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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 21438
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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I have a degu that sneezes in little fits occasionally

Resolved Question:

I have a degu that sneezes in little fits occasionally throughout the day. He is generally very well and active and I have changed all their bedding about 5 days ago to dust free stuff.
Here is a video of the sneezes: https://youtu.be/4zGE88TNy6o
Can you recomend what to do?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

How long has he had the sneezing?

Any change to his breathing?

While he is looking to be wiping away discharge from his nose, have you seeing any snotty discharges from him?

Are you using any air fresheners, sprays, candles, incense or anything airborne at home (ie even cigarette smoke)?

Does he have access to hay?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hello,
He has been doing it for a couple of weeks. No change to his breathing and I have not seen any snotty discharge. No air freshners or cigarette smoke. People do smoke out of the door though so maybe slightly. Yes he has access to hay in a hay wheel.
Thanks
Matt
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you, Matt.

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see sneezing for a range of reasons in this species.

Common issues will include upper airway infections, allergies to bedding but also hay, and sensitivities to allergens/irritants in the air.

With this in mind, you were spot on to change the bedding but I would note that it can take a few weeks for allergies to from bedding to settle. That said, if he has access to hay, this is another common cage based dust source. So, it would be ideal to consider wetting/soaking any hay he has access to. This will adhere the dust to the hay and avoid it entering the airspace to cause irritation. So, we'd want to do that now.

Further to this, if there are people smoking anywhere near where he is kept or vents/windows/doors leading to his room; then we may need to consider closing those access points or even relocating him away. That way we can address this and rule it out as a sign.

As well, we can try steam treating him to moisten the airway and help flush out any irritants as well as bacteria. To do so, you can take his cage in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. Or you use a nebulizer/humidifier -which can be put next to the cage and then both be covered with a bed sheet. That way we can try to soothe the irritation driving him sneeze.

Finally, since airway infections are so common (even mycoplasmic infections which are due to overgrowth of a bacterial naturally found in the airway) in degus, we do need to tread with care. We'd want to keep a close eye out for nasal discharge or any breathing changes. Either of these and we'd want him seen by the local vet as antibiotics are often necessary.

Overall, your lad's signs do raise a few concerns and even if he is acting otherwise well, we do need to tread with care (especially since prey species are notorious for hiding illness until advanced. So, we'd want to use the above to help reduce his signs as we give your environmental adjustments a chance to address and/or rule those causes out for him and help get him settled here.

If you don’t already have an vet, you can find one near you at http://www.aemv.org/index.php/members/vet-locator . If you are struggling, then also check http://www.guinealynx.info/vetlist.html or http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/ as these vets usually will see pocket pets as well.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thats a good idea. I have an aromotherapy humidifer, could I use that with clean water to provide steam? Would they benefit from menthol crystals in there to clear airwaves? So if it was dusty bedding do you think it could be another week or so to clear? Would airwaves infections clear naturally or do they require antibiotics? I do think the frequency has dropped from before I changed the bedding.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 1 year ago.

Hi again,

As long as there are no trace oils in the humidifier, you could use that with plain water. No menthol crystals though since they airways are very delicate and that would be too potent for him. Otherwise, infections do tend to need antibiotics to clear, but if he is already reducing in frequency of sneezes and is otherwise well, I'd consider keeping up the use of the new litter and supportive care we discussed at this point to see if we can settle them. Of course, any progression in signs or discharges and we'd want to have him checked for an infection brewing.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. **Afterwards, I would be grateful if you would rate my service by clicking on the "Rate my Expert' button at the top of the page as this is the only way I am credited for helping you. Thank you for your feedback!: )

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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks a lot for your help