Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sick Pet Rat! Scabs, Porophin ETC.?

Alright, so I've tried looking for an answer somewher eelse and cant find anything. I've got two pet rats, Sophie and Tallulah. When I had them out the other day, I noticed Sophie's shoulders/neck/upper back was all scabby. There weren't any bugs or mites that I could see, and I know it's not because of the bedding (I use carefresh).

Also, she's had porophin staining around her nose lately, as well as around her eyes. I know she's been itching quite a bit too, but I have no idea what could be causing it all. Their cage is clean, I do it every 3-4 days, and they've been on the same food since last august, with no ill-effects.

And, I don't think it's mites or lice, because Tallulah doesn';t have any scabs/porophyn or anything like that. Although, she does itch a bit.

I have no idea what to do! T_T Should I take her to the vet? I think I may have too, but I figured I would check here first, to see if anyone had another (cheaper) idea first.
Hi there,
Firstly with regards to the scabs - they're most likely caused by one of a few things. They could be caused by parasites such as mites/lice, too much protein in the diet or food allergy, or allergy to something in the external environment. Check your rats over carefully to ensure there is absolutely no sign of parasite, check the hair shafts for funny looking reddish oblongs (parasite eggs). The other rat itching could be down to the same things, as they go almost hand in hand. You could try using an insecticidal shampoo aimed at small animals and giving them a bath.
The porphyrin staining around the eyes and nose could again be down to allergy too. Although Carefresh is fine for rats it might be wortwhile trying another paper based bedding incase this is causing the problem. However with rats being so prone to respiratory problems (of which the porphyrin staining around the eyes plays a part) it's worth getting them checked by a vet anyway, it could just be a small upper respiratory tract disease which is easily treated by antibiotics. But it's best to get them seen sooner rather than later as with these things once they get a foot hold some respiratory infections can cause the rat a major problem in the future.
Sounds like your rat is allergic to something in its environment and you need to take it to the vet!
There is a great website It has a great message board forum on rat care. A lot of rat breeders and experienced rat owners on there and would probably know exactly what you should do.

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