Rats

K’s Companions has a total of 24 babies (as of yesterday, May 1st, 2017). They will not be ready for homes for another 6 weeks. Let us know if you are interested in any.

What bedding/liner should I use for my newest rat member?

As a rat breeder, this question gets asked a lot. And with all the types of bedding and liners out there, I understand that there can be quiet some confusion at first as to what to buy and what not to buy. I am talking to a future rat buyer currently about this and figured I would type up something before I head into work.

What types of beddings/liners should I avoid and why?

Cedar/Pine Bedding

Even though these are sold in and next to the rodent and small animal bedding, tests have shown that cedar and pine bedding contains aromatic hydrocarbons which affects the liver. Aromatic hydrocarbons have strong scents that cover up the urine and feces smells, but can also be found in household cleaners.

Clay Cat Litter

Clay Cat Litter is dusty and can cause upper respiratory infections in rats.

Corn Cob Bedding

When corn cob bedding gets wet (from water or urine) it tends to rot and increase the amount of bacteria in your pets environment.

Aspen Bedding

Aspen bedding is dusty and can cause upper respiratory infections in rats.

Cloth (fleece/towels/etc)

Any cloth that is absorbent has loops and can cause a hazard for little toes to be cause. Any other cloth product isn’t very absorbent at all. The cloth also will hold in urine and cause high ammonia smells in your pets environment.

What types of bedding/liners are okay to use and why?

Shredded paper/Newspaper

This is most common with a lot of breeders due to the low cost and because it is highly effective. Make sure that the newspaper is printed with non-toxic soy or vegetable ink. It may have to be changed often (I change mine every other day and use a mix of the two).

CareFRESH

CareFRESH is made of paper pulp and compacted into a brick. Once opened, it will expand up to 3x the brick size. (This was my original bedding and when it is given to me, I gladly use it for nursing mothers and babies.) It is highly absorbent and smells fresh for a while. You may have to spot clean every other day.

Pellet Bedding (Yesterdays News)

Yesterdays News is the most popular pelleted bedding and is also a cat litter. I have heard wonders about this as a rat bedding, but due to the cost, I haven’t tried it myself. Please make sure if you use another type of pelleted bedding that it doesn’t contain any of the types of “not to use bedding/liner” options above (yes, some do).

Litter Boxes

Rats are relatively easy to litter box train if you start young. I am working on litter box training my first set right now and am enjoying the cleaner cages. If you can succeed at this, your cage will stay cleaner for longer as well as smell fresher for longer. If you are interested in litter box training your rat, let me know and I will put together a blog about this.

Conclusion:

If you don’t see a type of bedding/liner you plan to use listed, please look it up and talk to people who have rats/breed rats/etc before using it. There is a ton of information out there, but don’t just take one link as fact/fiction. Even though there are tons of links out there that say you can use aspen bedding for rats, breeders and vets HIGHLY advise against it due to running the risk of upper respiratory infections. If your rat starts sneezing for more than four days, has porphyrin around the nose, has a gurgling sound coming from the chest, has a clicking sound when (s)he breaths, or is acting abnormal in any concerning way, get him/her to the vet immediately. (Porphyrin is a red mucous that is produced by a gland behind the eye (the Harderian Gland) which dries the color of blood.) Upper Respiratory Infections can kill rats in a matter of a few days. Something as simple as a new environment, a change in diet, a new rat being introduced, a new bedding/liner, etc. can cause an upper respiratory infection. But please be aware that it is easy to treat.

Hantavirus and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome

Most rat and mouse owners have probably heard by now that there has been a link back to pet rats to the recent outbreak of the Seoul Virus in Wisconsin and Illinois. This is linked to theHantavirus and Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, but what exactly is Hantavirus and HPS and how can an owner prevent the spread of the disease?

What is the Hantavirus?

The Hantavirus is a group of viruses that may be carried by some rodent. Some strains of the Hantavirus can cause a rare but very deadly disease called Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome, or HPS. HPS is a lung infection caused by viruses found in the saliva, urine, and droppings of some rodents. (webMD definition of HPS.)

What animals can give humans the Hantavirus?

