<$cats, rats, pets, advice$>

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Rat Doctoring

I haven't posted for several days now because I've been doctoring a sick rat. Sally Salome Rattie Rat has mycoplasma, which is a common respiratory disease in rats. She's been wheezy and lethargic, with porphyrin discharge from her right eye, and feeling all-around crappy. I've been treating her with liquid Baytril and liquid Vibramycin (doxycycline). It's been touch and go, but she seems better today. I've also given her some dark chocolate, which can help rats with breathing difficulties. Chocolate contains Theophylline, which is known to help breathing troubles decrease in patients with asthma. (See, there's another legitimate reason to keep dark chocolate around the house!)

If you have rats or you're thinking of having rats as pets, I recommend reading about the illnesses that affect them. Sooner is way, way better when it comes to treating your rat's illness, so if you're aware of what symptoms to look for, you can get a head start on helping your buddy. Hours can make a difference. If you can, keep a supply of tetracycline, Baytril, and doxycycline on hand (this can be ordered without a prescription from Jedds, a pigeon/bird supply company...no fooling. They've got the stuff.) I also recommend the following Web sites for learning about rat illnesses and how to treat them:


If possible, take your sick rat to a veterinarian with experience treating rodents.


Anonymous Ratty said...

Wise words, it's taken me 4 years to vet who keeps rat herself but I've finally done it! :)

I didn't realise it was OK to give rats dark chocolate, I always thought there was the same risk there as there is with dogs. Interesting that it helps them, and hey..any excuse to keep plenty in! ;)

1:54 PM  
Blogger Taliesin's Muse said...

The rats really like the chocolate, and it hasn't had any ill effects. I had a cat who LOVED chocolate--was a chocolate freak--and it never harmed him, either. Of course, we're talking extreme moderation here. No Hershey bars all to oneself. Just a nibble or two.

To treat Sally Rat, I bought some dark chocolate nonpareils (without the sprinkles) at Henry's (a whole foods store). I cut each nonpareil into three; what one rat has, the others want as well. They receive only a little each, about the equivalent of a third of a slice of carrot.

I use to take my cats and rats to a wonderful vet around the block from me, but he relocated about a half hour's drive away. I really liked him...he didn't rush, explained things well, and was realistic about treatment and outcomes. He saved Elsinore when I thought all was lost with her.

9:22 PM  

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