Respiratory Infection?

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by _ratowner, Jan 22, 2019.

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  1. Jan 22, 2019 #1

    _ratowner

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    One of my boys seems really prone to respiratory issues. He has been treated twice already and he recently started having breathing problems again. He seems to be having trouble breathing. I honestly don't know what to do anymore. I don't want him to be having troubles and suffering from it. When we got his medication both times it said to give them to him twice a day for 10 days but both times the medication only lasted for 7-8 days max. Should I get him reassessed to see if it is a different problem from the first time he got taken in? Should I ask the bet for more medication so it lasts longer and I can give him the proper amount? What should I do? I don't really have the kind of money to be spending a bunch each time but my pets needs come before my own and I will do whatever it takes to keep them happy even if I have to spend a couple extra dollars to make sure they are okay. I am really worried. I heard that they can die if the problems get left for too long. My heart can't take the loss of one of my boys . All advice is appreciated. Thank you so much in advanced.
     
  2. Jan 22, 2019 #2

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    Hi _ratowner. I'm sorry you're struggling with repeated bouts of respiratory infection in one of your rats. It's a common problem and certainly can be deadly. The biggest problem is your vet is not giving antibiotics for long enough to be effective. You need to give several weeks' worth of an appropriate antibiotic or two to do the job. Also, once you get more, please make sure you're measuring very carefully, as they typically dispense enough to last the prescribed term. If you're running out too soon, it sounds like you may be spilling or otherwise losing some, hopefully not giving too much per dose. I understand it's expensive, but you'll have to either take him back and ask for enough antibiotics for 4-6 weeks, or find a better vet who knows how to properly treat myco in rats. I hope he gets better soon.
     
  3. Jan 22, 2019 #3

    _ratowner

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    Thank you for your feedback. Both times I went in to get him medication, I was only given enough for a supposed 10 days. It is interesting to hear that I need to get enough medication for 4-6 weeks. I do measure very carefully when needing to give him his medication. I am told to give him 1.8 mL (i think mL?) of medication twice a day. I do not spill any, he is very good and takes all of his medication with no fuss. The last syringe in the first photo is the kind that i was given and that I use. It does have a little narrower part where the medication is not able to get pushed out all the way. There is not way that I can use it all up. I don't give him too much, and i make sure that the dose is correct each time. There is only one vet that i have access to where i live so i am unable to go to a different vet for the time being. Thank you again. [photos are not mine]
     

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  4. Jan 22, 2019 #4

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    Hmmm, sounds like whoever is dispensing the meds may not be figuring the total correctly. You should definitely check the amount in the bottle, before leaving the office, to see if it looks like enough. (Ex: 1.8 mL x2= 3.6, x 10 = 36 mL, just over 1 oz) Don't worry about the syringe; that bit is wasted, but they still get the full amount measured. Do you know what antibiotic you've been giving? If it's not baytril, doxycycline, Zithromax, or some combination of those, perhaps you could ask him to switch? Do you think he would listen if you suggest he needs a longer course since the issues are continuing? Someone else on here may have suggestions for persuading the vet to change his plan. Anyone?
     
  5. Jan 23, 2019 #5

    _ratowner

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    I must apologize. I got the measurement of his dose wrong in one of my replies. He is to be given 0.18 mL twice a day. I checked one of his old medication bottles (I don't know why I still have it) and it says that the mixture I have been given is 2.0 mL baytril and 2.0 mL strawberry syrup so that he will take his medication. I would hope that they would give me more medication if I asked for it. Just let me know if there is any other information that could help me with this predicament. Thank you again for your help. It is very much appreciated.
     
  6. Jan 23, 2019 #6

    Dena

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    Baytril is all he got? Maybe see if they can add doxycycline. Those two together are supposed to be really good. I know the doxy alone for 10 days isn't enough...learned the hard way. Hope he gets better soon! Maybe Lilspaz will see this and respond. She seems really knowledgeable.
     
  7. Jan 24, 2019 #7

    _ratowner

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    Update:
    I still don't know what to do. Last night I woke up to him breathing very roughly, I could hear him breathing both in and out. Do you think the temperature of the room that they are kept in could be a factor to his breathing? It is very cold where I live and the room that they are kept in is one of the coldest rooms in the house (not purposely) I am unable to put them anywhere else as they are kept in my bedroom. If it is the temperature, would getting a room heater work? Would it maybe stop him from getting problems so frequently? I would also hopefully be getting him medication soon too and I will hopefully get the correct amount needed this time around. My animals are the center of my life, they mean the universe to me. All replies, help, and advice is appreciated. Thank you in advanced.
     
