Merck Manual

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Common Signs of Illness in Rats

Common Signs of Illness in Rats

Signs

Possible Cause

Wounds with patchy hair loss on the back, neck, and base of tail

This might be a sign of ringworm, barbering, or skin parasites such as mites or lice.

Reddish-brown discharge around the eyes

This might be a sign of a respiratory infection or infection by sialodacryoadenitis virus. These infections are very serious and can lead to pneumonia.

Head tilt or circling

This might be a sign of ear infection, respiratory infection, or pituitary tumor.

Itching and scabs

These might be signs of allergies, parasite infection (for example, mites or lice), high-protein diet, or bacterial or fungal infection of the skin.

Lump

This might be an abscess, cyst, or tumor.

Paralysis

This might be due to brain or pituitary tumors (usually front leg paralysis) or stroke (usually 1 side and a rapid onset).

Sneezing, wheezing, or gasping

These might be signs of allergies, heart failure, respiratory infection, or stroke.