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Pet Rats/Pet rat questions


QUESTION: Hi. I have a few questions for you.
1. What is the best way to bath a rat?
2. Can I brush my rat? If yes, with what?
3. What are signs of a old. Age in rats?
4. What kind of sickness could it be with a rat that is weezing, got blood around the eyes and nose, really jumpy, skin condition and really dry fur that's sticking up? One of my rats have that


ANSWER: Dear Sydney,

First:  Your rat is deathly ill. It must go to the vet immediately. Rats do not show sickness until it is serious, and this is really bad. Please bring the rat to the vet today. The "blood" is not blood but porphyrin, which is like the mucus we have in our noses. But it should not be showing.

You do not have to bathe most rats unless they get especially dirty because they got into something; or, sometimes, a male who gets very greasy. Some rats love to be bathed and some hate it. You do it in the sink or tub with very warm water and baby shampoo. The most important part is not to let the rat get cold at all. The room should be warm; the water should be warm; and the rat should be thoroughly dried off with a towel and then stay in a warm room to dry. Do not put a wet rat back into its cage. Rats get sick very easily.

Do not bathe a sick rat.

A well rat will not need brushing. A rat who needs brushing is either very sick or quite old. I gently use a very soft, dry toothbrush. People have also used a baby brush.

An old rat may lose some fur, be slower, slowly develop a more hunched posture, and begin to have trouble eating. But your rat's problems are not caused by age.

Please bring your rat to the vet as an emergency. I hope it is Ok.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Okay thanks. Bailey (my sick rat) has a skin condition. I dot know if that has anything to do with it. She's not weezing a lot but she does get porphyn a lot. She is a bit jumpy and her fur is sticking up but she is eating and drinking fine plu she is still running around and playing still.
I think my other rat has an eye infection. Its for porphyn too, but stays there where as baileys leaves withing half an hour. It's been five days and it's watery and puffy. Do you think this is an eye infection? She also has a bump on her tail.
Both rats are still playing, eating and drinking fine and are goin to be two in August.

ANSWER: Dear Sydney,

I am serious about Bailey being very, very ill. The jumping is because she is panicking because she can't breathe. She is literally suffocating because her lungs are full of fluid. She has pneumonia. She is completely miserable and in pain. I know it doesn't seem like she is as sick as you are when you are in bed with the flu. But rats, as prey animals, do not show illness until it is very serious. They do not get "just a cold" like we do. If a rat is sick it always needs antibiotics.

Please take this seriously. Not only is she going to die without an immediate vet visit, but she feels absolutely horrible. She in pain and suffocating, she is terrified. This happened to my rat once too, my beloved Scooter. He was jumping and I thought he was playful. I laughed at him for days when it turned out later he had been suffocating and panic-stricken. By the time the behavior was frenetic enough for me to worry, it was too late. He died a few hours later as I was giving him steam baths to try to save him. Let Scooter's terrible experience save Bailey. Please, please bring her to the vet immediately.



---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Play thanks you so much. I will talk to my mom about it. She stil runs around a lot though. And I didn't know it was that serious! It has been goin on for a while though, and it hasn't gotten much worse. I wil take him to the vet though. Thank you


I am glad the rat can get to the vet.  The vet will give her antibiotics, and you can give them to her mixed in a little soy yogurt or applesauce, or whatever she likes.

You should  bring both rats to the vet. The other one may be sick and not showing it yet.

Best of luck and health to them.



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Natasha Millikan


Consider me a sub, when no one else is available. NOTE YOU MUST NOT HAVE ONLY ONE RAT. JOIN MY FACEBOOK GROUP (because there are smarter people than me there!!): ***** ***** Excellent sites: **** **** **** **** **** ****


I have had rats for 3-1/3 years and have researched them extensively. I am a mouse expert with 40 years' experience with mice. The two species are similar and yet also quite different.

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I have a Bachelor's and two Master's degrees in Linguistics

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My Facebook group, Rats are Awesome, serves at the moment 5300 members, and, considering all the huge rescues, probably averages 5 rats per member. That means my clients are about 25,000 rats!!!

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