Help: Severe Nasal Congestion

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DanielZielwolf

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Aug 18, 2018
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Hi,

One of my rats, Benji is almost 30 months old and has developed severe nasal congestion. He's always been a bit sneezy but never been much bothered by myco but it looks like it's finally caught up to him. He looks and sounds like he's really struggling to breathe.
The vet said his lungs are fine and he's not gasping so he'll be okay but gasping sounds exactly like what he's doing and it's obvious to me he is suffering. His nose is almost totally blocked and he's not getting enough air through and I can feel his chest heaving with the effort. Ive seen him mouth-breathing a few times for short periods. He's on Baytril and doxycycline but it's difficult to get him to take it as he's hardly eating anything anymore. I've waited four days for him to improve but it's not happening and he's old. Does anyone have any advice? I have lots of experience with pneumonia and chest congestion but not nasal congestion as bad as this. How can I relieve his symptoms? I'm thinking of spraying some oxymetazoline at him which is really effective for blocked noses. I'm desperate, he's in such obvious distress and if it's time to let go I don't want him to suffer and linger.
 
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SQ

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DanielZielwolf

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hopefully llspaz68 will respond as she can provide the best info
Thanks. I took him to another vet and in her opinion the infection would have pretty much destroyed his nasal passages by now and she reckoned there was very little chance of recovery just treatment of the symptoms. We considered a steroid injection for the symptoms and injecting Baytril instead of oral ingestion but decided against it: given his age and that he has been in a lot of distress for days already and that there was practically no chance of recovery, I decided to have him put to sleep. It was a hard choice, I've had him almost two years - the longest of any rat as I support a rat shelter so I usually get them when they're already one year old or older - and he was very special to me, but I don't think it's worth their suffering so they gain maybe a month or two at most. Farewell Benji...

That's the second one in a month. Granted they were both close to 2,5 years. One left.... 7/8 gone in 3 1/2 years. Really need a break after this, feeling pretty shattered :(
 

Rocket99

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Just my 2 cents. He is NOT gasping. You will know it when they gasp, they open mouth breathe, usually while holding their head up high to keep their airways in a straight line to keep them as open as possible. They will often rest or sleep with their chin resting on something too. And finally, they CAN survive without too much distress for awhile like this while you try to treat them, but once their breathing (gasping) becomes so blocked that they can't get enough oxygen to support basic life functions, they will become very frightened and start running around aimlessly, or so it seems. They are actually terrified and can't breathe, so they start getting agitated and irratic and run back and forth looking for relief. THAT is a very critical time for them and you need to get them to the vet to be pts, if you haven't already. Please do not ever let them live in distress and gasp for very long. These days I usually PTS at first sign of gasping, although they can and do rebound from gasping, but it is always short lived and they will gasp again soon. If you see a rat gasping, try to keep them as calm and still as possible while getting them to your vet.
 

Rocket99

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Jun 16, 2018
Messages
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Location
Massachusetts
Thanks. I took him to another vet and in her opinion the infection would have pretty much destroyed his nasal passages by now and she reckoned there was very little chance of recovery just treatment of the symptoms. We considered a steroid injection for the symptoms and injecting Baytril instead of oral ingestion but decided against it: given his age and that he has been in a lot of distress for days already and that there was practically no chance of recovery, I decided to have him put to sleep. It was a hard choice, I've had him almost two years - the longest of any rat as I support a rat shelter so I usually get them when they're already one year old or older - and he was very special to me, but I don't think it's worth their suffering so they gain maybe a month or two at most. Farewell Benji...

That's the second one in a month. Granted they were both close to 2,5 years. One left.... 7/8 gone in 3 1/2 years. Really need a break after this, feeling pretty shattered :(
I also give a final home to hospice cases from a rescue and get mine when they're older, sick, or with behavior issues, mostly unsocialized, so I know your pain.
 

DanielZielwolf

New Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
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Location
Melbourne
Just my 2 cents. He is NOT gasping. You will know it when they gasp, they open mouth breathe, usually while holding their head up high to keep their airways in a straight line to keep them as open as possible. They will often rest or sleep with their chin resting on something too. And finally, they CAN survive without too much distress for awhile like this while you try to treat them, but once their breathing (gasping) becomes so blocked that they can't get enough oxygen to support basic life functions, they will become very frightened and start running around aimlessly, or so it seems. They are actually terrified and can't breathe, so they start getting agitated and irratic and run back and forth looking for relief. THAT is a very critical time for them and you need to get them to the vet to be pts, if you haven't already. Please do not ever let them live in distress and gasp for very long. These days I usually PTS at first sign of gasping, although they can and do rebound from gasping, but it is always short lived and they will gasp again soon. If you see a rat gasping, try to keep them as calm and still as possible while getting them to your vet.
True, he wasn't full-on gasping, it just kinda sounded like it to me. I did catch him mouth-breathing a few times when his nose was so blocked he couldn't get any air in that way. I've had one die on the examination table, terrified, gasping for air and I never ever want another to go through that again. He was definitely heaving his chest to get enough air in due to the nasal blockage and every breath was an effort, and he hadn't eaten for 5 days except for a little baby food in addition to having lost 70 grams already. Then the vet said the infection was moving to his chest. All the indications were that at 29 months he was deteriorating rapidly so I decided to have him euthanised rather than risk full-blown respiratory attack for the sake of a few extra days or weeks.
 
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jorats

Loving rats since 2002.
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You did the right thing. Your first vet was off the mark for sure. When a rat starts gasping it's horrible to watch and can mean close to death. I'm so glad you decided to get a second opinion. I'm so sorry for your loss.
 

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