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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new member of rat forum, and joined to ask for some help. I have two males rats, both approximately 16 months old. The larger of the two has an excessively oily coat that causes him to scratch to the point of bleeding. His back and neck are constantly scabbed. At the moment I am bathing him every other day to try to control the oil, but he remains quite oily and itchy. I was wondering if neutering may help the issue, as our vet told us that it is likely due to high testosterone levels. If anyone has any information, or knows of anything else that may help please reply! Thankyou!
 

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We use mainly just warm water to bathe him, though when the oils are really thick our vet suggested using a small amount of Dawn soap to help clean him as it is safe for use on small animals. We have also purchased a "dry shampoo" for rodents that is just a foam that is supposed to help with oiliness and itching.
 

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What are you feeding them? High levels of protein can cause an oily coat too. Since they are 16 months old you should make sure to keep the protein levels at a range of 14 - 18%. If you look on the bag of food you're giving them it should list the level of protein.

Folks on here often suggest lab blocks such as Harlan Teklad or Oxbow in the US, and in Europe Science Selective. It kind of makes it easier to keep in the range of their dietary needs.

I hope this helps!
 

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Keep in mind that the more you bathe him, the more oil his body will produce. You could also try baby wipes to pull oil out of the top of the fur. Also, have they done a skin scrape to test for mites and other nasties? How long has this been going on? Since he hit puberty or just recently? How is his health otherwise? Is he active and springy or does he just huddle in a corner? Since he's nearly a year and a half old, I'd be cautious of a surgery if other things like treating for mites and such haven't been tried first. Some rats do a lot worse and even give themselves infections scratching so much. It happened to one of my girls when we had a mite outbreak. She was the only one covered in scabs still and everyone else was good and growing their hair back. The vet said they can actually give themselves a secondary bacterial infection by scratching and a bit of clavamox cleared her right up.
 

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Thankyou! This definitely does help. I just checked the protein levels in their food and it says it's at 20%. I'm going to look into one of the other food brands that is at the right level
 

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It has been since he hit puberty, though it definitely gets worse in the summer. We haven't had him checked for mites as he is still quite active and his happy self enjoying playing with us and his cage mate. I might try changing his food and switching to baby wipes and if it still continues then have him checked for mites.
 

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I suspected! When switching food do it slowly by adding new food into the old. It may take a month or two for his coat to become more regular. I hope that is the only problem. :)
 

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My rat is oily and he scratches himself so much he has had scabs everywhere. My vet prescribed antibiotics and the problem clears up but it's recently started happening again. If neutering eliminates this issue this may be something to look into.
 
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