Need advice for my "whistling" boy.

Ravien715

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
17
Location
London
Hi fellow rat lovers!

I will try to be brief and to the point in this very long and twisted story.
My 15 month old boy has been making whistling noises for about three, maybe four months. We have been in and out of vets all the time. At the end of August I took him to a vet different than my usual for a second hand opinion if you will and have been told that his lungs sound clear, x-ray came through clear and the vet can't see anything wrong with him but has given me some Baytril as precaution for 10 days.
The antibiotics didn't really do much, the whistling calmed down a little but didn't stop. My friend suggested that perhaps little one has a sinus infection and that's why he is "whistling" but not deteriorating, losing weight or having general difficulty breathing. Fast forward to just under three weeks ago - another vet visit, I explained that someone with a lot bigger experience in rats suggested this to me but I was immediately shot down and given more antibiotics - Ronaxan tabs 20mg, 1/4 of the tablet twice a day for ten days and some Metacam once a day. Yet again, the course finished and my boy continues to whistle, it does seem to calm down a lot more after I give him Metacam though, nonetheless he seems his usual boisterous self, eating and drinking well.

I use https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kaytee-Clean-Super-Absorbent-Bedding/dp/B007R6G8JW as bedding, change water and litter box daily and spot clean every 3-4 days the platforms they sit on because one of them really enjoys weeing on it for some reason, every hammock in the cage is washed weekly in hot water and with a tiny drop of Pro-Kleen Pet Bedding Laundry Washing Detergent - Fresh Linen (5L) - Non-bio, Safe for Dogs with Sensitive Skin, Leaves a Lasting Freshness & Eliminates All Odours : Amazon.co.uk: Pet Supplies, the cage get's full clean every 3-4 weeks depending on how messy they decide to be, I vent my flat every two days and occasionally leave a warm air humidifier on through the night with a drop of eucalyptus essential oil. The cage doesn't stand in draft or near heater, the place is pretty quiet because I live alone and spend 12h at work 4 days a week, they get an hour of free roam every day, plenty fruit and veggies. His cagemate (same age) doesn't have any symptoms at all and I am just starting to feel a little hopeless and lost. Has anyone had this before and found a way to help their ratty friend? Any advice is so very welcome. :(
 

DawnQiBawls

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Ontario Canada
Sorry, I'm not sure about the whistling. However, I can offer the advice to not use essential oils for rats. They're highly sensitive to them and eucalyptus is used as a repellent for rats. Also, cool mist humidifier is better than warm mist. Many have both settings so possibly yours does too. Keeping it between 40-50 for humidity is a good range as well. Also a good air purifier helps.
 

Ravien715

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
17
Location
London
Sorry, I'm not sure about the whistling. However, I can offer the advice to not use essential oils for rats. They're highly sensitive to them and eucalyptus is used as a repellent for rats. Also, cool mist humidifier is better than warm mist. Many have both settings so possibly yours does too. Keeping it between 40-50 for humidity is a good range as well. Also a good air purifier helps.
Thank you for this. Will swap to cool air and stop using essential oils. Purifier is already in use too. Just at a loss as to what else I can do at this stage seeing as my exotics vet insists this is a chronic respiratory tract infection. I had a boy with chronic respiratory tract infection and he acted and sounded 100% different to what I am going through with this boy now. :(
 

DawnQiBawls

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Ontario Canada
Thank you for this. Will swap to cool air and stop using essential oils. Purifier is already in use too. Just at a loss as to what else I can do at this stage seeing as my exotics vet insists this is a chronic respiratory tract infection. I had a boy with chronic respiratory tract infection and he acted and sounded 100% different to what I am going through with this boy now. :(
I'm wondering if an allergy or sensitivity. Something's triggering it. I'm going to make a little list for ideas.

1. I can't find ingredients for the cleaner you use. It may be fine for dogs, but dogs have better respiratory systems. I'd suggest holding off on it and just use water (not hot) with 10% peroxide... I use about 1/4 cup peroxide to 2 cups water, but it's not a big deal about ratios. Do it weekly for a while. (I do mine every other day, however, I have 12 girls lol).

