Pet Rats/Red Pee

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Question
"Stink" and her Kids
"Stink" and her Kids  
QUESTION: Hello. I am a relatively new "parent" to two lady Rats, Tamara and Alice. We got them on November 17th, and I'd say they may have been 2 months old then. I've never had rats before and they have been a joy to love. I have begun making hammocks for them because buying them just costs too much, seeing that they chew them so quickly. Well, I began to notice that the hammocks get soiled and it's a bright red color. Now they sleep together, so I'm not sure if this is coming from only one female or both, but there is no staining on their coats around the vaginal area, so I'm a bit confused. As we all know they pee EVERYWHERE, but when they piddle on the bed, on our shoulders, on the table, it appears clear. It seems to only turn red as it dries. Also when I smell the hammock, that always seems a little damp, it does not have the same strong urine smell as their "bathroom" in the corner of the cage. Please see if you can assist. They seem alert and happy; they drink plenty of water, are eating fine. No excessive sleeping, which I know is a telltale sign for most sick animals. I just don't want to take them to the vet if this is a nutritional deficiency or something normal.

ANSWER: Welcome to the wonderful world of rats!  Like most rat owners, you know it doesn't take long to get "hooked" by their wonderful personalities, intelligence, and loving nature :)  Some say that once you have rats, it's hard to give them up in your life.  And thank you for the picture...your daughter and the girlies are adorable!

Blood in urine is not a nutritional deficiency and definately not normal.  It is a sign of a condition and I am fairly certain it is a bladder or uterine infection, which must be treated with antibiotics.  A vet visit sooner rahter than later is necessary or it can worsen and cause illness.

It is most likely only one of your girls that has pee in her blood, but of course it is possible that it is both.  Can you isolate them for an hour or so in the cage and put down white paper towels in the hammock so the blood will be visible?  Or if you only have one cage and can't isolate one easily, then take one out for playtime for awhile and monitor the urine, and then do the other one.  

Once you figure out which girl has the condition (or if both), then make a vet appointment.  I hope you have a vet who has extensive experience with treating rats.  If you don't, I have a resource I can search if you tell me what major city or cities are near you.  Regardless, you should go in armed with this information I gave you and the antibiotic to be given is "Trimeth".  This is the brand name.  The non-brand name is "Bactrim".  

I hope this information helps you to help your vet treat your girl(s) properly.  And do let me know if you need help finding a good vet.  Please also let me know if I can ever help you with anything else.  Enjoy your baby girls!





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

QUESTION: I was hoping you would say the urine was just dying the fabric, or that they could be in heat or something. I have had a urinary track infection and the pain associated with that....oh man, I hope it doesn't hurt whoever it is too bad :-( I am in the Piedmont area of NC, and I called my vet and they do have a vet on staff that is experienced with treating rats. So I will try the experiment tonight. They will love getting to play out of the cage on a white towel for an hour, alone getting all of out attention. I thank you so much, I didn't have a follow-up question, just wanted to thank you properly. Have a great weekend and I'll keep you posted on the issue.

Answer
That is so sweet of you to go out of your way to give me an update and thank me :)

I don't think your girls are in terrible pain.  If they were, they would be displaying odd behavior such as retreating into a corner or running about frantically, or even trying to bite.  Rats are inherently very stoic and don't generally show they are in pain unless it is very bad.

I hope you have isolated and identified the girl with the red in her pee.  It's sounds like you have a good vet...it wasn't clear whether you wanted me to search for another for you.

I'd love to hear from you again if you don't mind with an update, and I hope all goes well with your girls.  

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Irene Murphy

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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.

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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.

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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.

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