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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I will try to add pics to this thread this weekend, but in the meantime, will just describe symptoms and the situation and see what you guys think.

I have 6 rats (3m/3f) that are a little over a year old. In the last week I have noticed one male that has very little hair on his legs (he is normally furred otherwise and looks in good shape although he is obese). Later on in the week (2 days ago) I noticed that the largest and oldest male in the cage with him also has some hair loss, but on his back and a little on his back lower legs. I can clearly see his skin through the patches but it is not irritated, red, scabby, etc. The area is on his mid / lower back but not right at his tail. The other rats show no symptoms and are all behaving normally.

Some changes that have happened recently that might be effecting / causing this:
I started including a new food in their diet about 2 months ago that includes corn (among other ingredients) that their primary food does not have. I stopped feeding it yesterday and switched back to only feeding their primary diet just in case this is an allergy or deficiency issue.

I used a different kind of aspen in the males' cage beginning about 2 weeks ago... Harlan "sani chips" wheras the females are on harlan shredded apsen. This is a very old bag of sani-chips that has been used in their cage before (about 6 months ago). I stopped using it due to it being scattered more, but the rats didn't react to it then. The bag has been open (and kept dry) for probably 8-9 months. I use it with my reptiles with no issues.

I purchased an odor-absorbing gel bed container that is in their room. I recently moved it to the top of an end table sitting next to the males' cage. It does not touch their cage and is about 1 foot away. I have noticed one male rat (the obese one) sneezing more often since I bought it, but am not sure if it is a coincident or cause.

My questions for you guys:
- Does this sound like a possible allergy symptom?
- Do male rats naturally get thinning hair on their back / legs as they age?
- What other causes could this have?

Thanks for your time and help!
 

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Male rats that are rexes do bald in the way you are describing with age.

It could also be barbering, to an extreme part.

To rule out allergies, for a week I would try them on towels and see how it goes. No improvement, try taking out the gel container. If you knock things off one by one you can rule them out (if you change it all at once you'll never know the cause).

The final thing I could think of I haven't seen in rats but have in older animals; it could be a sign of pain indicating arthritis.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks! I am going to switch them back to their former bedding this week and try that to see if there is improvement. I don't see any signs of pain or overroming (at least when I'm around) so can't say whether or not it could be one of those. All 3 males are quite inactive, but they have always tended to be lazy, so it will be hard to determine if pain is an issue.

Thanks for your input!
 
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