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It's pretty bad when the rats you worry most about in your family about getting good care turn out to be decently cared for and the ones you haven't hardly worried about at all turn out to be neglected ):

I wasn't worrying about my friend being a bad rat mom. I know she isn't a bad person, just misinformed and having a very bad time of making ends meet (she's got an 18 month old and works at a non profit agency whose medical DOES NOT cover her child and she makes too much for Medicaid. So it's easy to see where her money goes) I was going to her party on Friday night and I look over to see a one rat cage full of cedar bedding. I fought the urge to go rat natzi on her but decided to check on how her rats were doing. Turns out her oldest rat (2 years old) had died of a respitory infection. She was being medicated with Amoxy so at least she had that but they weren't able to bring her to the vet. This left her newest rat, not even a year old, alone. Violet was breathing really hard and making monkey noises.

I immediately started freaking out and told my friend her rat was sick. I told her she shouldn't be on cedar bedding and that's probably what made her sick, that combined with the loss of her beloved friend. Violet just seems more jumpy and less social now apparently after Keika died. She was definitely the omega and lost without her alpha. She's a poor rex and loosing some hair on the top of her neck. She breathes making a monkey noise but I couldn't hear any pops or crackles and she has no porphyrin and isn't really sneezing all that much.

We immediately got her off that nasty cedar, threw it away, scrubbed her cage and put her on a baby blanket. She was out of food and the only place that was open Walmart but we got some carefresh wannabe at Walmart for her and fed her kix and some banana and carrots as I didn't want to buy her seed mix. My friend claims to have fed her earlier that day, but she just seems kind of thin. I didn't do the pinch test for hydration because I forgot but she does seem a tiny bit dehydrated and her extremities are pale with a tinge of blue ):

I instructed my friend to get some Mazuri rat blocks for Violet. She put her back on the Amoxy but I doubt it will do much good. She can't afford a vet visit BUT her uncle is a vet (not a exotic vet but more than likely can get her what she needs). I think I will send her dosing instructions on gentamicin as I read this works good with Amoxy. I also think she probably needs a steroid and/or an anti inflammatory if it doesn't clear.

I'm really worried about this poor little girl. I would bring her home if I had a quarantine space that could medicate and the money for a spay. But I didn't want to risk infecting my boys ): I did inform my friend there is a really good rat rescue in Indianapolis that would take her but my friend claims she does love this rat, things have just been hectic. She says she normally is on Carefresh but money was tight and she had no clue cedar was bad as they do market this as safe. She says she will try to medicate her and get her better but I know this rat needs a level of attention my friend isn't able to give ): I really wish I could do more.

There was also a visit to my aunt and my cousin rats. I really hate how they keep their dogs, and their bird but for the most part the rats seem to be doing well. They did have lice, which my aunt claimed to see something and thought it was just dirt. I instructed her what to do and she's getting the revolution soon. She also had them on kiln dried pine but claimed they were on carefresh and then fabric, she just thought that bedding was fine even thought I told her it wasn't. I explained to her EXACTLY what cedar and pine does to a small animal and she's getting them back on carefresh or fabric (especially since they have lice) But other than that their breathing seems great and they are wonderful lap rats. You can tell they are well socialized and are EXCELLENT about not spot peeing on people, unlike my rats lol. I also told her to get a wire cage PLEASE. She doesn't have a tank, it's a very large hand built plexiglass thing so it does have better ventilation due to size than a tank, but I told her why a wire cage would be better and used the lice to my advantage as to why she should get a new cage (it has a wood frame) I think she might be getting a wire cage now.

Petey is a siamese, and Dumbo is a dumbo (der) very light silver berkshire odd eyed boy. I think they are both beautiful rats and wanted to steal them :) But I know at least THEY are being handled and loved, despite a slight lice problem which is easy to oversee. They were hiding rather well and to someone who hasn't dealt with rat lice before, you wouldn't know it wasn't dirt. That and both boys have shiny fur, so to someone with bad eye sight nits could appear just to be shine.

Needless to say all clothing was taken off and I thoroughly showered and returned home after 3-5 or more hours upon handling these rats (quite a few hours after handling violet who I was most worried about). I was thankful for my knowledge on my own pets and wish everyone else would be as good as I am in RESEARCHING your odd pet but am thankful they seem to take my advice.

Please pray for Violet and any advice would be much appreciated. I hated leaving her as she needs more work than I think my friend is able to give ): I hope her damage can be fixed, but also know she doesn't seem to have the heart to hang in there if she's not handled more frequently. My handling of her all night did seem to do some good, and the change of bedding did seem to also do a lot of good but the damage is very apparent. I wish there was more I could do.
 

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Kiln drying pine chip removes the aromatic oils...Kiln-dried pine should be safe for rodents, whereas regular pine is not since it is still chock full of bad stuff. Though aspen is much better since there are no oils in the first place :D So if they want something cheaper than CareFresh, you could offer aspen. It's not fleece, but at least it won't kill them.
 

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You see Blue, I've heard that but I don't buy it. I think that the aromatic oils would stick to the pine being broken down with urine. Yeah it's better than regular pine but there is much better bedding out there that's not risky. With rats delicate respiratory systems you NEED to not take the risk of using it. I explained that to them too. Yeah it's no cedar which according to my friend did this damage to her rat in a very short time but I still wouldn't use it and would recommend to NOT use it.

I know there is a lot of debate on the use of kiln dried, I take the side on not using it especially on rats. They already have so much going against them its best to take as little risks as possible to prolong their lives and reduce myco flair ups. I did recommend the aspen if they wanted to keep a wood type bedding.

I also HATE the smell of pine or cedar!! Why do people like that stuff YUCK!
 

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I agree with poppyseed about the bedding, even if it does remove most of the oils, why risk it? There are so many other safer alternatives. Also if the ~$1 difference between pine and aspen matters that much that you risk your pets health you shouldn't have the pet.

Poppyseed: I'm sorry you had to see all those things :-( I hope Violet, Petey and Dumbo get better
 

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Well done to you! :D

I'm so glad that you actually knew what you were talking about! One of my friends was trying to convince me that rats should be on seed mixes because they can eat it easier! Ofcourse I didn't follow her advice, I knew better.

If only all people who purchased rats to keep as pets would know all of the necessities rats need!
 
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