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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Daisy has pneumonia that I'm treating with Baytril. Last night I built a nebulizer chamber and gave her an albuterol/saline nebulization solution. It actually seems to have helped her! I've been giving them pieces of dark chocolate, which the really seem to enjoy - and it seems to help them improve for little increments of time (Millie's is an URI). Been giving them some extra strawberry banana yogurt to help with their gut flora since they are on antibiotics. I also have the cage next to a small cool mist humidifer, which my girls really seem to like as they have elected to spend much more time sleeping on the shelf that is closest to the vapor. I moved their water bottle and up here and Millie's gone bananas drinking from it. However, I'm really worried, because while I've seen (and heard) Millie drinking from it like a horse; I've scarcely seen Daisy move towards it. I've moved it all over the cage in hopes of making it accessible to Daisy, depending on where she is - but it seems like wherever I place it, she deliberately avoids drinking from it (at least while I'm watching her). I've tried everything for the water itself, from using purified water to switching to distilled to see if that would make a difference. I still haven't even really seen her try.

The thing is, she's still eating! She is moving more slowly, but she is moving and climbing to the extent that she probably should be - especially to get to the food bowl. I've provided mostly fresh vegetables to them with a smaller proportion of their usual pellets, as I'm assuming that this will help with their vitamins and minerals and such. Since I haven't seen her drinking water from the bottle, I've elected to give Daisy lots of watery vegetables. I've given her cucumber, celery, cherry tomatoes (with the seeds hollowed out), and bell pepper. She is at least somewhat receptive of this. I have to really work to get her to eat the celery but she really enjoys the red bell pepper and will look for them in her food bowl if they're not at the very top.

Until she gets her strength back (and until we see the vet on Friday), do you think that watery vegetables are a suitable alternative, or should I start giving her water through a syringe? I have no idea how much water or how often rats are supposed to have a day. Can someone give me a rundown of how to syringe-hydrate?

I'm hoping that Daisy really is just drinking when no one is looking.
 

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You could also try baby food. The vegetable purees have water in them to begin with but you could also water it down even more. She might like that. Mine go crazy for baby food.
 

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It can't hurt to try and offer her water through the syringe. You could try Pedialyte also! The flavors might make it more appealing to her. I always use the orange kind.

I would offer it 2-3 times a day, and if she likes it give her as much as she'll take (just make sure her belly doesn't get too full/bloated). If she takes a lot I would offer it less just to make sure she still has room for food. If she doesn't like it see if you can get her to take at least .5-1 cc (more if she'll cooperate). This is way less than the recommended amount of water rats need (which I think is 10 ml per every 100g of body weight) but that, combined with the watery veggies, should help keep her as stable as possible until she can see the vet.

Oh! You can also try to make her water/Pedialyte more appealing by mixing in a little Gatorade. You don't want to go overboard because of the sugar content but it might help get her interested in drinking.

You could also try soaking dog food or other hard treats in water/Pedialyte/Gatorade/juice/whatever and seeing if she'll eat that.
 

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Also, if you've never syringe fed anything... Be careful and go slow! You don't want to aspirate her. I would try putting it at the front of her mouth, but not quite inside, and seeing if she'll lap it up. If not, put it in her mouth a tiny bit at a time, pause and give her a chance to swallow before adding more. She's an adult so she should be fine as long as you aren't forcing tons of liquid down her throat :)

Use a 1cc syringe. Hold it in your fist and use your thumb to push it down (rather than holding it between your middle and index finger), you have more control that way.
I always refill the syringe before I get to the bottom because I find it's easy to push faster than you mean to as it gets closer to the end. Do a couple test runs beforehand to get a feel for it.

If you have a bulb syringe keep it next to you, if you see her sneeze up water immediately suck it out of her nostrils. Stop the feeding and try again later. Like I said, as an adult she shouldn't aspirate easily but passing along the advice just in case!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have good news! I took Daisy out today and offered her some water from the water bottle, and she took it! After that I placed her back in the cage with the water bottle next to her bed and she actually began drinking from it! Millie drinks a LOT of water for a creature her size - so I'm thinking that the reason Daisy may not be drinking as much might actually be because Millie tends to dominate it. Perhaps having a second source of water in the cage would be a good solution? And thank you for telling me about baby food and pedialyte. I was thinking that gatorade or pedialyte might help. Is it okay to mix it with her dose of Baytril to see if she'll take it that way? She despises the medicine and it's been hard to get her to take it.
 