  8. Jan 24, 2019 #8

    Lise Patterson

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    Definitely seek out the doxycycline, as Dena suggests, and do so ASAP. A doxy/Batril combo is usually the first line of defence against serious respiratory infections in rats...plus it may be that your boy has by now developed some resistance to the Baytril alone. If he's really labouring to breathe you might also enquire about using a bronchodilator such as Theophylline - this might deliver some much-needed symptomatic relief. Best of luck and please keep us posted.
     
  9. Jan 25, 2019 #9

    SQ

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    See if your vet will add azithromycin (dose is 10 mg/Ib) to the baytril, orally, twice a day for 6 weeks if it helps
    Azithromycin can be purchased from a pharmacy using a prescription from the vet (only good for 10 days once mixed so some divide the powder in half)
    As for the cold, it depends on what the temp is
    also a change of more then 5 degrees in temp within 24 hrs will cause stress and can cause illness

    btw, it would help if you added what prov you are in to your profile
     
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  10. Jan 25, 2019 #10

    _ratowner

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    I am not sure when I will be able to get him his medication. The temperature in the house is usually in the 70-80 degrees F but as I stated above, the room they are kept in is usually colder than that. I have noticed that he has usually only been breathing rough during the night time. I put a heating pad under their cage (not in it don't worry) with a towel over the heating pad so it doesn't press directly on the cage. It is set to the lowest setting and I will turn it off when I go to sleep. They are being supervised while the heating pad is on. I am considering buying a plug in room heater for when it gets cold, is that a good idea or should I try something different. For his medication, I have been told many different things on this forum. What is the correct thing that I should get? Medication names? Dosage? For how long? Should I get him reevaluated at the vet again to see if it is the same or if it is a different problem? If you need to know any further information to be able to help me better, just ask. All replies, advice, and help is very much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
     
  11. Jan 25, 2019 #11

    Dena

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    Definitely take the advice of SQ! I have only had rats a few years, and I'm always learning something new. Her and Lilspaz have had tons from what I gather. :D So their advice is going to be more valuable than mine. But I'd definitely get a space heater, but put it a little ways away from them, so they don't get too hot. I have even heard of people using a cool mist humidifier, to help with the dry air. I'd just be careful with placement on that as well. I'm sure they have better advice on that. Good luck! :)
     
  12. Jan 25, 2019 #12

    _ratowner

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    Sorry for being so repetitive but, in the bottom line, what medications should I get him? It is confusing because I have been told so many different things. I believe I will be getting a space heater. I heard that using a humidifier can drown your rats lungs so I am wary about that. Sadly, I am not sure when I will be able to get his medication as the person who would be paying for it "can't hear" him breathing roughly and couldn't seem to care less. I am aware that if left for too long it can be damaging so I want to know exactly what I need to get so that I can get it ASAP. Should I take him in again to get him reevaluated by the vet? Would their opinion be trust worthy? The medication that they have given me in the past didn't seem to work properly and they did not give me near enough. I only received enough medication for 7-8 days instead of 10 like they said. I don't want to be giving him all this medication and for it to be harmful or not work. Please get back to me if anyone can. All help is appreciated. Thank you in advance.
     
  13. Jan 25, 2019 #13

    SQ

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    The symptoms your rattie has can be caused by several different things, which is why it is important to see a vet, as vets can listen to the lungs, the heart, etc and have a better idea of what is going on. Different underlying causes often require different medications.

    If the medications he was on were helping, he was not on them long enough to get better, only long enough for the symptoms to disappear ….. which is why the symptoms returned.

    Since it is a long term problem, I would suggest baytril + azithromycin (10 mg/Ib), orally, twice a day. If it helps, then he will need to be on it for approx. 6 weeks. Rats need to be on antibiotics for at least 4 weeks and I find that mine need to be on antibiotics for 6 weeks. Here in Canada, you can get azithromycin from a drug store with a prescription from your vet. ……………….. if you find it does not help enough then doxycycline can be added to the baytril + azithromycin.

    There are other things your vet could prescribe to help his breathing …. if you post a video, lilspaz68 might have some suggestions of what you can ask for (post video to youtube and put the link on here)

    If the above doesn't work he may have a heart problem, and your vet could test for this with Lasix or benazepril. There are meds that can be used to treat heart issues in pet rats.

    The dose of the meds will depend on his weight and on the strength of the medication (mg/ml) ........... a digital scale with a tare function is an important tool for rat owners. If you give us that information, we can check the dose for you. You can also look up the meds on www.ratguide.com This is a vet approved site for rat owners - the info might be useful to your vet as well.

