Author Topic: Home Remedies for possible URI?  (Read 28678 times)

Offline missdarkmonster

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Home Remedies for possible URI?
« on: August 16, 2013, 12:23:29 PM »
I have since found a vet that I can get to some counties away but he doesn't treat pet rats until they are around the 6 month mark. I have three ratties. Two of which I've already posted about some time ago which are doing great now. The vets where I live do not treat rats but told me to look into home remedies and also provided me with syringes that would make dosages easier. So I'm out of luck for a vet until my babies age a bit looks like. I live in quite a 'in the middle of nowhere' country area. Ahh.

Ok, so my youngest female is 5 weeks today. She was housed on dusty carefresh bedding when I got her and she didn't start sneezing until I brought her home. She's in a quarantine cage but she's next to my pair and I've noticed recently that they've started little sneezes. I've rat phoned my ratties and haven't heard any rattling or abnormal breathing. No porphyn or discharge what so ever in any of them. All of them are wide eyed and eating/drinking/playing just fine.

I've also noticed that when I have my youngest out that she doesn't hardly make any sneezing when I'm holding her and socializing with her. It's only when she's alone. So I'm wondering maybe is she showing stress signs from being alone? I tried introducing her to my pair but they would have NONE of it. Actually bolted from their cage which was quite the hassle. So.. anyways.

I've been told that antibiotics are bad for pet rats this young.. and I wouldn't have a way to get ahold of antibiotics unless I bought it for birds and got the correct dosage for pet rats.. but right now I need home remedies until my pet rats age.

I've heard of black tea leaves/raw honey, garlic? and how it's cleared up early infections.

Has anyone here had this luck with their ratties?

Should I adopt a fourth rat friend for my youngest? I was just afraid to add because shes sneezing and would hate to affect another if she's sick.. but I have reason to believe maybe it's from lonliness and stress?

Also sometimes she 'twitches' and popcorns around the cage much like a rabbit and the twitches scare me a bit.. Is she just trying to play? too much energy because she's a baby?

Telling me to go to a vet is not an option at the moment as the vets around here will not take them YET. They will have access to a vet when they are of age. There's nothing more I can do about that.

So home remedies like garlic? or baytril for birds (though I heard it's bad for rats this young and I'm wary)?

((I've also posted this on rat forum, I need all the tips I can get JUST IN CASE my baby is sick))

Offline mutewolf

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Re: Home Remedies for possible URI?
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2013, 12:45:41 PM »
If you post where you're located, sometimes members can help you find a vet that will actually treat them. That's an awfully unusual requirement and is a shame because rats can get sick at any age.

It's normal for a rat to sneeze when they come into a new home. We call them new home sneezies. It may last for a few days but to help her feel better, keep her on fleece, don't burn candles, no sprays, etc. Your quarantine is actually ineffective since she is in the same air space as your original pair so keep an eye on everyone for any sort of abnormal symptoms.  Since you've already started intros, keeping going with that. Use an area (such as a bathtub) that your original pair do not normally play in and slowly allow them to play together. If you search around the forum a little, there are many threads expanding on this process.

Garlic does help boost immunity in rats - I sometimes make noodles and add a little butter and garlic powder (fresh is better). I've had luck with warm baby food helping ratties feel better but keep an eye on symptoms - nothing can truly replace antibiotics.

I wouldn't adopt another rat until you've tried everything possible to introduce  your current three.

The twitches and popcorning are just their way of playing and is normal.

Offline missdarkmonster

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Re: Home Remedies for possible URI?
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2013, 04:35:32 PM »
Thank you! And I posted before when my first rattie had a miscarriage of sorts that I had to get her through by myself and a member suggested a vet but the vet they suggested is practically half way across my state and is too far to travel, literally since I don't have my license yet (I'm an adult I just have had too many personal family 'crisis' pop up that's prevented me from getting them) and my family does not have a vehicle that will make that drive. The vet that I found is a family vet that has treated my extended family for YEARS and he's experienced in a lot of exotics but has not had too much hands on time with rats so he's uncomfortable working on such little systems I suppose.. though he works on lots of small birds.. Either way I'm just thankful I have a vet for when my ratties become of age

