American Fancy Rat & Mouse Association

This article is from the July/Aug. 1996 AFRMA Rat & Mouse Tales news-magazine.


Ivomec vs Eqvalan; Dangerous Onions; Strange Rat Disease

By Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M.

Ivomec vs. Eqvalan

Karen Robbins, Winnetka, CA
Q I’ve been using Ivomec from my vet in a solution made for external applications. I’ve heard of using a solution in the water for treatment but been told to use Eqvalan. I read the ingredients on both products and they sound the same other than Ivomec doesn’t need a prescription and Eqvalan does. What is the difference?

A Regarding the different Ivermectin products. Ivomec is formulated with propylene glycol and does not dilute properly in water. Eqvalan is formulated so that it can be diluted in water. Essentially if you try and dilute the Ivomec in water, the chemical does not equilibrate (equally distribute) and therefore you cannot deliver the active ingredient at the prescribed dose in the water.

Dangerous Onions

Nichole Royer, Valencia, CA
Q Recently, I received a newsletter from my cat’s veterinarian. In it was a warning that Gerber Baby Food had just started adding dehydrated onion to their meat baby food products. Apparently meat baby food is often given to young or sick cats and onion is very bad for them, so this brand (and any others containing onion) should be avoided.

This very much concerned me since I often have used this brand of baby food to feed my ill and young rats. Are onions bad for them too? I also give my rats garlic on occasion since it is supposed to be good for preventing respiratory problems (and my rats happen to love it—yes they are a little strange). Garlic is a relative of onion, will it hurt my rats?

A Wild and domestic onions contain n-propyl disulfide which produces Heinze body anemia in cattle, sheep, horses, and dogs. Heinze bodies are precipitates of oxidatively denatured hemoglobin found in red blood cells from animals from many different causes. Red blood cells that contain Heinze bodies are unable to fold as they travel through the microcirculation of the spleen resulting in their removal or destruction. This results in a marked reduction of circulating red blood cells (erythrocytes) referred to as an anemia.

I have been unable to find any information that describes any toxic effects of garlic.

Strange Rat Disease

Q I have spoken with many rat people regarding the condition of my rat so if I have contacted you already, please bear with me. She is 14 months old and has large nodules over her left shoulder, under her arm and now it is growing into her chest. Her vet specializes in rats and tried to remove the growth, but because she quit breathing under the anesthetic, he was only able to get a small segment out for biopsy. The results only showed inflammation but no tumor. The growth keeps getting bigger and recently she has begun to sleep quite a bit more than she used to. I have spoken with many vets over the phone and without exception, they have all said they have never heard of anything like this. She looks like she has a small cluster of grapes growing under her skin on her shoulder. The growths are hard and some are irregular in shape and seem to be connected when palpated. She is still eating but is sleeping much more than she used to. I had her chest x-rayed yesterday and it was negative. If you or any or your members have had any experience with this sort of thing, please let me know. If you know of an excellent vet from whom I could get a second opinion, please recommend him/her. Also, if you have the web site or phone number of the rat and mouse fancy in England. please send it to me. Perhaps someone over there has seen such a disease as my rat has. She has been on every antibiotic available and is now on steroids and keeps getting worse.

Answer from Karen Robbins, Winnetka, CA
A You have spoken to me as well as my mom on the phone regarding your rat. I’m sorry to hear of this strange condition and that the vets aren’t able to figure it out. I sent your letter on to an excellent rodent vet I know, Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M. Following is her response.

Answer from Carmen Jane Booth, D.V.M., Pathology resident
Regarding: Rat with multiple subcutaneous masses

A I am sorry to hear that you are having problems with your rat. What anesthetic protocol did your veterinarian use? My personal preference is methoxyflurane inhilation anesthesia for removing masses in rodents. If only a small sample was removed, it is likely that the true underlying problem was missed because of sampling problems. If it is possible, I would recommend that your rat be anesthetized and that some if not all of the masses are removed and submitted for histopathological analysis. Based on my experience, it is likely that your rat has mammary tumors. There are many other possiblities, but the probability is highest for mammary tumors. *

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Updated March 19, 2014