    You will likely need another vet visit to get meds for your boy. Try to find a good vet with the knowledge and experience to treat rats, or a vet that likes rats and is willing to learn. If we knew where you are (prov and possibly city), someone might be able to recommend a vet

    Also make sure it is not environmental. Any scents, dusty bedding, ammonia from urine if cage gets dirty or there is not enough air flow, can cause illness in rats. (I deal with that problem because where I presently rent, my rats have to live in an enclosed room that does not have a lot of airflow - I use air purifiers with a permanent hepta filter and replaceable carbon filters and it helps a bit)

    Hopefully lilspaz68 will respond as she is much more knowledgeable
    Can you post a video of your boy on here so we can see his breathing? (post video to youtube and then put the link on here)

    As for temperature, the temp best for rats is in the range of 65°-79°F / 18°-28°C (http://ratguide.com/health/basics/v...14TaJTjPAuF9dueXAHkUzUDK0ioLm0jUTHpNmVoGfD__A)

    You can cover the cage to try to keep it warmer (but they will likely chew holes in the material)
    Only use the heating pad under one side of the cage so they can get closer or further away and do not over heat
    Rats need to be kept a a fairly consistent temperature, changes in temperature more then 5 degree F in a 24 hr period will physically stress them and this can cause illness

    I am not a vet etc, just an experienced pet owner
    Can you add the prov you are in to your profile
    If you post on the facebook grp Real Rat Lovers Want To Know, they may have some suggestions for you

    For some info on what could be causing his breathing problems see https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/

    I understand your frustration and I hope this helps
     
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2019
  14. Jan 25, 2019 #14

    SQ

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    Can you post a video of his breathing (post video to youtube and the link on here)
     
  15. Jan 26, 2019 #15

    _ratowner

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    Thank you so much for all this information. It is very much appreciated.

    I do understand that it is best to bring him into the vet to get reevaluated. I do believe that the medication I was given was working but they didn't give me enough like you said which resulted in the symptoms disappearing but the problem still remaining and eventually coming back. I will definitely look more into the medications that you recommended. Would it cause him any harm by using them together? You see in humans that some medications are dangerous if mixed together.

    I wonder why my vet only gave me 10 days (in reality 7-8 days) worth of medication if it is supposed to be given for 4-6 weeks.

    I am unable to upload a video of his breathing as I do not have a YouTube account, I also don't have a way of uploading it even if I did, and his breathing only happens every so often. Over the past few days, I would usually wake up to it.

    I found it interesting that you said that it could possibly be a heart problem. Rats breathing gets rough if they have a problem with their heart? I didn't know that.

    Last time he got weighed, he was one pound even. There is only one vet where I live who works with rats, so going to a different vet isn't an option at the moment. I don't know how qualified in rat health the vet I go to is but apparently she is a exotic animal specialist or something along those lines (I'm not quite sure her title) I am wary about her as she was very rough with him last time and I felt so horrible afterwards. I do not feel comfortable sharing where I live but I do live in Ontario where it does get quite cold in the winters.

    I don't have any scents in the room that they are in (no candles, no perfume, etc) other than the smell from food that is cooked in the house that wafts into the room that I know of. When I got my rats, I switched them to fleece bedding right away. I also switched their litter to a dust free paper cat litter that is safe for rats. He does like to lay on the litter box sometimes to eat or what not and that could be a factor to the problems but I am not sure.

    I was also surprised to read that the best temperature for rats is around 65° - 79° F or 18° - 28° C because as a human, I even think that is too cold. The room they are in is usually around 22° C ( around 71.60° F) to my knowledge.

    I don't think I will put anything over the cage as like you stated, they will most likely chew it and also it would restrict the airflow which is the opposite of what I want to do. When I do use the heating pad to warm them up, I do put it more or less on one side. They have their litter on one side of the cage so I do not want to put it under their litter as it would just warm up the contents and stink everything up.

    Again, thank you so much for all of you help. I appreciate it so much.
     
  16. Jan 26, 2019 #16

    Dena

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    I don't know why, but this made me think of a rat scented scentsy! :p:p
     
  17. Jan 26, 2019 #17

    SQ

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    In the top right hand corner of this site, there is an envelope, if you click on it, you can send private messages. You might contact lilspaz68 to see if she knows of any good vets in your area of the prov. She lives in the GTA, and is very knowledgeable. Jorats, who is also very knowledgeable and is the founder of this forum, lives in North Eastern Ontario.

    It is unfortunate that you have no way to download a video as it is free to open a youtube account. Lilspaz68 might have a suggestion as to another way to post a video.
    Is it possible for you to email a video of his breathing to me and I can post it for you or share it with lilspaz68, who is the person I want to see it.

    My understanding is that exotic vets have an extra year of training but covers lot of different animals so spend little time on any one species. My vet is not an exotic vet, but he is willing to learn, likes rats, and 13.5 years of treating my rats (and others) has pretty much seen it all. ……………….. I am sorry that the vet handled him roughly. I had to see a vet like that before and I hated going there. You may need to drive a ways to get to a good vet …. some people use a local vet but travel to see a more knowledgeable vet for more serious issues.

