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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Pirate's Vet Follow-up - Salmonella or Respiratory?

Pirate had seen the vet earlier because of a sudden lack of appetite and heavy breathing. He had been fine and then was suddenly drastically ill. He had lost 50g and wasn't interested in his veggies or baby food or yogies. We thought it was a return of his chronic respiratory problems, triggering a lack of appetite - but it was troublesome that it got so bad in such a short time-frame.

Later, Petsmart notified us that his Innova dog food was recalled for possible salmonella contamination. Of course, this worried us greatly. Was it possible that his respiratory symptoms got triggered because of an infection like Salmonella? If you try to find information about Salmonella in pet rats - there is next to nothing out there. Most of what you will find is about humans catching salmonella from rats - very little about how salmonella presents in rats and how to treat. The Rat Guide does not seem to cover this illness - at least not that we could find. The best information available came from PetMD: Salmonella Infection in Rats.

We put him on antibiotics (doxycycline) and a bronchodilator (theophylline) for his breathing. He has improved tremendously on this treatment. His breathing is fine and he has started eating most foods again. He is still not eating his kibble very much (we switched him to Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight Adult), but he is eating most other foods and is acting much more like himself.

So this morning, he went back to the vet for his follow-up, and I am pleased to report that he is doing extremely well. He has gained the 50g back and has returned to his normal weight. We do not know whether it was salmonella or respiratory or something else, but I am glad he has recovered. We are keeping him on the antibiotic for a bit just to make sure we knocked this thing out. It is so nice to see a sick rattie get better. We always worry when they stop eating, because things can go downhill quickly from there.

Another example of why vet care is very important to these little guys.

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