This article is from the Winter 2002 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M.
Rhiawna Bracci, e-mail
QI have a rat about 6 months old. He has never been around other rats except when he was a baby. Well, the point is, I got another rat just a few days ago. The baby is fine; however, my other rat is not—he has gotten quite ill, and I have no idea why. He is breathing rapidly and just doesn’t have his normal perkiness. I have separated the two rats. I was wondering if you might have an answer.
AWith these generalized symptoms, the cause could be any number of viruses or bacteria. It is always best to quarantine new animals for at least 2–4 weeks before mixing them with your previous animals to protect both the new and previous animals. Antibiotics may be indicated, and with these acute (rapid onset) of symptoms, this animal should be examined by a veterinarian.
One thing to keep in mind with bringing in new animals, there is always a stress with moving from one environment to another. It is not unusual for the actual act of being moved from one home to another home to cause enough stress to bring out any underlying disease conditions.