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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, so I got a male rat, Loki, a week ago from Pet World along with a Hairless named Balderdash (who is known as Baldy). The day after I got him, when I went to stat handling him, I noticed some whitish little flecks on the tip of the hairs about halfway down his back. He shed a few hairs onto me and the flecks are attached to the hair and are difficult to remove. I'd like to know if anyone can tell me if they are nits/lice ( a problem I had before with one of my girls, but she had white fur and I didn't notice them until they were actual bugs she left behind on my shirt when I picked her up) Or if it's just dandruff and/or the 'Buck Grease' I've been hearing about stuck to the end of the fur. So far in a week, I haven't noticed any more or any less, nor have I noticed any bugs or him scratching more than usual. Should I take him to the vet to be sure? Should I call the pet store and ask if the breeder has had trouble with lice?

This is my first time owning male rats, which is why I'm unsure of what it is.
He isn't very good at taking pictures yet, but I've done the best I could. The link should go straight to the full size picture. To the left side is the clearest image of whatever it is that I could get.

Here
 

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Unfortunately, those look like nits. My rats got lice not too long ago and they were covered in those. A quick three week treatment of ivermectin will handle it, as well as the lice that may have already hatched.
 

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I agree those do look like nits. Look for the bugs. Usually red and will move when you disturb the hair. They like the rump area. Like RR said, you can use ivermectin or kitten revolution. Regular kitten advantage kills them as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay thanks, would petsmart or another pet store carry ivermectin, or is it something I have to get at the vet? my second question now is, could Balderdash have them? I heard they can't survive on hairless rats but the google has lied to me before.
 

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Just get puppy/kitten revolution and put 2 drops directly on the skin behind the neck where its hard to reach, and watch them very closely that they don't lick it off until it dries. Give a dose to all your rats since its very easy to spread, even if you dont see it on the others yet, even your hairless just to be safe. One small vial was enough to treat 2 drops to all 7 of our rats (one is hairless). I tried ivermectin for a month, and dawn dish soap soaks, and olive oil soaks, and diatomaceous earth and still was not able to get rid of them. The day after I finally caved and got the revolution medication, the rats were no longer itchy and seemed visibly relieved. Its really worth it to just get the meds. Will save a load of time and effort and kill everything very fast!
 

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You can also freeze any leftover meds and use it again 2 weeks later as a follow up to make sure the lice/mites are wiped out for good. You can get it at any vet, and it's not very expensive at all if they let you buy just 1 vial from a pack. But it's not a bad idea to just buy a 3 pack to keep on hand since you've had it before and might have it again in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
You can also freeze any leftover meds and use it again 2 weeks later as a follow up to make sure the lice/mites are wiped out for good. You can get it at any vet, and it's not very expensive at all if they let you buy just 1 vial from a pack. But it's not a bad idea to just buy a 3 pack to keep on hand since you've had it before and might have it again in the future.
Okay, so I checked him very thoroughly (i got him while he was sleepy so it was easy) and there aren't any actual lice on him. No bugs at all. I backcombed him and rifled through his fur until he got impatient. Could they be unhatched eggs, or something now? Do lice migrate to other bodies after hatching? He was in a small cage with at least four other rats the day I got him. A rat fan club page told me that males can produce a lot of oil. And 'The oil can even result in blobs of dandruff that can look suspiciously like parasites.' Would it be wise to get him checked out by the vet before exposing him to any chemicals/meds, do you think?
 

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The biggest sign that would tell you its probably parasites and not just oil is if he has any small scabs. They scratch themselves until they bleed since mites/lice are so itchy and annoying. If he has little scabs (especially around his head, jaw, or shoulders area) it probably is the bugs. But if he doesn't have any yet, you can just wait it out and see what develops. If you think he has them, then I would treat all the rats since it is very easy to spread and doesn't always show up at the same time and they could just constantly reinfect each other if not treated all at the same time. But hopefully its not mites!
 

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Most rats don't show signs of infestation for a while, and I've never seen buck oil blob onto the fur like that. Or heard of it. Ivermectin is advertised for horses, so check any local tack stores or get it online and make sure you get Ivermectin 1.87% I don't think a trip to the vet is necessary; unless you really want to take him but lice can be treated at home. Do you already know the dosages and what not?
 

