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Poor old Bandit is experiencing that hind leg degeneration that I have heard about. One leg he can't lift high enough to scratch himself anymore and it seems he is Always trying to. I try and scratch him with my finger nail sometimes, mimicking the movement, when I hit the right spot he reacts as if he was scratching himself but I'm not always there. What can I do to help him help himself and or make him less itchy/compelled to groom?
 

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I was going to ask this question, too. I've had to look after a wound on Temp's side as he scratches the same spot on his stomach when he's trying to reach his head and can't.
I think he's scratching more because he's a little stressed about his new surroundings...and I don't want to have to keep looking after wounds or taking him to the vets all the time, as that must make him feel a lot worse than he already did.

Not sure how to help him. ):
 

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Poor wee guys, not sure what can be done as rats will groom themselves instinctually, hind leg issues or not. Maybe you could give him daily wipe downs with a scent free baby wipe and comb through his fur with a baby tooth brush to help him maintain his hygiene?
 

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What food are they currently on, itching can often ba a sign of a food intolerance. It can also be mites, so well worth treating for them jsut in case. I would use some tea tree cream on any wounds to help sooth any tiching but you need to get to the source of why its there longer term.
 

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Thanks guys, hope Bandit's doing better....Templeton's doing a little better now.

I've been wiping him down pretty regularly and have given his nails a little trim.
He's currently half on whatever random shop-bought food he WAS on and half on No.8/Harrisons that you both recommended, I've been mixing it very slowly in, so it doesn't upset his tummy. It's a little more than half the good stuff now. ^^

When he first came, he was scratching a LOT. I thought maybe it was the bedding he was living in, because, at home, his cage had only been his bed, as he was outside all day every day, so his whole cage was just stuffed with stripped paper bedding, which I think was tickling him a little too much having to spend a fair bit of time in his cage in the daytime as well at first. Also, one of the cats had been spotted with a few fleas, so I did think that maybe a flea had managed to get in the cage....I HAVE treated the cats and constantly keep a watch, so there's never an infestation, and the few that were brought in were just from being outside that same day and were gotten rid of as soon as they were spotted. I've also got the cage well away from floor level, and regularly checked templeton, and never seen anything on him, mites or fleas. But I do know that even a single bite by a flea can lead to direct itchiness for at least 12 hours and obviously wherever you scratch then gets itchy in an itch/scratch cycle...so even one bite could have been the cause.

I did also phone the vet for some quick advice and she said that it might be stress...that some animals scratch and groom more when they're stressed and having his whole routine changed so dramatically and so quickly could have made this happen. In a single day he went from shoulder rat with his three year owner and a stable routine, to being stuck in a tiny cage, with a new persno, her kid and in a house with cat smell. And I think this was a major factor because it's been a little while now and I think he's getting used to OUR routine with him a little more. And since he has more to do and more freedom again, I think he feels less miserable.

He isn't scratching as much any more, although his occasional itches, which everyone gets from time to time, leads to him just scratching that same spot still, because he can't reach, and since he doesn't use his hind legs very much, he does drag it on the floor as well, so its a little difficult to keep it clean and 'dressed'.

I've got some antibacterial powder that the vet recommended, and I usually put that on at night, as it stays on longer. And I have some tea-tree balm which I put on a couple of times a day, after I've gently cleaned it and dried it. It is getting better and it doesn't bother him when I clean it any more so it's obviously either hurting less or not hurting at all any more, which is excellent.
 
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