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The breathing machine

Disclaimer/warning: Nebuliser therapy should only be applied after consulting a vet, and if you more or less know what you're doing. In other words: Don't try this at home! (Actually, you should do this sort of thing at home, but you know what I mean.)


January 5, 2008 - Dylan has a history of minor respiratory problems, which means he has some trouble breathing from time to time, but fortunately it's not too bad. He has had this last fall and winter, and this fall and winter it's no different. Lefty recently also has had (and is still having) respiratory problems, but I don't know yet whether these are also season related. But Lefty doesn't seem to be able to get rid of his problems either, even though he's on antibiotics.

So a while ago a good friend and ratty expert suggested that I'd try nebuliser therapy on Dylan and perhaps also Lefty. This means giving them medication (in this case a mucolytic agent) in a sorta liquid mist which they breath in. To do this you need a nebuliser which basically converts water (or in this case a NaCl solution) to mist, and a compressor driving it. Generally these are not made specifically for rats, but it's pretty easy to connect a human nebuliser to a small plastic tank. Put the rats in the tank, and voilà, you're ready to go. I could loan a basic nebuliser setup, so I only had to find a suitable tank myself, which was easy enough.

This afternoon Dylan and Lefty had their first session. After preparing the medication (with a "little" help from my sister) I put Dylan and Lefty in the tank and switched on the compressor. They didn't really seem to mind, and in fact quickly became bored, as a session takes about 11 minutes. During this time they first washed theirselves, and finally they lay down together. When they were done, I dried them using a towel, and gave them a bit of muesli. This way I'm sure they're going to learn to appreciate the "breathing machine".

January 6: My nebuliser setup

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