to really take a look at what is going on that brought them to having to make that trip in the first place. Often it is things like I listed above that creates the symptoms that so many of us may suspect to be "sick rat/get it to the vet" when in all reality it was cheap perfume your kid sister down the hall slathered all over herself & stunk up the whole house on her way out the door.

Ya know??
 

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A1APassion said:
Darksong17 said:
Some very good points A1APassion :). If students have rats or mice they just got from an unreliable source at home they could bring in illnesses. What kind of bedding they are on is another good question I overlooked. And the chemicals that janitors use to clean the rooms definitely didn't cross my mind and could definitely be quite an irritant to a rats delicate respiratory system.
We can never assume that rushing to the vet will be the end all /cure all/ make everything all better choice until you investigate all possibilities of what caused these symptoms in the first place. I mean, they could very well have URI's & need to see a vet but rushing them off the vet, having them treated & continue medication to the end of the scrip is going to do little in regards of full or partial recovery so long as the conditions in which they are kept that caused them to be sick doesn't change.

I mean if you really want to get deep into it... the crap food, drafty conditions & unsanitary handling might be something could have easily lived with & it is their genetic background & previous generation history & tendency to be prone to failings.

I applaud everyone who rushes their pets to the vet but they have to really take a look at what is going on that brought them to having to make that trip in the first place. Often it is things like I listed above that creates the symptoms that so many of us may suspect to be "sick rat/get it to the vet" when in all reality it was cheap perfume your kid sister down the hall slathered all over herself & stunk up the whole house on her way out the door.

Ya know??
We still don't know that it isn't a respiratory infection. All those irritants can very easily have triggored a flare up. I commend you for looking further into it, but I don't think taking an animal to the vet if it seems ill (even as a precautionary measure or when it's surrounding conditions are bad) is a bad thing. Things probably aren't going to change in the classroom, so I doubt it could hurt to get the rat on antibiotics and see if it clears anything up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
They're only at school for the eight hours we are. The rest of the time they live at my teacher's house, so I can't really be sure of how often their cage is cleaned or if they're fed better at home or whatnot.

If this info changes anything: Scabbers and Dobby lived with me for two weeks over Christmas break. I cleaned their cage, fed them what I feed my babies now, and kept them in the most sanitary room in my house (my bedroom ^^) and Scabbers' condition didn't seem to get any better.

I didn't know about the hand washing, so thanks for telling me that!!
 
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