is some porphyrin normal??

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I woke up this morning and noticed alley had a lil porphyrin around her nose. I’ve seen it on her once before too a month back. it was a pretty small amount. I know that porphyrin can be a sign of respiratory infections. which scares me to no end bc im a smoker so im always scared about their lungs. however my other rat barbara is the one who comes out with me in public (they’re both emotional support animals so i’m a little attached) and she’s often on my shoulder when i smoke. and yes i know that’s super bad for her but she enjoys sitting on my shoulder or in my bag and going around town w me. i’m just really worried about getting them sick :( i was reading up and i learned that sometimes a little occasional porphyrin is okay and normal? can anyone confirm? i feel like a pretty bad rat parent
 
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Galethemo

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First of all, don't worry about the porphyrin around her nose; my rat has had it a few times and he just wipes it off. If it starts coming in large amounts, then I would start being concerned. But if it's not a lot, don't worry. Secondly, I would not smoke near any animal. Go in a different room or outside. If Alley's with you, then don't smoke. But I don't think your rat is in trouble unless she breathes too much smoke.
 
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First of all, don't worry about the porphyrin around her nose; my rat has had it a few times and he just wipes it off. If it starts coming in large amounts, then I would start being concerned. But if it's not a lot, don't worry. Secondly, I would not smoke near any animal. Go in a different room or outside. If Alley's with you, then don't smoke. But I don't think your rat is in trouble unless she breathes too much smoke.
thank you for easing my worries. I always smoke outside, i just have barbara with me on my shoulder. I wouldn’t ever smoke inside w her in the room bc i know the smoke can’t dissipate then and she’s more likely to breath it in. I’m really trying to focus on quitting bc i know it’s bad for her
 

lilspaz68

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Each rat is different in their porphyrin production. Some rats will have quite a bit around the eyes and nose when they wake up but as soon as they've had the first big grooming session of the day they clean up and it's fine. When it is evident all day and accompanied by sneezes or loud breathing you have a respiratory infection brewing.
 

Rocket99

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I look at it like this....Once you've had the rat for awhile you know how he looks, acts, lives, etc. So if you notice one day that his porphyrin is more abundant than usual, in a different area than usual (like around a nostril when normally only ever see it around his eye), or is on him longer than usual (as lilspaz said, they usually groom after waking up, eating, etc), then that is when I will take note. Check on it daily for a few days or so watching for it to increase or decrease, and address it accordingly. It could be a result of many, MANY things, but generally it's from stress or illness. If there has been any changes in his life, such as a move, a new cage mate, change in his environment, or even your environment, such as a new pet dog in the room. Or it could be he's sick, not feeling well, has a UTI flare up, an abscess, a tumor getting worse, or anything that causes him some distress. So, generally the change in porphyrin production is stress related. You just need to figure out what that is. Best of luck and I hope it just dissipates on its own.
 
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I look at it like this....Once you've had the rat for awhile you know how he looks, acts, lives, etc. So if you notice one day that his porphyrin is more abundant than usual, in a different area than usual (like around a nostril when normally only ever see it around his eye), or is on him longer than usual (as lilspaz said, they usually groom after waking up, eating, etc), then that is when I will take note. Check on it daily for a few days or so watching for it to increase or decrease, and address it accordingly. It could be a result of many, MANY things, but generally it's from stress or illness. If there has been any changes in his life, such as a move, a new cage mate, change in his environment, or even your environment, such as a new pet dog in the room. Or it could be he's sick, not feeling well, has a UTI flare up, an abscess, a tumor getting worse, or anything that causes him some distress. So, generally the change in porphyrin production is stress related. You just need to figure out what that is. Best of luck and I hope it just dissipates on its own.
thank you! i did just move into a dorm with them so i suppose it’s not surprising both if them are a little stressed
 

ViciousCurse

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thank you for easing my worries. I always smoke outside, i just have barbara with me on my shoulder. I wouldn’t ever smoke inside w her in the room bc i know the smoke can’t dissipate then and she’s more likely to breath it in. I’m really trying to focus on quitting bc i know it’s bad for her
Please don't smoke around her in general. Even though outside air will help dissipate the smoke, she still will inhale it. I say this in a friendly manner. I grew up around smokers and I can attest that even when outside, the smoke can sometimes be sent your way thanks to wind. However, good luck to your journey to stop being a smoker! I hope it goes wonderful for you :) You can do it! Tiny steps become huge leaps one day.


Porphyrin is naturally secreted by rats, and can sometimes stain lighter colored rats' fur, albeit not too frequently when they keep up with their own grooming needs. When the porphyrin becomes excessive, that's when you should worry. Excess porphyrin can be a sign of stress, whether it be illness, emotional, or something else. It is more commonly seen in sick or aging rats, mostly because they have difficulty keeping up with the grooming needs. At which point, it never hurts to gently use a scentless baby wipe to clean anything away.
 
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Please don't smoke around her in general. Even though outside air will help dissipate the smoke, she still will inhale it. I say this in a friendly manner. I grew up around smokers and I can attest that even when outside, the smoke can sometimes be sent your way thanks to wind. However, good luck to your journey to stop being a smoker! I hope it goes wonderful for you :) You can do it! Tiny steps become huge leaps one day.


Porphyrin is naturally secreted by rats, and can sometimes stain lighter colored rats' fur, albeit not too frequently when they keep up with their own grooming needs. When the porphyrin becomes excessive, that's when you should worry. Excess porphyrin can be a sign of stress, whether it be illness, emotional, or something else. It is more commonly seen in sick or aging rats, mostly because they have difficulty keeping up with the grooming needs. At which point, it never hurts to gently use a scentless baby wipe to clean anything away.
Thank you! I’ve been trying to take her out with me less and have been placing her on the ground when i smoke so she’s not so close. Hopefully I can quit soon
 

ViciousCurse

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Thank you! I’ve been trying to take her out with me less and have been placing her on the ground when i smoke so she’s not so close. Hopefully I can quit soon
I feel bad about constantly getting on you, but by putting her on the ground, that opens her up to a lot of parasites (external and internal), injuries, getting lost, etc. You don't know what's walked on there before you two.
 

jorats

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I need pipe up too about the smoking. It is incredibly bad for them. First hand, second hand and even third hand smoke is bad. Third hand smoke is when you have it on your clothes. I grew up with parents who smoke, both my sister and I had a hard time breathing, even outside, we still are very affected if we are near people who smoke.
 
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I feel bad about constantly getting on you, but by putting her on the ground, that opens her up to a lot of parasites (external and internal), injuries, getting lost, etc. You don't know what's walked on there before you two.
oh okay I hadn’t thought that it could hurt her. She just seems to like to explore. But if it’s bad i’ll make sure she stays in my bag or on my shoulder.
 
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I need pipe up too about the smoking. It is incredibly bad for them. First hand, second hand and even third hand smoke is bad. Third hand smoke is when you have it on your clothes. I grew up with parents who smoke, both my sister and I had a hard time breathing, even outside, we still are very affected if we are near people who smoke.
Yeah. I feel so bad about taking her out with me. Before I had her I could take my dogs with me and let them run around outside while i smoked. I smoke when i’m scared or stressed and i struggle to go outside alone when i’m like that. but you guys are right, that barbara doesn’t deserve to be punished for my vices
 

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