In North America, the only animals that are known to transfer the Hantavirus to humans are:

  • Deer Mouse
  • White-Footed Mouse
  • Rice Rat
  • Cotton Rat
  • Pet Dumbo Rat

How do you get HPS?

You have to get the Hantavirus from a rodent that has the virus itself, but there are many different ways that the virus can be transferred to a human.

  • Touching rat/mouse urine/droppings/bedding and then touching your eyes/mouth/nose/an open wound
  • breathing in urine/feces odor
  • Getting bit by an infected rat/mouse
  • Improperly cleaning up mouse/rat urine/droppings/bedding/nests
  • Cleaning a shed/cabin that has been closed for some time
  • Working in areas where rats/mice may live (barns, etc.)

How to PROPERLY clean up after WILD rats/mice…

  • Wear rubber or plastic gloves
  • Spray urine/droppings with disinfectant or mixture of bleach and water. Make sure you get the urine/droppings very wet. Let it soak for 5 minutes.
  • Use a paper towel to wipe up the urine/droppings
  • Throw the paper towel in the garbage can
  • Mop or sponge the area with a disinfectant or bleach solution
  • Wash gloved hands with soap and water or spray a disinfectant or bleach solution on gloves before taking them off
  • Wash hands with soap and warm water after taking off your glove

 

  • General-purpose household disinfectant. Make sure the word “disinfectant” is written on the label.

OR

  •  Bleach and water solution. Mix 1 ½ cups of household bleach with 1 gallon of water. Smaller amounts can be made with 1 part bleach and 9 parts water.

How to clean a PET rat/mouse cage….

Follow all the steps above. For the bleach solution, use a 15 oz water to 1 ounce bleach mixture. soak everything (dishes, toys, etc.) that isn’t wood for at least 5 minutes. This will kill everything.

Caninie Parvovirus

What is Caninie Parvovirus?

Adeno-Associated virus

Caninie Parvovirus is more commonly known as Parvo and is one of the most feared diseases out there for dog and puppy owners. Most new owners learn very quickly about this viral disease even if it is ways to prevent it, which there aren’t many. Parvo lives in the environment, from parks to your home. It can live in the furniture, in toys, on your clothes, and even on living things for several months. It can take only a few days to kill a canine and is around 80% fatal. Puppies less than six months of age, older dogs, and any dog that never got vaccinated against Parvo are most vulnerable to this horrible disease.

Causes

Parvo is a strain of viruses and many mammals have their own version of it, even humans. The good thing is, each strain is species specific. A human can not get can Caninie Parvovirus and a canine can not get Feline panleukopenia virus (the feline parvo virus), etc. What information I can find on Caninie Parvrovirus says that it was isolated back in the 1960’s and then a mutant form called CPV-2 appeared virtually overnight in 1978. The following year another mutation showed up that killed thousands of pets and caused a shortage of vaccinations.

Today’s virus is CPV-2b and you should start vaccinating at 6-8 weeks old against this. Your puppy will be vaccinated against Parvo every 3 weeks until (s)he is 16 weeks old and then a booster once a year on your pets birthday. Even though Parvo is considered a puppy disease, there have been dogs that catch Parvo and die from it every year. Getting these vaccines can save your dogs life.

Parvo is spread from dog to dog through direct contact (parks, dog shows, kennels, pet shops, etc.) or through direct contact with infected feces. Humans can help spread this by tracking infected feces in on their shoes.

How do I know if my dog has Parvo?

There is such a wide range of symptoms, but you will need to watch for:

  • loss of appetite
  • depression
  • fever
  • massive dehydration
  • lethargy
  • diarrhea (especially bloody diarrhea)
  • severe vomiting

If you notice any of these signs, see a vet immediately.

I suspect Parvo, how do I clean to prevent spreading it?

You best option is to clean with a solution mix of 1:32 dilution of bleach (1/2 cup bleach in a gallon of water).

Welcome to ‘A Voice for Animals’

I am very pleased to finally start this blog as it has taken me a while to get to this point. But I would love to introduce myself in the next post as well as introduce my pets, give a background of where I am coming from. But this post is to say welcome to my blog and thank you for visiting.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I would love to answer any questions that you may have!