This article is from the WSSF 2004 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.
By Karen Robbins
Sarah Gyenge, W. Yorkshire, England
QI have a rat but it’s proving very difficult finding different foods, etc., for rats. Also, how to get information about rats. I don’t know why here in Britain they just don’t seem to care about pet rats. This is my second rat, my first one developed all these spots and was scratching all the time, and now my pet rat again has developed the same problem. I clean him out regularly and he always has the bedding without chemicals and gets fresh food and water every day. So, what am I doing wrong. I’ve taken him to the vets with no help at all. They say they can’t find anything wrong with him. It’s really upsetting to see him scratching all the time like that. I’ve even got creams from the homoeopathic’s—it does help him a bit, but only lasts a couple hours then he starts scratching again.
Do you know of any rat associations here in Britain. I have not seen any.
AYour rat could have food allergies. Some males and some colors of rats are very prone to breaking out in little itchy scabs around the head and shoulders if they get too many sunflower seeds, nuts, fatty foods, too-high-in-protein foods, etc. They don’t have lab blocks available to the general public in England, but they do have seed mixes that most breeders use. The table below lists rat organizations that you could contact for more information on foods available in England. I’ve also found that some rats will break out in scabs during certain times of the year, and a treatment of Ivermectin will clear it right up. Sometimes pregnant females will break out in scabs due to hormones.
Another possibility would be that your rat could have parasites such as lice or mites which treatment would take care of. Lice are white nits attached to the hair itself, and in dark colored rats you can see them on the fur. If you hold the rat up to the light and turn him around, you may be able to see them on lighter colored animals (they will be kind of shiny). Severe cases of lice can cause hair loss and scabs. If you have a mild case of lice, you can bathe him in a kitten flea shampoo, and dust the bedding in a kitten flea powder and repeat in 2 weeks. If more severe, he would need treatments of Ivermectin or other topical drug which your vet could take care of. Did your vet do any kind of testing to rule out parasites?
You might want to change the bedding to another product to rule out an allergy to the bedding. CareFRESH™ is a suitable bedding to use that would not contain irritants. Also, make sure you purchase your bedding at a clean establishment. Some people have found they have brought in parasites in the bedding.
The main rat club in England is the National Fancy Rat Society. They can help you in finding bedding, food, vets, etc. They also hold shows many times a year. There are also other clubs in Great Britain you may want to contact, including one in Yorkshire.
Clubs in England to Contact:
|Club||Web Site Address||Mailing Address|
|National Fancy Rat Society||www.nfrs.org||BM NFRS, London WC1N 3XX|
|London & Southern Counties Mouse & Rat Club||www.miceandrats.com||Secretary, London & Southern Counties Mouse & Rat Club, 153 Kenilworth Crescent, Enfield, Middlesex EN1 3RG|
|The Midlands Rat Club||www.midlandsratclub.org||MRC Membership, 5 Stone Avenue, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, B75 7LP|
|The North of England Rat Society||www.neratsociety.co.uk||Mary Giles, 11 High Street, Meldreth nr Royston SG8 6JU|
|The Yorkshire Rat Club||http://yorkshireratclub.org.uk||Kayleigh Hartley, 3 Moorfield Way, Wilberfoss, York YO41 5PL|