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Over the last 2 nights my rat's consistent congestion issues has gotten worse. His breathing is a lot heavier now, he's acting a bit slower, and makes a weird... coughing noise? when I pick him up to cuddle him. I haven't seen him go on his top platforms, he's just been sitting on top of a box at the bottom of the cage. I brought his favourite bed down and he's lying in that right now.

I do plan on taking him to a vet but it's one out of town, as I don't trust the only rat vet in my area. He's told me to think about euthanasia before for just some really minor sniffles and I don't trust him at all. But I can't get him to the other vet for another 5 or 6 days and I need something I can do for him in the meantime. Also, my sister has some medicine from her rat's URI leftover that I can get from her in 3 days so I'll use that when I get it.

I have my humidifier in the area now in hopes that'll make it easier for him to breathe. I've heard that there are some teas that can help? That might be totally wrong though. Are there any special herbs or foods that are supposed to help respiratory infections, even in the slightest?

Thanks.
 

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There's a thread called
Best Supplements/Health Foods and Natural Remedies for Ratsif you scroll down a bit here in the Rat Health section. It mentions thyme tea and echinacea/goldrenrod tea but doesn't say what each is for. I would ask Millie and Daisy who started that thread. I will look online to see if I can find anything, if I find anything helpful I'll post it sometime today.
 

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Chances are, if he goes another 6 days without antibiotics, he will get to the point where he will either die or the infection will be extremely hard to treat and there could be lasting lung damage. You have two options here; 1. have some antibiotics from an online fish or bird store overnighted to you or 2. print references to what antibiotics you need and take them to the vet in your area. So many people forget that you can disagree with your vet and be demanding if you think you're not getting the service you need. You're paying them to do a job, if they need a little help from you to get it right then so be it, but don't just sit idly by and accept that they know what's best all the time or avoid them because you think they don't know. Also, don't sit around wasting time and money on home "remedies" that are just going to mask the symptoms at best.
 

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I agree with kksrats, 6 days sounds too long too wait. The symptoms you've described sound as if the infection is already quite far along, heavy breathing, sluggishness and 'coughing' usually comes towards the end of an untreated respiratory infection. However depending on where you are located it's not always possible to get antibiotics online, and if you did buy them from abroad you'd have to wait longer than 6 days for them to arrive anyway. So go to your vet asap, the one you don't trust, and ask directly for antibiotics, even if they suggest euthanasia, they can't deny you to chance to try the appropriate medication and in their eyes it means more money for them so i'm sure they can be persuaded.

In the early stages of a RI people use dark chocolate and supplements such a 'Booster', i've also heard of a mix of garlic, basil and echinacea being helpful but it's not a cure, more of a preventative method and in cases such as yours i doubt it would have much effect.

I hope everything works out well for you, get to the vet ASAP and let us know how your little rattie is doing. x
 

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I agree with the above posts, get your baby to the vet ASAP! Remedies are good for helping with symptoms while taking medicines, but for a URI I would say you should always get the proper antibiotic. My girls have had upper respiratory issues ever since I brought them home, and they have flare ups. Vaporizers/humidifiers are great. Dark chocolate is a mild bronchodilator in humans and rats. Give the affected rat a square or two a day and see if it helps relieve them at all!

Echinacea tea is renown for helping cold symptoms in people. I've used such herbal teas as remedies for runny noses and sore eyes by wetting a bag with cool water and patting down my rat's faces. Make sure you look at the ingredients, because herbs can be very powerful, even those in tea. I've also used some saline solution on a pad and done the same. I think it helped a little, but my rats really wanted to eat the things rather than hold still for them!

Make some tea with fresh thyme leaves and/or oregano to see if it helps. Also, try goldenrod tea. I read about someone who gathered some from their yard and brought their rat back from the brink. You can probably find some goldenrod at an herb shop or health food store if you don't have it all over your yard. I'm a forager myself, so I'm very familiar with certain plants and can identify many edibles and medicinals. I would not advise foraging for this yourself unless you do the research and are 100% sure of what you're getting. If you can't find it anywhere but the great outdoors, I have a picture. It looks a little bit like ragweed, but is NOT THE SAME!



The little yellow flowers are very distinct. There ARE commercial teas available made from this plant, so you could probably find it at a specialty store. You may want to look at Whole Foods, Sprouts, or a mom and pop herb store.


Oil of oregano may also help, but it is very very very (emphasis very) strong in smell, taste, and potency. Rats were given oil of oregano in a study on lung cancer, and the group given the oil had experienced a reversal in lung damage and halting of tumor growth. I was reading the study the other day. I wish I had it, but I can't find it at the moment. I will look in my history and send it to you later.

Also, try raw honey. It's not by any means proven, but many have experienced improvement in allergies after trying local, raw honey.

Finally, try nebulizing if you can. I have asthma, so I have a nebulizer on hand and asthma medication. You do need a prescription for it, so it may not be the best option if you don't already have medication on hand. However, saline solution may help open up their lungs used alone as a last resort. Here's a link. I have a few more websites with tutorials on how to build and dose. Please let me know if you need them.

http://ratfanclub.org/nebuliz.html
 
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