American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the Summer 2001 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.


Diarrhea in Rats

By Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M.

Juli Valentine, Lakewood, CA
Q Three of my boys have diarrhea. They have had it for about 5 days now. What can I use or feed them to treat this? It is really not very pleasant! My rats are only fed lab blocks (Teklad) and once or twice a week they get fresh vegetables. I haven’t given the vegetables since the diarrhea though. The water is Arrowhead water and I use Sani-Chips® for bedding. At my trip to the vet, I did have the feces examined and the vet said it was not parasites. They are being treated with Aquadrops and it’s not cleared up after several days on the medicine. I did give them Pedialyte for 1.5 days.

Update: I took Bart to the vet today and he said it takes 14 to 21 days to recover from diarrhea. He said that the stool sample I brought was not as bad as he thought. He said really bad diarrhea is very watery. Bart’s is very loose but not like water. So he gave me a refill on the Aquadrops and said to give another 7 days. He said that Bart should have more solid stools come Wednesday or so, and if it’s not better after the last of his medication, they will take a stool sample to the lab and find out what is going on.

A Without knowing the underlying cause of the diarrhea, treatment can vary. If the diarrhea does not go away spontaneously, I would suggest having the feces examined by a veterinarian for parasites or bacteria and treat accordingly.

If the underlying cause cannot be determined, then if the animals are not dehydrated and in need of intensive veterinary care at a clinic, I would feed a bland diet (laboratory blocks and bottled water). If there is blood in the diarrhea, then I always add antibiotics. In some cases I add Kayopectate™. Having a fecal analysis and /or fecal cytology (both relatively inexpensive tests) performed to help determine the underlying cause(s), can markedly help in treatment. Persistent diarrhea can lead rapidly to dehydration and death if not controlled. *

Updated March 20, 2014