Pet Rats/sick rat.


I have two female rats that are around a year old. both sisters but from different liters so one is a month or so older. friday thye were fine. Sunday i realized the older one not as active. they never sit still ever. but Spaz was reluctent to get out of bed and she squeaked when i picked her up. shes steadily gotten worse but will still eat treats and yogurt and drink water. she is unable to sit up,..falls over trying to groom.. has that red stuff around her eyes and nose. i clean it and she tries to help. but its now thursday. she seemed a little stronger last night. she wakes me up to give her water but i dont think she is going to the bathroom hardly at all. she has peed on her self i noticed and i cleaned that too. she still gives kisses and wants to do stuff but she can barely get around. her sister seems fine. she is NOT sneezing but may be slightly congested if so its really hard to tell. i called a vet and he says shes old and its her time. they have never had babies, never been exposed to any other rats since i got them.. i feed oxbow rat food but right now she wont eat it. just dried friut and yogurt and granola. two days now i did not expect her to be alive when i got home. and i have been wrong so i keep trying. it seemed yesterday that she might be a little stronger. she even started to try and crawl around last night. (shes been sleeping in my arms at night. any suggestions?

Hi. I'm so sorry your girl is suffering.  Your girl is only a year old!!  That is NOT old for a rat.  It's mid life...comparable to approximately a 40 year old human.  Rats generally live for 2 to 3 years, although 3 is a stretch.  Call a different vet if you have an option and get her in ASAP! !  Do not hesitate another moment.   I would consider this extremely urgent, an emergency.  If you want the chance to save her, you need to take her pronto!

Rats are prey animals, so by nature, can hide their pain very well, thus continuing to eat and drink until they are in extreme pain or near death.   Also the red stuff around the eyes and or nose is called porphyrin and is a sign of pain and or stress.  

I cannot evaluate what illness she may have but I can tell you I am certain it is serious.  One possibility, since she cries when you pick her up, is she may have broken a bone due to a fall when you were not there.  Or perhaps took a fall which resulted in an internal injury.  One rat owner who wrote to me described her rat who was in terrible pain.   She later found that her rat had torn off a toenail, perhaps between cage bars.  Her vet gave antibiotics to prevent infection, and metacam to ease the pain.

I hope you do rush her to the vet.  If they can't diagnose her illness for whatever reason, at minimum, insist on a dex injection, which is a steroid.  And insist on amoxicillin, a broad range antibiotic that covers many different infections.  Have the vet palpate her body to feel for masses which could be tumors or cancer, or something else.  If you can afford an X-ray, I'd highly recommend getting one, which would show internal masses and of course broken bones.

Please write me back and I will advise further if you need additional help.  I hope and pray that she has something that can be treated.  If it is not treatable, you should consider a humane euthanization at the point when she has no quality of life left.  

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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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