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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've noticed that my little boy rat has started scratching behind his ears and his chin a lot lately. Today I noticed a little scab behind one of his ears that I suspect is from the scratching. I have had him since the beginning of December and I have noticed the extra scratching for about 2 weeks. I have not recently changed his type of food or type of bedding and other than the scratching, his behavior has been normal. I also noticed a little bit of dandruff on his fur for the past couple of days. Is there anything I could bathe him with to help his skin?
 

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Olive oil can moisturize (don't use any commercial human moisturizers - they will ingest it and even the most "natural" stuff could make them sick) It could be that he is in a drafty or too warm part of the house. Dry winter air always makes my skin go itchy and flaky - so it could be the same for rats.
 

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Excessive scratching and scabs on shoulders/neck/head and chin often mean mites. :(

You would need to treat with Ivermectin or Revolution to treat these little buggies.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you very much for the advice. I took him to the vet and he did end up having mites. I have no idea where they came from. The vet gave me three doses of Ivermectin to give orally every 10 days. I let kenny (my rat) play on the couch all the time. I am concerned that after the Ivermectin is finished, mites that might have fallen off of him could jump back on. Does this happen?
 

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Not really. Mites and their eggs can't last all that long off of their hosts. As long as you don't have any other pets in the house that could have got infected then you should be fine. I'd vaccum the couch though.
 

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Where do mites come from? They are everywhere. They usually come from bedding, mainly Carefresh and hay. They could come from just about anywhere, though. It's keeping them under control that's the trick.

Clean and disinfect the cage very often to keep the mites from reinfecting your rat by living in the bedding. Also, throw away anything cardboard, freeze any wooden toys at 0 degrees Celcius or below for a few days, and wash any cloth items. I would wait to put these items back in the cage until you're sure the mites are gone.

As for the Ivermectin - I've heard that topical Ivermectin treatments work significantly better than oral treatments. I've successfully used the topical stuff on my mice before, so I'm more inclined to suggest using that instead.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I use newspaper bedding. However, I just got him a new cage a few weeks ago that came with a bag of carefresh bedding in it. The bag was closed up and I did not use it. Do you think that is where the mites could have come from?
 

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He may have had them before you got him. Have you had him long? You can also bring them in if you have been visiting with other rats that have them (just one of the reason why pet store visits can be so bad) or from outside.
 

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Ok, then the most likely reason is bedding or other rats. It's frustrating I know, but it's something you just have to deal with every once in a while.
 
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