Ahh.. well I guess the quarantining is ineffective.. I've heard a lot of people say don't introduce younger ratties to older pairs until there around 6 weeks, do you think it would be alright to continue? It seemed to really stress out my pair when I tried introducing my baby. They literally flee'd and I had to coax them to me for about an hour. The baby seemed perfectly content but my pair wasn't having it.. but I guess I can keep trying, I even tried the vanilla on the fur trick.. patience is the key though I suppose I just hate for her to be lonely if my pair keeps rejecting her to join their little colony

Oh and no worries, I don't use candles or fragrences to begin with. I used to wear perfume but I stopped when I got my rats because I didn't want to take any chances, I started them all on fleece bedding and change it at least every two-three days depending on the 'damage' The cages are also wire so ventilation is great  =)

Offline TrendyK9

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Re: Home Remedies for possible URI?
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2013, 04:52:37 PM »
Nothing will treat an infection besides antibiotics, and leaving one untreated is just not acceptable. There are no "home remedies" for infections. Some things, like garlic as stated, can boost immunity to fight off infections BUT it is not an effective treatment for them. You really need to find a way to get a hold of antibiotics - and TBH six months is a long time to not have access to vet care for a rat. If your baby is or gets sick then chances are she won't reach six months without treatment.

Can you not have this vet call another more experienced vet for advice? Or call another vet yourself and explain the situation to see if they can't suggest something? Or see if they won't call your vet for a chat? My vet is exotics experienced, and has plenty of rat experience, but he is not afraid to reach out to other vets for help. Like he tried to do for my Mac when researching bromocriptine for her PT.

As for antibiotics being bad for rats that young... i call BS. Infections and illnesses have to be treated no matter the animal's age because the infection/illness doesn't care about age. Any animal can get sick at any time, and you need to be able to treat it. Now, BAYTRIL is not good for baby rats - stunts growth i've been told - and that is the most commonly used antibiotic. But Zithromax (Azithromycin) is fine for babies (and nursing/pregnant moms.) I have an 8 week old baby on Zithro right now.

For now i would just keep an eye on the baby. Any breathing noises or serious sneezing/hiccuping/squeaking is not good. Any porphyrin? What is her activity level like? Her coat? The quarantine is useless because the cages are next to one another. Quarantine only works if you keep the animals in separate air spaces - or even different rooms, with precautions. Better start watching for symptoms in the other two as well. If everyone starts sneezing then you've most likely got a URI going around.

As for introductions.... try a neutral place like a bath tub and go slow. Maybe try one adult rat at a time, not the two against the baby. And it really isn't suggested to introduce babies to adults at that age. They're way too fragile and can't stick up for themselves. An adult could kill them easily. I've been told 8-10 weeks is the age to do introductions with babies and adults. Or older depending on the size of the baby.  So maybe you should hold off on trying more intro times for a few weeks?

Hold off on getting a fourth until you are 100% positive that you don't have an infection spreading - and you're positive that introductions won't work. I don't feel you've done quite enough trying just yet to say "they don't get along." Sometimes it can take a week or more to get introductions to go smooth.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2013, 04:55:32 PM by TrendyK9 »

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Home Remedies for possible URI?
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2013, 06:49:13 PM »
Sorry this is long - you asked a lot of questions in one post and I tried to address each one. I see while I was writing that TrendyK9 gave many of the same answers and I am too tired to go trim out the redundant advice.

I have since found a vet that I can get to some counties away but he doesn't treat pet rats until they are around the 6 month mark.

I have never heard of a vet refusing to see an animal because it is too young - they might not perform certain surgical procedures, like a spay, until they were a certain safer age, but as far as diagnosing something like a respiratory infection - there is not much difference between diagnosing a young rat and an older rat. As far as treatment goes, certain medications, like Baytril, are not recommended for younger rats, but surely they could look that up.

The vets where I live do not treat rats but told me to look into home remedies

Surely a vet would know that home remedies for serious illnesses like respiratory infections are not going to be effective? Even if they know nothing about rats, it seems odd for them to recommend home remedies for something they know nothing about.

Ok, so my youngest female is 5 weeks today. She was housed on dusty carefresh bedding when I got her and she didn't start sneezing until I brought her home.

If the sneezes are dry brief puffs of air and are not accompanied by any porphyrin, wet congestion, respiratory breathing sounds, etc, then they may be new home sneezes. It helps to use fleece instead of bedding and something that is not dusty in the litter boxes. HEPA air filters can also help, and regular cage cleaning of course. If they are new home sneezes, they should clear up on their own in a short period of time. If they do not, something else is going on.

