Mites In Rats
Mites in rats is in fact very common as they are present in small numbers under normal conditions without bothering the rat. However, when rats are stressed, ill, or injured, their immune system decreases causing the number of mites to increase – then causing an issue for them.
They often appear as white specks under the fur near the root of the hair, most commonly around the shoulders, neck, and face.
Excessive mites are most commonly seen as increased scratching due to inflammation in the skin, and occasionally abrasions in the skin. These abrasions create an environment where a skin infection can occur if the skin isn’t kept clean. Action should only be taken when it causes complications to the skin.
Treatment and Prevention
If you’ve noticed that your rat is having skin problems you should take them to the vet, especially if you suspect it is mites. Rat mites come in three types – the rat fur mite, the tropical rate mite (uncommon), and the rate mange mite (rare). Mite infestations are often treated with topical applications of medicated dusts, sprays, or solutions to kill the parasites depending on the type of mite the rat has. The vet will advice on the best administration depending on how excessive the case of mites is as well.
If one rat has mites then it is likely that they all do, making it important to treat all of your rats – even if they don’t all have scabs as rats can have mites without symptoms.
Routinely cleaning and disinfecting the cages to maintain a clean living environment for the rats is the best prevention from them getting excessive mites. Keeping a stress-free environment and feeding nutritionally balanced food will also help prevent mites from growing to an excessive number.