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URI getting worse...

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rmn34

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What are signs that a URI is improving on antibiotics?

Specifically how does the mucous that was once in the lungs and/or bronchial tubes leave the body? Is it absorbed internally or does it come out through the nose and mouth?

Could increased nasal noises be the result of an improvement due to medication? Or does that mean the medication is not working?
 

shaunavalon

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Usually, when treating rats for URIs, the right antibiotics causes them to improve. The phlegm and mucous tends to go away on its own - the antibiotics would not give them runny noses (or nasal congestion).

It could be a sign that they are not improving. Sometimes URIs in rats can be an uphill battle and it can take a long time to resolve.

How long has your rat been taking medication? How long have you noticed that they are unwell before treatment? What antibiotics are they getting?

Often times you will see an improvement in 2-3 days or even less - it depends on what antibiotics they are given and how sick they are and how they respond to the antibiotics.
 

rmn34

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Over a month on Azithromycin + Baytril. Then added Clamavox about 2 weeks ago.

It was previously just chirping and hiccups once or twice a day, then started rapid breathing last month, and recently over the last week it has turned into congestion and honking noises sporadically. Tonight the honking is very frequent.

Don't know what to try next. Maybe increasing the dose?
 
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shaunavalon

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Ouchies - if they have been on it for a month now, and they are getting worse still, I highly recommend consulting with your vet about it.

I am also hoping maybe some other members can comment along with me.

Usually if it is getting worse, then it is is not a great sign. Sometimes they can end up being on antibiotics for months and it eventually clears up, it is not always easy to tell.
 

rmn34

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He has said there's not much that can be done at this point.

I guess I will try pseudoephedrine and increase the antibiotic dose.
 

rmn34

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I gave him 0.1ml of children's pseudofed. I can't tell if its doing anything. Going to try nebulizing albuterol next.
 

Big Schpog

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What are signs that a URI is improving on antibiotics?

Specifically how does the mucous that was once in the lungs and/or bronchial tubes leave the body? Is it absorbed internally or does it come out through the nose and mouth?

Could increased nasal noises be the result of an improvement due to medication? Or does that mean the medication is not working?
I'm currently going through this with one my very healthy rats. She started that 'noise', that low honking noise they make about a week ago. I took her to the ER last night and she has no temp, eating drinking normally, no piloerection, still active, but she's making those little soft chirpy duck noises.

They gave me AB's but told me to wait and see if she can clear this on her own and told me it was very mild. It could simply be the change of seasons or, as the vet suspects, environmental. IOW, something is causing her to be congested but it's not an infection.

I clean their bedding every day/every other day. I clean up all their poop spots the same way. They are never allowed to sit or sleep on ammonia. However, the vet told me that rats will get into areas we don't clean as often. I have ONE spot behind my dresser that I haven't cleaned in a long time. This may be aggravating them. They don't sit behind there but they do TRAVEL behind there. THe solution, is to pull that dresser out and give it a good hot water/bleach cleaning. This will be done of course because it is the ONE spot that I can't access frequently, but they can.

Are there any environmental things you can think of? Also, rats are sensitive to where they are, for example, near a window or getting any kind of draft etc. or a space heater or something.

Also, this could be mycoplasmosis where your rat gets flare ups, some are major, some are minor.

There is also, as shauna just stated, the right antibiotic for the right bacteria. It may take amoxicillin or another type of AB.

Is there mucous coming from the nose of your rat? Does your rat have a temperature? These are important clues.

What about activity level? Piloerection? Excess porphyrin that isn't cleaned up by the rat?

Now, I'm not in your situation but if they're still making noises but they are OK otherwise, I wouldn't keep my rat on AB's, simply because they aren't doing anything and aren't good long term uses on anyone, even a rat. There is a natural balance in bodies that gets totally out of whack with AB's.

I'd be more proactive in giving breathing treatments instead of AB's just to assist breathing without internal meds.

If this is an environmental issue, you have to figure out what that is.

In humans, the change of seasons can bring about all sorts of sniffles and I imagine it's the same in rats.

Here's a little anecdotal analogy, I have trace amounts of blood in my urine. I've had every test to rule out nasty things and I'm healthy and active. My Kidneys are functioning properly but I just have that tiny tiny trace amount of blood that is picked up on urinalysis. There's nothing to be done about it. I've gotten all the tests, I'm functioning properly, I just have a tiny tiny tiny trace of blood in my urine.

Rats can be sniffly without something serious going on. I know with rats you do need to be extra careful though b/c of their sensitive UR systems, but sometimes there's really nothing major wrong that requires AB's.
 

shaunavalon

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I want to warn you to be careful with Albuterol and other such similar medicines - it raises heart rate in mammals, and if you are not careful your rat could stroke / cardiac arrest / heart attack. Overdose in smaller mammals like rats who breathe a lot (rats have high breathing, high heart rate and high metabolism) is dangerous. I have had a rat who was nebulised who had a heart attack / suddenly and spontaneously died. She was terribly sick with mycoplasmosis though.

