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Pet Rats/help identifying leg injury


Hi, I will give you some back ground so maybe you can help me figure this injury out so I can help my lil guy recover. I took over care of a 7 month old 1/2 dumbo - 1/2 jumbo rat named Tango. He's a big guy and we decided to upgrade his cage to a bigger model. We got him one that had plastic ramps and couple platforms to hang out on. He had been living in his new cage about 2 weeks when one night he injured his back leg/hip(not sure which). We think he may have fallen off one of higher platforms or he might have gotten it caught while climbing up side of cage.The next morning we noticed him holding the leg up and not walking on it. He did not appear to be in pain that day. The next morning however he was in obvious pain, I took him to the vet right away. The foot never swelled and the leg/hip did not have any obvious swelling. The vet just agreed with my opinion that it was either a sprain, strain, dislocation or break. We would have to do x-ray to tell. But no matter which it was there was nothing that could be done except an amputation if it was the worst case scenario. I opted to not do x-ray as it was 200$ and I couldn't afford it and since it wasn't gonna help with how to treat his injury. Otherwise all I could do was keep him in single level cage and keep him calm so he could heal on his own and manege his pain. She gave me plenty of pain meds and a separate anti- inflammatory which I was able to give him for 5 days. It really helped him be more comfortable and we kept him as low key as we could and he has improved. Its been just about 3 weeks since that vet visit, he is able to use the injured leg to scratch his itches and occasionally he will put the foot on the ground, but he doesn't put much weight on it. He kind of leans more on his good leg. His foot is still curled up and he does not walk on it.
   Is there any way you can give me your opinion from what I have described which injury he may have and what kind of recovery I can expect for him? This is our first pet rat so I don't have any experience, but my thinking is after this long, if it was a strain or sprain he would be walking on it at least some. If it was a break he would be in more pain and not as active as he has been. So maybe its a dislocation at the hip/leg joint? Sometimes when he sits I think I see hip bulging out more than his good side, but he leans more on his good side and its not a overtly obvious bulge so its hard to tell. Any help you can give is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your time..Kelli W.

Hi Kellilyn,
I'm sorry to hear about your boy's injury. Seems like if the hip was dislocated, this is something the vet would have discovered. I wonder if the vet would be willing to do a recheck for free or a reduced cost?  I think since he can use his leg some, it can't be actually dislocated. Can you stretch his leg out?

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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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