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Rat Health
*We are on a constant quest for improving lives of our animals. If you know good treatment modalities and would like to share them with other rat lovers, please, e-mail us!

For acutely sick rat (my treatment protocol):

1) Hydration! 10-20 cc lactate or 0.9% NaCl solution (warmed to body temperature) injected under skin.

2) One (only!) injection of steroid (Dexamethasone) under skin - to reduce inflammation.

3) Antibiotic(s) - has to be chosen individually - follow the 10 day course.
Give twice a day from a syringe or pipet (adding it to the water does not insure that the rat gets it).

4) Force-feeding (baby soy formula, use pipet or syringe).

5) Keep the animal warm, and provide easy nutritious food.

For medications/dose consult: Rat & Mouse Gazette Medical Corner Drug Usage Chart for Rats

Other useful links:

SDA Virus - Sialodacryoadentitis Virus in Pet Rats

Facing SDA and Sendai Virus, by A.Gangi

Sialodacryoadenitis Virus

Bacterial Rat Diseases

Megacolon (by A.G.)

Skin Problems, by Debbie Ducommun

Ivermectin and other vet drugs

KV Vet Supply Co.

Animal Hospital, Rats


Safe Bedding, by Rat Fan Club

Rat Diet

Bumble Foot:
I have seen a persistent opinion that bumble foot is associated with walking on a wire.

While I discourage bottom wire floors for many reasons,I did not find an association strong enough to ban the wired shelves, and here is why:
- I observed a number of cases of bumble foot in rats who lived in single story cages with no shelves all their lives;
- I observed very few bumble foot cases (if any)in rats who lived in multiple-level cages with wire shelves.

I use the same bedding and cleaning regimen in all cages. The common issues in the rats who get bumble foot are:
- large size;
- other health problems (respiratory, tumors, etc.)

My bumble foot cases were refractory to Bactrim. BluKote alone was useful only if I caught the condition very early. Presently, I am trying Cefalosporins, and see some small success. I continue BluKote as an additional treatment.

Assuming the infectious nature of bumble foot (Staph. aureus?), I closely monitor the cagemates of affected rats. So far, the exposure to an affected rat did not seem to increase the overall risk of getting bumble foot.

I would be interested to hear about other people's experiences, and in particular, the records of successful treatment.


"One product I use, which seems to have helped, is an herbal first aid ointment I got at a local health food store. I can't find it listed on the company's web site, but I can share the ingredients. My vet looked at the label, and could tell that it was something that could help him.

It's called Noah's Kingdom Herbal First Aid Ointment (for Dogs & Cats). Ingredients: In a base of aloe vera, calendula extract, plantain extract, comfrey extract, slippery elm extract, myrrh gum extract, stillingis extract, chickweed extract, St. John's Wort extract, tea tree oil, lavender oil, garlic extract with vitamins A, D, and E.

According to my vet, the aloe, St. John's Wort, tea tree oil, lavender, garlic and vitamins are the keys. I have also heard from other sources that calendula is very useful. The vet also said that the smell of the tea tree oil is what has been keeping them from fussing with it -- they won't lick it off. ;~D It is extremely drying, though, so she recommended I not use it more than once a week."

Rat & Mouse Gazette Ulcerative Pododermatitis... AKA Bumblefoot & Squeaky