Teddy doesn't look so good...

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New Member
Jan 31, 2018
I have two rats named Winston and Teddy. They're about 1 1/2-year-old boys and Teddy is slightly bigger than Winston.

However, I noticed today that Teddy is about the same size as Winston if not smaller. He takes twice as long to eat and he doesn't finish his food, he seems obsessed with his water bottle, his breathing seems labored, and whenever I try to hold him he lunges like he's about to nip at me, and then searches for more food.

Winston usually is the one that gets sick. He's had a very bad URI in the past, but that was treated. He seems to be doing alright compared to his brother, but housemates seem to get sick together (in my experience).

Any advice? I've read around and they've said potentially heart failure or another URI. I need to know if I should take him to the vet or not. The vet has given me extra refills on their URI medicine (Doxycycline and one that I can't find the bottle for right now) so if it's a respiratory infection, I can start treating them without an expensive vet visit.

I'm pretty desperate. Please help my babies.


Nov 1, 2013
North Texas
My first thought when I hear that a rat is having trouble eating is that it’s having problems with grinding his teeth down. Check and see if the teeth are crooked or angled to one side. If he doesn’t have them at the appropriate length he will be unable to eat very well. You might try soaking some kibble in some water so that it gets soft and he can eat it easier. I think he may be obsessed with his water bottle because he is hungry.


Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Nov 22, 2009
there are many reasons for a rat to take longer to eat, if he's got a resp infection, and his nose is stuffed up, it makes it hard to eat because rats need to breathe thru their noses.
Labored breathing is never a good sign.
A rat who is drinking a lot could have kidney problems, diabetes, or as Sheldon mentioned, is just not getting enough food.
His teeth should be checked and he really does need to see a vet to find out what's wrong.
what does he weigh? it's very helpful to get a digital kitchen scale, one used for weighing food and keep track of your rat's weights.
It's also essential to know their weights when you give them medication.
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Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
Jul 21, 2007
central New Brunswick Canada
Please take him to a good vet that has the knowledge and experience to treat rats asap!!
Rats who have resp. infections etc often find it difficult to eat and breath at the same time.
As Petunia said, there are several things that could be wrong .... and a vet should be able to know what is wrong and get him on the appropriate medication

Rats become ill and die fast so when we notice they are ill, we are already into a medical emergency.
So vet asap!!
If you are going to give doxy, you will want to also give baytril orally

Here is some info

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