Ask the Vet: Question/Answer for August 2007

Question: I just bought a pair of rats a few weeks ago & they got sick with sneezing. I gave them Clavamox antibiotics for 14 days. I gave them Yogies Yogurt drops to restore the natural gut flora. But it has been about a week and they still have diarrhea. Currently, I am giving them Dri Tail diarrhea medicine in their water. Is there anything else I can do while they are having loose stools? I have heard that you can give them Pedialyte for kids to prevent dehydration, is this true?

Rebecca H.

Answer: I wasn't sure from your post whether the sneezing has resolved. Rats are prone to upper respiratory infection with more than one organism- called chronic respiratory disease or CRD. This can be very difficult to resolve, and I'd recommend a vet exam. Also, be sure to clean the cage daily and remove any urine areas, as the ammonia in urine can be irritating, as can odors from wood (pine, cedar, etc) bedding. I recommend paper bedding such as CareFresh brand. Pedialyte is ok to give, although if they seem to be drinking well it is probably not needed. Again, if the diarrhea persists, a trip to your vet is indicated.

Dr. Gardner