Respiratory Disease in Rats

Key Points

  • Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis.
  • Mycoplasma spp. is highly contagious.
  • Institute medical therapy as soon as possible in rats with respiratory disease.
  • Multi-drug therapy is often used and may include tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, and sulfa drugs. The primary antibiotic of choice is doxycycline.
  • Rats that survive a bout of Mycoplasma spp. pneumonia frequently develop latent infection. Recurrence of disease is common and infected rats also remain a potential life-long source of disease to naive rats
  • Poor husbandry practices can promote respiratory irritation and subsequent respiratory disease. Rats require adequate ventilation and low dust, non-aromatic bedding. Maintain room temperature from 65 to 80º F and humidity between 40 to 70%, and clean the cage frequently to minimize ammonia fumes.

One of the more common illnesses in rats is respiratory disease. Although most cases of respiratory disease in the rat are multifactorial, the most significant and serious bacterial pathogen is Mycoplasma pulmonis . . .


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