Do rats get asthma? Or Tourette's Syndrome? Seizures?

It’s been one of those weeks… my roommate apparently decided we didn’t have enough albino rodents living illegally in our dorm room. So- why not?- she got a pair of rats. (I’ve made her promise not to spring any hippos or elephants on me. There’s only so much hiding room in here).
Anyway, rat Diana has a few issues. She… well, it’s a bit hard to describe. She makes a sneezing noise while shaking her head/upper body. She does this constantly. You can tell which rat is which just by listening for a few seconds.
Roommate is puzzled, and worried. She’s been going on rat websites and listening to clips of rat vocalizations and she can’t figure out what is going on. Her theories so far have included asthma, Tourette’s Syndrome, and seizures. Probably a ‘need answer fast’.

Anything with a brain can potentially have a seizure, so that answer is yes.

Given that asthma is a lung disorder characterized by inflammation (among other things) and rats have lungs that is certainly a possibility.

As for Tourette’s - I don’t know if they can get that specifically but as they have a nervous system they certainly could have movement disorders or strange behaviors if something is amiss.

As covered by Broomstick, seizures and asthma are possible. They have rodents that have been given a genetic predisposition to seizure for research purposes.

Tourette’s may have analogs in animals, but the actual disorder is a human one. Some animals have been observed doing stereotypical behavior; e.g. pigeons, but that doesn’t make it Tourette’s.

I’m trying to wrap my brain around the concept of a rat with Tourette’s. If you listen very carefully, do you hear little cursing sounds? (They may be in a different language.)

Sounds like a pretty typical respiratory infection. If it doesn’t clear up in a week make a trip to the vet.

In the meantime try a search on Mycoplasmosis.

Thanks goodness, when I was at Disney World and Mickey told me to “F-off” I was taking it personal. Thank goodness I know know it’s Tourette’s :slight_smile:

Just don’t give them any Sweet & Low.

First, to clear up a common misconception of Tourette’s. The definition of Tourette Syndrome is the following:

A) Both multiple motor and one or more vocal tics have been present at some time during the illness, although not necessarily concurrently.

B) The tics occur many times a day (usually in bouts) nearly every day or intermittently throughout a period of more than 1 year, and during this period there was never a tic-free period of more than 3 consecutive months.

C) The onset is before age 18.

D) The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. stimulants) or a general medical condition (e.g. Huntington’s disease or post-viral encephalitis).

  • (DSM-IV)

Coprolalia - uncontrolled expressions of obscene speech - is a fairly uncommon form of the vocal tic. Most with Tourette Syndrome do not have it. Most of the vocal tics are more in the range of throat clearing.

There is a rat model of Tourette Syndrome. The parallel is an increase in oral sterotypies. I would have no idea if what this rat is doing is an oral stereotypy or a respiratory condition. Maybe she is allergic to her pets? (Yeah, she may need to get rid of you.)

What type of cage and bedding are they in? Some types of bedding can cause respiratory problems especially if the cage isn’t well ventilated.

Coprolalia (swearing) occurs in about 10% of Tourette’s cases. The tics are the main characteristic. Rats can probably get ticks, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they got tics.

By the way, a link for my earlier mention of pigeons:

That’s what Roomie was thinking, too. We went out and bought fleecy bedding for them. I don’t know if Diana’s stopped… whatevering (Roomie points out that the sound she makes is a cross between a sneeze and a chirp), but on the bright side, the ratties do like their new towels.

Maybe your roommate is part bat, and can hear supersonic laughter?

Look, I can comment on an actual topic here!
If your rat is sneezing a lot, and it’s from the pet store, it might have mycoplasmosis. I know that sounds scary, but don’t get really worried. It’s a genetic problem that a lot of rats have. One of my boyfriend’s pet rats have it, we think, and I don’t think it affects his quality of life too much. He sneezes a lot, but other than that he seems okay. He loves to run in the park and snuggle in my hair sometimes, too.