Rat/Mice Diseases - Respiratory diseases

 
Upper Respiratory diseases in Rat
  • Respiratory disease is a horrible disease, and one of the most common causes of death in pet rats and mice.
  • Rats and Mice are more frequently affected with Respiratory disease.
  • Inadequate housing and environmental conditions such as overcrowding and poor ventilation, dietary deficiencies, strain of animal and immune status can all play a role in predisposing to respiratory disease.
  • There are several infections that can cause it; both bacterial and viral but the commonest cause in adult rats and mice is Mycoplasma pulmonis.
  • Although Mycoplasma alone can be the only bacteria causing respiratory disease in rats and mice, most Chronic respiratory disease are caused by a combination of mycoplasma and other agents.
  • Viruses such as sendai virus, sialodacryoadenitis virus, rat respiratory virus, or pneumonia virus of rats or mice act with mycoplasma to cause disease.
  • Secondary bacterial infections are common especially Streptococcus pneumoniae, Corynebacterium kutscheri, cilia associated respiratory bacillus.
  • Mycoplasma and other organisms may also spread to the inner ear via the eustachian tube, causing inner or middle ear infections and balance disorders.
  • The severity of a mycoplasma infection can be increased by cigarette smoke, ammonia from a dirty cage, vitamin A or E deficiency, pine or cedar shavings, and a concurrent respiratory infection of another type, as well as genetic susceptibility.
  • Upper respiratory tract disease includes rhinitis (cold symptoms), sinusitis, labyrinthitis (middle ear disease). Lower respiratory disease includes conditions ranging from mild bronchitis to pneumonia and sometimes emphysema

  • Symptoms:
      Upper respiratory tract disease
    • sneezing
    • nasal and eye discharge
    • increased respiratory sounds i.e wheezing, snoring
    • porphyrin discharge (red tears)
    • lethargy
    • loss of appetite
      Lower respiratory tract disease
    • poor hair coat
    • weight loss
    • emaciation
    • difficulty breathing

  • Treatment:
    • Antibiotics: The antibiotics that tend to be most effective against mycoplasma are doxycycline and enrofloxacin. With CRD, long-term treatment or intermittent treatment may be needed lifelong. Azithromycin can be an effective alternative antibiotic treatment. Amoxicillin is not only effective against Mycoplasma, it is the best choice for secondary infections.
    • Decongestant: If your rats or mice nose seems congested, the decongestant may be used.
    • Bronchodialator: A bronchodialator can be very helpful in animals with labored breathing or respiratory distress.
    • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: An anti-inflammatory can also be very helpful to reduce inflammation in the lungs.
    • Moisturizing the air with a humidifier will help your rat and mice breathe more easily.
    • Rats and mice with advanced respiratory disease often have congestive heart failure as well. The recommended treatment for heart failure is a low sodium diet and beta-blocker that slows the heartbeat to make it more effective. A diuretic can also help in some cases.
    • Nebulization:Various protocols for nebulization exist and can be very helpful. For long-term home use, owners may purchase nebulizers intended for human use and construct a nebulization chamber by drilling holes into large plastic food storage containers, into which the rodent can comfortably fit, or by placing plastic wrap over a small cage.
    • If there is excess fluid in the lungs, a diuretic can be helpful. If a rat or mice on a diuretic becomes dehydrated you must stop the diuretic and get the rat or mice rehydrated.
    • In case of severe pneumonia and in terminal cases, corticosteroids may be used at anti-inflammatory dosage.

  • Prevention:
    • The key for prevention of disease is isolation and sanitation.
    • Good sanitation, good ventilation and low population densities in cages are required to prevent the disease.
    • Do not place the cage in draft or direct sunlight.
    • Cages should be sanitized with hot water and nontoxic disinfectant; Water bottles and food dishes should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
    • Bedding must be clean, nontoxic, absorbent, and relatively dust free.
    • Provide a balanced, nutritionally complete diet.