Visit the Vet: 3 Signs Your Pet Rat is Unwell

Despite their reputation, rats can make fantastic family pets. Their small size and high level of intelligence make them easy to manage and fun to interact with. However, like any pet, rats can develop health problems. Below is a guide to 3 signs your pet rat might be unwell.

Head tilting

You may notice that your pet rat has started to roll their head to one side repeatedly. Head rolling is a sign of two possible health issues; stroke and ear infection. If you notice that your pet rat is rolling their head, you should have it assessed by a vet as soon as possible. If your rat has an ear infection, the vet will administer an antibiotic injection and ear drops to clear the problem. If your rat has had a stroke, the vet will assess the extent of any injuries and then recommend further treatments or euthanasia.

Skin lumps

Lumps on the skin are typically the result of tumours or infected bites. If you keep several pet rats in the same cage, they may occasionally bite one another if they feel crowded in a corner or otherwise threatened. A vet will treat the infected bite by draining any puss from the wound site and administering antibiotics.

Tumours can develop as rats age. A vet will assess a tumour and may take a biopsy in order to establish if the growth is malignant or benign. If the tumour is benign, it is likely your vet will recommend it is left in place. If the tumour is malignant, the vet will assess the level of growth and then either recommend surgical removal or, if the tumour is too advanced, euthanasia.


Another common problem which can affect pet rats is scabies. Scabies is caused by mites which bury themselves beneath the skin causing hair loss as scabs and sores form. If you notice that your rat has skin issues, you should take it to a vet. The vet will prescribe creams which will soothe the skin and kill the mites.

A healthy rat can provide years of companionship and joy for all the family. If you have any questions or concerns about the health of your pet rat, you should contact a veterinary clinic today for further help and advice. A vet will be able to assess the health of your pet rat before offering a range of suitable treatment options.