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Ambroxol for Otitis Media (ear infection) in rats

Hi Everyone, I’m Remy the Roof Rat!

Remy the Roof Rat  loves Disney's Ratatouille :-)
Remy the Roof Rat loves Disney’s Ratatouille 🙂

Previously, my friends told you about using Ambroxol to treat Mycoplasma in rats.

Today, let’s talk about another use for Ambroxol: helping treat rats with an inner ear infection (Otitis Media.)

Rats with an ear infection will often have poor balance, and a head tilt. Because rats are brave, they will try to get on with their lives as best they can, but this is a very painful condition and it could even be life-threatening if left untreated. If you see your rat holding his head funny or walking differently than before, you should take him to the vet as soon as possible!

Usually, your vet will give your rat antibiotics to treat the infection, and an anti-inflammatory (such as steroids) to treat the pain and reduce the damage done to his sensitive inner ear from the inflammation. If treatment is started early enough, many rats will recover very well, and their head tilt will mostly go away over time.

When you are discussing treatment options with your vet, I suggest you also bring up Ambroxol in addition to the usual standard of care (antibiotics and anti-inflammatory.) Research has show that Ambroxol is helpful for treating Otitis Media.

effect of ambroxol on otitis media before and after

Ambroxol is a “Mucolite.” That means that it helps thin out the secretions inside the rat’s ear, so that is can more easily drain out. This helps reduce the built up pressure, reducing pain and damage. Plus, this also helps the antibiotics and the rat’s white blood cells reach the bacteria and kill them, so the infection resolves more quickly. Here is a study which shows that Ambroxol helped resolve chronic Otitis Media in children and adults by helping their ears drain better:


In order to minimize long term effects of the ear infection, it is probably a good idea to continue giving Ambroxol for a few weeks. Fortunately, it is a relatively inexpensive OTC drug (in Europe) with an excellent safety profile.

In addition to making mucus thinner, there was research which showed that Ambroxol helps restore the inner ear’s natural, protective surfactants. Surfactants are surface tension lowering (“soap-like”) substances. They also make things less “sticky” and help flush out the bacteria.

Multicenter Study on the Treatment of Secretory Otitis Media With Ambroxol. Importance of a Surface-Tension-Lowering Substance

Surfactant in the middle ear and eustachian tube: a review

In addition to the effect that Ambroxol has to help “flush out” your rat’s inner ear, Ambroxol is a topical painkiller and anti-inflammatory, too.

So, bottom line, giving Ambroxol as an adjunct to the standard of care for ear infection (Otitis Media) could help your rat feel better, recover more quickly and suffer fewer long term ill effects (sequela.) Please discuss this option with your vet. Ambroxol is not as easily obtained in the USA, but it is a common OTC medicine in Europe, Asia and Mexico. You can order Ambroxol for rats online from us.

If you have any friends who have rats, please forward them a link to this blog post: their rats may thank you!

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