Friday, February 04, 2011

Struggling with Mycoplasma pulmonis

"I'm not handing my rat over to Mr. Death without putting up a good fight!"
~Rattus Choki

What a royal pain!!
Are you one of those rat parents or 'guardians' who have been devastated by untimely death within the Rattus family due to respiratory illness? If not, there is a huge probability that sooner or later someone will be stuck down by the ruthless Mycoplasma pulmonis.

All rats are said to be theoretically born with it. It's not deadly in itself unless the immune system is compromised. According to scientific literature, it's the secondary complications that will actually kill our rats. Mycoplasma is treatable in its early stages, but chances of recuperating from it plummet once it progresses into later stages. 

The first fatality
Let me share with you a brief story of what happened to Rattus Mime… He was a hooded male with a nice hood, a scrumptious potato chips scent, and was my favorite while he lived. He had this bond, this affection toward me, which eluded the others (they're all sweet little angels anyway). We always went out close to midnight every Saturday for a brief walk.

It was March 1, 2010 (I remember it was a Monday) – Mime's first birthday. He was very healthy and a jolly boy, and who would have thought that he’d suddenly die two days later?! There are the symptoms which only appeared two hours prior his death: sticky fluid around the nose, poor grooming, wheezing, the crouched posture, loss of appetite…

OMG!! Good Lord Jesus, Allah, Buddha, Bathala, Rat God, and all the gods I conjured… yet in a matter of one or two hours, he falls dead, struck by tragic fate! Alas, guilt became my plague: where did I go wrong? Am I not good enough a parent for them? Was I too inexperienced or careless to have noticed anything prior? So many questions than answers…

It’s happening again!
October 2010. With the advent of the cold season here in the Philippines, Rattus Pepper (a male PEW) contracted the very same symptoms. ‘Ha! What misfortune!’ I thought, but this time I won’t hand him over to Mr. Death without putting up a good fight.

The first thing I administered was a eucalyptus aromatherapy (with reed stick diffuser).

My second line of defense was the Herbal Barley.

Doxycycline (bateriostatic/inhibits bacterial growth) and amoxicillin (bactericidal/kills bacteria by chemical heat) were the last thing on my mind. It did occur to me that antibacterials have the potential to massacre good bacteria... which in turn could even further compromise their defense. Administering too low a dosage, on the other hand, could create a more resistant and deadlier strain. Too long a medication could cause other health problems or internal organ failure. 

So the question falls on us: does the benefit of medication overpower the side effects? 
Herbs and spices, and other food, are the key.

So here’s the good news!
As of the end of January 2011, Rattus Pepper is back to his normal self and free from the symptoms. He relied mostly on natural therapy, with anti-bacterial medication administered only twice within this period. The patience finally paid off… Amen!

Rattus Pepper on his 1st birthday January 9, 2011
Pepper's wish was to get well soon... and thanks to his Fairy Rattus Godmother, his wish was granted!

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