Signs of illness in Your Pet Rat

Is your rat sick?

5 Signs to be aware of in a sick rat

ūüĎČ Before you read, please take note that we are not professionals and below is information and techniques I have acquired through many years of rat ownership and research ūüĎą


 1. Porphyrin around eyes or nose

Porphyrin is a red mucous that is produced by the Harderian Gland located behind the eye. You may notice a red substance around your rats nose or eyes. This indicates a mycoplasma infection. Mycoplasma is a progressing  respiratory disease that affects many fancy rats as it is highly contagious, but luckily non-pathogenic to us humans. If your rat is experiencing mucous leakage or constant wheezing we recommend taking them into the vet ASAP. Unfortunately there is no cure, although the doctor can provide antibiotics which will slow down the disease and clear up mucous blockage in the throat. 


2. Reduced Appetite & Weight Loss

Rats often vary in weight just like us humans. If you notice a sudden loss of weight or reduced appetite, this could indicate old age or sickness. Weight loss is a very common symptom rats experience, especially in their elder years. As a rat gets older their immune system weakens and it becomes harder for them to digest foods properly. Although this is more prominent in female rats, males can experience this too. Tumors as well can play a role in your rats weight. As a cancerous tumor develops it steals nutrients from the rat. If you notice your rat losing weight we recommend to get a check up with your local vet. 


3. Piloerection (Rough Coat)

Pilorection is much like goosebumps for us humans. It occurs when tiny muscles at the base of each hair, known as arrector pili muscles, contract and pull the hair erect. You may notice this take place in your rat if they are cold, after a conflict or while experiencing stress. If your rats fur often looks puffed up your rat could be in pain and should get checked by a professional. 


4. Behavioral Changes

This is the most common symptom of a sick rat. If your rat is acting far from the norm, this indicates something is wrong and they want you to know.  If you noticed your rat is exhibiting any personality changes such as diarrhea, acting scared or just overall acting strange, recommend getting a check up ASAP.  


5. Poor Grooming

If you own rats, you know their favorite past time is grooming. A rat who neglects their hygiene, most likely indicates a mental illness. Stress, loneliness, and depression can lead to poor grooming habits. This is often seen in rats that live alone or have reached a state that impairs their overall mental function. Rats typically do not require bathes but if you must we recommend using a warm washcloth and water. Throwing a rat into tub or sink could frighten them.


These here are just 5 of the many symptoms to look out for. if you have any other tips or questions feel free to comment below. 



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Making a Room Safe For Your Pet Rats