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I have a female pet rat, almost 3 years old. I think she swallowed something a bit too big last night and is breathing loudly, kinda sounds like when you rub your hands on a leather sofa.

She can breathe fine, isn't turning blue, etc. It's now been about 9 hours and she's still making the noise.

Should I be worried? She seems absolutely fine, just, noise.

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    This sounds like a medical question that can only be addressed by a visit to your vet. – James Jenkins Mar 5 '15 at 10:51
  • Does the noise she is making sound rattly at all? Is she sneezing? Has she changed cages and/or bedding recently? – Piper Mar 5 '15 at 14:33
  • Additionally: are your other rats showing similar symptoms? Or have you introduced any new rats recently? – Piper Mar 5 '15 at 14:47
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While waiting for the answers to my questions above I figured I would post this to help in the meantime.

If she is showing any symptoms described in this question, then she is indeed choking. It sounds to me like this isn't the case.

If not, and taking into account her age, she's probably experiencing mild respiratory distress. All rats have a certain degree of mycoplasma, which causes something akin to chest infections in humans. It can happen throughout their lives, or it can happen only as they get older. She will need a vet to assess her further and listen to her lungs to determine whether it is 1) a treatable infection, or 2) sadly a result of very old age. The vet will likely prescribe antibiotics for the former, but there is little to be done for the latter beyond making her comfortable.

To alleviate the symptoms in the meantime you can: make sure she is in a well ventilated room, keep her warm, and feed her dark chocolate (mine are partial to Bournville, though you may want something closer to 70% cocoa) which will help open up her bronchioles. Methods detailed here may also help her out, though these are typically for more severe respiratory distress, but always worth a try.

I hope she improves!

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  • She’s fine now, she was wheezing for 24-36 hours or so, but she’s back to normal now. Many thanks :) – Luke Mar 6 '15 at 9:15
  • @lukech I'm glad! It may be that she was stressed about something, mycoplasma can flare up for a number of reasons! I'd recommend keeping an eye on her for the next week or so in case it happens again, but hopefully she's in the clear! – Piper Mar 6 '15 at 16:18

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