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Pet Rats/skin disorder


swollen foot
swollen foot  
please can you offer any advice to the condition of our 2 yr old female rat?(images attached)
veanus was born at home we have both parents an all her siblings, all are free of any skin problems. she was about a month old when we first noticed her front right foot was red but gave her no concerns , it was not till about 4 months ago the area began to spread an become angry looking an inflamed. our vet has ruled out mites  and bumbiefoot.Venus hardly scratches or over grooms. we have up until now kept our rats on shredded paper, but i have put her on a vet cam bed as she looks so sore. up until recently she has been a fat rather greedy rat! but is now a little lighter but still eating fine. our rats are fed on healthy food little an often  with oily fish an seeds for protein , potato, rice , pasta an fruit and veg for carbs. i do not use commercial food. we have kept rats for 10 years now but have not experienced any thing like this , would appreciate your help.

ANSWER: Hi Angie,
The pictures you sent are so blurry I can't tell anything. Please try again and hold your camera far enough away so it can focus.  

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front foot
front foot  
underbelly & rear feet
underbelly & rear feet  
QUESTION: Hello deb,, hope these two are  better,, phone cam is not that fast and she wouldn't stay still



ANSWER: Okay, thanks, these are a little better. This sure looks like it could be an allergy. She could be allergic to something in her diet. Or, when you say you don't use commercial rat food, it may mean that their diet is not nutritionally complete. Most diets of just people food do not supply all the nutrients they need. She may be missing some nutrients that could be causing this.

It's also possible this could be caused by a fungus. When did the redness spread from her hand to her feet and belly?

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rear feet
rear feet  
QUESTION: the flaky skin on her back a few weeks ago, the redness  slowly getting worse over the last few months. we have kept 16 rats to date an always fed them this sort of diet our vet has always commented on their good condition , so  she may be allergic to a certain food, but i agree more likely a fungus infection. another image attached.


Another picture to blurry to see. So, you could try rubbing an antifungal cream on the worst parts and see if that helps at all within a week or two.

To see if it is an allergy, ask your vet to treat her with prednisone for a few days. If she gets better, then you'll have to do an elimination diet to see what she is allergic to.

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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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