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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 28956
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience
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My female rat is making a clicking noise when she breathes

Customer Question

my female rat is making a clicking noise when she breathes in and her breathing is also laboured.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. What is the rat's name and age?
Customer: Hoshi and she's 12 weeks old
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Hosie?
Customer: no
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Michael Salkin replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry to hear of this with Hosie. You've described advanced respiratory disease by one of three major respiratory pathogens - Mycoplasma pulmonis (the most likely), Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Corynebacterium kutscheri. The best understood of these pathogens is Mycoplasma and it will cause all of the symptoms you mentioned. Clinical signs are highly variable: in many cases no signs are present even though significant pulmonary lesions may exist. The prevalence and severity of signs typically increase with the age of the rat and the presence of environmental stresses placed upon the animal. Initial infection commonly occurs without any clinical signs; early signs involve both the upper and the lower respiratory tract and may include snuffling, nasal discharge, weight loss, hunched posture, ruffled coat, head tilt, and red tears.

Intensive treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics is necessary. Tetracycline antibiotics like doxycycline are efficacious. Treating with doxycycline (5-10 mg/kg orally every 12 hours) or a long-acting depot such as doxycycline (Vibravenos, Pfizer Animal Health) at 70-100 mg/kg subcutaneously or intramuscularly every 7 days often helps affected rats. It's important to know, however, that no antibiotic can completely rid this infectious agent from Hoshi. We must be content to keep the infection at bay and perhaps medicate life-long. Please have Hoshi attended to by a "pocket-pet" vet at your earliest convenience

Please respond with further questions or concerns if you wish.