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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
There is no alternative treatment to antibiotics for a sick rat.
It is the best treatment available for rats, over all other options - such as the recommendation to give a rat some dark chocolate until antibiotics are obtained (no personal choice dismissal there).

I knew this before my rat abruptly showed she has a respiratory infection a few days ago, so please refrain from unhelpful comments such as "Shouldn't get a pet unless you have excess money put aside specifically for the animal".

My emergency fund for my two rats had just been necessarily spent in the days beforehand.
Pay Day is late next week, and there is no one I can ask for a loan from.

I spend an average of thirteen to seventeen hours out of every twenty-four hours with my rats outside of their cage, on my bed, and have done so since bringing them home from the petshop on the 23rd of July 2020.

If you're a pet owner that has a cruel-to-be-kind mindset on this very topic, then you may like to know that the majority of every twenty-four hour time period of these last few days, my rattie who is definitely sick doesn't show any signs of a respiratory infection, but the odd moment here and there makes my heart sink a little - and I'll worry about what I can and can't do for her until she is seen by the 'exotics pet' veterinarian. There may have only been four moments in the last few days that her instinctual cover-up of her illness has slipped and I heard the tell-tale sounds, but they're there, and each time I think is worse than the last, then I feel guilty I've no emergency vet fund and because of this, she'll get worse and it's on my account.

That said, it's important for pet welfare that owners learn information and tips for all of the time around the period a pet is actively receiving medicines.
If you will, please share something helpful.

Is it a myth that a rat with a respiratory infection who is not actively receiving antibiotics can live a careful lifestyle in order to slow the progress of the illness?
Can a pet carer use tactics to keep ratties comfortable, and safer from further deterioration, until they're seen by a vet, or will it remain the same as when a pet carer does nothing differently?

Sick or not, it's recommended to keep pet environments stress free, which I try to apply what I know to the lives of my rats.
My two ratties spend a lot of time burrowing under the layers of soft fleece throw blankets at the foot of my bed, as well as on top of it inside cardboard boxes underneath a small, thin quilt. There is an electric heater leveled with the bed that I use when the cold weather permeates the closed windows behind it. There is a little desk at the foot of the bed used for my ratties litter tray, water bowl and food bowl. I attempt to keep the air in my room completely free from other people's bedroom air fresheners/aerosol deodorants/perfumes. I use water diluted lavender essential oil spray on myself as I am airing out the room, I temporarily leave the window open whenever I think it could be too strong on the ratties' powerful noses and delicate bodily systems.
I attempt to keep the ratties from ingesting what they shouldn't (although they're extremely persistent about licking me, and I wear inedible moisturisers and makeup). I typically clean their cage with no scheduled times, but stick with antiviral-antibacterial disinfectant (leave it to set, then wash off with water) once a week, and wipe surfaces with water throughout the week (e.g. After eating and there's a residue mess), as well as spot cleaning.
I am usually the only person in the room with my ratties - I myself am naturally quiet, and I like to keep the family ambience (mouths like foghorns, haha) masked by keeping my door closed and playing eight hour long nature sounds videos on my television, such as ocean waves or wind through leaves, or rain recordings. And of course, having their environment completely silent whenever quiet is available.
I'm still learning safe rat diets, as information is typically conflicted,
for example I had given my ratties a few spinach leaves and almonds over a couple days before opposing information noted that they can become toxic for rats during digestion.
Now that my rat is ill, I'm more conscious of the importance of attempting to gauge what and how much of different fats / carbohydrates / protein / sugars / dairy / etc. rats have consumed in a day, as unbalanced nutrition can impair rats' bodies' ability to fight illnesses. (However, I do still give them some rather unhealthy stuff most days, such as a bit of my buttered bread, leftover shreddies in milk, a rat sized slice of banana bread, heaped teaspoon of cultured yoghurt with added sugar, piece of pork, bit of cracker, some coconut oil rice, bit of fried healthy pancake, oven cooked processed pastry pie, the last of my drink of milk that isn't reduced lactose, etc.)

