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Sep. 15th, 2008

I have access to Baytril for my rats that have upper respiratory infections, but is there other ways to cure upper respiratory infections in rats? I don't know how I feel about using Baytril and other medications any more.

My rats live in a big cage, according to that ratty cage calculator it can fit 11, and I have 6. I only use fleece and flannel for bedding, they do not get care fresh, or aspen or wood chips of any kind. I clean their cage once a week and spot clean daily.

I'm pretty sure one of my newer rats has a URI now and I don't know what to do. I talked to my vet friend, and one of my vet tech friends and they said Baytril. Well yes I know about Baytril, but are their really other ways to help a rattie cold without using medications? Are their other human meds they can have?

Are their harmful ingredients in children cold syrup? I know you can't use pepto with animals, but I do use kaolin pectin for my animals. I order it from a chinchilla breeder. Is there other things like that you can use for rats?

I dunno what my problem is, I just don't want to keep using antibiotics with them. I'd rather if I can just make it more comfortable for them, can they work through it themselves? I do that with my colds, can I do that for my rats?

Humidifier help?

Any thoughts? Otherwise if it's not doable I suppose I just have to go use the Baytril. I will of course, that's not a huge deal at all! But any alternative methods for dealing with rats and colds, or uri's?


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:18 am (UTC)
I also read about antibiotics depleting their digestive system, or the bacteria that help break down foods? Are antibiotics totally necessary?
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:20 am (UTC)
I think the issue you're going to deal with as far as letting them fight it out on their own is that with animals (non-human animals, that is), if they can't smell their food, they won't eat. They're not like us. When we get sick, we know we have to eat to get better, even if we don't feel like it or we can't smell/taste our food. We eat that chicken soup anyway, and we drink our hot tea, and we nourish ourselves with wellness in mind. When I worked at an animal shelter, we would have upper respiratory epidemics amongst the cats. Those that had it the worst would stop eating the point that they had to be force-fed baby food with a syringe.

I, personally, avoid antibiotics at all cost, but for those cats? Baytril was a GODSEND. I would avoid using ANY human medications on my pets if I weren't 100% certain that each and every ingredient was safe, and 100% certain of the correct dosage. I know we used to give Robitussin to dogs with kennel cough, but I'm not sure at all if it's alright for rats. Furthermore, cold medicine merely treats the symptoms, not the sickness.

In all honesty, I would suggest the Baytril. Our animal friends are usually smaller than us and, therefore, more profoundly affected by things that start out as a simple cold.

I hope this helps a little, even if it's not the answer you wanted to hear. :)

Sep. 15th, 2008 05:22 am (UTC)
Right I totally understand that and I'll probably be picking up baytril in the morning for sure but I was just curious. I hate using antibiotics for many reasons.
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:26 am (UTC)
If you're worried about their digestive systems, it's definitely okay to give them some plain, non-sugar yoghurt. My hamster loves it. :) You can also buy little tubes of stuff called "Benebac" from Petsmart. It's basically a probiotic paste that restores natural gut flora. They market it for kittens, so you can find it with the kitten milk formula.

Hope this helps!
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:30 am (UTC)
haha yepp I have the powder form of benebac and the gel form on hand always. I just worry about things in relation to antibiotics that's all. :) thanks!
Sep. 15th, 2008 01:43 pm (UTC)
I agree. The only human med I've ever used on Abby (my 4-year-old DSH) was Neosporin when she scratched a sore on her chin, and that was only after the vet said it was fine to use.

I don't treat every cold with Clavamox (she has feline herpes and sometimes gets minor colds), but when I go to the vet and the vet suggests that that will make Abby better sooner, I go for it. It's not like I can take Abby into a hot shower and tell her to inhale the steam.
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:47 am (UTC)
I wouldn't tell my rat to do that, the whole shower thing. I just wanted to know if there was alternative method out there. I don't have a problem financially or any other way about the medications. I just prefer if there was a more natural, or alternative, or homeopathic way of dealing with it for rats.