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I have multiple water sources at all time not only when the rats might be sick. It does not really mean more work for me and the ratties can get water if they want to so I would totally add a second water bottle :)

Glad to hear she is drinking! I hope she'll get better soon!

I don't think mixing it should be a problem but to be sure I would check with your vet.
 

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Baytril is nasty--I don't blame her for despising it! Mine are permanently on that too (and doxy) and it's a battle. One thing that most times works is banana baby food, maybe 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of it. I've also tried it in raspberry jam which works really well. Someone mentioned mashed avocado works well but I haven't tried that yet. I've even resorted to sprinkling some sugar on the baby food mixture when they won't eat it for whatever reason. You obviously can't do that every time, but in a pinch it works. My thought is: whatever it takes to get the meds ingested.

Oh & I have two water bottles for my two guys. That way each one always has a water source available to them! Good luck with the meds!
 

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I cringe every time, but I give my rats their meds in watered down blueberry syrup. It's the only thing that they'll consistently take even if they're not eating.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I know it's late, but I just wanted to post an update. Daisy seemed to be stabilized today, but around 9:00 tonight, I noticed that she was making the worst noises I'd ever heard from her. I don't know exactly what is going on in there besides the fact that it's pneumonia; but she's definitely taken a turn for the worst and I don't know if she'll be here tomorrow. I don't think she'll be here, come the weekend. I am seeing the vet on Friday...if she's still here and isn't any better, I may have to look at euthanasia as an option. She's just so bad off, when I took her out she started freaking out and went into major distress. Her sister is beginning to succumb as well, but she is still not as bad. I noticed today that Millie has the same symptoms that Millie had on Saturday, when everything was getting bad for the first time. I nebulized them today and everything, but I think that the stress of it might have done more harm than good.
 

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I'm so sorry your ratties are not getting better :(
Maybe you can try and get to the vet earlier if that is possible.
 

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I just thought of something. I'm not sure if I read right, but are they only on Baytril? If so, and they do indeed have pneumonia, I don't think Baytril will knock it out on its own. Baytril is better for helping keep myco in check. From what I've read, the secondary infections to myco such as pneumonia and other respiratory issues are better treated with other antibiotics like amoxicillin & zithro. They should probably be on something like prednisone as well.

It should be noted that Baytril and Doxycycline work best together to help keep myco at bay once the secondary infection is knocked out (and in some cases can even be administered all together: baytril, doxy, AND amoxicillin or zithro.

Did you say earlier that you live in/near Dallas? If so, what vet are you going to? If your girls are only on Baytril and are not improving, I would get them to a vet asap who will prescribe a more aggressive approach.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for letting me know! I went to the vet yesterday, Dr. Mac in Allen, and she was great. I've decided that she's going to be the one I go to when it's time for my girls to be spayed. The girls improved almost overnight and made it to Dallas like champs. The greatest news is, they've improved so much, she doesn't think Daisy has pneumonia. Just a cold. The dosage of Baytril was also corrected and we were given one that tastes yummy for them. Now they look forward to their doses! I also upgraded their cage to an open air All Living Creatures rat starter cage from Petsmart. For a starter, it's actually pretty massive. They were in a 10 gallon before with a wire cage topper, and when I moved them their health improved immediately.

I just thought of something. I'm not sure if I read right, but are they only on Baytril? If so, and they do indeed have pneumonia, I don't think Baytril will knock it out on its own. Baytril is better for helping keep myco in check. From what I've read, the secondary infections to myco such as pneumonia and other respiratory issues are better treated with other antibiotics like amoxicillin & zithro. They should probably be on something like prednisone as well.

It should be noted that Baytril and Doxycycline work best together to help keep myco at bay once the secondary infection is knocked out (and in some cases can even be administered all together: baytril, doxy, AND amoxicillin or zithro.

Did you say earlier that you live in/near Dallas? If so, what vet are you going to? If your girls are only on Baytril and are not improving, I would get them to a vet asap who will prescribe a more aggressive approach.
 
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