Sudden Aggression after a trip

Discussion in 'Behaviour' started by allegator8150, Jan 8, 2018.

  1. Jan 8, 2018 #1

    allegator8150

    allegator8150

    allegator8150

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    I am currently in need of advice and insight into my two 10-month-old male rats. I've been having a sudden behavioral change that has made it very hard for me to take care of them. They are litter mates and have lived together since day one. I went away for the week, left them at my apartment, their home, with my roommate taking care of them (he did an excellent job, not as good as I, but pretty close), came back and they were starting to get more aggressive with each other. Play fighting turned into real fighting and no serious injuries were caused but there were bite marks on each of them. They are both currently separated and I have little to no hope of reuniting them with my current knowledge and unsure of how to handle this situation. Neutering has been suggested to me, but there is an issue with that. For one, I don't know if it will work. Secondly, I'm allergic to them. I had hope that my allergies will reduce the longer I have had them, but it has caused some lung troubles since. For the two issues that this is about, I'm thinking I might need to rehome them. It breaks my heart but i'm not sure if I can find a way to avoid my health issues and decrease the aggression. I feel very unequipped to deal with their behavior issues. I love my boys, and I'm doing everything I know how to do to keep them healthy and happy currently.
    Is there any way to avoid allergens with them? I've tried masks, and gloves and so far, nothing helped. As for the behavior, is this the typical "hormonal" issue with boys even though they are older than 8 months and had a "hormonal" phase already? I can tell they aren't happy being alone. My hyper one needs a playmate, and his brother is a shy, albino who needs a friend to help guide him around. I thought about adding a rat or two to maybe help defuse the aggression but then I was concerned about my allergies and health of the other rats. is that a possibility? Would it help them? Also, no judgment but what should I do about allergens? Like I said, I love my boys but being treated for the first time ever for pneumonia is not fun.

    This is taring me apart.
     

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  2. Jan 9, 2018 #2

    SQ

    SQ

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    They do need a neuter and it should solve the problem because it sounds like the aggression is hormone related.
    Is it possible to let them spend time together during play times in a neutral area.
    Please see joinrats.com as the site may have some helpful ideas re dealing with the situation.

    Unneutered males also have 100 times the amount of allergen in their urine then neutered boys, so neuters should help your allergies as well.
    The important thing is to make sure you used a good vet with the knowledge and experience to safely neuter them.
    http://www.ratshackforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7691 and http://ratguide.com/health/reproductive/neuter.php

    Jorats and others should be able to give you suggestions as to what they have used to help with allergies.

    A good air purifier, with a replaceable carbon filter plus a permanent hepta filter should help as well (do not get an ionizer as they re toxic to rats) ..... others have found that living in a home with an air exchanger helps too.

    Do not sleep in the same room as your rats.
    Bedding used may also make a difference.
    A friend with breathing problems and allergies to rats takes medication and uses a puffer
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
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  3. Jan 9, 2018 #3

    allegator8150

    allegator8150

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    That is really helpful information. Thank you. I had forgotten that an air purifier would be an option and I will definitely look for one that is carbon. As for the vet, I will keep my appointment with him, and he one of the few vets around me that actually have a history with rats whereas several other vets here say they know how to treat rats but don't truly. Thank you for that info. That would make things a lot easier if I can reduce the allergens. Is there any "rat" shampoo that could help bath them to reduce some of the allergens? I know they typically don't need baths but would one with an approved shampoo every few weeks be ok, if it helps with allergens?
     
  4. Jan 9, 2018 #4

    jorats

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    They are actually at the exact age for a change in behaviour. A neuter is the best for them. And the bonus part, a neuter might even help with your allergies. A neuter will reduce the amount of sebum and marking they will do and that's good news for someone with trigger allergens.
    I am very allergic to rats. Benedryl really helps. An air purifier can help as well. Keep the rats in a wide open area so the allergen is not all concentrated in one room.
     
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  5. Jan 9, 2018 #5

    allegator8150

    allegator8150

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    I have been talking to a local rat rescue and one of the things she said was that she has not had good luck with 'hormone bound' rats and reintroducing them after neutering and the hormone levels have gone down after about 5-8 weeks. Should I try and allow them to play together in a neutral area even though it may result in major rumble and tumble sessions but keep them separate when they are in their cage? Also, do females produce fewer allergens then males just in general? And what are better companions when paired together? Females and males, or males and more males? I do want at least one more rat if everything works out and I can decrease my allergies by getting a purifier and move their play area to a separate section of the apartment. Thank you for your help also!
     
  6. Jan 9, 2018 #6

    jorats

    jorats

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    You found bite marks on them but no blood or cuts? Are you seeing scabs on your boys? If so, that's a case of mites or lice and that can cause your boys to become grumpy with each other. I would get them treated for mites and I would start intros on neutral ground.
    As for neutering... I've had lots of males neutered and each time I was able to introduce them back into their colony.
    But if you are not seeing real cuts and blood, this might be a passing thing. It's very normal for rats, males or females to get into scuffles once in awhile. As for introducing more rats, ideally, I would had a spayed female once the two boys are back to being friends and living together.
     
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  7. Jan 10, 2018 #7

    allegator8150

    allegator8150

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    I have found bite marks. I had a mouse that had mites, so I know what they can look like and their "wounds" appear after a fight. For example, my big boy likes to attack the ears, and thats noticable when he does. They bleed and scab.
    And I have heard that getting a spayed female is better to house with neutred males, but why is that? I'm all for preventing oopsie rat litters any day, so I'm not questiong the method, I was just wondering if there was a special reason for only spayed females.
     
  8. Jan 11, 2018 #8

    SQ

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    Girls have less allergen then boys, but they do have some allergen.
    Spaying girls when possible is very important because it prevents or reduces the risk of several terminal health issues unsprayed girls frequently develop (such as mammary tumours, the most common type of pituitary tumor, and life threatening infections).

    I have been neutering my males since 2004 and have found it is much easier to gradually intro neutered males then unneutered males. I have found that neutering males has a huge impact on their behaviour when their too high hormone levels are no longer driving them nuts. So far I have not had any neutered males that were unable to live with other rats.
    ........ If you have access to a vet who can safely neuter them, then I strongly urge you to do it as they should be able to live together and it will greatly help your allergies
    ...... as Jorats mentioned, neutered males do not urine mark their territory as much so that will also help your allergies

    If they can get along in neutral territory (not familiar territory) then it would be good if they can play together. Otherwise, I would suggest making sure they are kept apart and get them neutered asap by a vet that can do it safely.

    What type of cage are they in? Any pictures?

    Both a replaceable carbon filter plus a permeant hepta filter in the air purifier .... make sure it is large enough to handle the size of room they are in.

    You might want to treat with revolution for mites anyway, just in case, if they have scabs on their heads, necks, or shoulders

    I am not allergic to rats but when I lived in an apartment where they rats could live in the living room - a big open space, the air quality was much better then when I lived elsewhere and my rats had to live in a room with the door closed .......
    as Jorats mentioned:
    During warm months you might also find it helpful to use a window fan to blow air out of the room the rats are in (when they are safely locked in their cage) - I do this in the evening/overnight during the summer when it is not too hot, and at times during the spring/fall when it is not too cool out, as I do not live on the ground level and the window has a strong screen.

    good luck
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2018
  9. Jan 11, 2018 #9

    jorats

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    An intact female with neutered males will be ok too but she will go into oestrus every 5 days or so and that can set the males off and might want to compete with each other. But spaying a female has huge health benefits. The biggest one is that it prevents mammary tumours.
     
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