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It is very unusual for rats to get Sarcoptic Mites. The mites appear on the rat's ear, feet and tail. It is the only mite which can infect humans as well. After a treatment of three weeks with Ivermectin the rat can recover completely. If you have more than one rat you have to treat them all because the mites are very contagious.


Sunny's ears covered with mites



Sunny's ears after the treatment with Ivermectin



It all started when I cleaned Vleckje’s and Ratito’s cage. They share a little white plastic house where they sleep in. One evening I saw a lot dark red spots on top and on the walls of the house. They looked like blood spots. I checked the entire body of both ratties…Nothing! The next day …Blood again! Only the house showed the blood spots! One other body check had no results.

I decided to use white cloth as bedding. If they were loosing blood it had to show somewhere. The next day the same well known picture. The entire house was covered with blood spots. I phoned my vet in panic. Something strange was going on. The ratties ear looked very dark inside. Did they loose blood from the ears? Why did the blood not show up on other places but the house?

My vet inspected both ratties ears with a little penlight lamp. The only thing he was mumbling was " Oh yes….I can see it " My heart was beating fast. What was wrong with my ratties? My vet explained that both ratties had an ear infection which produced much more ear wax than usual. Every time they shook their heads the wax was flying around.

My vet explained that he never saw a rattie with an OTITIS EXTERNA ( External audiotory canal infection ) It is very common in dogs and cats.

Contains of the cream:

After three days treatment the infection was over.


Sunny developed an abscess right under his chin. After a while this big ugly bump opened and all the pus drained out.
Life went on and Sunny was a happy loving rattie guy. The abscess appeared approximately every six weeks. Sunny was handling the problem without difficulty. No clouds in the sky,……I thought!

Sunny with an open abscess

From one day to the other Sunny's left eye became bigger and bigger. The eye was very painful and so enlarged. It seemed to be a luxation of the eyeball. Sunny was anesthetized and the eyeball was put back in the socket.
After three days the eye became bigger again. According to my vet it had to be a tumor or a retrobulbar abscess. During the operation it became clear! There was an abscess very deep in the orbit. After removing the eyeball the abscess was opened, flushed and drained with a penrose drain. The eye lashes had to be sewed together.
Sunny soon became better. A few days later the drain was removed and everything looked fine.

Sunny after the eye operation with drain

Operation performed by Dr. Th.P.M. Van Noort, vetinarian

Now it was Nero who had an abscess on his throat first and later on the same eye like Sunny He too had to loose one eye. Both ratties remained the same happy rattie guys. Sunny and Nero were cage mates.

Nero with a growing abscess on his throat

When Nero left for the Rainbow Bridge Sunny became a partner of Baby, Balou, B.B and Belly Button. He loved to be with the girls.
As time passed, summer came and my vet went on holidays. Before he left, he checked Sunny. Everything was fine. Not for long. Once again Sunny had an abscess under his chin. At the same time one of the girls , B.B. developed an abscess on the same spot like Sunny. This time both abscesses opened by itself. The pus drained out. Sunny….Nero… and B.B…. all three had the same abscess. Coincident….the vet said! I felt uncomfortable about the matter and took Sunny and B.B. to the University to have a bacteriological examination. They found three bacteria. ( Coryne- Pasteurella and Staphylococci bacteria) I was told that to get rid of the bacteria that caused the abscess, a big part of the rattie’s throat would have to be cut open. No way! I would not have that done. My sweet poor ratties! When would the aggressive bacteria strike again?

A few weeks later the abscess started to grow on Sunny’s nose .This time the mean ugly abscess ate a piece of my rattie’s nose. Luckily the nostrils were still intact ! With cleaning and draining , Sunny was OK again but with only half a nose!

Sunny left to The Rainbow Bridge. No more mean abscess can hurt my rattie guy!


Cleaning the abscess well.

Antibiotic cure

Draining keeps the wound open to let it dry


Rattie guy Tarzan with Cataracts in both eyes

Close up of de eyes


Cataracts appears as a white dot behind the pupil. As far as we know it is not painful. The sight of the rat gets very poor or it can cause blindness


Removing the affected lens/s by surgery which is most difficult in a rat's eye. Rats with this symptoms still can live a happy life because the rat's eyesight is poor anyway. Especially red eyed rats. They compensate the sight by " swinging * the head side ways.



Betadine ( Iodine solution )
Calendula Balm ( made from the flower Calendula )
Physiological Salt Solution
Baby of Children's Aspirin
Ivermectin ( Horse wormer paste. Brand : Zimecterin, Rotectin 1, Equimectrin ) against Mites/Lice
Sodium Bicarbonate of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide
Nutri Cal ( Nutri Plus Gel )
Udder Balm
Tooth picks
Sterile gauze
Syringe without needle
Nail clippers ( Gerber makes nail clippers for babies )
Pill Cutter
Bottle for ice
Heating Pad
Jar of Baby Food
Rat treats





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Copyright © 1999 Lisa Jenny
Illustrations & photos © 1999 Lisa Jenny
All rights reserved