One of my cats has feline herpes, she gets high doses of lysine.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
I put meds into baby food most of the time. They like it better, though my rat gave me some cherry syrup before one other time when I had baytril....wow that didn't help at all. So baby food it was.


I was just curious about alternative methods to deal with the illness, or alternative methods even to help compounded with meds. It appears there aren't any alternative methods really.

I had just read about echinacea and other ways some people deal with it, or prevent it with other rats.
Sep. 16th, 2008 09:18 am (UTC)
Just a note about mixing with baby foods, my vet told me that you can't mix the baytril with acidic/fruity foods (anything orange, apple etc.) because the antibiotics react to the acid. Pumpkin, egg etc. are fine.
Sep. 16th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
squash and sweet potato!!!
Sep. 15th, 2008 05:54 am (UTC)
A humidifier may help them feel better, but I'd absolutely use the Baytril. URI's in such small animals can become deadly very fast.

Why would you want to use children's cold syrup and not the Baytril? Unless a vet suggests it and gives you the exact dosage, definitely do NOT attempt that. At least Baytril is meant for rats, and would be properly dosed.

Check out the "ratties" community here on LJ. They're all pretty knowledgeable there :)
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:45 am (UTC)
Antibiotics. I was just trying to see if I could try alternative methods for caring for the rats. I use herbs, and all kinds of other things to heal myself and my husband when we're ill. I wanted to know if that was possible with the rats. I have gone to vet to get them baytril, doxy, vibromycin and other medications before now and I have no problem getting them now, I just wish there was another way other than getting medications. They don't sick that often AT ALL, I'm not worried about cost, or anything with meds, it's not that. I just do everything alternative if I can.
They are on doxy now.
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 15th, 2008 07:24 am (UTC)
Just my personal two cents:

I wouldn't enforce my beliefs down an innocent animal's throat. Disregarding Big Pharma and drugs and blah blah blah, Baytril was designed by experts of the veterinary / animal pharmaceutical field for rats in mind. They know best. Even if you personally don't agree with it it is probably what your rats need right now.

I don't know a lick about rats -- on top of that, a lot of the time animals react to food/herbs/drugs differently than humans do -- so that is the only advice I'm going to give.

If you still feel the need to ask for further advice you could try a vet / rat owner community if you haven't yet...
Sep. 15th, 2008 10:14 am (UTC)
antibiotics are usually needed by the time rats are showing symptoms of URI. Stick with the Baytril or a Baytril/Doxy combo. If you're worried about their digestive system, give them yoghurt daily too. That they will probably love you for ;-). If you let the URI just "keep going" they're probably going to die. Sorry, but it's true. Unfortuanately the way rats are built, they don't show symptoms until they NEED treatment. They tend to have chronic URIs as a breed. Humidifiers help with breathing and it sounds like the cage is fantastic. Are they in a draft? Something you might want to check. Also, did you properly quarantine your newer ones before you introduced everyone? I'm sure you did but since you mentioned having "newer" rats I like to check. The last thing I can think of is if you bought rats from a pet store they're likely to have more health issues than rats gotten from a reputable breeder. Good, ethical breeders breed for health and temperment so their rats tend to have less medical issues. Pet stores in general treat their rats like crap, buy them from rat mills, and generally don't seek medical attention for them.

Good luck. Remember that really...rats are probably going to get a URI and you'll have to treat it with an antibiotic. It's a fact of rat ownership. I had rats for years (i'm currently too busy with grad school to spend time with them so my last 4 boys were the last for a while after they passed) and I loved it. They are such fun little furry creatures. :-)
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:43 am (UTC)
Oh I love my rats, I was just curious about alternative methods for those symptoms. The newer rat was quarantined, she was supposedly pregnant but never had any babies the vet said she was fine. She went up for adoption and that's when I came along and took her home.

