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Pet Rats/eye infection


Hello, I have two rats just under two years old. About four days ago, I noticed one of them looks like he has an eye infection. It is red all around his eye and all watery. He is also squinting it a lot. It is just the one eye. Is this an eye infection?
Also, today I noticed my other rat have some red around his eye. Could he have caught it from my other rat?
I have called my vet, but there was no answer. Should I take him in to the vet, or just call? Is there a treatment I can pick up, or any home remedies?
thanks, Sydney


Thank you for your question. Sorry for the delay in a response.

It sounds like your rats have porphyrin around their eyes. This is reddish, watery discharge that comes from the eyes and nose. Basically, their tears and "snot" is this color. It is usually completely normal to have some of this discharge from time to time, however, excessive amounts or long term displaying of porphyrin could indicate a problem. The most common causes for porphyrin are illness or irritated sinus/eyes (due to fragrances, dust, etc). Many people will see this most often when they change the litter.

If you notice any other symptoms that could indicate illness, I would consult a vet. This could include any changes in their behavior or breathing.

If all else appears normal, your squinting rat could have gotten something in its eye. Most of the time rats are able to resolve this issue by themselves but you might want to check to see if you see any debris in the eye before gently wiping it with the corner of a warm, damp cloth.

Hope this helped!!!  

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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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