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Pet Rats/My rat seems constantly tired and there are some splashes of blood


Charles is on the left
Charles is on the left  
QUESTION: Hi, first I would like to thank you for taking the time to read this! Recently, my rat, Charles, has been quite sluggish. His brother, Eddie, has been fine. He's still active they both have an appetite, but yesterday I noticed as I was cleaning out their cage, there were red splashes on their bedding. We don't have enough money to take them to the vets and I'm really worried. What can I do? Is it a sign of stress or a serious illness. Please help they're all I have. Please help me?

ANSWER: Hi Ella.  Both your boys are very handsome and appear to be best buddies.  You didn't mention Charles' age.  But regardless, bleeding is a bad sign.  I doubt it is from stress.  Can you tell where it is coming from on him?  It could be any number of things and I cannot guess at this.  It could be simple like a urinary tract infection that can be treated with antibiotics or it could be something much more serious.  

I'm sorry to tell you that a vet visit is mandatory.  Even an infection if not treated with meds can turn serious and result in death.  I would not hesitate another day.  You need to take him to a vet, and hopefully it's a vet with experience in treating rats.  See if you can work with the vet on a payment plan.  My vet allows that.  Or use a credit card that you can pay off in time.  Have you heard of CareCredit?  Not sure if it's something available in the UK but perhaps you can google it.  If you are worried and afraid of losing him, then a vet visit is critical. I know that this is not the answer you were hoping for but that is what I strongly recommend if you want to save him.

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

The boys
The boys  
QUESTION: I just want to thank you for your time and advice! I took them both to the vet and it turns out that Charles broke his toenail, causing the bleed. The vet said I was lucky, any later and an infection would have spread. When we asked why he was so lethargic, he said it might be due to pain. I can't thank you enough! You literally saved my rats life! We were given hippirub and have to apply it twice a day.

Thanks again! :3

Hi again Ella, you can't imagine what it means to me to hear such wonderful news and to learn that Charles will be ok.  So often, people write to me about their ill rats and I never hear back from them, leaving me wondering if their rats have recovered.  

To help ease Charles' pain, it would not hurt to give a drop of infant ibuprofen every 6 hours until his toe is healed or at least just for the next couple of days.

Thank you for your kind words and  the new photo of your beautiful boys.  Enjoy every moment you can loving on them as, sadly, their lives are far too short.  Please don't hesitate too write me again if you need any sort of advice at all.

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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.

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