American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the July/Aug. 1994 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.


Formula for Anorexic Rats

From Elizabeth TeSelle, Nashville, TN
I have a suggestion for those with anorexic rats. Our Phineas (who has had mild mycoplasma pulmonis symptoms since we got him last year), began losing weight and becoming weaker in late winter. His breathing became more labored and he seemed uncomfortable for the first time. Antibiotics have not helped him in the past, but we tried again, with no response. It was clear that while the rats have a constant supply of vegetarian dog food (which they adore), and fresh fruit and veggies in the evening, Phineas was eating very little.

I whipped up a concoction which has proven to be extremely popular with Phineas and seems to be quite nutritious as well. Using primarily Gerber’s new “Simple Recipes” formula baby foods, I made up the following recipe:

  • 1 part meat and fruit or meat and veggie baby food (Gerber “Simple Recipes” formulae include beef and carrots, chicken and broccoli, etc.)
  • 1 part egg yolk baby food
  • 1 part veggie baby food (carrots, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc.)
  • 1 part fruit baby food (apples, pears, bananas, etc.)
  • 1 part cereal baby food [I use the rice cereal in boxes, rather than bottles. The dry cereal mixed into the liquid mixture above helps absorb some of the moisture (rather than adding more), so the rat gets more nutrition per cc.]
  • Optional: I add ½ tsp. of acidophilus powder and ¼ tsp. of Prozyme powder as well. These products improve the body’s ability to utilize food. Acidophilus powder is available in most health food stores.

This ratio provides high-quality protein, plenty of fruit and veggies, and carbohydrate in the form of cereal, so it seems pretty balanced for an omnivore. I use 2–4 teaspoons of each type of food, mix the whole thing up in a little Rubbermaid food storage container, and refrigerate. Phineas eats 30–40 cc a day, divided into 3–4 feedings, and he sucks the baby food out of a syringe held in front of him very happily. In fact, he likes the mixture more than he has ever liked straight fruit baby food, perhaps because of the added meat.

Now 27 months old, Phineas has fattened up again, is breathing strongly, and is more active than he’s been in months. Apparently, gaining weight and strength has enabled his system to hold the mycoplasma virus off for a little while longer, for which we are very grateful. An interesting side-effect of this new diet is that despite the fact that Phineas now feels just fine again, he still won’t touch “real” food. I suppose we’ve spoiled him rotten, but I don’t mind if he never eats anything else as long as he eats and is healthy. The other two rats spend a few minutes cleaning Phineas’ face when he comes back into the cage after his feedings, so I suspect that the baby food mixture will be popular with them, too, should they ever need to have it. *

Updated April 2, 2014