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Pet Rats/!!SEVERE eye infection


I have 2 male rats who around a year and a half old: Roscoe and Jenkins. Jenkins has been to the vet several times for a reoccurring wry neck and sinus infections. His latest "illness" however is that his entire eye appears to be dead. 2 days ago, he was fine, but last night before I went to bed I noticed his eye which was almost unbearable to look at. It is about the size of a raisin, as well as having a similar texture. There is absolutely no life left in it, it is not shiny, but rather dull and crinkled looking. It is scabbed over, swollen and he cannot blink it at all. I'm not even sure where his eyelid is. It really doesn't appear to be bothering him, but I know that it must be painful. I am guessing that he bumped his eye on something in his cage or roscoe might've hurt it, as they fight sometimes. So basically, I still live with my parents and they pay for my vet visits, but they are getting fed up with spending so much money on my rat. I have been contemplating putting him to sleep, because I know that my parents will not pay for him to get his eye removed, which is probably what my vet will suggest. I cannot get in to see my vet until Wednesday, and was mainly wondering if I could somehow make him more comfortable. Since his neck is almost always cocked to the side, his eye on bottom is the one that is infected and he drags it around some, so I put him in a separate cage next to roscoe with fresh bedding, and have been cleaning up after him when he goes to the bathroom. What should I expect to hear from the vet? Is there anyway that I can keep my rat and his eye, or should I maybe just consider euthanizing him? Do you have any idea what it could be? Maybe and abscess?

More Info:
He is a Dumbo rat
Poor motor skills because of wry neck
Sneezes from respiratory illness
Acts completely normal otherwise (does not appear to be in pain)
His other eye appears to have conjunctivitis or something and is slightly bulging as well
Appears to be completely blind
Eats, drinks, poops, pees normally
Seems slightly itchier than normal
No mites
Red drainage from nose/eye(s)
His eye is hard to the touch, not soft!

also, how much will my vet visit cost around, because like I said, my parents really don't want to spend any more money on Jenkins and I feel bad because we don't have a lot of money.

Hi Melissa,
I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you. I was out of town. I couldn't quite tell from the photo if the hard crusty stuff is only on the eyeball itself, or if it covers some of the eyelids as well. It looks like it might be dried secretions that has formed, as you said, like a scab or crust over the eye. Either way, I recommend trying to soak it with saline to soften it and try to remove it. Saturate a cotton ball with saline and apply it to the crust repeatedly to soften it. I'm sure your rat would appreciate it if you warmed the saline first. Eventually, when the crust is soft, I want you to very gentle try to pick or peal it off.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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