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Hello. I recently bought two rats from Petsmart. I don't know if that was a dumb move or not, but at the time it seemed alright. They all seemed healthy.

I bought a little black rat named Mika and a bigger rat named Pika. As of now, I've had them for about two weeks.

I was worried for Pika, because when I brought her home she was sneezing a little bit here and there. I checked online to see what it could be, and figured it was just her getting used to her environment and that I would take her to the vet if it continued.

Unfortunately, Mika, the smaller rat died yesterday. She wasn't showing any real symptoms. She was just a bit thin. When I looked at her dead body, there were small red bugs in her fur that I hadn't noticed before...so now I assume she had a case of worms and possible mites that I was completely oblivious about, which I regret. It explains why she was thin, but her belly was big. I just wish I would have realized it sooner.

Oddly, I was more concerned about Pika because of her sneezing. Mika was always running around doing her own thing, and then all of a sudden she's dead. It broke my heart, and I made myself sick crying.

There's nothing I can do for her now, but Pika has an appointment to see the vet on Monday. Her symptoms are the same. Sneezing a bit here and there, sometimes snorting a little. She runs around like normal, she has no crust on her nose or eyes.

Basically, I'm posting this because I want to know if there is anything I can do for Pika in the meantime. I want to get her well, and I want to do it as quickly as possible. I'm also afraid she might have gotten the tiny red bugs that Mika had. Is there any sort of soap or insect killer that I can wash her with?

Edit: Pika and Mika didn't share the same symptoms.
 

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The little red bugs are probably lice. Most mites are invisible to the human eye. Giving the rat a bath (puppy/kitten/human baby shampoo works fine, but careful not to get water in their ears) can help with the situation, but medication would be needed to clear it up. Medicated shampoos and spray treatments aren't usually recommended, generally Revolution or Invermection. Since she's going to the vet anyway for the URI, ask him about it. If one cagemate had the issue, the other probably does.
 
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