You are here:

Pet Rats/Female rat needs help asap


I have a female rat about 3 years old who came down with a respiratory infection about a month ago. I have had rats for about 5 years now and needless to say they are my life. I have seen many illnesses come and go and I have had a few rats come and go, God rest their little souls. Back to my question, when my girl got sick I started some tetracycline. I saw improvement, but then she seemed like she started going back down hill again. So I started back with the tetracycline with some amoxicillin for any secondary infection. Within the last week, she has gotten much worse, lost some weight, and when she "tries"to eat, and when I give her meds, she is doing something I've never seen before. She will take food and spit it out and rub her chin on anything and everything in site. She does this when I give her medicine also. She is not doing it in a way like its scent marking, but like there is something wrong and she can't eat or take meds properly. Again, I've never seen this before. I would have already had her to a vet but my other female just had surgery and the costs was double what the "high" end was supposed to be. Please help me, any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have done so much research, but nothing giving me an idea as to what going on with the chin rubbing.

Thanks in advance,

Hi Carmen, I apologize for not answering sooner but I have been ill.  I have read Debbie's responses to the same question you also sent to her.  I also wanted to say I am very sorry you were not able to save your girl.  She did live a very long life and I sense that you provide the very best for her.  

Seeing that you are a long-time and dedicated rat owner, you probably already know this from your experiences with illness and death in your past rats, but I notice Debbie did not touch on this in her response, so I will bring it up here.  Again, you may already know this but rats, by nature as prey, have a tendency to hide very well any signs of illness and by the time you start to see signs, action has to be taken very quickly with medication because they go downhill very fast.  In nearly all cases, a rat who has stopped eating and drinking is usually fairly close to death and at that point, the best you can do is provide comfort.  

Treasure your times with your rats and cherish the memories of those that have gone.  Their lives on this earth are far too short.

Pet Rats

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

©2017 All rights reserved.