Also, what do you use for bedding? any wood and/or pine based woodchips and sawdust is a big no no if your rats are not 100% healthy. Rather use kitchen paper towel or newspaper.

My current rats were all born and raised by their breeder in sawdust, so they are totally fine with it, but it is still not recommended. I do use apple sawdust though, which is much better than pine.

I know it is really hard to have rats with sniffles and not know how to deal with it.

Also, bear in mind that it is also a good idea to get some probiotics to give with their food when you give them antibiotics long term. Make sure that for 2 hours before and after dosing that they do not have probiotics, but other than that, give them some - you can buy the powder to mix with their food and just remove the food 2 hours before and replace it 2 hours after.

It is also not always good to just keep increasing the dose over and over - try a different antibiotic.

If they have been on it for a month now, see what happens if you stop giving it to them for 1-2 days - do they get worse? If so, put them back on but I recommend trying a different antibiotic. I know that at one point I had rats taking 3 different antibiotics at once which finally worked out (doxycycline, amoxycillin and azithromycin).
 

rmn34

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It started off as sneezing. Many months ago.

Then it turned into a chirping hiccup. It would happen once a day at first. This happened for a few months. I was told this is mycoplasma, so I started on AB. First Baytril, then Batril + Doxy, then Baytril + Doxy + Zithro.

Around this time his rate of breathing started increasing. The high was around 180 with the average being 160

A few weeks ago it turned into swollen lymph nodes. He started losing weight around this time as well.

Then a few days ago it turned into him having breathing trouble and he has lost all interest in his food and water, but will still seek out treats and unhealthy human food.

His breathing was sporadic honking at first, but now it is constant with sporadic periods of silent breathing. He has had a few times where he could not get enough air and was panicking. I assumed this was due to dehydration so I started force feeding him watered down ensure, which seems to have eliminated the choking for the time being.

I keep his cage very clean. White carefresh; I remove poops immediately and change the bedding as soon as it starts to yellow. The cage never smells bad.

@shaunavalon
The only thing he is not on now is doxy, but he has already been on that before. Hence increasing doses is the only option I have left?
He gets BeneBac daily.
I already tried stopping the AB after they proved ineffective against his chirping hiccups... In a few days he started sneezing again and I restarted them.

@Big Schpog
How do I take his temperature? (He barely lets me wipe his butt without freaking out)
No piloerection
There is some red mucous coming from his nose occasionally.
Activity level is non existent. He hides in his hut or on my sleeve at every opportunity.
No porphyrin from eyes, possibly from nose (cant differentiate it from the mucous he sneezes up)

Apologies for the low quality audio, had to use my phone.
 
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Big Schpog

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It started off as sneezing. Many months ago.

Then it turned into a chirping hiccup. It would happen once a day at first. This happened for a few months. I was told this is mycoplasma, so I started on AB. First Baytril, then Batril + Doxy, then Baytril + Doxy + Zithro.

Around this time his rate of breathing started increasing. The high was around 180 with the average being 160

A few weeks ago it turned into swollen lymph nodes. He started losing weight around this time as well.

Then a few days ago it turned into him having breathing trouble and he has lost all interest in his food and water, but will still seek out treats and unhealthy human food.

His breathing was sporadic honking at first, but now it is constant with sporadic periods of silent breathing. He has had a few times where he could not get enough air and was panicking. I assumed this was due to dehydration so I started force feeding him watered down ensure, which seems to have eliminated the choking for the time being.

I keep his cage very clean. White carefresh; I remove poops immediately and change the bedding as soon as it starts to yellow. The cage never smells bad.

@shaunavalon
The only thing he is not on now is doxy, but he has already been on that before. Hence increasing doses is the only option I have left?
He gets BeneBac daily.
I already tried stopping the AB after they proved ineffective against his chirping hiccups... In a few days he started sneezing again and I restarted them.

@Big Schpog
How do I take his temperature? (He barely lets me wipe his butt without freaking out)
No piloerection
There is some red mucous coming from his nose occasionally.
Activity level is non existent. He hides in his hut or on my sleeve at every opportunity.
No porphyrin from eyes, possibly from nose (cant differentiate it from the mucous he sneezes up)

Apologies for the low quality audio, had to use my phone.
The red stuff from nose is porphyrin and it's normal and they do clean it up on their own. I'd assume the vet uses a non touch temp gauge. There's no way you can stick a thermom up their butt. My vet takes the temp of my rats, as well as checks their breathing rate. I do have a rat now that make some noises but she's normal in every other respect so the vet doesn't want to overload her with AB's that she probably doesn't need and wouldn't work anyway. She doesn't make these noises constantly, and to my vet, this is what makes her think it's an environmental cause and not an infection.

