Cold VS major respiratory infection

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by RM Watkins, Jun 24, 2019.

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  1. Jun 24, 2019 #1

    RM Watkins

    RM Watkins

    RM Watkins

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    I recently started having rats as companion animals after a 15 year hiatus. I'm currently living in Sweden.

    When I brought home my three girls at 9 weeks, one already had some porypus around her eyes and it looked like some in her ears. They were also scratching. There were no other symptoms. I thought maybe mites. She also started sneezing. I used diatomaceous earth in their playbox and basically dusted each rat with some, making sure they did not breath in any. Her sneezing got worse and turned into wheezing, which would stop if I attended to her. I ordered baytril and doxycycline to treat her myself, because the vet wanted 150usd per rat, and I had to wait until my next paycheck. The meds weren't arriving (eBay order from out of the country) and I was panicking as I listened to her wheezing getting worse each night. It got awful.
    Then, it stopped. Her wheezing, her sneezing, and the porypus was gone. When the meds did arrive a week later, I didn't give it to her because I didn't want to dose out antibiotics casually. She hasn't had any symptoms since. It's been two months.

    So... Was this a cold? And not uncurable respiratory infection? Her symptoms matched those exactly with respiratory infection. All threads everywhere said it would get worse until she died.

    I've had trouble finding any information that doesn't tell me to immediately stuff her with medication. If I had the medication, I certainly would have stuffed her with it (proper dosage of course, I'm just being dramatic). But it seems like that would have been the wrong treatment, and I would have been subjecting my rat to medication she didn't need.
    I called a breeder in my area to ask about it, and she said that rats can get colds from new locations, or change in temp, but it was just like we get colds and it would go away, like it did. I couldn't find any information online to back up her claims or my experience.

    Bedding at the time was fleece, spot cleaned many times a day and washed every other day. Her sneezing started and stopped during the fleece bedding phase. Now it's carefresh and aspen.
    Thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2019
  2. Jun 25, 2019 #2

    SQ

    SQ

    SQ

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    Rats do not get colds, but they can have short term sneezing ("new home sneezes") while adapting to a new environment

    I am glad that they are feeling better.
    A good site for rat owners is ratguide.com - it is a vet approved medical site for rat owners
    The Reference Thread on this forum has some useful info https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/

    Btw to my knowledge, diatomaceous earth should never be used around rats as it can cause respiratory irritation - sneezing, problems breathing etc.

    Welcome to the Forum :)
     
  3. Jun 25, 2019 #3

    RM Watkins

    RM Watkins

    RM Watkins

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    Thank you for your reply! So if there was wheezing involved but it's gone, does that mean she has an infection that is dormant now? Or can rats have temporary wheezing?
    Thanks for the links! I scoured the reference thread and links it offered prior to posting this, but I couldn't find anything on non-infectious wheezing. I checked out ratguide too, but not in its entirety. I'll comb through it again.

    Yes, food grade DE. I read a few sources of information on how to handle it around rats, I hope I didn't do them any harm. I'll continue to research it, thanks for pointing it out.
     
  4. Jun 26, 2019 #4

    SQ

    SQ

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    The sneezes were likely new home sneezes
    Porphin can have several causes including illness so always good to keep an eye on http://ratguide.com/health/eyes/porphyrin_secretions_red_tears.php
    The wheezing may have been caused by the diatomaceous earth or some other environmental irritation, and fortunately it did not develop into something serious
    Good that you now have some medication on hand for any future problems.

    Lilspaz68 or Jorats are very knowledgeable and likely have other information they can share
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  5. Jun 26, 2019 #5

    RM Watkins

    RM Watkins

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    Thanks so much for the help! I'll not use DE on the rats again unless I know for sure that it was not harmful. I'm also so glad it didn't develop into something serious. :/
     
  6. Jun 26, 2019 #6

    SQ

    SQ

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    Probably a good idea to keep an eye on her re her breathing etc just to make sure,
    When you hold her up to your ear and listen to both sides of her chest ("rat phone") do you hear any wheezing, clicking, congestion etc?
    Since it has been 2 months and she has no symptoms and eating, and active, etc she is likely fine

    Hope you post lots of pics etc :)
     

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