She's in a quarantine cage but she's next to my pair and I've noticed recently that they've started little sneezes.

Unfortunately, this is not proper quarantine. The viruses you are quarantining for are spread through the air, so you need to quarantine in a separate home (airspace) for 3 weeks. If you believe that serious respiratory symptoms have spread from your new rat to your existing rats, then you may be dealing with a serious virus like SDA or Sendai. These viruses are often fatal, and your best chance at treating them is heavy use of antibiotics to fight off the secondary infections they cause.

On the other hand, if what your rat has is myco (a bacterial respiratory infection that all pet rats carry and that cannot be cured, although flare-ups can be treated with antibiotics), it is not possible for her to spread it to your other rats because they already have it. Flare-ups occur when the immune system is compromised in some way.

I tried introducing her to my pair but they would have NONE of it. Actually bolted from their cage which was quite the hassle.

Have you read about the proper steps for introducing rats? It is a slow process. If you skip ahead or move too fast, there can be problems, as you noticed. Here is a link with all the steps detailed. http://www.ratclub.org/ratcare_intros.htm

I've been told that antibiotics are bad for pet rats this young.. and I wouldn't have a way to get ahold of antibiotics unless I bought it for birds and got the correct dosage for pet rats.. but right now I need home remedies until my pet rats age.

Some antibiotics like Baytril are not recommended for rats under 4 months old . Others are fine. I believe azithromycin is safe. If your rat has a respiratory infection, home remedies are not going to help you.

I would again urge you to contact your vet and tell him/her that you believe your rat may have a respiratory infection, and see if he/she will see him anyway and prescribe an appropriate antibiotic like azithromycin. Tell him that if she has a respiratory infection at 5 weeks and you do not treat until 6 months when he can see her, she is not going to be around by then to be treated.

Should I adopt a fourth rat friend for my youngest? I was just afraid to add because shes sneezing and would hate to affect another if she's sick.. but I have reason to believe maybe it's from lonliness and stress?

You are not sure what you are dealing with right now, so you do not want to add another rat into the mix. You could have a virus on your hands that may be spreading. You don't want to bring another rat into your home until you know that your home is safe and also until you have the vet thing worked out.

Sneezing wouldn't be directly from loneliness and stress. However, loneliness and stress can, over time, weaken the immune system. A weakened immune system can lead to a myco outbreak, which will cause respiratory symptoms. However, alleviating the loneliness and stress will not cure the myco flare up - only antibiotics will do that.

Once you have done a proper introduction process, you will likely be able to integrate your new girl with your existing rats and will alleviate the loneliness that way. You may need to wait a few weeks, though. I have heard that 8 weeks is a safe age for introducing a baby to existing rats. And if your rats are sick, you don't want to add the stress of introductions until they are feeling better.

Also sometimes she 'twitches' and popcorns around the cage much like a rabbit and the twitches scare me a bit.. Is she just trying to play? too much energy because she's a baby?

This is normal young rat playfulness. Nothing to worry about.

Telling me to go to a vet is not an option at the moment as the vets around here will not take them YET. They will have access to a vet when they are of age. There's nothing more I can do about that.

I still urge you to see if you can change the one vet's mind or get him to refer you to someone who will see her. Surely your vet will want the best for your rat and if there is someone better, he can refer, if there is no one better, then he surely doesn't want you to let your rat die. That is just my advice. It is up to you to take from it what you can. I wish I had other vice I could offer.

So home remedies like garlic? or baytril for birds (though I heard it's bad for rats this young and I'm wary)?

Like I said above, these home remedies will not help.

Please don't mess with the Baytril for birds. I believe it has the concentration of the injectable (maybe it is the injectable, I don't know), which is very caustic. When treating birds with it, it is meant to be added to the water (finches are obligate drinkers and will drink a consistent amount of water each day or die), but you cannot dose a rat via the water supply - there is no way to get the exact dosage that way and the rat may refuse to drink water, getting dehydrated on top of everything else. The amount of injectable Baytril for an adult rat is very small - I don't think there is a syringe small enough to measure the dosage for a 5-week-old rat. And even if none of these were a concern, Baytril is one of the antibiotics that should not be given to young rats.