Should you worry or is your rat just stressed.
If the rat is sneezing more than usual, listen closely to his/her breathing. If the nasal passages and chest sound clear, keep a very close watch on him/her, but it shouldn't be necessary to start treatment unless he/she starts acting more tired than usual, or stops eating or drinking. Allergies and dust are also possible causes of sneezing along with stress.
If there is a clicking sound from the sinuses, she is congested. This could progress further, so treatment would be a good precaution at this point.
If there is a gurgling, congested sound from the chest, you have a sick rat. Get her to a vet immediately! Rats succumb to these infections with amazing swiftness. A rat with no symptoms one day can have full blown pneumonia the next. This is partially because of their high metabolic rate, and because there is often a secondary infection caused by a different bacteria or virus.
Does your rat have red stuff on his nose, or around his eyes? This is called porphyrin. Porphyrin is a red mucous that is produced by a gland behind the eye (the Harderian Gland) it is your rats tears, which dries the color of blood. It's often mistaken for dried blood by people unfamiliar with rats. Some people think their rat is hurt or got bit in the eye, but it is Porphyrin staining which is often associated with mycoplasma infections because the infection puts stress on the rat, and stress will cause the discharge of porphyrin from the eyes and nose. This doesn't always occur when a rat is suffering from an infection some rats like the hairless can get it more because they have no eye lashes to protect the eye and are more sensitive to the enviroment or cleaners you use to clean your house, plus their bedding. If you have a really laid-back rat, he may not get stressed out! There is also the possibility that your rat is being stressed by something else. This could be from shipping when you get a new rat, and moving from one cage if the rat has never been moved before and is not use to change, or it could be from a change in bedding etc.. I use wood pellets that are used in wood stoves for my rats, I make sure they are 100% pure and free of glues or additives, I find them to be low in dust and very absorbent.
This sneezing can stay for up to a week and will usually go away by itself. Just listen to the breathing and follow what is said above then you will know if you should go to your vet or not.
What you can do to help, is give the rat one *chocolate chip ( they are known to help with these problems and studies have proven that chocolate is not harmful on rats like it is on dogs) just one not any more. Giving one chocolate chip a day won't even hurt your rat, but it has no nutritional value to your rat.
**Another thing that works great is echinacea, rats like the taste of it, which makes it easy to give. Just open up the capsule and let them eat some out of it, or if you have the liquid echinacea you can add a couple of drops to their water bottle. It has been know to treat rats with great success.
**Another thing is give your rat rags or old towels that are washed in ABC (original), or ivory snow to sleep on if you suspect allergies.
***PLEASE DO NOT use PINE or CEDAR shavings (read up on it here> http://www.trifl.org/cedar.shtml), they are dangerous on rats or any other small animal, which could be the cause of all this.
** Also, if you find your rat got bad after you washed the floor with something or used a air freshner, try something else that is mild. I find that my hairless is very sensitive to what I use on the floors.
**If your rat has lots of Porphyrin in it's eyes you could use a clean colth that is wet with saline solution or just warm water and clean the eyes, after they are clean you can put a small amount of polysporin in each eye, which will help if any seem to be inflamed.
If your rat's fur is standing somewhat on end making him look puffy and kinda scruffy like he hasn't been grooming him/her self, and they are feeling sick, uncomfortable, possibly in pain. Get him to a vet immediately!