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The upper respiratory system of rats is much the same as other mammals. It includes the nares (nostrils) which open into the nasopharynx, the sinuses, the Eustachian tubes which open on the dorsolateral wall of the nasopharynx, the epiglottis which is located in the oropharynx and covers the opening to the larynx, and the beginning of the trachea where it goes on to form the two main branches of the bronchi which enters the lungs.

It is easy to see by the connection between these various structures how the introduction of irritants can harm, or how infections or neoplasms can spread to adjacent structures within the respiratory system.

Upper respiratory disease is a common health issue in rats that can result in acute or chronic, infectious or non-infectious, subclinical or overt signs of illness and may be attributed to a variety of environmental factors, as well as infection by bacterial, viral, or fungal agents. It is important to become familiar with your rat’s normal behavior and appearance in order to spot signs of illness and treat earlier. Seeking veterinary care early in the illness can help to prevent an illness from becoming more severe.

Upper Respiratory


The Rat Guide and its affiliates accept no responsibility for misuse or misunderstanding of its information. This guide in whole or part, exists solely for the purpose of recognizing and understanding the care and illnesses in the pet rat. Please seek advice and treatment from a qualified Veterinarian if your rat is ill.

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