Diagnosing and treating a respiratory infection

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by Ratturtles, Jul 10, 2019.

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  1. Jul 10, 2019 #1

    Ratturtles

    Ratturtles

    Ratturtles

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    I had a rat a few months ago who had a respiratory infection, I knew because she was sneezing excessively. My vet questioned me a bit and then listened to her lungs with a stethoscope (she said her lungs sounded okay but that we would treat her just to be on the safe side) and prescribed her doxycycline and enrofloxacin for ten days. After finishing the medicine her sneezing stopped. About 5 days later she started making a clicking noise when she was breathing. I started her back on the medicine but it didn't help. Things took a turn for the worst and within three days she had to be euthanized due to extreme respiratory distress.

    Now I have a rat who is making an extremely faint noise, similar to the one in the beginning of this video. I can only hear the noise if I hold her right next to my ear. The tiny squeaks seem to come and go, usually (like 95% of the time) they are not present. She's actually been making this noise on and off for a while now, (maybe a few months?) but I never thought it was abnormal until seeing this video. I did bring her to get checked out by our vet not too long ago and I mentioned it to him but he listened to her lungs with a stethoscope and said they sounded fine. The doctor I saw that time is not a very good one, there's two rat doctors at the clinic I go to, one of them is awesome, the other sucks, and sometimes when I make appointments I forget to specify.


    Anyways, as silly as it sounds, I am afraid of taking her into the vet because I don't want to cure her respiratory infection only for it to come back much worse a few days later (like what happened with my other baby). It was super hard losing my other rattie this way and very unexpected as she took a turn for the worst rather quickly.

    1. Are there any tests I can ask the vet to do to make sure she has a respiratory infection before treating her? Is there anything I should ask for or request? Is listening to her lungs with a stethoscope enough?
    2. How long does she need to on medicine for, is 10 days enough to cure a mild infection?
    3. I'm trying to learn more about respiratory infections in general but I am confused about if there is a difference between a respiratory infection caused by Mycoplasmosis and pneumonia?
    4. Are respiratory infections contagious to other rats?
    5. Could she even have a respiratory infection if its been multiple months? Why hasn't the infection worsened with time?
    6. Can respiratory infections be exacerbated by giving medicine? (Like what happened with my other baby?)
    7. Is it even worth treating her? To my understanding the illness will likely to come back anyways, so should I wait until she seems like shes not doing well?

    She seems fine otherwise and like I mentioned she's been doing this on/off for months now. I do plan to bring her to the vet on Friday but I am very anxious as I don't want to exacerbate her condition by giving her medication. She is abnormally stressed right now as we just lost her only cagemate last night, I'm not sure if that's related. I haven't heard her make the noise for a few weeks now, but she has been tonight.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
  2. Jul 23, 2019 #2

    Rattdad

    Rattdad

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    I know your post was from almost 12 days ago but I wanted to give you my experience. I hope you've already figured it out and that your rat is okay.

    I've had a couple of rats make this sound, on and off. It can be very disturbing for sure. One of my boys made it for two days and then stopped. My oldest girl started making this sound when my teenage daughter left town for the month, and she just stopped (after three weeks) about two days ago; I was so worried that she was going to pass when my daughter was away that I put her on antibiotics for two weeks, but she didn't stop. I had another girl make this sound at a time when I was pretty sure she was frightened (had smelled a cat on our clothes--I think). She made it all night, stopped the next morning.

    The key things about this sound, to me, are a) it comes and goes. One would think breathing problems would be constant, right? But the girl ratttie I mentioned above was pretty much making this sound when I was in the room; if I wasn't there (just coming in), she generally wasn't making it. And b) it sounds to me like it's more in the sinuses than the lungs.

    I'm about 98% sure that if I brought one of my rats to my vet, who is pretty good with rats (mostly on the surgical side), she'd put her on antibiotics. Not that that's necessarily the right thing to do. In my case, I put my rat on antibiotics myself and I don't think it had any effect.

    I believe this sound is an anxious sound. I think it's also possible that it's a rat's attempt to 'talk.' I don't think it's a sign of a lung infection. In my experience, though, rat vocalizations don't always pair up perfectly with emotional states. I think my rats have made this sound when they were neither scared nor anxious.

    I was on the verge of trying a little bit of Benadryl with my girl, but she stopped on her own. She seems a little less anxious to me, but I may be misreading her.

    I'm pretty sure there's a video on youtube of a rat making this sound, and it says underneath that if your rat ever makes this sound you should take her to the vet immediately because s/he's about to die. Needless to say, I don't think this is accurate.

    Rats are so prone to infections that I don't think there's any harm putting one on antibiotics just to be safe. (I had a beloved rat go into sudden respiratory distress and have to be euthanized, so now I'm extra cautious.) But in this case I don't think that's the source of the sound.

    I'm sure your rat is sorted by now, but maybe this will be helpful if you see it.
     
  3. Jul 23, 2019 #3

    lilspaz68

    lilspaz68

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    I'm very sorry for your loss. Everything may have been done right except one thing. A treatment for 10 days can only suppress the symptoms but not cure the infection. 2 weeks is the very absokute minimum you treat with 3-4 weeks being better. Think of this resp infection like a campfire you thought you put out, but there's some glowing embers you cannot see. The antibiotics were working and just showing the improvements but once they were stopped the fire roared back to life, often worse than before :(
     
  4. Jul 24, 2019 #4

    Ratturtles

    Ratturtles

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    This was very helpful! I figured the noise wasn't anything to panic about because the next morning my rat woke up and was no longer making the sound. She's been fine since. I decided not to bring her to the vet because she seems fine and I didnt want to stress her out more than she was already was. I never thought it was a problem until I saw that youtube video, but I have come to the conclusion that you're right and that the noise is not bad. I think since losing my other rattie to a severe respiratory infection Im just a little overly paranoid now. Thanks for the reply!
     

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