Are these mites?

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orangeK

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I have three rats (1 black, 2 b&w). I've noticed small red/orange/brown flakes/specks on the white ones' fur (I'm sure they're on the black as well, but I can't see them). You can't really see their color but you can see their size in the photo.

They don't have a lot of them and I only see them on the fur, not so much the skin. They're also on the ends of the fur, not so much the root. I had them on a mix of Yesterday's News and Carefresh (which I froze). Right now, I have thrown out all their old bedding and given everything in their cage a clean. All of their fabric hammocks are out of the cage and they only have Yesterday's News, no Carefresh.

They don't seem to be itching, so I'm not sure if these are mites. I was thinking of giving them a couple days to see if things change then taking them to the vet.

Could these be mites? What can I do to clean their hammocks in case they are mites (I was thinking just washing and freezing them)? Is going to the vet necessary or can I just get them meds myself?

Thanks!
 

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Dena

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Are your rats boys? If so it could be buck grease. Totally not harmful if it is. You can't see mites, even on a skin scraping. If they move, they are most likely going to be lice. Not the human kind. And they are species specific, so you don't need to worry about getting it. If it's lice, or mites, you'll need to get kitten revolution from your vet. Good news is, it only takes approximately a small drop, and one tube can treat all 6 of my rats, and have some left over. If it's live, you'll treat once, then 21 days later, treat again. It's way safer than ivermectin, which some vets will try to prescribe, and make you give too many treatments. Revolution (salemectin) is the safest way to go. DO NOT get over the counter flea meds, or pet store flea meds. They have harmful ingredients in them. Hope that helps! Good luck, and check out www.ratguide.com for health care info. Also, Lilspaz can help you with the dosage if you need.
 

orangeK

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Are your rats boys? If so it could be buck grease. Totally not harmful if it is. You can't see mites, even on a skin scraping. If they move, they are most likely going to be lice. Not the human kind. And they are species specific, so you don't need to worry about getting it. If it's lice, or mites, you'll need to get kitten revolution from your vet. Good news is, it only takes approximately a small drop, and one tube can treat all 6 of my rats, and have some left over. If it's live, you'll treat once, then 21 days later, treat again. It's way safer than ivermectin, which some vets will try to prescribe, and make you give too many treatments. Revolution (salemectin) is the safest way to go. DO NOT get over the counter flea meds, or pet store flea meds. They have harmful ingredients in them. Hope that helps! Good luck, and check out www.ratguide.com for health care info. Also, Lilspaz can help you with the dosage if you need.
Yeah they seem to have gotten more within the past day and looking at pictures of the lice, they look pretty similar. I'll message her, thanks!
 

ViciousCurse

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Another way to tell if it's lice is by looking at the fur near their hips. If you have black (or darker in general) fur over that area, you should be able to see the little white eggs literally cemented to their fur.

I'd go with Revolution just to be safe. Better safe than sorry.
 

orangeK

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So I went to the vet and it is indeed mites. At first she recommended ivermectin, but I asked about kitten revolution and she was able to give it to them right then and there. It's been probably a day and a half. Does anyone know when it should start working? I read 36 hours for dogs and cats. Right now, I'm still seeing the orange flakes (maybe the mites are dead, but the flakes are there?). I washed their hammocks and put them back in, however I did put some ropes and wooden toys back in without washing. I read with revolution not everything had to be washed because any mites that jump onto the rats will die, but I put these in about a day after their treatment so would that affect things?
 

Dena

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How did they determine it was mites? Mites cannot be seen. Lice however, can be. The only thing that will be a clue it's mites, is by the little sores you'll find on your ratties. Sometimes the sores can't be seen until the rat's fur has be wet down. The little red or orange dots are actually lice. How much revolution did the vet put on your rats? I think all wooden toys and ropes and anything that can't be washed needs to be frozen. I would freeze for 48 hours just to be safe. Bedding, or litter as well. Fleece can be washed on a hot cycle. If it's lice, a treatment needs to be repeated in about 21 days, to break the life cycle of the egg. Look at www.ratguide.com I think there's pics of each (mite sores, and lice) on there, as well as the treatment.
 

