Author Topic: Possible Sendai Outbreak  (Read 707 times)

Offline lessthansign3

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Possible Sendai Outbreak
« on: October 14, 2016, 10:24:23 AM »
About a month and a half ago, I lost five rats within a 24 hour period. One died overnight, and nearly all of the remaining rats were ill that day. One died in my arms while at the vet, and three more died overnight. One was severely ill but recovered with antibiotic treatment. Three rats never showed any symptoms, including the two new rats who are believe introduced the disease (no, I did not quarantine because my QT cage was being used by an elderly disabled rat, though considering they never showed any symptoms it might not have helped).

I had a necropsy performed on the rat who passed while at the vets. She showed physical signs of pneumonia, and the only pathogen to appear during testing was mycoplasma, which I doubt was the cause here.

My suspicion is that it was Sendai virus, but I don't know if they tested for it during the necropsy (I forgot to ask my vet). My vet thought it could be the myco, but I've never heard of myco acting like this. Also, about a week after those rats passed, one of the new rats gave birth to two babies. She must have been pregnant when I adopted her. That's a very small litter for a rat and I know Sendai can affect litter size.

In the meantime, I've been afraid to get any new rats for fear that my current rats are still contagious. I am wondering if anyone here has advice. Was it probably Sendai and the people at the university just didn't test for it during the necropsy? Could it have been something else? Should I risk getting any new rats? I will for sure quarantine this time, of course. Advice would be appreciated!

Offline mamarat2

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2016, 02:02:40 PM »
Sendai is a virus and is not something that is commonly tested for at necropsy.  Blood needs to be sent to specific labs to test for that virus specifically.  To my knowledge, rats who have been exposed and had sendai can test positive serology (bloodwork) for up to a year after being exposed to the virus (just means they still have the antibodies for it, they are not actually infectious); waiting 2-3 weeks after all are healthy again i believe should cover you for quarantine time for bringing new kids in.

Rat Health Guide link sendai info:
http://ratguide.com/health/viruses/sendai_virus_sv.php
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Offline lessthansign3

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 04:39:59 PM »
Thank you so much! I guess I assumed they would test for Sendai based on the case history - with that many rats dying suddenly and from those symptoms. Unfortunately, many of us rat owners are probably greater experts on rat health than some of these vets. Sendai was one of the first things I thought of when this happened, but a vet who has never encountered it perhaps doesn't even know.

Either way, it was a devastating loss and I'd like to be able to get one or two more rats now since I got used to having such a large mischief.

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 08:41:47 PM »
It is not surprising to find the myco on the necropsy. With Sendai and SDA, the rats often don't die from the virus itself, but the virus weakens the immune system to such a point that secondary infections, such as Myco, wreak havoc and cause death. I am so sorry you experienced this. I hope your surviving mischief has recovered completely and live long healthy lives.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2016, 08:43:34 PM »
There is no treatment for Sendai, but rats need to be treated for potential secondary respiratory infections as they would take hold very quickly and kill a rat...your new rats might have been infected by Sendai but had a stronger immune system, while the other rats got both infected by Sendai and a secondary respiratory infection. A SRI can kill a rat within a few days even without Sendai. I'm so sorry about your losses:(

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2016, 08:47:12 PM »
You can get amoxicillin (Fishmox) so you can immediatly treat a rat who show signs of a secondary respiratory infection. In those case having it on hands can save a rat's life, as even a 12 hours delay in antibiotic treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

Offline mamarat2

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2016, 10:05:29 PM »
You can get amoxicillin (Fishmox) so you can immediatly treat a rat who show signs of a secondary respiratory infection. In those case having it on hands can save a rat's life, as even a 12 hours delay in antibiotic treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

FYI on that amoxicillin, I've never been a fan of treating respiratory infections with that stuff; not a vet just giving you long term rescue advice. Our vet used to opt to keep us stocked with baytril (enrofloxacin) on hand for times when respiratory infections flared fast.
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Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2016, 10:28:24 PM »
You can get amoxicillin (Fishmox) so you can immediatly treat a rat who show signs of a secondary respiratory infection. In those case having it on hands can save a rat's life, as even a 12 hours delay in antibiotic treatment can mean the difference between life and death.

FYI on that amoxicillin, I've never been a fan of treating respiratory infections with that stuff; not a vet just giving you long term rescue advice. Our vet used to opt to keep us stocked with baytril (enrofloxacin) on hand for times when respiratory infections flared fast.

Amoxicillin will only work with SECONDARY respiratory infections, not mycoplasma. Secondary respiratory infections are rarer than Myco but deadlier. Myco will take weeks if not months to kill a rat, but SRI can take only days- hence why treating with amox first if you are not sure what's causing the infection. I always have doxy and baytril on hands too.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2016, 10:29:57 PM by ILoveMyRatties »

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2016, 10:30:53 PM »
And of course Baytril and doxycycline WON'T work with secondary respiratory infections!

Offline lessthansign3

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2016, 08:11:18 AM »
Thank you all for the advice. During the incident I mentioned, I took the rats to the vet as soon as possible that day, because I had no idea what was going on. For minor things like myco flare ups and less severe respiratory infections, I keep baytril and doxy on hand. In this particular case the illness moved much too quickly - one rat was already dead before I knew anything was wrong, another died while we were at the vet, and three more died overnight after they'd had just one dose of the baytril/doxy combo the vet had prescribed. One who was sick did survive though, although I honestly think the fact I had access to a nebulizer saved him as there were times his breathing got very, very rough.