They are not in a draft, that's for sure but even so they used to have a blanket over just the top of their cage but they pull it in all the time, it was fleece. My thermometer and hygrometer above their cage don't read anything abnormal and they are on the opposite side of my bedroom from where the heat/ac duct is.

I have a calender above their cage as well, marking when things are abnormal, when they have abnormal poos and what not. I keep really track of them and all my animals.

I know I caught this as soon as someone started sniffling. She is active, she is eating and drinking for sure! She is just sniffly and sounds stuffy, so the vet put her on Doxy.

I was just curious I was reading on some rats forums and the rmca about echinacea and other alternative methods and I wanted to explore some more.

I use fleece, and flannel in their cages for bedding, hammocks, hidey houses and pretty much everything. The only wood they get is the wood houses my husband makes for them. I think he uses pine or poplar when he makes those.

Sep. 16th, 2008 02:52 am (UTC)
Pine bedding I know has been known to cause respiratory issues. Just an afterthought, maybe talk to him about using another wood like ceder, which tends to be the wood to use for bedding with small animals.

Good luck with the alternative methods search. :-)
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:53 am (UTC)
I don't ever use cedar bedding, or pine bedding. If I did use a bedding for the rats it would be carefresh. But I don't, I use fleece.

my husband makes them block shaped timber houses for them to sleep in, they have three of those but I think they prefer their fleece hammocks, or the things I sew for them out of fleece.
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
sorry-- I'm at work and tired so I didn't all the way explain myself. :-)

I was thinking maybe the oils in the pine little houses your husband is making could be aggravating their respiratory systems. I don't know if it works the same with blocks like it does with shavings (like bedding) but I don't see why it wouldn't. They're still being cut and the oils are probably still being released. Just something to think about. I used to use cloth bedding. Towels actually. I loved it. After years of using carefresh i realized the dust from the carefresh was annoying them (sneezing a lot, took 'em to the vet and at the time no other symptoms of RI). The sneezing stopped when I started using towels. :-) I'm sure fleece is super comfy on their feet. :-)
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:59 am (UTC)
OMG right? Care fresh annoyed me so much!! I'm happier with fleece!

That is true about the houses, I don't think vinegar affects the phenols. I soak them in vinegar before giving them to the rats. Boo.]

Sep. 16th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
heh no prob. sorry it was a bit incoherant at first. this is about the time in my work schedule when my brain starts to turn off (39.5 hours of work in two days = not good for thinking process. Even if I do get to sleep for 8-10 hours in those 39.5 hours...)
Sep. 15th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Because of antibiotics, the bugs have gotten too potent for natural immune systems. In nature, we would just let natural selection kill us off until the population consisted of those who had survived because of stronger immune systems, and the balance would be restored. But these are your pets - you do not want them to die of a cold, so you use antibiotics. This isn't a problem as long as you are careful not to introduce your possibly resistant germs into other rat populations, and as long as (if you breed your rats) you breed only the ones who are not catching the URI, or at least who recover the fastest.

Use probiotics to help their digestive systems.
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:36 am (UTC)
No I do not breed, they are my pet rats. I picked their meds when I went to work this morning, which they went with Doxy this time.

I was just curious about alternative methods, and other ways to treat the problem.
Sep. 15th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
Antibiotics are usually necessary to treat URIs for rats. You pretty much never want to use human medications in animals because you can't be sure of the dosing. Even the tiniest bit could cause severe side effects or even kill them.

Baytril was designed for use in small rodents, so it's the safest, most effective option out there.

A humidifier may help, but at the same time, it may just make them uncomfortable, what with the fur and all.
Sep. 16th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC)
I did pick up the meds when I went to work, they are on doxy right now instead of Baytril. I caught it fast and they all seem to be very well. Only one was showing symptoms, they others are being watched. I was just curious about other alternative methods to caring for sneezing, and other symptoms that come with URI's or possible URIs.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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