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I just got two baby girls a couple of days ago... The woman at Petco said they were about 6-8 weeks old. This is my first time having rats and I have a few questions. I've read that rats get 'colds' easily. Both Brandy and Coby both sneeze quietly when I take them out to play. Is this a sign of them having any respiratory infections? Sometimes when they are napping, they seem to be breathing hard and they twitch. This worries me. They seem to get along fine. I have an aquarium with a two level attachment made of wire. Is the wire ok for their feet? If not what should I cover it with?

Thank you
 

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Rats are very susceptible to respiratory infections. It sounds like your babies have a pretty bad case, if it looks like their struggling to breathe. Take them to a vet ASAP! If you go back to Petco with the vet bills and complain at them for selling you sick rats they should pay the vet bills for you, provided you can prove it's the store's or the vendor's fault the animal is sick. If you need to, get your vet to write a letter saying that it's obvious these animals have been ill for a while.

More than likely it's actually not Petco's, but the vendor's fault the animals are sick due to bad breeding and unclean living conditions. That's my experience anyways. I can't stand the vendor we get our rats from at work.. they must keep them on cedar or something, because they keep sending us rats with horrible respiratory infections. :cry:

As for the cage, you can cover the wire with a fleece blanket, linoleum tile, or canvas. Even towels will work, but if their claws are long you might want to shy away from those because there's a chance they could get their claws stuck.
 

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aquariums are not good cages ;/ i would get rid of it as soon as possible. also agree with sami, if you have a lot of wire that theyre walking on cover it with fleece or a like material. call around to vets and get them taken in asap. most likely it can be treated with anitbiodics and theyll be fine. good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I could be totally wrong about the struggling to breathe part.. but are sneezes every once in a while something I should be worried about?
 

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If they just got home with you, and they aren't sneezing a ton, you shouldn't need to worry, I don't think. New home sneezes are common as rats adapt to their environment, and if they're sneezing when they're out with you, it could be just that they are so curious to sniff everything that they don't pay attention to what they are sniffing and get into a dusty patch. Happens to my girls all the time. If, however, they are having trouble breathing, or sneeze regularly for longer than a week, I would say definitely get them to a vet ASAP. Hope that helps! :)
 
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