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Mycoplasma in rats.

Species: Other
Breed: Fancy rat
Age: 1-2 years
Hi, my name is Ann and I have two rats, Pinky and Roc. Unfortunately, one has chronic lung problems and the other tends to get sick often because of it. My vet spoke to a specialist and they believe it is Mycoplasma. I have 2 questions concerning this:
1) my friend is supposed to watch them while I'm away and she has a cat, can this transfer to the cat? If so are there precautions which can prevent this?
2) I am studying neuroscience in school and I am going to be working with lab rats this summer. Can I transfer the illness from home to the lab rats? How can I prevent this? If I had them stay somewhere else in the summer (if it was necessary) how do I make sure I am not carrying the disease so that it doesn't transfer?
Thank you very much,
-Ann


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You have asked some interesting questions!

Mycoplasma can be frustrating, as you know, and can definitely cause some chronic respiratory problems in rats.

There are some types of mycoplasma that can cause infections in cats. The good news, in your case though, is that most mycoplasma is extremely host specific. What that means is that the rat mycoplasma is extremely unlikely to affect the cat. Rats tend to get mycoplasma pulmonis. This type of mycoplasma is not known to cause illness in cats.

Mycoplasma is usually transmitted via aerosol particles. What that means, is that in order to be contagious from rat to rat, they generally have to be sharing the same airspace. It does not travel well on fomites (i.e. objects, clothing, your hands). Just to be certain, when you are at the lab, I would wash my hands before dealing with the rats there, but it would be very unlikely that you would transmit mycoplasma to the rats in the lab.

Hope that helps!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Ok, thanks a lot,
it was really helpful!
-Ann


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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.