American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the WSSF 2006 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.

Information Update On Nebulizing Rats With Respiratory Viruses

By Cathleen Schneider-Russell

Many people have used nebulizers over the years and since September 2002, there have been some changes in medication dosages currently being used for the nebulizing treatments of rats that are infected with respiratory viruses. Having had an 18 year medical career with 13 of those years as an animal health technician, I want to make sure that these medications are used correctly. And, most importantly, that rat guardians be aware of the side affects for themselves and their little rattie loves.

There are several drugs currently being used for the nebulizing treatments. The most popular are:

1.Baytril injectable for dogs2.27%
2.Gentamicin/Gentocin injectable100 mg/ml
3.Aminophylline injectable25mg/ml
Special note: Baytril must not be given with
Aminophylline in any form!

The standard dose, using a tuberculin syringe:
(Mixed into the nebulizer cup)
(Note: ml=cc)
1.Baytriluse 0.5ml/cc per 1.0
ml/cc of 0.9% sodium
chloride (saline) solution
2.Gentamicin/Gentocin0.4ml/cc per 2.0 ml/cc of
saline solution
3.Aminophylline0.5ml/cc per 1.0 ml/cc of saline

Basic Treatment

Morning and evening nebulizing for 7 days, then once a day for 7 days. Sodium chloride (saline) must be used in order to provide a proper suspension (mixture) and to ensure a proper absorption (intake) of the medication into the bronchus (air passages) as the rat breathes. Keep the saline in the refrigerator and use 70% isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol on a cotton ball for disinfecting (cleaning) the injection nipple (opening) or you can purchase pre-packaged alcohol prep-pads at your pharmacy.

Certain rat patients may also require special oral (by mouth) medications to help open up the bronchus within their lungs. If your rat(s) are not responding within the first 2 days of the twice daily nebulizing treatments, you must call a veterinarian! Only they can prescribe these special medications and advise you on the dosages to give.

Important side affects to be aware of in rats when they are being nebulized:

  1. Very dry mucus membranes ( the mouth, gums, tongue, and bronchus). Make sure your rat(s) have plenty of fresh water at all times.
  2. Diarrhea (loose bowels). CALL YOUR VETERINARIAN as this can cause dehydration (loss of fluid within the body tissues), which can result in your rat(s) death if not treated promptly!
  3. Lethargy (drowsiness and/or sluggishness). Make sure your rat(s) are secured inside their cages after nebulizing and let them rest quietly.

  1. Always wash your hands before and after doing the nebulizing treatments!
  2. Always wear a surgical mask!! Especially if you have asthma (bronchial spasms), any respiratory (lung) or bronchial (breathing) problems or shortness of breath (dyspnea), or any allergies.
  3. Keep the room or area well ventilated during the nebulizing and for about 20 minutes afterwards. If you remain within the room or area afterwards, keep the mask on!
  4. If you are pregnant, have someone else do the nebulizing. You can prepare the medication and set up the equipment then leave the room or area.
  5. Keep children and other pets out of the room or area. (Note: Long ago, I had a little love “Nurse” girl, Lilly Lou, who developed loose bowels from “helping” and being too close while her pals were getting their treatments.)

Some Of The Possible Side Affects To People Exposed To Any Of The Nebulizing Medications:

  1. Kidney problems
  2. Breathing difficulties (dyspnea)
  3. Allergies to skin or eyes
  4. Headaches, Dizzyness
  5. Hallucinations

If you notice any of these symptoms, call your physician or go to the emergency room. *

Back to top

Updated April 2, 2014