2. What kind of cage do you have? Is it open and airy or a tank?

3. Litter box... how big is it and what do you use as Litter?

4. I've had many girls who've been prone to mycoplasma. Bedding made a big difference for their triggers. Any pee gets on their bedding, the ammonia triggered it (now, this is not something I've been told, it's the conclusion I came to over time of observation, either way, this helps it lol) so I've tried so many bedding types. What worked for me was kleenex, not the cheap stuff unfortunately, the luxury kind because it's not as "dusty". Remove the plastic piece and toss in the whole box, they love pulling out the tissues, building nests with them, then of course there's a box! Daily I remove any wet or soiled tissue, it's much easier to see if it's soiled than other bedding! When it's low, remove the rest and replace with a new box. I also have a system for cloth/dish towels. With only 2 rats, it'll not be nearly as much lol. Have about 16 minimum cloths, dish towels etc... made of cotton. Give them 3 or 4 and every second day, switch them out with new ones. Place soiled ones in a hamper on their own. When you place the last clean ones in the cage, take all the soiled ones and soak them in cold water and peroxide. Good 20 min. Rinse them out, then I'll use a little dawn (original) dish soap with warm water and wash them by hand. Make sure to rinse out all soap and hang to dry. Then repeat lol. This helps keep any triggers to a minimum and if someone starts to sneeze, it keeps it clean and 9 times out of 10, they fight it and others don't catch it.

5. What's their main food? Honestly, if it's not Oxbows adult rat food then change it lol. It's so far the best formula. Fruits, veg some nuts and seeds are great. No corn though, especially dried, especially for boys. Once in a while, a very small piece of 70% or more dark chocolate is a good treat. Helps relax their airways as well.

6. Water.... how many sources of water do you have? I'd suggest a glass bottle and a bowl. Gives them 2 options. Plus they like a bowl to use to rub that water on them. I also have a bowl out for 1 week (changed twice daily) with water and a tincture frome Echinaforce. Not sure if you have it there, but it's a syrup of echinacea flower and elderberry syrup. I do about a tsp in half a cup and mix. They love it and it helps their immune system. Needs to have breaks though so it's not too much for them. So I do 1 week a month on average.

7. Their room, how often is the room they're in cleaned, dusted etc...? Do you use anything with scent or just wipe with water? When dusting, mist the area first then wipe. It keeps the dust from flying around. Also, is there any mould in the house? If mould is an issue then keep your humidity at 40%. And rid of any mould safely.

Okay, I think that's what suggestions I got for now.... this is what I do for mine and I take in rescues, so many are sick. I had one who was constantly sick, no whistle sound though, and this regimen she never got sick again until she was almost 3 years old!

Still seek help elsewhere, but hopefully this helps!
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,383
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
It may just be nasal congestion which is not an active infection antibiotics can cure. Is he active, eating etc? Just noisy in his nose?
 

Ravien715

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
17
Location
London
It may just be nasal congestion which is not an active infection antibiotics can cure. Is he active, eating etc? Just noisy in his nose?
Yes! He eats, he plays, absolutely wrecks my sofa and immediately jumps up when I move around my flat hoping for something tasty to come his way. The wheezing stops immediately once he sneezes or I manage to get him to take some Bisolvon.
 

Ravien715

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
17
Location
London
I'm wondering if an allergy or sensitivity. Something's triggering it. I'm going to make a little list for ideas.

1. I can't find ingredients for the cleaner you use. It may be fine for dogs, but dogs have better respiratory systems. I'd suggest holding off on it and just use water (not hot) with 10% peroxide... I use about 1/4 cup peroxide to 2 cups water, but it's not a big deal about ratios. Do it weekly for a while. (I do mine every other day, however, I have 12 girls lol).