Now i have six rats left (including the two babies who were born shortly after all of this happened as I'm keeping both) and everyone is healthy and happy again. It was a traumatic experience, and I urge anyone reading this to learn from my mistake - *always quarantine new rats*. The two new rats who brought the disease in have never shown symptoms, but a quarantine period might have still saved my other rats.

Offline Vonda Z

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #10 on: October 15, 2016, 11:05:56 AM »
Amoxicillin will only work with SECONDARY respiratory infections, not mycoplasma. Secondary respiratory infections are rarer than Myco but deadlier. Myco will take weeks if not months to kill a rat, but SRI can take only days- hence why treating with amox first if you are not sure what's causing the infection. I always have doxy and baytril on hands too.

There is some misinformation here. Secondary respiratory infections are just infections that occur when the immune system is weakened by some other problem, like a virus or any other serious health concern like tumors/cancers. The secondary respiratory infection can be caused by any type of bacteria or pathogen that the rat may have had some exposure to, but that the rat could normally fight off with a healthy immune system. A rat that could normally fight off mycoplasma for weeks/months, will often die quickly from myco when it is a secondary infection because the immune system is much too weak to fight it off. Because all domesticated rats except lab rats carry myco, myco often IS the secondary infection in rats - it is easily controlled by the immune system when they are healthy, but flares up when not. And myco often leads to its own secondary respiratory infections as well, which is why sometimes meds that are ineffective against myco itself work to treat myco flare ups. The rat guide lists myco, CAR, and the normally nonpathogenic Pasteurella as being among the pathogens that frequently wreak havoc when Sendai virus is present. But secondary infections can be caused by any pathogen as long as there has been some exposure to it.

Basically, a vet has a better chance of determining what might be causing the secondary infections in a rat exposed to a virus (as well as determining whether or not a virus may be at play - and which one [Sendai or SDA] and thus has a better chance of prescribing the best antibiotic for the situation. They will also be better able to determine whether you need to switch antibiotics in case the wrong one was selected. I know that many people use OTC antibiotics without a prescription, but I personally never advise it. I have seen what such practices have done to aviculture, and now so many of the bacteria that affect birds are completely resistant to the overused and incorrectly used antibiotics. Also, each antibiotic has its own side effects and sometimes those side effects can make an animal worse (eg, SMZ inhibits appetite which can be very bad in an animal that is not eating). So your safest bet is to know a good small animal vet and to have a plan for what happens in case of an emergency and you need vet care right away.

Offline ILoveMyRatties

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Re: Possible Sendai Outbreak
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2016, 05:45:45 PM »
Amoxicillin will only work with SECONDARY respiratory infections, not mycoplasma. Secondary respiratory infections are rarer than Myco but deadlier. Myco will take weeks if not months to kill a rat, but SRI can take only days- hence why treating with amox first if you are not sure what's causing the infection. I always have doxy and baytril on hands too.

There is some misinformation here. Secondary respiratory infections are just infections that occur when the immune system is weakened by some other problem, like a virus or any other serious health concern like tumors/cancers. The secondary respiratory infection can be caused by any type of bacteria or pathogen that the rat may have had some exposure to, but that the rat could normally fight off with a healthy immune system. A rat that could normally fight off mycoplasma for weeks/months, will often die quickly from myco when it is a secondary infection because the immune system is much too weak to fight it off. Because all domesticated rats except lab rats carry myco, myco often IS the secondary infection in rats - it is easily controlled by the immune system when they are healthy, but flares up when not. And myco often leads to its own secondary respiratory infections as well, which is why sometimes meds that are ineffective against myco itself work to treat myco flare ups. The rat guide lists myco, CAR, and the normally nonpathogenic Pasteurella as being among the pathogens that frequently wreak havoc when Sendai virus is present. But secondary infections can be caused by any pathogen as long as there has been some exposure to it.

Basically, a vet has a better chance of determining what might be causing the secondary infections in a rat exposed to a virus (as well as determining whether or not a virus may be at play - and which one [Sendai or SDA] and thus has a better chance of prescribing the best antibiotic for the situation. They will also be better able to determine whether you need to switch antibiotics in case the wrong one was selected. I know that many people use OTC antibiotics without a prescription, but I personally never advise it. I have seen what such practices have done to aviculture, and now so many of the bacteria that affect birds are completely resistant to the overused and incorrectly used antibiotics. Also, each antibiotic has its own side effects and sometimes those side effects can make an animal worse (eg, SMZ inhibits appetite which can be very bad in an animal that is not eating). So your safest bet is to know a good small animal vet and to have a plan for what happens in case of an emergency and you need vet care right away.

I agree that secondary infections can be caused by myco bacteria  that now isn't under control anymore by a weakened immune system due to a viral disease here for instance. I should have worded my sentences better. However, what I meant to say is that bacteria other than the Myco bacteria all rats are born with (except lab rat), will kill a rat much faster. For that reason, I ALWAYS read that it is better to start with amox, although one could certainly try right away both amox and Baytril, for instance. My point was that in case of doubt, one should always start with amox because if you start with baytril or doxy, and the rat isn't better, it is often too late to try Amox. I always read that the bacteria responding to amox were deadlier in much less time than the Myco bacteria.