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Hey guys just looking for some friendly advice. We are new ratty owners. We adopted 2 girls from Petsmart (no other options at this time) and they were from two different stores as our poor first girl was all alone at hers. Our second girl we got is who I am worried about. We have only had her 2 days but I know from research and all the reading that rats are supposed to be silent. Not all the time but frequently enough our second girl is audible. I guess you could say like a cold. I'm sure she has some sort of URI which is super common. Because we have not bonded fully with her and I feel like the two rats haven't bonded well either should I just take her back and try to get another friend? I know we will have to quarantine and all that for weeks but I am willing to wait out to see if our current girl gets better but everything I have read leads me to believe they dont get better they just continually get worse? I also don't want to exposure our healthy happy girl any longer than she already has. I know they should have been separated from the start but being new we obviously didn't do it the proper way so I'm just looking for a what would you do in our shoes at this point?

TIA!!
 

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If they've already been together there is really no use separating them now, imo. And if you got a sickly rat from the petstore going back and returning her isn't going to do any good. You bought them so it's your responsibility to care for them. And even if you were to "return" her, all you're going to do is get another sick rat.

You need to take the sickly rat to the vet (one who is experienced with rats - NOT a regular cat/dog vet), get enough antibiotics for two rats, and then start treating them both.
 

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My local big box pet shops carry rats that are pretty old, but I suppose some might get younger ones... With some pups we've adopted they have come with the new rat sneezes... It's kind of an allergic reaction to humans and the real world. It goes away in about a week.

The best clue as to whether your rat has the new rat sneezes or a real URI is that the sneezes don't get worse. They pretty much start shortly after the rat is out of the display cage and slowly improve. Typically a URI gets worse over time.

I know this is just a working hypothesis, but I tend to think that rats need exposure to the real world to build up an immunity or perhaps colonize certain beneficial bacteria in order to cope with living outside the green house environment they are born into. Rat breeders tend to keep their environments as sterile as they can, for good reason. Most of our rats are true shoulder rats and can go outside and travel with us... so they are pretty well exposed to lots of everything dirty and nasty, (they particularly love nasty), not to mention that generations of shoulder rats have brought about anything they were exposed to indoors already. So we don't ever get URI's, and oddly since our second rat (first true shoulder rat) we haven't seen the new rat sneezes either.

So if the rat is younger and the sneezing isn't getting worse it's likely not a URI. It should start getting better in about a week. I suppose you could also try and expose your new rats to some outdoor dirt or get them on the floor where you are likely to have brought dirt and grime in on your shoes...

My mom (born in 1921) had a theory that kids that were exposed to the outdoors and played in the dirt grew up to be healthier and got sick less often... It might sound strange that there might be some truth this old wives tale. But I've got to say we honestly have never seen a URI and we don't even get the new rat sneezes anymore... I guess that means that our free ranging rats have pretty much contaminated everything in the house by now, including us...

Again it's only a theory based on pretty limited data...

Best luck.
 
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