Can A Rat Person Tell Me If My Poor New Baby Ratties Are Sick? *Video*


♪♫ Rockin' Rooster ♪♫
12 Years
Dec 21, 2007
A week ago I got two male dumbo rats....they are really sweet and everything, but when I brought them home I noticed they were sneezing a bit. Sooo I looked online and found that they go through a sneezing stage when put in a new that was good to see... but now they are making a bit of a different kind of sneeze sound....
Here's the video of them, and of Kurt "sneezing"...

Is this normal for them to do this??? Or is something wrong with them
Gosh I don't know what I'll do if they are sick.....

Thank you, any feedback is more then appreciated. Hope you can help me.
I mean, they are both very active and show no other signs that something is wrong...They really got me confused here
I have had rats for a while and just a couple days ago we bought some more girls from Petsmart. One of the girls is sneezing but acting normal...I believe they are fine. As long as they are eating, drinking, pooping and just acting fine, I don't think there is cause for concern. Where did you get them?
Justion..not sure about the rats..sorry!
But i saw the other videos of you playing guitar.... Awesome job!!
Signs of ill health to watch for include hunched postures, weight loss, rough coats, continuous grinding of teeth, porphyrin in large amounts (red, often mistaken for blood by eyes and nose), squinted eyes, pulled back ears, bunched muzzle (makes the whiskers stand out..looks kind of like a human wince), and lethargic behavior. If they seem healthy, I wouldn't worry just yet. Regardless, when I get home I'll write up a bunch of stuff on mycoplasma for you. If you have rats, you pretty much are guaranteed to run into respiratory illness someday, especially if buying from pet stores. It's just good info to know. I wasn't able to watch the video either, and will have to wait on that as well. So basically, even if they are sick, there are good treatment plans out there.
Just watched the vid. Cute ratties! Well, right now, their coat and eyes are looking good, but those sneezes sound very wet and congested. Not normal "new environment" sneezes. Put your ear up to them and listen very closely. Do you hear clicking (congestion), or actual gurgling sounds in the chest when they breath. If there is gurgling, get them to a vet for antibiotics. If not, you usually will have time to treat at home, and some congestion is allergy related and/or nothing serious. It's always best to play it safe with rodents though, because they do hide pain and because (of their fast metabolism) they can go downhill very quickly, but don't freak out either. Both rats are not showing signs of ill health other than the sneezing. I see you have them in a well-ventilated wire cage and paper-based bedding, major points. When you bought them, were they kept in a glass aquarium or on wood shavings?

So, almost any rat you bring home is going to be coming home with lots of little buddies called mycoplasma. These are a bacteria that lack a cell wall. Due to this, it is hard to treat effectively with antibiotics, and most rats will have respiratory issues or just light sneezing crop up periodically throughout their lives as a result of this bacteria, especially when they are stressed or otherwise weakened. Some show no signs of ill effect from the bacteria, and it is rats that show resistance to myco that should be bred. I've had the worst respiratory problems in pet store rats. They just don't do controlled breeding like careful rat breeders do. I have a dumbo from a pet store who I raised from a (too young to be away from his mom) baby. You could count the vertebrae in his tail and all his ribs, that is how thin he was. I didn't know if he'd make it, but he did. He is a really strong, well filled out adult now, but he still has sneezing spells that need treatment. When he dies, it'll probably be related to respiratory illness.
But, even in really far gone cases, treatments can save them. They don't always work, and preventative care and a watchful eye helps them from getting to a really bad point.

You can use the home remedies below, even if they only sound congested to you. These are safe and do not lead to antibiotic resistant myco, so you can use these any time. Some general tips as well:

-Steaming your rats. Take them in a bathroom and run a hot shower. You can leave their cage by it, or have them on your lap. Make sure they aren't so close to the steam that it'll be too hot for their lungs. If your rats have really heavy breathing, it's amazing how quickly this can allow them to breathe easier. When I got my really sick little guy, he was too weak to even groom. He obviously felt better during the steaming sessions though, he'd even try to move around a bit, and it was the easiest time to get food into him. So, pretty effective. When done, let them sit in the closed bathroom until the room slowly reaches house temperature again. No sudden temp changes with sick rats! Running a humidifier can also help, though I find the heat of the shower can really help break up some of the mucous.

-Sock filled with rice and microwaved: Good way to retain heat and give them something warm to be near. You don't need to do this one, your guys aren't that sick. But a good trick for when you don't have a rat-safe heating element on hand and need one.

-Echidnacea: You can buy this dried or in liquid form. I broke open Wal-mart capsules, and mixed an amount in with food. There have been actual scientific studies to prove that it boosts white blood cell count, and thus the immune system ( ). I have found it to be very effective with sick rats and is easy to get them to take it. Some give it to rats their whole lives as a preventative boost. Just give them breaks in between administering it to help prevent the effectiveness lessoning. Some people do one week on three off, or three weeks on, one off, etc. Others swear by:
haven't tried it yet.

-Especially if a rat is showing signs of chronic respiratory ill health, keep the cage clean. You should not be able to smell any odor. I cleaned my sick little rat out at least once daily until he regained his strength. Use bedding (I have found paper-based beddings with low "dust" to be the best) that both absorbs and allows urine to dry, and that does not have irritating oils, odors, or 'dust'. Carefresh is the only paper based bedding I've heard negative things about, because it is dustier than other types. I hear it can cause a lot of sneezing and irritation, so check your brand and if a lot of tiny particles float up in the air when you pour it and move it around. If it leaves a kleenex-y feeling on your hands, if you can see things floating in the air...too much dust.

-It's often not necessary to separate cagemates, and can cause more stress. So long as one is not picking on a sick cagemate, by the time we see the symptoms, you usually aren't going to have something spread that hasn't already if it is going to.

-If a respiratory infection is severe, giving a rat children's motrin (plenty of dosage charts online for rats) can help. It is an anti-inflammatory medicine, so it can lessen pain and swelling in the lungs.

-Find a rat savvy vet, or a reliable vet who is willing to work with you to learn about treating rats. It can be hard to do. I finally found a country vet who was honest and compassionate, and who would listen to my input and research before he treated. Many rat groups go over different antibiotics in a format you can print of and discuss with your vet:

So yeah, don't be too concerned just yet, but so good that you are being very aware of your two cute new guys! I hope they stop sniffling soon so you can stop worrying.
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Thank you soooo much for taking the time to write me all of this :') Really appreciated

I listened to them, I didn't hear any obvious clicking sounds...

I bought from a pet store that had them in a glass cage, they were the only ones in there and they had just gotten them into the store 2 days before.

I am just going to keep a real close eye on them, do my best to keep their cage clean (that darn bedding is so expensive though >_< ) and if worse comes to worse, i'll start doing those things you mentioned.
Thanks again
No problem at all. Rats are an animal I just can not be without. You'll love them!

Ah, I've never ever gotten a rat from a pet store tank set up that did not have at least mild respiratory problems brewing. It's just an awful set up for them, drives me nuts that so many pet stores still use them. I wonder if they had been kept in the same manner previously, because two rats in one for two days should be fine. Does the bedding you have them on seem dusty? That can be a huge irritant. Best of luck, and enjoy your boys!

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