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Hi, My name is Angela.
I found a couple weeks ago, weird like scabs and or bumps only on my rats tail.
Nothing on his skin, nor his ears or face. I dont have the money to take them to a proper vet so from what I could read online I was sure he had Mange Mites. Today is 10/16/2013, and my rat that was sick passed away. I think he may have also had a respiratory infection because, as he was passing away he was like gagging or trying to breath? Opening his mouth wide, he did it for about a good 5-10 minutes then passed. Im not sure if he gave the mange mites to the other rats but one of them looks to be sick to. Nothing on his tail or ears, but he seems to be having a hard time breathing too so I put a humidifier over their cage. Please help me I have recent pictures if I could somehow send that to you but I just dont know what to do. I have so much love for these little guys and I just want to make sure their well taken care of.


First of all, my sincere apologies for the delay. I tried to answer this on my phone and I thought when I submitted it, it went through...until I saw this morning that your question is still sitting under "pending". Secondly, my condolences on the passing of your rat. :(

It does sound as if your rat had a very advanced case of respiratory infection. The gagging motion you witnessed was him gasping for air, a sign of respiratory distress.

Mange mites and other parasites can further weaken an already poor immune system. Most likely your rat had murine mycoplasmosis. All rats carry it, its an organism, with the exception of some extremely careful bred lab rats. The signs for myco, as it is often called, vary, and often increase as the rat ages.

You are  doing a positive thing by providing a humidifier for your additional rats to help soothe their breathing passages and loosen secretions that are present in respiratory infections that come along with myco. You may want to look into antibiotics to help control mild symptoms before they advanced into the lungs and lead to more serious clinical signs. I recommend Baytril or Doxycycline.

You can help suppress myco symptoms by early treatment of symptoms, being sure to keep the cage from building up ammonia from urine and feces, using dust free bedding and litter, keeping the cage out of drafts, refrain from smoking or using scented air fresheners including candles around or near the rats, and avoiding detergents that contain fragrance on their bedding such as hammocks.

I hope that helps!
Good luck and well wishes to your ratties!

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Shawna Laufer


Nutrition has always been an interest of mine as well as creating stimulating environments for rats. I conduct product reviews on my blog so I can take questions regarding products marketed or intended for rats. Other questions regarding basic husbandry, feeding, grooming, and other pet rat care will be accepted. I have very little breeding experience so I would not be able to answer much in the ways of breeding or genetics questions. I can help with some basic health care questions but am not a vet and always suggest contacting your vet for serious inquires.


I have over 13 years of experience with pet rats, having worked in several pet stores, as a veterinary tech assistant, and with my own pet rats. I run a highly regarded blog on the subject of pet rat ownership ( with a corresponding YouTube channel and Facebook page. I have been and always will be open to questions and comments.

A photograph of my lady rat's cage is being published in Worth Publishers' college textbook "How Children Develop, 4e" by Robert Siegler, Judy DeLoache and Nancy Eisenberg on the subject of how complex, stimulating environments and how they relate to the brains of rats.

I have some college experience, but not in the field of animals. I completed the majority of an at-home Veterinary Technician course which I was unable to complete due to financial reason. The majority of my knowledge on rats have come from personal experience, conducting my own research with the help of published medical studies and journal, the internet and through other knowledgeable 'rat people'.

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