He may have myco but antibiotics aren't always needed. Some rats get sneezy at environmental things that we don't know about. Yes, we can rule out by doing cleaning but sometimes they're just sneezy at things like dust that we don't see. My vet said rats can clear things on their own sometimes if it's mild.

One last thing, some rats DO need to be on a low dose of AB's for the rest of their lives, or a pulse dose of AB's due to myco.

I'm a bit concerned he's been on AB's for a long time with no benefit.

I'd take him back to the vet and show the vet these messages and see what s/he says.
 

rmn34

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I have already been back more than once. They don't have any more options other than AB and nebulizing.

-

Now he is sneezing frequently in addition to the noisy breathing; I assume he is trying to expel the congestion. He will extend his head and tilt his nose upwards while opening his mouth and making a wet noise. He just stopped a few minutes ago.

One thing that's really odd is that his breathing rate is actually much lower right now than usual. I just recorded it at 105, while it has been holding pretty steady at 150-180 the last few weeks. The lowest it has been prior to this was 133 four days ago. So it has decreased significantly.

Does this mean that he has more lung space available because he has expelled some of the congestion? i.e. he is improving?

Or is there a more ominous cause for the decreased breathing rate that I'm not considering, that is associated with late stage URI?
 

lilspaz68

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I have recently been informed that the contagious rat viruses (Sendai and especially SDA) are flaring up across the USA again. The swollen lymph nodes, the subtle symptoms, the lungs being constricted, not being able to get enough air in and panicking because of this, and the looong slow recovery is VERY indicative of these viruses. Do you have any other rats? If your rat was mildly sick when the virus was contracted then it would flare up into the much worse and scary stuff you saw. How long since the lymph nodes were swollen? I assume they went down within about 5 days?
 

Ratmomma2016

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@rmn34
I have a small carrier with holes in it (its marketed to kittens but I use it for transporting my rats). I put my sick rat in, covered the carrier with a warm/slightly damp towel and held a nebulizer to the front, where she stuck her face up to the bars (as she moved around the front, I would follow her with the nozzle).

Since the carrier was covered, the steam would build up in the carrier & I would leave her in it after the treatment, for about 5-10 minutes so she could continue to breath it in.

My vet prescribed hypertonic saline 7.2% and I used 2ml every 12 hours.

I also had to make her decaffeinated tea to get her to drink fluids because this treatment can cause dehydration and I'm paranoid and didn't think she was drinking enough even though she was drinking. So I would make her warm tea afterwards and soak rice krispies in it to ensure she got some fluids in her system.

I did this treatment for a month and saw improvement after 4 days. I continued doing it because she would still have random flare ups, but by the end of the month she was fine.

I did set up a 2nd humidifier (I already had 1) to ensure humidity stayed at about 40% in the room. I also set up a heat lamp by her favorite cozy spot.
 

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rmn34

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@lilspaz68
They swelled up around Sep 28th. They have not gotten smaller, perhaps a little bit bigger since then. No other rats since the beginning of September. The only way he could have contracted it could be in the vets exam room, when I took my other one in they went together. (Although they supposedly wipe down the table between clients.)

"With SDAV respiratory involvement and with the secondary infections you will notice such symptoms as: sneezing, fluid in the lungs, porphyrin staining from eyes and nose, loss of appetite, lowered fluid intake, weight loss, lethargy, and general respiratory distress." - ratguide

He definitely has all those symptoms, although that could be from the secondary myco infection?

I allowed him to get weak and dehydrated last week, but now that I am forcing him to eat he seems much more active and alert. This combined with the decreased breathing rate makes me think he might be fighting it. (But this could just be the steroids or the increased AB dose).

He is still having the same bad congestion, today it is even worse and his breathing is back up at 185 just now.

I am probably going to start giving him oxygen if it gets any worse. I dont know what else to do.
-

Does the lowered rate of breathing indicate that he is improving? Or does that always happen in late URI?

Would the pred cause him to feel better while not actually helping his respiratory destress?

What other medications or treatments should I try at this point?
 

lilspaz68

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the lowered breathing rate sounds like he's improving. The pred will help any internal inflammation in his lungs and keep them open to get my oxygen in.
If you are seeing recovery albeit slow, i would continue with what you are doing.

Can you get a video so we can see how he's breathing and hopefully hear what type of congestion is going on?
 

rmn34

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He is all over the place. A few days ago his breathing was down to 105, which is the slowest I have recorded since this started, and yesterday he is up to 210. Today back to 140.

Here is the video. Headphones are recommended.

 

lilspaz68

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You are one of the few people who actually calculate breathing rate, most people look at symptoms, and effort of breathing.

That is thick.congestion. it sounds like it's in his lungs (pneumonia). How old is he? He's so tiny.

You said he had a respiratory attack early where he was gasping with his head held high?
 

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