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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My new girl seems to scratch and bath herself a lot. I looked all over and didn't see anything. Wondering about mites...anyway to know without taking her to the vet? Can I get get meds and treat her anyway? (would it spread to dogs/cats?) Also I'm pretty sure she's pregnant...I'd like it to be under control before the babies come so I don't have them to treat too...Would that harm them (treating her now?) I can't afford $60 + meds dollar vet visit atm, I just took my girls twice in the last couple weeks and I have to put my dog to sleep tomorrow. If I can just buy meds that would be best, what can I buy?
 

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Sometimes they just itch and bath a lot, it's usually normal, but I can't see if she's itching more then normal through the internet. Because of the pregnancy, she might be stressed, so if she starts to loose patches of fur, or if her fur seems to thin /really/ bad, then that might warrant a vet visit, but I have no experience with pregnant rats. I know that most of my rats tend to clean them selves around every 10 to 15 minutes when awake or out of the cage, and they usually itch themselves less frequently then that.

As for mites, look through her fur over the next few days. If she has mites, she will develop scabs and if you are checking through her fur for scabs, you will probably catch it early if it is mites, but don't jump the gun until you see a few scabs. There is no point in stressing her out during her pregnancy and treating her with medication if she doesn't actually need it. Rat flees are big, and if she has them, you will see them easily.

As for medication questions, I have no experience with treating for mites, or the effects of medications on the pups, so I'm sorry I can't be more helpful in that respect.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks I found out I can treat with Revolution but she doesn't have any scabs yet so I'll keep an eye on her.
 

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Oddly some rats don't seem to develop scabs... We brought one home that infected our other rat but never scratched too much or got scabs...

Revolution is the right treatment, and it's cheap and normally safe. I don't usually treat pups though and I don't know how it will affect the unborn. Rats develop their blood brain barrier when they are a certain age, before that meds that are normally safe can cause developmental issues.

I've heard about a method of using diatom powder to kill mites, but never tried it, nor am I familiar with the proper course of treatment. And in the old days we used cedar chips as bedding and that seemed to kill or repel mites. Normally, I wouldn't recommend either method, but if revolution will do more harm than good, those may by your safest options.

And before anyone freaks out... cedar chips may not be good for rats... but for many years they were used and rats, hamsters and mice survived and thrived in them... They should still be relatively safe for the short term, until the pups are old enough to treat with revolution if the mites aren't gone by then. At least I don't recall any birth defects being caused by cedar chips. So it's not normally a good treatment, but it might be better than rat pups with three eyes and two tails.

If some old timer remembers how the diatom powder worked this might be a good time to share it as a option for a special case. I knew a few people that used it and claimed it was effective, but I didn't think to ask for the details... I think the fine powder clogs the mites breathing vents... but I don't know how to apply it or how to prevent it from harming the rats lungs too.

As to sprays and other 'toxic' chemicals, I'd stay well away from them, most don't work and even if they did you are risking the unborn pup's health.
 

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Cedar and pine and apple wood aren't harmful until the rats pee on it and it decays. That's why it isn't recommended for bedding because it can kill them, yet at the same time, people have used it with their rats for ages with out issue. I don't think it causes deformities or illness in the unborn pups because the reason it's harmful is because rats breathe in the fumes from the decaying wood, (most decaying wood isn't harmful, there are chemicals specific to these woods that are harmful.) It really comes down to how often it's cleaned.

If cedar does help with mites, (which I didn't know until now, thank you, ;D) then it seems like a great idea to use it for a while to see if it helps! It most likely wont hurt her if you clean it often, and spot clean any pee spots or water spills. Try to make sure that the wood chips aren't extremely dusty, though, because I'm unsure if cedar dust has the same effect when inhaled, but don't worry, because as previously mentioned, these woods where, (and are still,) highly used, (and pine still is sold in most pet stores,) with small animals. Any dust can irritate their nose and make them sneeze, so if it is dusty and she starts sneezing, don't get startled and assume the cedar is killing her. Also, because you are only using it for a short amount of time to try and cure a possible mite infection, she will probably be fine.

Diatomaceous earth, (or diatom powder, as it is also called,) is VERY effective against pests like bed bugs, and I feel it probably will work for mites if you can find it. I'll tell you why it works! Firstly, it is COMPLETELY SAFE AND NON TOXIC to most, (if not all, I'm not an expert,) animals because it is all natural. It doesn't clog the breathing vents, (though I am very impressed by that theory, because I am into entomology and not many people know how bugs breath,) but it actually clings to the exoskeleton of the bugs and kills them by chafing off the waxy coating of the bug that they need to retain their body moisture, and quickly dries out the bugs, killing them.