There must be something else I can do for them while they're in waiting to be seen by the vet.
Any ideas?
Thanks in advance.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you for your reply.
The lavender oil is new, bought yesterday - so thankfully it's not been uncomfortable on their senses for long. They have been given various setups, usually something or other is changed about the setup after every weekly disinfecting. However, since I got them, they've seemingly disliked or simply discarded pretty much anything I've given them for bedding and substrate - they've had reduced dust wood chippings, edible recycled paper pellet odor control bedding, three different textured fluff nesting bedding, shredded fabric paper bedding, knitted wool runners (as in rectangular carpet type things), clothing fabric shreds (which they preferred over animal bedding), cardboard pieces (preferred), and their favourite : toilet paper squares (although they make a tiny pile with it and then sleep elsewhere). They push and dig out all of it from wherever they choose to sleep at any given time, preferring to sleep on scraps of cardboard or the cage's plastic shelves or plastic tray. I've given them various types of houses too, but the most they'll do is sleep in one hammock.
 

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Hi, sound like your doing all you can to be honest. I dont think there's really anything you can do apart from keep her comfortable and stress free. My little one has always been a bad sneezer ever since she was born and it didn't seem to make a difference on what was in the cage. As long as she has a good health diet she fine. She tends to get worse if she's stressed, worst thing is giving her a bath lol. She's only about a year and a half and has eventually got a respiratory infestation and I found the hardest part was administering her antibiotics. I searched all over the internet but in the end decide to soak it up in a bit of bread and it worked really well, she had the lot. While I was waiting for her antibiotics I was worried it would be too late as I had to order them in. She's only in her first day so hopefully she will get better soon. I wouldn't worry your self too much as they can struggle on for a couple of weeks before they get too poorly. For the medicine to work. You will have to keep us posted with an update when her medication does arrive. Good luck and all the best!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi, sound like your doing all you can to be honest. I dont think there's really anything you can do apart from keep her comfortable and stress free. My little one has always been a bad sneezer ever since she was born and it didn't seem to make a difference on what was in the cage. As long as she has a good health diet she fine. She tends to get worse if she's stressed, worst thing is giving her a bath lol. She's only about a year and a half and has eventually got a respiratory infestation and I found the hardest part was administering her antibiotics. I searched all over the internet but in the end decide to soak it up in a bit of bread and it worked really well, she had the lot. While I was waiting for her antibiotics I was worried it would be too late as I had to order them in. She's only in her first day so hopefully she will get better soon. I wouldn't worry your self too much as they can struggle on for a couple of weeks before they get too poorly. For the medicine to work. You will have to keep us posted with an update when her medication does arrive. Good luck and all the best!
Thank you kindly for your message, Rat Brain.

I'm curious to know if you've tried mixing the medicine with probiotic yoghurt and having your little rattie eat it from an oral syringe? I've yet to have had to administer medicine and am hoping that trick will work out for me.

I myself haven't tried my rats in swimming or bathing water yet, as my two girls retreated from a few different rat-sized "paddling pools" i.e. dishes, and jar lids of shallow, lukewarm/warm water that I attempted to persuade them to enjoy a Garden Pea fishing hobby with, haha -since then, every time I think they're slacking in bathing and smelling a little unusual for them, as well as water baths being a little strange to rats in general, I've found a successful bathing interest for them through melting Food Grade coconut oil into my hands and petting them all over to transfer it onto their fur and tails (although at those times, they're most interested in licking it from my hands).

