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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone! Long time no see!

Okey so here's what's up. A friend and I both adopted rats from the same accidental litter of pet store feeder rats (yes yes I know.. We both work there and both have other rats and when this accidental litter was born we sort of raised them and eventually took home/sold the litter to employees and willing good homes as pets as we couldn't stand the thought of them being sold as feeders once they were old enough). I took two girls, and she has one boy from that litter (and another from a separate litter). They are about 8 weeks old now and all came home with us about a week and a half ago.

All three appear super health. Clear eyes and noses, great teeth and tummies, wonderful appetites and activity levels.. Sweet as can be, thanks to being handled and cared for by our entire staff every day. Unfortunately, it seems all three are suffering a very tough case of respiratory infection. All three have had vet visits and were given antibiotics (Sxt 48? That's all the label says... I have no idea what that is. With my past rats I've always been given Baytril, even at young ages). However, after the first dose Eopie, who seemed to be doing better than Manka, is suddenly having worse distress than before. Additionally, my coworker's rat (with the same medication, same vet, though he went yesterday and mine visited today) was having such trouble that he was mouth breathing, gaping, chicken chirping with raspy, gravely breaths and had to go back for an antibiotic shot and a new medication a couple of hours ago.

Rather than try to explain the sort of sneezing that's been going on I did my best to take a few videos (please excuse the travel cage; they have a larger one, this one was for the day. Bedding is fleece changed twice weekly). Clicking on them should make them play:



Initially Manka, the Berk, was having the issues with varying degrees of that same hiccupy, chirpy sneeze (usually in fits). Then a couple of days ago Eopie, the hooded, started with it and it seems like the vet trip only made it worse (stress of the trip maybe? Though they were very well behaved and seemed to have fun there sans the actual examination. It is very cold out though they were well covered to a pre-warmed-up car each time). Every so often one of them will just have this horrible, short, wheezing gasp attack that sort of reminds me of asthma, then go on like nothing's wrong and really it's starting to scare me. If I try to listen to their lungs at some points they may sound fine, and other points they sound raspy and 'sticky', maybe?

My vet told me to keep and eye on them and call immediately if they show any more decline. I know antibiotics don't work immediately, but I'm very afraid of them making a sharp drop in health and losing them. No other rat in my house seems to be showing anything similar (everyone is separated from them other than one old girl who gets special treatment and even she's doing just fine). Should I be demanding another sort of medication? Is there something I'm overlooking? Could we be dealing with something worse than just a bad URI? I've had rats with chronic URIs in the past and some with minor ones, but never anything that sounds like this, and for what it's worth not even our feeder bin rats at the store are doing anything similar. If anyone's had any experience with anything like this, I could really use the advice while i assess this :(
 

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Could she have aspirated her medicine? Was she panicky or struggling or anything when you dosed her?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Could she have aspirated her medicine? Was she panicky or struggling or anything when you dosed her?
No, both of them took the medication just fine without fuss. Manka was making similar sounds a couple of days before the appointment and was the main reason I took them. Eopie was a bit gravely in sneezes but nowhere near this until after her first dose. Maybe it didn't sit right with her? I have no idea. :/
 

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I apologize if I missed this, but how many days have they been on meds?
What you have (SXT 48 ) is Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. The 48 stands for 48 mg / ml (40 mg / ml of sulfamethoxazole and 8 mg / ml of trimethoprim).
It is a combination antibiotic that is usually used for urinary infections. It can be used for respiratory infections with success. It is commonly given to very young rats, as it is safer than Baytril.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I apologize if I missed this, but how many days have they been on meds?
Today is literally the first day (first dose. The vet prescribed one very, very small dose daily for each rat for that medication), so I don't expect any change for the better right now, it was just the sudden very vocal breathing issues getting worse scared me a little. Especially combined with the dive in their litter mate's condition (he's been on the same dosage from the same vet with my friend for two days).

And thank you so much for the information! For some reason I just couldn't find anything about it anywhere, though maybe I was just searching dumb :p.
 

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I'm familiar with all of the nicknames and acronyms for that medication, there are a ton of them haha!

Anyway, for now, you may want to just keep medicating them for 3 or 4 days. You should see improvement by then, if you don't then you probably need something else.
You probably caught it right at the cusp, where it is on the verge of getting bad. It's not uncommon for RI issues to get worse before they get better, for the first handful of doses.

I can check your doses for you, if you like. If you know your rat's weights, that's all I need to know.
Are you giving it every 12 or 24 hours?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Manka weighed 0.30 lbs and Eopie weighed 0.32 lbs. My vet prescribed 0.08 ml once every 24 hours for 10-14 days for each rat.
 

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Ok that checks out. Technically I am getting .085 and .09 but that's of course a tiny difference.
I honestly don't think 10 to 14 days will cut it. They will likely look better, but the infection won't be gone. (You know how if you get sick and put on antibiotics, they tell you to continue taking the pills, even if you feel better? Same concept.)
Maybe you can get another two weeks of meds after the first two? Research is finding more and more that we need to treat for 4-6 weeks (especially when we get to the point that we are getting audible noises). Not curing an infection completely can lead to pneumonia and pulmonary abcesses. Many people believe their rats keep getting sick, but really it's the same infection that never got fully cured.

Just something to think about. For now just worry about getting them on the mend. In the meantime make sure their room temperature and humidity is favorable, they get nutritious fresh foods and they don't have any added stress. You can also try a steam treatment. I hope they feel better soon and you see improvements!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have been doing steam treatments! :) They do seem a tiny bit better after each one of those. Thank you so much for the reassurance and the help!

I actually learned with my oldest rat who had chronic URIs that she needed to be on medication longer than the vet was suggesting. It took some haggling to let them give me more for her last time. Hopefully after the first round of this is out I can convince him to give me another just in case. Thank you so much again!
 
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