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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone, this is St3wY, long time reader, first time poster... good to meet u all...

A few weeks ago, my cousin decided to get a couple of rats and immediately regretted his decision, so he handed them over to me, since I had rats when I was younger. I would guess that they are maybe 2 months old, but I can't be sure. I named them Chaz and Splinter. I noticed quite a lot of sneezing coming from Chaz, but read that sometimes they do that when they come to a new home. Last night I came home and found Splinter (actually my favorite of the two--much nicer and more docile) breathing very heavily (gasping really), and too weak to move his arms or legs. Just a few minutes after I found him, and pulled him out of his cage, he finally tried to move... he sort of army crawled to me, then just quit breathing altogether. Dunno if he died from respiratory infection, or if maybe he fell from the high shelf in the cage (I have rearranged it since then to ensure that could not happen now).

Now Chaz is all alone, and is still very sneezy (but also quite active)... I fear he may be doomed just like his buddy, but I also half expect him to pull through, and be fine (hoping that its just a case of the "new home" sneezes). I assume he is very lonely, so I have been playing with him basically all day on and off. I want to find him a new friend, and I actually did find a breeder with a new litter, but it will be another 2 weeks before I can bring one of the ratlets home.

From what I have read, I'd guess its quite probable that Chaz has Mycoplasma (sp?), which is incurable... Assuming he does pull through, should I still get him the new playmate, even though the new guy would most certainly be exposed to the illness and therefore contract it?
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

All rats have myco, unless they were from a lab facility where the rats are delivered by c-section (myco is contracted from the mom to the babies in the birth canal). It's basically just an underlying thing that doesn't do anything unless there is some sort of stress or the rat is just prone to flareups. Did Splinter see a vet anytime while he was sick?

Myco flareups need antibiotics immediately, or they will just get worse and worse until it becomes something like pneumonia or even lung scarring. Pneumonia very quickly becomes fatal if not treated. Because of the fact that Splinter passed away from his upper respiratory infection, what both of them have is definitely not just those "new home" sneezes, which are generally just a couple here and there the first day and that's it.

Get Chaz to a rat-savvy vet ASAP and on antibiotics, and once he's better (usually takes 2-4 weeks of the medication), consider getting him a new friend from either a rescue/shelter, or a reputable breeder. But, remember to properly quarantine, which means housing the new rat in a completely different airspace (IE - a friend's house where there are no rats) for 3 weeks to make sure he has no afflictions of his own, such as an upper respiratory infection or mites from bedding.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

Hey St3wY, just out of curiousity, where are you located? If you're looking for a new friend for Chaz I have 8 baby boys up for adoption, ready to leave their mom in about 2 weeks, they're sweet little handraised berkshires.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

I'm in Indiana, USA.
Thanks for clearing up my misunderstanding of Myco. The vet prescribed some gross stuff that Chaz hates, but I think I can trick him by mixing it with honey and spreading it on bread... he doesn't seem to hate that too much. I'll keep ya posted... thanks!
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

Honey can actually be a choking hazard.

What medication did your vet prescribe, and at what dosage?
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

OK Night, you're being very helpful... thank you... I am now just dissolving the meds in his water bottle. Its a sixteen ounce bottle, and I add a 1/4 teaspoon of gross Tylan powder, plus a few drops of honey to counter the nasty taste of the medicine.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

Actually, putting medication in water bottles isn't a very good idea because you can't control the amount a rat will drink (dosing is important), they may not like the taste, not drink at all and become dehydrated, and the bottles need to be scrubbed often since it can cause bacteria.

For myco flareups, the best medications I've found are combo of Baytril and Doxycycline (if 2-3 weeks on this regimen doesn't improve anything, try Zithromax). Tylan is pretty ineffective, unfortunately. Plus, like you mentioned, it's very bitter and the rat doesn't like it (which I would be very concerned about, since you're putting it in his water source). It doesn't really sound like your vet is overly knowledgeable about exotics (if he/she actually is, I apologize). Could you possibly try looking in the phone book for any exotics vets near you? Just any ol' cat and dog vet won't do with smaller animals, unfortunately.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

This is the only vet in a 50 mile radius who will even touch a small animal... I asked her about the other meds, and she said this is what she would like to start chaz on for now because he is so young. If it is ineffective, then she is going to try something else. He is drinking more water than he used to now actually, probably because of the honey.
She was very nice, and treated the rat well, as if it were a pet and not a pest, and honestly I have no other options... I'm sure I can just talk to her and get the meds switched, because she seemed quite nice and open to suggestions (I had none at the time.) Basically shes all I got. Are you a vet?
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

i just finished using tertacyclinehydrochloride which worked wonders, and both of my babies are still young. maybe you could inquire about that. i disolved it in water because this particular medication can be taken this way and still work well. Its day 10, and I haven't heard any sneezing for several days now.

I hope it all works out!
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

Also this vet isn't a Cat/Dog vet or whatever... she specializes in small animals. She claimed that his symptoms were mild and he is young, which is why she offered medication that isn't very strong. I am going to wait at least a week and if his symptoms don't get better I will request new medication. I've heard Baytril and Doxycycline, Zithromax, and Tetracyclinehydrochloride... I wrote them down, but any other recommendations are welcome. Chaz is probably 2 or 3 months old, and his symptoms include sneezing fits, occurring once or twice every 2-4 hours, lasting for about a minute each time... each fit generally includes 5-10 sneezes. These are obviously averages. Also it doesn't happen much, if at all, while he is sleeping. I see no signs of blood or mucus in, on, or around the nose or eyes, or anywhere in the cage. His only other symptom, which I believe to be unrelated, is diarrhea, somewhere between 7 and 11 pm each night (this is obviously something I have been feeding him during the day, so I'm going to start eliminating certain things from his diet one by one for a few days until I figure what is causing the diarrhea).
The bedding isn't causing the sneezing, I don't think... it is Carefresh Ultra. One thing that could be causing it is that I smoke cigarettes like a chimney, and this room (the one with the rat in it) is also my office and where I used to smoke. It still smells like smoke in here, but I go outside now that Chaz is here. I'm thinking maybe if the smoke smell goes away, it should improve things at least a little bit.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

baytril and doxy aren't normally first given for younger rats as they are quite strong and can cause bone problems in very young rats who are growing so very very fast. however there are a few others that can be used. the one my vet used on my baby rat worked like a charm but unfortuantely i no longer have the bottle and can't remember the name. but it was supposed to taste like strawberries and was pink. i gave it to her with a syringe. i do believe that tetracyclinehydrochloride is one of those other baby medications that works well for the most part. i'm not sure how well the dosage would go with mixing it with water as i've never used it myself but it has been claimed as effective and worth a shot at at least if this current medication is not working. keep us updated on his progress and which medication finally works.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

True, Baytril shouldn't be given with younger rats (under 2 months old), so Doxycycline and Zithromax are better suited. If the Tylan works, that's great :)

And no, I'm not a vet. I've just had rats for a long time, so I know a lot of the medications and I'm good friends with my pets' veterinarian.
 

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Re: Sick Rat - Buddy Just Died - To Replace, or Not to Repla

I live in Indiana. If you are near Indianapolis I would highly recomend seeing Dr. Lennox at Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic. She is awesome and knows her stuff *nods*

My other two rats are having a myco flair up after their cagemate died. I think it's stress adding to that. But I've got them on Echinacea and Goldenseal mixed in their water (And they drink TONS of water, so I'm not worried about it, they go through their bottle in 1-2 days) and am working towards saving up for yet more vet bills *sighs*
 
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