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Giving Over-the-counter Drugs to Pet Rats

It has been a common practice among rat owners to give their pets over-the-counter drugs like Ibuprofen and Metacam whenever they exhibit some forms of illnesses which both drugs are known to help humans in relieving their pains. So far, there are no reports about these drugs endangering the lives of these pets; in fact, the use of these drugs to "treat" lethargy and muscle pains has already become very established that even some veterinarians use them.

Giving Pet Rats Ibuprofen

In itself, Ibuprofen is a pain killer. It is classified as a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) drug, which is considered to be more effective than aspirin and acetaminophen. However, this drug also has its side-effects. Repeated use of Ibuprofen can lead to bleeding and perforation of the linings inside your pet's stomach. Since this drug can interfere with blood clotting whenever it is active within the pet rat's body, it is very possible for the drug to inhibit your pet's body to "heal" its own, thus, ulceration is very likely to happen whenever your rat's stomach would experience trauma.

Apart from bleeding, the drug can also lead to poor fluid retention in the kidneys which is very dangerous for elderly rats because their organs are already very weak. The drug should be dispensed 2-4 times a day only, at 15 mg/lb. for each dose. For less severe problems like analgesia and inflammation, it is safe to give the rat lower dosages.

Of course, just like kids, rats are also picky with bitter tablets. In order to make the rat takes the drug, you can either crush it up and mix it with its food or mix it with sweetened fluid; you can also try out baby formulas of ibuprofen, as these are usually sweet to the taste. Just make sure that the baby formula does not contain Sorbitol, or at least in formulation where it is listed as an inactive ingredient. Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener which is usually very palatable to humans but is hated by rats. In general, rats like Motrin (an artificial sweetener). However, if you don't have access to baby formula Ibuprofen, you will have no other choice but to choose between Ibuprofen capsules and tablets.

If you have not consulted a veterinarian and decided to figure out how much Ibuprofen you are willing to give your rat, you might as well want to check on the bottle or package of the drug to see how much mg/lb. can be given based on the rat's weight. It is always a good idea to give your rat a treat after giving it the medication as this can cover the aftertaste of Ibuprofen inside the rat's mouth, which might "traumatize" the rat and convince it refuse the drug in the future.

Giving Pet Rats Metacam

Many veterinarians prescribe low dosages of Metacam to rats. Just like Ibuprofen, Metacam is also an NSAID. Thus, these two drugs basically have the same effects on the rat. Metacam is usually dispensed as a liquid drug, making it the best choice for veterinarians to give to dogs since these pets do not really digest NSAID drugs. For rats, the best dosage is 60 mg/lb. which should be given2 to 4 times a day. Metacam is usually given to rats experiencing severe pain problems.
Conclusion on Drug Dispensing

As much as possible, ask for a veterinarian's assistance in determining which drug is best suited for your pet rats; giving random drugs to your pet might only result to unwanted side-effects which might just harm your per more.
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