How Do I Know My 3 Year Old Has Pneumonia Is Your Pet Rat Sneezing? The Facts You Should Know

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Is Your Pet Rat Sneezing? The Facts You Should Know

Being a “rattie parent” can be worrying when your little ones do things like sneeze. My goal with this article is to clear up your confusion so that you feel better and your rat is okay.

Below are the things that can make your rat sneeze:



Mycoplasma

This very common and incurable respiratory disease among rats can flare up during the rat’s lifetime. Symptoms include sneezing, wheezing and, in advanced cases, gasping for air. Ulcers can sometimes form on lung tissue, making it difficult for the rat to breathe. While humans are able to catch mycoplasma from other people, we cannot catch it from rats, and vice versa.

There is good news though. As long as their immune system is not compromised, most rats with mycoplasmosis can live long and active lives, despite the outward symptoms. The key is to feed them a vitamin-rich diet (especially vitamins A and E) and take extra precautions to avoid exposing them to dust, smoke, drafts and bacteria.

If your pet rat gets “Myco flares,” she may need to be treated with medications such as Vibramycin, the brand name Doxycycline, or the generic brand, Baytril. These medications will suppress symptoms and prevent the development of scar lung tissue.



Pneumonia

The main difference between mycoplasmosis and pneumonia is that the former produces symptoms of dry, loud breathing that will come and go, while the latter manifests itself as a wet, stuffy, raspy wheeze and a runny nose. Porphyrin can be excreted from the rat’s nasal passage and fluid can collect in her lungs. Babies who are infected may not show any symptoms until several months later.

Pneumonia is highly contagious to any other rat within sneezing distance, so you must immediately quarantine the affected rat until you can get him to a vet.

One treatment for pneumonia involves the drugs Baytril, Doxycycline, and a machine called a nebulizer. The drugs are administered in the form of steam several times a day.



Colds or Allergies

In the event that you need to take your little one to the vet to treat a respiratory illness, you may decide to administer a small amount of over-the-counter cold or allergy medicine.

Also, if your vet approves of the idea, you can try treating your rat on your own this way for several days. However, you have to be careful about this because you don’t want to use something that can cause more harm than good. Also, if her condition worsens, take her to a vet immediately.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Use children’s liquid medications, not adult formulas.
  • Administer the medication as often as you would for a child; however, make them extremely small doses (0.10 cc. for an adult, and less than half that for a baby).
  • Use a cough decongestant or expectorant medicine, not a suppressant.
  • Avoid formulas containing alcohol.

How to minimize respiratory illnesses and symptoms, in general:

  • Keep the air moist. Counteract the drying effect of heaters and air conditioners by adding small water fountains, plants and even pitchers of water to the room.
  • Humidifiers and vaporizers work beautifully to keep the air moisture-rich; but avoid keeping them too close to your rats’ cage (at least 4 feet away).
  • In an emergency, you can take your rat into a closed bathroom with a hot shower. Don’t take her too close to the water. Just let her breathe the steam for 5-15 minutes. It helps loosen the mucus stuck inside their lungs.
  • Make sure your rattie has a suitable bed.
  • A sudden sneeze can be due to an allergic reaction to a change of bed, food, soap or to their surroundings in general.
  • A cold, small block of baker’s chocolate can ease symptoms of respiratory distress.

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