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Hey everyone. My grumpy loner rat (Matoska) has these awful little scabs around her neck that we just noticed yesterday. I suspect mites, because the scabs are only on her head and shoulders. Although they have just shown up very suddenly, and she is in a cage by herself, so maybe she is overzealously grooming?

Are mites visible to the human eye?

And what is the best treatment for mites? Does this require vet attention, or can it be cleared up otherwise?

Thanks for any help you can give me!

Btw, Toska is being spayed on Feb. 1, and we are hopeful that it will help with her aggression issues. Maybe (fingers crossed) she can return to the girls' cage (or even go in with the boys) soon after. I hate having her on her own...
 

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I'm pretty sure that they are either very difficult or impossible to see with the naked eye. I'd recommend seeing the vet to get the required treatment, yes. You can dose orally or topically with either Ivermectin or Revolution (cat or kitten/puppy version).

Here's some information on ecto-parasites and those two medications used in rats:

http://ratguide.com/health/integumentary_skin/ectoparasites.php
http://ratguide.com/meds/antiinfectives/ivermectin.php
http://ratguide.com/meds/antiinfectives/selamectin_revolution.php


Alternatively you can use a method involving olive oil. This is usually used in conjunction with the other treatments though some people have had success using it alone. It probably isn't as effective alone as the other two treatments though. Revolution is very safe and Ivermectin, when dosed properly, is pretty safe too.

http://www.sophielynette.com/oliveoil.html
 

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Yeah, that sounds like mites. My boy Nibbler had them once. You can't see them with the naked eye. Rat mites can come from anywhere. Maybe a new toy or bedding or whatever. They only affect rats so don't worry about catching them yourself.

You should definately take your rat to the vet. They'll probably either give a series of injections or an oral medication. Depending on how bad the infestation is, you may also be given a special shampoo to soothe the itching. Good luck with that. And wear long sleeves. The last thing a rat with mites wants is a bath. You also might be given an antibiotic if there is a risk of infection.

Also, after your rat has been treated, clean the cage from top to bottom. Scrub the bars and everything, preferably with bleach. (Though be sure to rinse it off very well before you put your rat back in.) Wash everything that can be washed and throw out anythign wooden because wood can harbor the mites.

And after everything is over, watch for head tilts and other signs of vertigo. A lot of times rats can get ear infections after having mites. Nibbler did! I think that's all I know... Wow, I typed a lot...
 

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I think I'll try Revolution, if it's quite safe. I'm sure my vet will give me some, but how do you dose it for a rat?

Also, she is scheduled for a spay in 2 weeks. Is this not going to be enough time to treat her for the mites? I don't want her going into surgery (actually, I know my vet won't do the surgery) with mites. Hippiemomma, about how long did it take you to treat your boy, if you remember?

Thanks!
 
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