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Pet Rats/Nibbles the rat has red urine


My rat, nibbles has been having red pee ever since she had a respritory infection. I don't know what it is and I need your help. Please tell me what I need to do.

Dear Emily,

Poor Nibbles! It is most likely that she has a bladder infection. If you have ever had a bladder infection, you know how hellish that is. Please get her to the vet ASAP.

My guess is that the antibiotic had the effect that it killed off the good bacteria in her, which allowed this infection to grow. It always does this to some extent, which is why some people give their rats (or take themselves) probiotics when they are on antibiotics. Once the good bacteria are gone, sometimes harmful bacteria can get a good hold of the system. So either when she encountered an infectious bacteria now, or one that was in very small amounts before, it was able to come in and spread.

When a bladder infection is left untreated, it can go into the kidneys and cause kidney failure. So even treating for pain and going to the vet later is not an option. She will probably need an antibiotic which targets the sort of bacteria which cause trouble in a bladder. Not every antibiotic is good for every bacteria, unfortunately.

There is also one other possibility, and that is that she may have bladder threadworm. This would be treated not with an antibiotic, but with an internal anti-parasitic.

In both cases, it is important to bring a urine sample with you to the vet. You can do this by putting her in a carrier with a plastic bottom and waiting for her to pee. You can help the process along by giving her something juicy to eat, like watermelon, or a liquid that she loves. Make sure it is pee that you collect, not juice!

Use a small syringe or eyedropper  to collect the urine, and put it in a little container. If you don't have anything appropriate, you could use a little zipping plastic baggy and then seal it tight with no air (close it most of the way; press all of the air out, perhaps against your body; then close it the last little bit). The more urine you can collect, the better; so you may want to do this a couple of times if there is a wait before she can see the vet. If you don't have a syringe or eyedropper, I can imagine some sort of plastic wrap that you can manipulate to save the urine... Do what it takes.

Please get her to the vet ASAP.  She may be in real pain.

If this isn't going to work out, write back, I might still be able to help.

Squeaks and best wishes for her health,


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Natasha Millikan


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