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Pet Rats/Rat face swelling


I have a male rat, he's going on three years so he is older. I noticed swelling on the left side of his face and he seems to be in a little bit of pain when he eats hard foods, but he is still eating. I want to know if there is anything I can do for him as an in home treatment. Thanks so much!

Dear Destyni,

If the swelling came on quickly it may be a simple abscess. But it could also be something a lot more serious because of its position near his glands, etc. Usually a tumor is painless, but obviously not here.

He should go to the vet. If it were anywhere else, you would have the time to wait to see what happens. But this is causing him pain. It could be glandular. It could be cancer.  It simply is a bad place to have a problem.

What you can do for him right now is help him with the pain. He can have liquid children's Tylenol or ibuprofen. The correct dose would be 0.2 ml of ibuprofen, or 0.4 ml of Tylenol, per pound. He can have this every six hours. But you must get him to a vet to diagnose and solve the problem as soon as possible.

The vet must be trained in "exotics" or "pocket pets." Cat and dog vets do not know rats, whether they think they do or not.

I wish him the very best of luck and health.



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Natasha Millikan


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I have had rats for 3-1/3 years and have researched them extensively. I am a mouse expert with 40 years' experience with mice. The two species are similar and yet also quite different.

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