I assume you treat the rat by rubbing the fine powder through their fur in decent amounts, as it will not harm the rat. I would avoid putting it on their head or around their eyes for the obvious reasoning that powder in eyes is irritating and uncomfortable, and to make sure you get all the mites, you should treat once a day for a few days until they seem free mites, (monitor them closely after stopping treatment and keep some of the powder in case they come back.) Because of the dusty quality, make sure the rat isn't breathing in the dust, and you should make sure they don't clean themselves while it's in their fur, and then wash it out after a few minutes, because it wouldn't be good to digest, and it would hurt them inside, but it doesn't have any chemicals that would irritate or burn the skin. This is similar to what you'd have to do with flee shampoo, as they can't lick that either, but you add it to their fur dry, then wash it off.

As for Revolution, I have no experience, and know nothing about it's effects on rats or pregnant rats and their pups, as I have never had mites, (or never known I had mites,) but I think one of my rats /may/ of had mites that I cured by accident. He had scabs on his face, and as a kid, and having my other rat die from infection due to itched flee bites, I acted quickly and treated the scabs by dabbing the area with Hydrogen Peroxide on a Q-Tip. It healed up rather quickly after that, and he had scares where the scabs were, but he lived with out having any scabs for an other year. I don't know if it was mites, or if the peroxide killed them, but if she develops scabs, I would recommend treating them with it do make sure the scabby areas don't get infected. It doesn't burn like alcohol, and only hurts if the area is extremely infected or septic. Don't use on large open wounds, but scratches or small punctures are fine, though it might sting slightly, but a **** of a lot less then alcohol or disinfectant spray. (Peroxide is actually probably safer for your rat then most of these sprays, as it isn't a mix of unknown chemicals and/or alcohol that can cause a lot of pain during the disinfecting.)

IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT USING PEROXIDE ON RATS! Peroxide is POISON to rats and humans, but is actually really safe to use if you use it properly. DON'T EVER USE AROUND THEIR EYES, NOSE, EARS, GENITALS OR MOUTH, JUST AVOID THE FACE AND TAIL BASE ALL TOGETHER. Don't ever submerge rats in peroxide, or peroxide solutions. Now that I've done some warnings, here's the way to use it!

Use a Q-tip or cotton ball to soak the scabbed area and the area surrounding it completely and generously, (unless near the peroxide no-no areas, then apply lightly, but enough to wet the skin with out getting to the no-no areas.) DO NOT LET RATS LICK OR SNIFF THE PEROXIDE. Gently rinse off the peroxide with clean, warm water several times, gently rubbing the areas to make sure the peroxide is coming off. (don't wash them in a 'bath,' sink or container because you don't want them sitting in a water and peroxide mixture.) After a few rinses, (peroxide washes out pretty easy,) bathe your rat like you usually would to make doubly sure there is no peroxide hiding in their fur. Dry them off gently, and let them dry and groom themselves. By this point, there shouldn't be any peroxide left and they can clean themselves.

IF PEROXIDE GETS IN EYES, OR OTHER NO NO AREAS, RINSE IMMEDIATELY WITH CLEAN WATER, AND CONTACT A VET. This seems scary, but as I said, other then this, it's pretty safe easy to use, and doesn't irritate their skin, or burn like alcohol, it washes off easily and is cheap. (You also know exactly what's in it.) Usually, Peroxide it diluted with water, and the one I use is a 3% solution, which I believe is the commonly sold solution.

If you buy it for treating your rats, remember you can also use it to treat your own cuts and infections, and it works extremely well. With humans, it fizzes when in contact with infection, and a white foam appears. Don't be startled, that is the peroxide taking care of the infection. (I haven't seen it foam on rats they way it foams on my infections, but it might, and that is normal.) The deeper and more infected the wound is, the deeper the solution goes to get the infection out, and don't be alarmed if extremely infected areas of skin turn white during treatment. This isn't skin dying, as I have heard some people think. This happens because your skin is like a sponge, and if it's really infected, the solution pulls the infection out of the skin, which can become white from bubbling up. The skin goes back to normal a few hours after treatment, so don't be frightened. Also, the deeper the solution has to go and the more infected the area is, the more it stings, but it doesn't usually sting unless the infection is bad.

