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Rat bleeding from eye.

Species: Other
Breed: Rat
Age: 6-12 months
It started about 4-5 weeks ago when I noticed my girl was bleeding from her eye and was having trouble opening it.

I took her to the vets is a knew this was not normal and was not the normal pinky discharge they get sometimes. He told me she had conjunctivities(sorry cant spell it) and gave me soem drops to put it her eye for a week and told me to take her back after the week if it was still the same, I took her back as it was a little worse not better and he told me to give her another dose of the drops for a week.

Anyways I took her back last week because she had gone really slow and loosing her balance and i knew that there was something not right with her.

He told me that there was nothing wrong and to do nothing for two week and just leave her with no contact and fuss but I have to giev her soem contact to check her and be bring her out for a daily exerces and on bed cleaning day.

i am very worries as I know he want see me for another two weeks if I phone up and her balance seems to be going. When she sits up to have a wash she false flat o her back and this is not normal! I have also noticed that when she walks she does not scurry along the floor anymore she straches her front out then her back legs sort of drag but walk at the same time to catch up.

Can you help me at all I am so worried for her and she is so young to be havign problems.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Hi Sarah, I'm so sorry to hear that Sapphire is having these problems!

The red discharge that you saw from the eye is most likely porphyrin even if it was more red than the normal type of pink discharge they can get. Often an increase in red discharge from the eye(s) is a response to some type of stress in the body. Do you know if your vet used a light like a black light on the discharge? If it is porphyrin it can be distinguished from blood by using this light.

My biggest concern with your girl is her balance issues. There are a few things that can cause this and it can sometimes be hard to diagnose.

My first thought is that she may have an inner ear infection. If this were my case I would likely be trying some oral antibiotics and possibly some steroid.

It is also possible that your rat has a pituitary tumor which is a brain tumor. However, this is not common in a rat under a year of age.

Another possibility is that there is some damage in the spinal cord. Your vet should be able to determine this by doing some neurological tests on her. If this is the case she may respond to steroids but it may be something that is not fixable.

Do you know if your vet sees a lot of rats? It may be worthwhile to phone around your area and see if there is someone who specializes in exotic pets just to get another opinion.

I hope she does ok! Let me know if you have more concerns.

Dr. Marie

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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Thank you Dr Marie,

He did look at her eye with the black light and said she did have a small scratch on her eye and that is why it was discharging so much.

I did mention an ear infection to him as I have kept rats for around 5 years so know the common illnesses and know when their behaviour changes dramatically but I he said he could not find anything wrong with her and just told me to not have contact with her for 2 weeks but I can't do that as they know when play time is and they sit at the cage door wanting to come out so I have to let them out.

I will have a look round and see if I can find anyone who is possably more experienced in exotic animals.

thanks again and I will be back in touch if I need any more advice.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

You're very welcome!

Ah, if there was a scratch on the eye this certainly could cause some distress. However, it shouldn't cause any neurological signs like the weakness you are seeing.

I hope Sapphire is feeling better soon! It would be good to have her seen soon. If there is an ear infection the sooner she gets on oral antibiotics the better!

You and Sapphire have a good day!

Dr. Marie.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.