Rats biting each other?!

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by RatDad2017, Jun 23, 2019.

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  1. Jun 23, 2019 #1

    RatDad2017

    RatDad2017

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    Good evening,

    I have had rats for YEARS, and have never experienced anything like this.... one of my rat has bite marks all over her (not from mites, fleas or any parasite, but from one of the other rats)!

    They ALWAYS have food and water, there are so many fun toys, huts, hammocks, ladders to clime, and hide always in their cage, so I’m not sure what is happening. I have witnessed little fights before, but it was nothing to where I needed to separate anyone.

    Now, the one female that the bites are on has always gotten along with the other rats, and they’ve been together for a little over a year. They still all snuggle up together during bed time, and then get along during play time when I get them out to play and pet them daily.

    Any idea what’s happening?
     
  2. Jun 23, 2019 #2

    jorats

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    How old are they? And what do the bites look like, slashes? And where are they?
     
  3. Jun 23, 2019 #3

    RatDad2017

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    All four of them are a little over a year and a half old. The bites don’t look horrible. They have closed up, but it was enough to leave a scab. There are three bites and they’re on her sides. One of them looks like a slash and the others look more like bites.
     
  4. Jun 23, 2019 #4

    jorats

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    Do you know if there's only one bully or all of them bullying the one girl?
     
  5. Aug 5, 2019 #5

    RebeccaRP

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    I'm also experiencing this with my girls. I have five girls in one cage, three of which are sisters. They are 14-19 months old and have lived together since last September. One of the sisters has become a bit aggressive lately. She nipped at me a few times. About a month ago, the shyest sister started getting scabs on her face and side. We separated her for a week and got antibiotics and steroids from a vet. Things started looking better, so we put her back in the cage. Within 2 days, she got a bunch more scabs on her side and on her neck. It looks like a slash on her neck. By the time i see them, they're not fresh wounds, they're scabbed up. Also, the two that aren't related to these girls have been getting barbered behind their left ears. And none of the other girls have scabs or bumps or anything in them I've separated the one we think is doing it, but what do we do now?
     

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  6. Aug 6, 2019 #6

    jorats

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    I would do a mite treatment anyways. This can cause a rat to change behaviours and be more grumpy. And it would also cause a simple barber to become worse. One of your rats is barbering the them and on this one, it becomes infected. I would do a mite treatment and find out who's doing the barbering, remove her from he cage for a few days and see if everyone improves. Add her back to the cage but remove her when you catch her barbering. Kind of like giving her a time out.
     
  7. Aug 6, 2019 #7

    Rocket99

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    Just a quick reply... This case might just be a result of slightly overcrowding the girls. Girls especially need space to make nests, so they become territorial and possessive as adults and 5 adult females in 1 cage might be too much. And I'm talking about a Critter Nation. If they are in any other non-custom built cage, then it must be smaller, and that would definitely not be enough room. I have 3 girls in my top cage and even with 2 shelves it is JUST enough.
     
  8. Aug 6, 2019 #8

    Rocket99

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    Could you post a pic of the scabs on her side? And I agree,vid treat ALL of them for mites, clean their cage thoroughly, throwing out anything you can easily replace and washing everything else. And continue the vet's medications also. That photo looks like a possible infection from scratching and being barbered trying to tend to their mites.
     
  9. Aug 7, 2019 #9

    lilspaz68

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    RebeccaP your girl looks to have a bacterial skin infection called Pyoderma. She will need antibiotics to help cure it.

    Ratdad - can you get pics?
     
  10. Aug 7, 2019 #10

    RebeccaRP

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    Hi Rocket99. It's definitely not an issue of space. We have two identical 4 level cages next to each other, with a hole cut in the middle. So it's essentially one giant cage. They have plenty of room to have their own space. It's a good thought tho. Thanks!
     
  11. Aug 7, 2019 #11

    RebeccaRP

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    Lilspaz68, I've looked into pyoderma but i don't think that's it. Also, she was given a round of antibiotics and steroids and put in a separate cage for a week. Things started to clear up despite her scratching and picking. Two days after putting her back into the main cage, she had more scabs. I still think it's fighting (so does the vet). But good suggestion. Thank you!
     
  12. Aug 7, 2019 #12

    RebeccaRP

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    jorats, they had a course of Ivermectin over a month ago. Now, they're eating block food with Ivermectin and (something else?). We never see them hurting each other, so we're not 100% sure who's hurting who.
     
  13. Aug 8, 2019 #13

    Rocket99

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    Did you ever get a photo? Or did i miss it somehow. And could it be overgrooming, barbering? Where are the affected areas? I have a rat who developed scabs and hair loss on his sides. But he lives alone due to his massive aggressiveness towards others, so i was stumped, then it hit me, he is very large and his hideout box entrance hile was barely big enough for him to get through. He was squeezing in and rubbing and scraping his sides against the cardboard. As he is a Rex, he has thin hair covering his body so he was getting abrasions frim entering his hideout! So i cut the holes bigger and within 2 days he was cleared up. Could there be a similar issue in your cage?
     
  14. Aug 8, 2019 #14

    lilspaz68

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    What antibiotic did you use for the possible pyoderma? It's a long term treatment and can take months before cured. I prefer to use baytril and metacam (pain and inflammation) as my treatment. Lesions like this could be an autoimmune issue, or a horrible type of cancer.
    Have you watched and seen if her cagemates may be power grooming this area? For a staph infection you just need a cut in the skin to cause this mess.
    When you used the ivermectin did you dose 3 times 7-10 days apart?
     
  15. Aug 9, 2019 #15

    RebeccaRP

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    I've tried and tried to get a pic, but they are all blurry. The barbering is on just two of the girls (not the one being bitten), behind their left ears. The scabs on the one being bitten are random and we don't really have anything in the cage that they have to squeeze thru.
     
  16. Aug 10, 2019 #16

    lilspaz68

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  17. Aug 12, 2019 #17

    RebeccaRP

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    That's definitely not what her scabs look like. I haven't found any new scabs, but she's been scratching at her current scabs a lot. She's actually making the wounds worse. When i get home tonight, I'll look at the meds she was prescribed.
     
  18. Aug 15, 2019 #18

    lilspaz68

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    I'm worried your girl does have pyoderma or a bacterial infection of the skin. any new pics? Best thing to do is wet your rat down then get pics of the skin
     
  19. Aug 16, 2019 at 5:01 AM #19

    RebeccaRP

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    She received a course of Prednisolone and sulfa trimethoprim. I think it helped a bit, but she's been scratching a lot lately. I didn't notice her scratching a lot before, just recently. I don't know if the scratching caused the scabs or if she's just scratching at the scabs. Here are some pics i finally got tonight. I hadn't thought of a bacterial infection on the skin. That would probably make her itchy. What could we do to help that?
     

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  20. Aug 16, 2019 at 5:07 AM #20

    RebeccaRP

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    Ah, here is where you asked about the meds. She received a course of Prednisolone and sulfa trimethoprim. We haven't noticed anyone power grooming her. When we see them, they're all running around and not fighting. We rarely see them fight or even squeak at each other. For the Ivermectin, we only got two of the doses into all of them. We ended up taking her to the vet and starting her on the other meds.
     

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