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I have 2 18 month old females. They are bright and active. They seem just fine, not scratching or biting themselves. I use wood pellets as bedding and clean the cage thoroughly every week. In just the past few days both have developed dark red/brown irregular spots on their tails. The spots are not raised, just appear as discoloration under the skin. It looks almost like dried blood, but there are no wounds and, as I say, the color seems under the skin. I have done some "tail scrubbing", which I do every now and then to keep tails clean and healthy, and these spots don't come off. Anyone know what this might be?
 

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How do you clean their tails? I use liquid dish detergent and a soft toothbrush. If you can get your rat to tolerate it for a bit, it usually really helps. Or do the marks look like this?

 

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The spot in your picture looks like a wound, or at least slightly raised. The spots on my rats are irregular in shape and completely smooth. I clean their tails w/ a warm wet washcloth and wipe in the direction of hair growth. I have been hesitant to try the toothbrush for fear of hurting my babies. Maybe their tails are tougher than I think?
 

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Vikki said:
The spot in your picture looks like a wound, or at least slightly raised. The spots on my rats are irregular in shape and completely smooth. I clean their tails w/ a warm wet washcloth and wipe in the direction of hair growth. I have been hesitant to try the toothbrush for fear of hurting my babies. Maybe their tails are tougher than I think?
Actually that was 38 month old paralysed Sebastian's tail. Its more of a dark mark until this showed up. Its not wound but it is a bacterial infection I think. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't this problem since before it got to that point it looked like dark red markings.

How I wash my rats tails is this;
I have everything ready to go, towel, old toothbrush, dish soap. I fill the sink with some warm water, enough to cover their tails and then some. I put dirty-tailed rat in water, and try to let the water soak it a little bit. Then I drain the water, take some dish soap in my fingers and work it thru their tail firmly but always in a side-down motion towards the tip, so I don't hurt them. At this point they are running around the countertop and you are trying to stay with them...hahahaha.
Then I take the toothbrush and start brushing in short strokes down the tail (you'll figure out quite quickly how much pressure you can put on, but start softly at first). Think about it like brushing a horse with a stiff bristle dandy brush. Short strokes. Then I rinse their tails under the faucet, and towel the offended rat off. Its not perfect but it does help. :)
 

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Thanks for the tips Fuzzy. My ratties don't like getting wet, but I could probably dip them in enough to at least get their tails wet.
You had/have a rat that made it to 38+ months? That's amazing. What's your secret?
 

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Vikki said:
Thanks for the tips Fuzzy. My ratties don't like getting wet, but I could probably dip them in enough to at least get their tails wet.
You had/have a rat that made it to 38+ months? That's amazing. What's your secret?

Hahaha...I saw you say Fuzzy, and wondered who that was, until you mentioned Sebastian...LOLOL...ooops I'm a "Little Fuzzy".

I took in 4 rescue boys being rehomed, since no one else would, including our local shelters. Three of them were just over 2 when I got them and the youngest unrelated boy was 22 months. After one of the older boys got super aggressive and hormonal after smelling females for the first time in his life, he and the younger boy went off to be neutered. Poor Dominic had an underlying respiratory problem that we didn't know about and he died at the vet clinic 5 days after the surgery at 27 months. The next one was sweet unhealthy Farraday and he made it to 32 months until pneumonia took him. My beloved Pippens was 37 months before an abdominal tumour ended his happy existence, and last January was the youngest boy Sebastian at 38.5 months old. My secret? Lots of stimulation, good food, big roomy cages, exercise and love of course. ;)
My oldest female rat to pass was Loki at 28 months. BUT I also have lost one sickly shelter girl at 10 months, a whole bunch of girls at 16-19 months lately to PT... Some you win, some you lose. I am very very curious to find out how my 12 spayed girls do in the long run, healthwise. :)
I hope to get another 6 done but its a lot of money.
 

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fallinstar said:
my 2 boys tails seem to be getting very dirty all of a sudden and flakey its weid?!
Fallinstar, how old are your boys? They get lazier as they get older and don't lift them like a young rat would, jsut drag them behind.
 

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My girls tails both get really gross discolorations on them, usually they are orange. I give them a bath or else take a scent-free (hypoallergenic) baby wipe and wipe away from the body and the marks just come right off. It's gross.
 
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