With your skin, you don't have to wash it off, you can let it dry or put a band-aid over it and it will continue to keep the area disinfected until it dries, (Rats will lick it, thus why they have to be rinsed off.) Rinse your hands after, because it is poison, but will just make you sick in small amounts. (Some people use it as mouth wash, because it's fine after rinsing, but it is gross, and foamy, and I find I can't get the taste out of my mouth.)

Sorry about the long peroxide rant, I just want to make sure I put as much information as possible to prevent miss use of the product I'm recommending because I didn't add enough information.
 

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Although, I tend to prefer iodine for deeper wounds, I can't see any real harm that peroxide would do applied properly, but I sincerely doubt it would kill mites overall... they are likely all over the rats and cage and although it would help the scratches from becoming infected. I can't imagine how it would take care of the mite infestation... So good info on cuts and scratches... but short of doing something unwise like rat dipping, I think you would need to do more for mites.

Cedar is used to line closets and trunks, it contains aromatic oils or other organic chemicals that are toxic to bugs. Which is likely why it's not healthy for rats... But it has and was used and for folks too young to recall, that's why it was used... Before ivermectin and revolution the cheapest and easiest way to avoid mite infestations was to bed your animals on cedar. And yes, my own experience with any wood shaving is that when it gets wet it causes problems for your animals. In my opinion this is due mostly to the wood molding, but yes, keep it dry, for sure.

Actually, I figured everyone knew how bugs breathe. It's the only reason why bugs aren't bigger than us... not having lungs limits their size to just a few layers of cells deep. If bugs had lungs we might all be serving our ant overlords. I shall defer to the expert though, and go along with diatoms scratching off their waxy coating rather than clogging their breathing vents. Either way the mites die!

While I have no problems with the treatment as suggested, which might be spot on, I really would like to hear from someone who has actually used the method successfully in detail... So many old methods had curious quirks that had to be understood or things went wrong or didn't work right.
 

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Yeah, I figured it wouldn't help with a mite infestation too much, because as mentioned, no rat dipping, lol, but I recommend the peroxide for the scabby areas and figured I'd add info for peroxide usage for the scabs. Also deep rattie wounds would probably benefit from iodine instead of peroxide, especially if it's open and not scabbed, as peroxide /can/ sting big wounds and is harder to control the spread of the solution on large areas if the rat is freaking out, and it might lick it. I've never used iodine myself, but that's just because I've never dealt with large rattie wounds, or ever had iodine in my bathroom, where as I have 2 bottles of peroxide, lol.

It's different chemicals that effects the bugs then the ones that effects rats, (at least in pine, I'm not 100% sure about the other woods preexisting oils,) and before the discovery of the effects of these woods on rats, (which is relatively recent compared to the long history of fancy/pet/science rats,) pine was the most commonly used rat/small animal bedding because it was cheap and could be bought in large quantities. When the bedding was replaced often and didn't have time to decay from the acidic chemicals in the rat pee, the care takers of the rats, (be they pets or otherwise,) didn't see ill effects of the bedding, and when a rat was effected, it was most likely assumed to have different causes that were more popular. That's also why having furniture made from these woods around the rats, (like hope chests and dressers that are made of these woods because of how they keep bugs away,) doesn't harm them, but I'm not a scientist or anything, so I could be wrong.

You would be surprised how few people know that lol, I rarely meet people who know anything at all about bugs, let alone how the breath. Growing up with this interest, I jump at the chance to talk about bugs, so I know, (at least in my area, seeing as though we live in different places,) that the average joe doesn't know the difference between 'true bugs' and 'insects,' or that daddy long legs aren't actually spiders because they only have one body segment. Actually, most people I've talked to who aren't into bugs as a hobby don't even know a bug's exoskeleton is the only 'bone' like part of a bug, and that they don't also have a tiny internal skeleton. (lol, could you imagine they did have tiny little skeletons? I don't know, I find that really funny to think about.)

Diatom earth might work, but yes, it might be spot on, but I've never had mites or used Diatom dust, so it would be beneficial if someone who has had success with it could comment and correct any misconceptions or misinformation posted so far, as I am good at regurgitating information, but heck, people in Greece used pipes and had indoor pluming, which was genius and works, but they used lead and gave themselves lead poisoning. I might be wrong, so if anyone has experience or knows better methods, a comment would be a great boost of confidence toward the treatment and validate it's usage.
 
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