Let me know how your Rattie gets on now that he/she has medicine. 😊
 

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Hi, I've not tried yoghurt to be honest. I did try a bit of honey at one point just incase it was the taste that she didn't like but I think it was just the syringe, she won't go to it anymore and I don't think it's a good idea to force it in her mouth in her condition. My rats are not real big drinkers, I probably make them too much veg cause let face it, broccoli and cauliflower are mainly water anyway lol they do fight over sweet corn though 😄 I did original buy them a tiny swimming pool that I found in a pound shop but they didn't take to it. The bath is deep enough so they can't jump out so I stick with that and make it quite quick cause no matter what toys I give them they are just not interested. A nice snuggle in my sort blanket and there happy again. Quite happy when I'm rubbing in some shampoo ... I do admit it's either dog shampoo or tresemme lol iv have been meaning to look for an alternative but never got round to finding out what's best. Not thought of the coconut oil approach, I might try that one next time! Thank you for that.
 

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Hi just chiming in really fast that yogurt might not be the best option depending on what your rat is given. If it's doxycycline then limit dairy at least an hour before and after. Dairy (Anything with high calcium) can keep the body from absorbing it. Granted these are warnings intended for humans but when I googled my rats meds and found that warning I decided better safe than sorry. Other substances I've used instead to get them to eat their meds: Thinned nut butter or peanut powder, baby food, fruit preserves, a wee bit of bread soaked in it, or their absolute favorite Hershey simply 5 syrup. :D I hope that helps
 

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Hi just chiming in really fast that yogurt might not be the best option depending on what your rat is given. If it's doxycycline then limit dairy at least an hour before and after. Dairy (Anything with high calcium) can keep the body from absorbing it. Granted these are warnings intended for humans but when I googled my rats meds and found that warning I decided better safe than sorry. Other substances I've used instead to get them to eat their meds: Thinned nut butter or peanut powder, baby food, fruit preserves, a wee bit of bread soaked in it, or their absolute favorite Hershey simply 5 syrup. :D I hope that helps
Thanks for the heads up about the dairy products, I was going to try yoghurt later on today. She wouldn't take the bread yesterday, ended up adding a little icing in the end because I needed to go food shopping and nothing else I had in would work lol! Was also thinking about using a bit of cake after baking this weekend as a treat but I suppose cake would definitely have too much dairy in as well.
 

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Hi, I've not tried yoghurt to be honest. I did try a bit of honey at one point just incase it was the taste that she didn't like but I think it was just the syringe, she won't go to it anymore and I don't think it's a good idea to force it in her mouth in her condition. My rats are not real big drinkers, I probably make them too much veg cause let face it, broccoli and cauliflower are mainly water anyway lol they do fight over sweet corn though 😄 I did original buy them a tiny swimming pool that I found in a pound shop but they didn't take to it. The bath is deep enough so they can't jump out so I stick with that and make it quite quick cause no matter what toys I give them they are just not interested. A nice snuggle in my sort blanket and there happy again. Quite happy when I'm rubbing in some shampoo ... I do admit it's either dog shampoo or tresemme lol iv have been meaning to look for an alternative but never got round to finding out what's best. Not thought of the coconut oil approach, I might try that one next time! Thank you for that.
Ah now, what Rattie wouldn't have some sweetcorn, hahahaha.
I'd say definitely try the coconut oil- for my rats at least, it's intriguing to their senses imagine dog shampoo scent or Tresseme scent on their noses! Haha Also, using something as minimal as coconut oil helps to keep their natural oils so their skin and fur doesn't take a hit from drying, harsh shampoo. 🖤
 

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Hi just chiming in really fast that yogurt might not be the best option depending on what your rat is given. If it's doxycycline then limit dairy at least an hour before and after. Dairy (Anything with high calcium) can keep the body from absorbing it. Granted these are warnings intended for humans but when I googled my rats meds and found that warning I decided better safe than sorry. Other substances I've used instead to get them to eat their meds: Thinned nut butter or peanut powder, baby food, fruit preserves, a wee bit of bread soaked in it, or their absolute favorite Hershey simply 5 syrup. :D I hope that helps
Whoa, Morbius - good timingp
Thank you for the tips!
 
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