Our customer asked:
A couple of my ratties seem to have the sniffles and have been to the vet a couple of times in the last 2 years and had treatment. Is there anything herbal or something similar I could add to their food or water to support their immune system?
Rats are particularly prone to respiratory infections. Sometimes these are serious and are unfortunately a common cause of death in rats. Well ventilated living quarters and a good quality diet are the main things to do. They should live in a large, open cage if possible, not a tank or anything with solid walls. The cage needs to be cleaned out regularly so that humidity never builds up. Water should be provided via a bottle which does not leak onto bedding, because moist air (as it evaporates) seems to make it worse. The diet should include a wide variety of fresh veg if possible, as well as seeds and grains. It is also important to restrict the amount of their favourite foods. They should not be allowed to "fill up" on what they really enjoy or they will not be hungry enough to eat the less inviting "health foods" - the fresh http://www.viovet.co.uk/Vionate_Mineral_Vitamin_Supplement/c1354/">Vionate is a good idea if most of the diet is home-prepared. If you use a good quality commercial diet such as Burgess Excel Rat food, then you do not need to add extra vitamins, though some fresh food is still a good idea.