    Your vet may have only given a small amount of medication in order to see if it would work, or different meds would need to be tried, and then if it was helping the vet would have given more meds. Or your vet may not know very much about rats.

    The medications I mentioned can be given together. Ratguide.com provides information regarding medications and what they can not be given with.

    The reference thread may be helpful https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/reference-thread-read-only.35894/

    Here are a few of the things that could be causing his breathing problems
     
  18. Jan 26, 2019 #18

    _ratowner

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    The weird thing is that he doesn't usually have rough breathing during the day that I know of. It usually happens late at night. I don't think I would be able to take a video even if I tried because it usually happens when I am asleep and it calms down when I attend to him if I wake up from it. I don't know if this means anything but it is just something that I noticed.

    The next closest vet to me would be around a 2 hour drive away. I wouldn't want to make that trip as it would stress my boy out being in a different environment with different sounds than he is used to and especially if he is taken alone. I do not want to put my rats through the stress of that. Also, I do not know anything about the other vets or their knowledge on rats. I will have to see what I can do.

    Thank you everyone for your advice. All replies are appreciated.
     
  19. Jan 26, 2019 #19

    Lise Patterson

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    In case you are in or near eastern Ontario (where it is also quite cold in winter) I can suggest two vet hospitals in the Ottawa area that have very substantial expertise in treating pet rats. One is Carling Animal Hospital (http://www.carlinganimalhospital.com/) and the other is Lynwood Animal Hospital (https://lynwoodanimalhospital.ca/). Needless to say, finding a good and trusted vet could save you much heartache...and it might also save big bucks over time by reducing the need for repeat visits.
    SQ was wise to raise the possibility of heart disease as a potential cause of laboured breathing; congestive heart failure is actually fairly common in rats, though admittedly not as common as respiratory disease. Ratty heart problems are often difficult to diagnose, however, even with imaging. Hence SQ's suggestion that the diuretic lasix (furosemide) might be administered as a diagnostic test - Lasix often delivers quick (though temporary) symptomatic relief in cases of heart disease. But Lasix also carries certain risks (see http://ratguide.com/meds/urinary_tract_agents/furosemide.php), so good veterinary oversight is again essential.
    The Rat Guide articles on respiratory and cardiac diseases mentioned above by SQ are truly excellent and worth a read (though a few of the meds listed are not available for veterinary use in Canada). The Guide also offers solid information - including dosages and contraindications - re the the various drugs mentioned in this thread, including:
    azithromycin: http://ratguide.com/meds/antimicrobial_agents/azithromycin.php;
    doxycycline: http://ratguide.com/meds/antimicrobial_agents/doxycycline.php; and
    theophylline: http://ratguide.com/meds/respiratory_drugs/theophylline.php
    Some points of note from these items: 1) the rat guide suggests that azithromycin may be more effective in young rats vs older rats with advanced or chronic disease (views anyone?); you didn't mention the age of your boy; 2) theophylline can offer benefits for the treatment of heart disease as well respiratory disease, though it's not a first line of defence for either; and 3) beware possible drug interactions if using azithromycin and theophylline together.
    If the Rat Guide material teaches us anything, it's that ratty health care is a VERY complicated business - there are so many variables, trade-offs, contraindications and other considerations for risk management. And the more I read about these things, the more I value the services of my rat-savvy vets. I truly hope you find a specialist that gives you peace of mind and gives your ratties the care they deserve. In the end, you may find this to be well worth a long car ride.
     
  20. Jan 27, 2019 #20

    _ratowner

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    Thank you for your input. It is very much appreciated.

    I live closer to Manitoba than to Ottawa so I am not able to go to either of the vets that you have suggested unfortunately.

    I hate to ask this as the answer will probably make me feel like a horrible pet parent but, how long can a rat live with a heart problem before it become fatal? (Please be gentle). I feel as though I am failing as a rat parent. I have been making him deal with it because I do not have the proper information to be able to know what is right for him or what is wrong. The person who is paying for the medication doesn't seem to want to. It sucks that the majority of the cost to go to the vet is just to see the vet, the medication isn't even too expensive from what I've had. I just worry that I won't be able to get the right thing or even get it in time and it will end up being too late or not work correctly. Sorry, I will stop babbling on, I just love my boys and don't want to see them hurt.

    I will certainly read the links that SQ and you have attached on diagnosis and medication information when I have some free time.

    I am unsure the correct age of my boy. When I got my pair I was told that they were around 8 months old I believe, and I have had them for about 5 months.

    What if the vet I am currently with misdiagnoses him? Could the problems get worse? What if they don't give me the correct medication as they may not know enough about rats? What if they don't give me enough for the proper amount of days that it takes to work? I just worry.

    Thank you again everyone for your replies. I appreciate the help so much. All replies are appreciated.
     

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