2. What kind of cage do you have? Is it open and airy or a tank?

3. Litter box... how big is it and what do you use as Litter?

4. I've had many girls who've been prone to mycoplasma. Bedding made a big difference for their triggers. Any pee gets on their bedding, the ammonia triggered it (now, this is not something I've been told, it's the conclusion I came to over time of observation, either way, this helps it lol) so I've tried so many bedding types. What worked for me was kleenex, not the cheap stuff unfortunately, the luxury kind because it's not as "dusty". Remove the plastic piece and toss in the whole box, they love pulling out the tissues, building nests with them, then of course there's a box! Daily I remove any wet or soiled tissue, it's much easier to see if it's soiled than other bedding! When it's low, remove the rest and replace with a new box. I also have a system for cloth/dish towels. With only 2 rats, it'll not be nearly as much lol. Have about 16 minimum cloths, dish towels etc... made of cotton. Give them 3 or 4 and every second day, switch them out with new ones. Place soiled ones in a hamper on their own. When you place the last clean ones in the cage, take all the soiled ones and soak them in cold water and peroxide. Good 20 min. Rinse them out, then I'll use a little dawn (original) dish soap with warm water and wash them by hand. Make sure to rinse out all soap and hang to dry. Then repeat lol. This helps keep any triggers to a minimum and if someone starts to sneeze, it keeps it clean and 9 times out of 10, they fight it and others don't catch it.

5. What's their main food? Honestly, if it's not Oxbows adult rat food then change it lol. It's so far the best formula. Fruits, veg some nuts and seeds are great. No corn though, especially dried, especially for boys. Once in a while, a very small piece of 70% or more dark chocolate is a good treat. Helps relax their airways as well.

6. Water.... how many sources of water do you have? I'd suggest a glass bottle and a bowl. Gives them 2 options. Plus they like a bowl to use to rub that water on them. I also have a bowl out for 1 week (changed twice daily) with water and a tincture frome Echinaforce. Not sure if you have it there, but it's a syrup of echinacea flower and elderberry syrup. I do about a tsp in half a cup and mix. They love it and it helps their immune system. Needs to have breaks though so it's not too much for them. So I do 1 week a month on average.

7. Their room, how often is the room they're in cleaned, dusted etc...? Do you use anything with scent or just wipe with water? When dusting, mist the area first then wipe. It keeps the dust from flying around. Also, is there any mould in the house? If mould is an issue then keep your humidity at 40%. And rid of any mould safely.

Okay, I think that's what suggestions I got for now.... this is what I do for mine and I take in rescues, so many are sick. I had one who was constantly sick, no whistle sound though, and this regimen she never got sick again until she was almost 3 years old!

Still seek help elsewhere, but hopefully this helps!
Thank you for all of these suggestions!
I dust down with a wet dish cloth over my furniture, for the cage I have scent free cage cleaner that my vet recommended to me. My flat is vacuumed once a week because I generally come home to sleep and go back to work in all fairness. I checked for mould and couldn't find any as I am very sensitive to it myself and it triggers awful coughing attacks with me. I use Science Selective Rat & Mouse | Supreme Petfoods as their main food source. Once a month they get a small bowl with my own mix that I make with oats, seeds, nuts and some chopped up, dried cranberries, and then of course they get their veg and fruit more frequently too. The bedding I use is white so I can see where they might have soiled it with urine and immediately replace it. They have two drinking bottles which I change daily, but I have placed small bowl with water in too now as per your advice. I am starting to wonder if maybe I should get rid of the stone in their litter box as I haven't replaced it in a year and only wash it over with water and let dry outside. For the litter box I use https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/back-2-nature-small-animal-bedding-30l very thin layer. The litter box is pretty sizeable and I clean it out and wash it daily. After I change the bedding I usually spray it over with https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/pet-remedy-calming-spray-200ml-(online-only) I don't think it does anything to actually calm them down but it's supposedly safe for pets, at least my vet told me it will be safe for use around them, and stops dust from picking up right after I change the bedding, my boys also don't seem to mind it much except for the noise it makes when I pull the trigger on bottle.
 