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You can try ivermectin if you want since others are recommending it, but like I said, I've used it and had no real signs of improvement. It's in paste form and the entire bottle is one dose for a horse, so the medication isn't totally homogenized in the paste, so sometimes if you put a little rice sized blob (the dose for a rat if you use it), it sometimes won't even have any medication in it.

I'm not saying others are wrong or you shouldn't listen to them of course, this is just from my experience with using it, and I was told by other on the forum about the paste not being completely mixed up since it doesn't have to be for a horse to eat the whole tube. I just want to save others the trouble I went through haha ;D
 

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They can get dandruff in there hair if there diet is short of good oils, however these are loose and easy to brush off, lice eggs tend to be stuck more firmly. Occasionally this dandruff can be the exact same orange as lice due to buck grease, its still dandruff just orange rather than white, again its a sign of lack of the right kind of oils in the diet.

To be honest though this sounds like lice, and even if i wasnt sure i would probably treat just in case (its a very low risk treatment, and i actually keep some in just in case and also treat prevenetatively on ocacsions like just before a show). In a fit and healthy rat you rarely get full blown outbreaks, you just see a few eggs on dark rats or a few lice on pale rats and then only if your really looking, they groom themselves and each other and keep them down. You tend to have the really obvious outbreaks when someone in the group is under the weather or less able to groom themselves, that or with lone rats or during cage strife when they arent grooming each other so much. Otherwise health rats keep them under control.

For instance i recently fostered a lovely lone boy, he was a blue hooded rat and his white bits were a dull pale greyish tone, he wasnt massively handleable but i did a quick check and didnt see much, on a better check later on i found a few lice and realised that the grey stuff was actually dirt left over from the lice. He wasnt crawling but had had them so long his coat looked dirty with it.
 

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I should add that i would treat your hairless lad too. The lice eggs can fall off and survive for up to 3 weeks on things in the cage, all it takes is for one to hatch as he's passing and they can get a meal, even if there not happy to live on him (though having heard of lice infesting kittens before there fur comes through, im sure if they were hungry enough they'd live on anything). Treating him will mean that it kills them as soon as they try. If i find lice on one rat i always treat all of them as a precaution and its always wiped out any issues i've had.

For info i keep this in http://www.amazon.co.uk/Petlife-Har...F8&qid=1415880902&sr=8-1&keywords=harkamectin , its handy as the dilution means that i'd use 3 drops for a fully grown adult buck, 2 for a good sized doe and 1 for smaller or younger rats. A lot of ivermetcin products over here are stronger concentration so i'm twitchy about using them on small or lightweight rats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Most rats don't show signs of infestation for a while, and I've never seen buck oil blob onto the fur like that. Or heard of it. Ivermectin is advertised for horses, so check any local tack stores or get it online and make sure you get Ivermectin 1.87% I don't think a trip to the vet is necessary; unless you really want to take him but lice can be treated at home. Do you already know the dosages and what not?
Unfortunately, I'm not familiar with the dosage. Last time I fought lice, I went to the vet and he gave me a pre measured dose in a little snap off thing to put on their neck and said it'd kill them. Thinking about it, it was probably Ivermectin because it was once a week for three weeks. I think I might just make them a vet appointment. I would like to verify that it is really lice and I'm not freaking out over nothing, I have to get Baldy's eye checked out anyway because he's all squinty, so it can be a two in one trip. Thanks for the help!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
This issue has been resolved! I'd like to thank you, my fine furry friends, because it was, in fact, lice nits. But because they were nit, instead of giving me something to put on their necks like before, the vet gave both Baldy and Loki a special bath. They weren't impressed by it, but at least the nits will die.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The baths dont generally fix the problem, see how it goes but dont be surprised if they come back in a few weeks time.
They said if it didn't work, they'd do a second or third treatment for free, so it'll work out either way. Because of the circumstances and no visible live lice (I only found one on Balderdash and none on Loki) the vet claims that's all he could do.
 
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