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Discussion Starter #1
i'm a first time rat owner, and i just got a small rat yesterday, and when i first brought her home, she wasnt making any unusual noises. the sales associate at the pet store i got her from listened to her breathing (and didnt say anything about it) before we put her in the travelling box thing.
this morning, my rat- samantha ratter- was making a squeaking noise, that kinda sounds like a sneeze, but i dont know for sure if it is. all day this sneezing/ squeaking/ whatever has been happening more often. and right now she's doing it a lot. so much so that i pulled her out of her habitat to listen to her. i'm getting kinda worried and paranoid now, because i dont want her to get sick. i've been kinda getting sick for a few days, and i'm worried i could have gotten her sick. she'll sneeze (or whatever) for a while, then wash her face. at first i was calling it sneezing, but the more i hear it, it sounds like squeaking too...the last small animal i had was a hamster, and she dies from getting sick, so i'm kinda paranoid about sick pets.
should i take her to a vet, or should i wait and see if this is the 'new environment' sneezing?
any advice is appreciated!
 

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First thing you need to do is realize your Samantha needs a friend. Rats have to be in pairs at least. You can go back now and get her one of her cagemates since its only been a day or so, then you won't have to do a 3 week quarantine elsewhere.

You mention "habitat", what are you keeping your new ratgirl in? Rats need a minimum of 2 cubic feet each to live in. What is the bedding? I found carefresh to be dusty and causes sneezes, but yes new home sneezies are common. You need to watch and see if any secondary symptoms show up (the squeaking is not a good sign) like red fluid around the eyes/nose (porphryin tells us when something may be wrong) and if it stays all day. Puffed up fur, lethargy, etc...then you need to run your girl to the vet.

Do you have a vet who will see rats?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
i say habitat since i feel kinda mean when i say "cage", because my dad used to joke about keeping our rabbits prisoners (when i had rabbits- years ago). she's in an aquarium type thing (with the mesh top) and it is pretty big. she has carefresh bedding- the undyed one. its the same bedding that they were using at the pet store. i also really feel bad that she doesnt have a cagemate, and might go out today to get her a friend. the more active she is, the more she sneezes. i havent seen any other signs, like she is really active. but she seems really on edge, and i know that she's still getting used to her new home. but i think part of it is she's lonely, too.
there is a small animal friendly vet not too far from where i live.
what bedding would you reccomend, since carefresh can cause sneezies?
 

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Hehe, we all say cages on here, I was worried you had bought some Hamster Habitat on that petstore person's say-so...it happens.

How big is the aqarium? Does it have whats called a tank topper on top? Aquarium on the bottom, wire cage sits on top with levels and ramps?

Carefresh should be fine if thats what she was on earlier...it does sound like New Home Sneezies at this part.

You might want to call that vet and make sure they will see rats...some won't :(
 

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Discussion Starter #5
the aquarium is size 29, and is 30"x12"x18". and yes it does have a cage topper. there arent any levels or ramps or anything, but i'm going today to get some stuff for her to play on/in/with. we got her a chube and a wheel, but all she's done with the wheel so far is sniff it and stand outside and spin it once.
i was looking on the vet's website, and there's a vet there who specializes in rats, rabbits and birds.
and the more i watch her behavior, and when she's sneezing, i think it is just new home sneezies. she was sneezing more yesterday than today, but today when i took her out of the cage, she started sneezing a lot while she was sniffing me and my boyfriend, and the room.
so thank you for your opinion and advice about this!
 

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Ahh a lid not a topper.

These are tank toppers.
http://www.martinscages.com/products/cages/toppers/

Aquariums are not recommended for our rats and their sensitive respiratory systems. They need to be cleaned often as the ammonia will build up fast.

The toppers are better since they can get more airflow and have places to climb...rats love to be up high :)

If she's improving it is sounding more and more like new home sneezies.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
ooh, okay, i see now- i'll see about getting her a topper, then.
she seemed to be better until she was around my roommate, who was wearing cologne, then she started getting all hyper and sneezing a lot. well, it looks like a sneeze and sounds like a squeak, so i dont know what it is. sometimes it sounds like she's chirping, too. when she's active, she sneezes/squeaks/chirps/whatever it is more than when she's just sleeping or laying there.
actually, she was just asleep, and i didnt hear her sneeze at all until she woke up. but she was running around all over earlier and was sneezing pretty much constantly. do you think it's still new home sneezies, or should i take her to the vet in case she really is sick? (i'm thinking of taking her anyway, just to make sure- even though she doesnt have any other symptoms).
i dont think i mentioned that sam is pretty young (or so the sales person told us) so i dont know how much of this could be her young age??
also, i went back to the pet store i got her from, and all her cage mates were sold so no new friend for samantha today :( hopefully soon, though.
 

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I have stopped wearing perfume, using scented candles, all those nice smelly things just because of my rats, so a strong cologne would definitely cause issues.

Its a very good idea to take your wee one in for a checkup. If she's fine then you now have a baseline of health on your Samantha for your vet...which can be invaluable. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
i'm calling tomorrow for an appointment for samantha (and hopefully the vet says she's fine!)
thank you sooooo much for all your help! :)
 
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