DawnQiBawls

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Ontario Canada
Thank you for all of these suggestions!
I dust down with a wet dish cloth over my furniture, for the cage I have scent free cage cleaner that my vet recommended to me. My flat is vacuumed once a week because I generally come home to sleep and go back to work in all fairness. I checked for mould and couldn't find any as I am very sensitive to it myself and it triggers awful coughing attacks with me. I use Science Selective Rat & Mouse | Supreme Petfoods as their main food source. Once a month they get a small bowl with my own mix that I make with oats, seeds, nuts and some chopped up, dried cranberries, and then of course they get their veg and fruit more frequently too. The bedding I use is white so I can see where they might have soiled it with urine and immediately replace it. They have two drinking bottles which I change daily, but I have placed small bowl with water in too now as per your advice. I am starting to wonder if maybe I should get rid of the stone in their litter box as I haven't replaced it in a year and only wash it over with water and let dry outside. For the litter box I use https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/back-2-nature-small-animal-bedding-30l very thin layer. The litter box is pretty sizeable and I clean it out and wash it daily. After I change the bedding I usually spray it over with https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/pets/pet-remedy-calming-spray-200ml-(online-only) I don't think it does anything to actually calm them down but it's supposedly safe for pets, at least my vet told me it will be safe for use around them, and stops dust from picking up right after I change the bedding, my boys also don't seem to mind it much except for the noise it makes when I pull the trigger on bottle.
Awesome, you have such different options than we do in Canada ha ha. So I'm unfamiliar with any of that, but the food looks good. You seem to be doing great with everything. I'd still try maybe not using any spray or cleaner stuff and just peroxide water for about a month. Just to see if perhaps he's sensitive to it. Yes the rock could get replaced. Doesn't hurt and there's plenty to choose from lol. For the litter, we don't have that, so I use wood pellets from oxbow that's safe for rats as well as Kaytees critter litter. If you have that there, it's little clay balls. I find that to be a good combination along with the stone. Is his whistling constant? Or does it come and go? If it comes and goes, is there a pattern? If constant does it get worse at certain times of the day? Does he sneeze often or more than 3 times a day? Does he get red discharge from nose or eyes? Is his fur smooth or fluffed/rough looking? You said he eats, drinks and is active without weightloss, so that's good. If he has none of those other symptoms, I'm also wondering about lung damage. Did it start after a bad infection or anything? Also, something I do for researching ideas is tossing up a VPN and changing different countries and search. There's so many sites that are only available in certain countries. I found this out a while ago when a friend from the UK sent me a link for a recipe. When I opened it, it said it wasn't available in my country, so I put up a VPN, changed it to UK and opened just fine. So I did this with other things! Looking up rat info as well.
 

Ravien715

Member
Joined
Sep 30, 2020
Messages
17
Location
London
Awesome, you have such different options than we do in Canada ha ha. So I'm unfamiliar with any of that, but the food looks good. You seem to be doing great with everything. I'd still try maybe not using any spray or cleaner stuff and just peroxide water for about a month. Just to see if perhaps he's sensitive to it. Yes the rock could get replaced. Doesn't hurt and there's plenty to choose from lol. For the litter, we don't have that, so I use wood pellets from oxbow that's safe for rats as well as Kaytees critter litter. If you have that there, it's little clay balls. I find that to be a good combination along with the stone. Is his whistling constant? Or does it come and go? If it comes and goes, is there a pattern? If constant does it get worse at certain times of the day? Does he sneeze often or more than 3 times a day? Does he get red discharge from nose or eyes? Is his fur smooth or fluffed/rough looking? You said he eats, drinks and is active without weightloss, so that's good. If he has none of those other symptoms, I'm also wondering about lung damage. Did it start after a bad infection or anything? Also, something I do for researching ideas is tossing up a VPN and changing different countries and search. There's so many sites that are only available in certain countries. I found this out a while ago when a friend from the UK sent me a link for a recipe. When I opened it, it said it wasn't available in my country, so I put up a VPN, changed it to UK and opened just fine. So I did this with other things! Looking up rat info as well.
It's not really constant, it does seem to subside once he sneezes or I manage to keep him still enough for a neb session. It didn't really start after any previous infection because before this we only went to the vet at the start of this year for a routine check up. The discharge is only around his nose, nothing around the eyes. I am doing a consultation today with my vet, gonna see if I can give him anything to decongest other than a nebuliser because he just won't sit still or near the neb to actually benefit from it. Once again thanks for all the suggestions ❤️❤️❤️
 

DawnQiBawls

Member
Joined
Oct 14, 2021
Messages
11
Location
Ontario Canada
It's not really constant, it does seem to subside once he sneezes or I manage to keep him still enough for a neb session. It didn't really start after any previous infection because before this we only went to the vet at the start of this year for a routine check up. The discharge is only around his nose, nothing around the eyes. I am doing a consultation today with my vet, gonna see if I can give him anything to decongest other than a nebuliser because he just won't sit still or near the neb to actually benefit from it. Once again thanks for all the suggestions ❤️❤️❤️
Aww, if you can, update how it goes.... I wonder though if rats get asthma.. I'm still fairly new to their health conditions. He kind of sounds like my niece who has bad asthma.
 

Latest posts

Top