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Thread: Sneezing

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    Sneezing

    Hey guys

    So I recently picked up two breeder female rats (one happened to be pregnant) from a pet store, in the hopes of starting a small colony, and have a concern.. I'm noticing that one female is sneezing quite a bit. It seems to happen most often when I'm around/attempting to interact with them, so I wondered if maybe it was stress related.. but at the same time I don't want to risk it being something contagious that spreads to my pet rats. They came from the same cage, so they've been together for a while now, however only one is sneezing and the other isn't. Should I separate the two? Or euthanize the sneezer just incase? Or do I spare the risk, euthanize both and start over from a different store? Advice is appreciated

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    Bogertophis's Avatar
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    No way to say for sure- it could be a health issue, but also could be allergic reaction on her part. What bedding are you using? Pine irritates some, & cedar is a no-no! (for rodents or snakes)
    If they've already been living together, I don't suppose it's a rush to separate them right this minute. I just hope the pregnant one is not the one sneezing...

    On the other hand, many years ago (before I got into snakes) I got a pair of pet rats & shortly after I got them home, noticed they both seemed to have "colds". Took them to a (surprised) vet, treated with 2 different courses of medication to no avail, both died within a month of when I brought them home. As I said...no way to tell you. Sorry.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    They're on aspen at the moment, just because I'm finishing up the bag I've got. But they may have been on pine at the pet store.. I did see that they were in wood shavings, I'm just not sure which kind. Luckily it's not the pregnant one that's sneezing, it's her cage mate. Would you say the best course of action would be to just monitor them both for now then? In the meantime, I'm assuming hold off on breeding them..?

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    Re: Sneezing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrr View Post
    They're on aspen at the moment, just because I'm finishing up the bag I've got. But they may have been on pine at the pet store.. I did see that they were in wood shavings, I'm just not sure which kind. Luckily it's not the pregnant one that's sneezing, it's her cage mate. Would you say the best course of action would be to just monitor them both for now then? In the meantime, I'm assuming hold off on breeding them..?

    It's your best guess...you're seeing them, we aren't. I assume they both LOOK healthy since you bought them. Maybe she's allergic to you, LOL.

    I would definitely keep them away from your other rats, though, & make sure YOU aren't a "vector" going between them. (ie. treat them as in quarantine, deal with the new ones last in the day, so that your shower & change of clothes happens before you deal with your pets.)
    Last edited by Bogertophis; 02-09-2021 at 09:33 PM.
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    Haha I mean, she didn't start sneezing just now until I picked her up, so that's a very good guess. They both look bright eyed, alert and healthy other than the sneeze. Hopefully it's just an irritation that passes 🤞

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    Re: Sneezing

    Quote Originally Posted by Mrr View Post
    Haha I mean, she didn't start sneezing just now until I picked her up, so that's a very good guess. They both look bright eyed, alert and healthy other than the sneeze. Hopefully it's just an irritation that passes 🤞

    You never know, it could be something like the fragrance in the soap you washed your hands with- let's hope it's "nothing". It doesn't always mean anything when we sneeze either. Fingers crossed!
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    All rats carry myco (except very rare lab scenarios where they are born by c-section). Many lines have pretty terrible resistance to flare ups, and stress brings on a flare, which often leads to URI. You are going to be hard pressed to find a line at a pet store that doesn't have this happen on occasion to some extent, but if it's a repeat issue, you are better off euthanizing and starting over.

    If the rats are just doing a sneeze here and there, it might settle down after you have had them a while and just be related to the stress of moving. If you are hearing them wheeze, they are sneezing or coughing frequently, or losing weight, your options are to treat them or euthanize, and I can't imagine spending the money on a vet visit for feeder breeders. With enough experience you can treat them yourself in a lot of cases, but it's not something you can learn quickly, it takes time and experience. I absolutely would not use medication in their water like some people recommend because there is no way to make sure they are drinking the exact right amount of water for an appropriate dose. If you for some reason decide to try and treat on your own, you should medicate them individually for 10 days.

    The first thing I would look for is that the exact bedding you are using to see how dusty it is. If there is much dust, that is a likely culprit. Rats have very sensitive little lungs because of myco. If you can't find a good brand of aspen bedding, you might have better luck with corn cob bedding or recycled paper pellets. Here I'm able to pick up Envigo aspen in a HUGE bag at the feed store for dirt cheap, but no idea if that is available there. It might take some trial and error trying different brands.

    The next thing I would check is if they are getting enough airflow. I can't imagine your enclosure or tubs is dirty enough yet for that to be the problem. Do you have a rack or wire cages? If you are using aquariums, I'd stop doing that. Many people use aquariums, and if it works, it works, but so often it doesn't. The airflow in those is pretty terrible because of the proportions and all sides being solid. With a rack, it's still only the top getting air, but it's so much shorter that it's enough.

    It very well could be allergies as Bogertophis suggested as well, but I'm inclined to believe it's far more likely to be a myco flare. Can't hurt to pay attention to what skin products you are using and see if certain times are worse or better based on when you last used them, etc.
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    Hmm, the pregnant one (who gave birth last night) has started sneezing now. I can't tell for sure if it was her, but I think it was. I'm going to take her out in a bit to see for sure, but I'm thinking I might have to euthanize this batch

    I'm really stuck on what to do.. On one hand, it could just be due to the conditions they came from. They came from a glass tank without the best airflow, and wood shavings that may or may not have been pine. On the other hand, if it is something contagious then the longer I keep them around, the more at risk I put my own 4 pet rats. I'm thinking the best option is euthanasia, and start over from a pet store with a better reputation. Thoughts? I'm also not sure if I should even feed them to my snakes at this point

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    It's totally your call. When I had pet rats, that was long before I raised them for snake food- it was never at the same time, so my actions with feeders was not based on their pet-status, or any risks to pets that I had. In my experience, some rats will sneeze long-term but don't appear to be sick, & as such, they're no risk as feeders- IMO. On the other hand, any rat that sneezed & then appeared* to be unhealthy- that was an easy choice- it was euthanized. *You can tell easily- they sound congested, sit hunched over with fur looking ragged, & often lose weight.

    The grey area is about keeping those only sneezing as breeders because sneezes are not created equal, & whether or not these rats are any risk to your pets?- you could easily be the "go-between". Tough decision, glad it's yours to make. I guess this is where the expression "RATS!" comes from? When I raised rats, they were handled as pets & I didn't keep any with bad temperaments- I easily picked them up to listen to their breathing if I suspected any illness.
    Rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength.
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    I probably wouldn't risk it if you have your pet rats near them and don't have somewhere good to quarantine.
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