Rocket99

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You can get Ivermectin from any feed and grain store, but be sure not to give him more than the recommended amount of an uncooked grain of rice sized portion. It costs $5 for a lifetime supply. But people will tell you not to use Ivermectin and if that's how you feel then you can get Revolution online from Canada under the name "Stronghold". It's the same exact product. Get the teal colored container strength. Wash all their stuff or throw it away, don't use any cleaners, just mild soap and water. But clean the cage well. Good luck.
 

Rocket99

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How did they determine it was mites? Mites cannot be seen. Lice however, can be. The only thing that will be a clue it's mites, is by the little sores you'll find on your ratties. Sometimes the sores can't be seen until the rat's fur has be wet down. The little red or orange dots are actually lice. How much revolution did the vet put on your rats? I think all wooden toys and ropes and anything that can't be washed needs to be frozen. I would freeze for 48 hours just to be safe. Bedding, or litter as well. Fleece can be washed on a hot cycle. If it's lice, a treatment needs to be repeated in about 21 days, to break the life cycle of the egg. Look at www.ratguide.com I think there's pics of each (mite sores, and lice) on there, as well as the treatment.
Exactly, mites are too small, you will only see their scratch marks and sores. Live are more like what I see in that photo. But lice are rat zoonotic, i.e. ... Only rats have rat lice. So figure out how they got them unless you've had the rats for only a short while and the lice came with them. But if you've had them a long time then they would have had to have contact with other rats, like Woodies, to get those lice.
 

orangeK

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I've had these rats a bit over two weeks now. I didn't notice the dots when I first got them from the rescue. I think maybe they picked it up from Carefresh that I didn't freeze long enough. She didn't do a skin scrape or anything like that, she just looked at their skin and fur to diagnose it. I've read that mites cause a bran like substance on the fur, which is what I saw. They didn't move around like lice, they were red/orange, and flat like bran. I'm also not seeing nits. They are all looking okay right now except for one of them, who seems to have quite a lot today. Could it be dandruff? Some of the specks/flakes are pretty sizable. I don't see him or any of them scratching.

Unfortunately I didn't freeze the toys, so if it is mites I hope that didn't cause him to catch them again. I'm going to clean everything and freeze it today. I guess I'll also wet him down to see if there are any scabs, but just sifting through his fur I didn't see any.
 

orangeK

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Also, I can't say exactly how much she gave them. She had to do some looking up to find the dosages and used a syringe to apply it. It definitely was more than just a drop like I have heard some people say to do, though. I'll give them a call tomorrow and ask about what they think.
 

Dena

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It actually sounds like it may be buck grease. Can you please post pics next time you notice it? Mites don't leave scaly dandruff like stuff on the rats like they do on rabbits. I've had a rabbit, and what you may have seen when you looked up mites, was fur mites that would be on a rabbit. Usually the only sign it's mites on a rat, is the sores from them biting and scratching themselves. There usually aren't any other outward signs. Lice will be little red dots, and white nits (eggs), and buck grease is similar. If you didn't freeze their toys, there's no need to do it now. The life cycle is short enough that when the revolution wears off, any mites that weren't on them will die off. Or should. If you see sores again in a month from treatment, you can either retreat, or take a look at something else being the culprit. You are welcome to share this forum, and info from it with your vet, or share www.ratguide.com with them. That has a lot of good vet contributed info as well. I hope you all get some relief from this soon.
 

Dena

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Also, www.ratguide.com should have good dosing info for your vet, should they need it in the future. That, and Lilspaz can also help with dosing. Just message her, and she can help you. If I have any info incorrect, her or SQ can let you know. :)
 

orangeK

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I decided to wait a while before giving an update to see if things changed. For now, I think I can consider this over. Also, I actually read about the bran substance caused by mites on Rat Guide ( http://ratguide.com/health/integumentary_skin/ectoparasites.php ).

Anyways, I haven't seen a large amount of it on him since then (just a couple specks here and there) and none on the others. I wet him down (which he hated) and looked through his fur (which was somewhat hard because he has very thick and kinda long fur) and didn't see any scabs, which I expected because I haven't seen much scratching.

Thank you everyone for your advice! It really helped.
 

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