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Pet Rats/Swollen leg/query break?


Swollen leg
Swollen leg  
Swollen leg
Swollen leg  
QUESTION: Hi Debbie,
Please see the attached photos of my rat's rear left leg.

Morris injured his leg on Thursday,(I presume he caught it in the bars of the cage possibly fell from his hammock)

On Thursday there was a small amount of swelling to the foot which I thought would probably go down over a few days. I couldn't feel or see anything like a break or bite etc. By Friday night the swelling had also travelled up his leg and was twice the size,he was also holding his leg up and not weight bearing!

I kept him comfortable over the weekend and made him a bed at the bottom of his cage. Last night I was still worried and decided to give him 0.3ml of children's ibuprofen.  He has also had a dose this morning and late afternoon so far. The swelling seems to have lessened in the foot and he will now put his foot down. Since then I am pretty sure he has broken his outside toe as it is very floppy on examination.

I know you can't give me an exact diagnosis via email/photo but I hope you can advise me of what to do.

Am I giving him an adequate dose of ibuprofen and how long should I give it for? Should I take him to the vets? Is there anything else I should be doing? He is also currently on 0.4ml of baytril a day due to a myco flare up.

Thank you,I really appreciate your time.

ANSWER: Hi Emma,
Good for you for putting him on the ibuprofen for the swelling. That was the right thing to do. Good job!  To see if the dose is correct, I need to know his weight, and the concentration of the ibuprofen, the mg/ml on the bottle. It's usually so many mg in 5 ml.  Even if there are broken bones, they will heal on their own, and all you need to do it control the swelling.

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QUESTION: Phew! Thank you,it's always a worry!

The ibuprofen is 100mg in 5ml. O dear,I've just weighed him...only on kitchen scales. He's 900 grams (quite a fatty!)

How long should I give him it for and how many times a day? When is it time to worry if it doesn't go down? Will it ever look like it did before bearing in mind that there may be further breaks that I can't feel yet?

Yes, he is a big boy!  Wow, that is about 2 lbs. Are you sure it's 900 grams? The dose for inflammation is 60 mg/lb, so if he does weigh 2 lbs, he needs 120 mg. So he would need 6 ml. I hope he likes the taste!  You can give that twice a day. It may take several weeks for all the swelling to go away. You just want to make sure that it doesn't get too swollen, because that can cut off the venous circulation resulting in more swelling, and creating a vicious cycle.

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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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