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Rat with red tears and increased thirst.

Species: Other
Breed: Fancy Rat
Age: 6-12 months
I have a pet rat, almost 1. Shes been healthy her whole life, just had this weird wheezing nose when she breathed but it never seemed to bother her. Just yesterday i notice she had some "Red tears" so i put eye & ear Polysporin drops this vet said to use to help. But i also notice she is very weak, wont move around in the cage but sleep in a spot in a corner. When i take her out to clean her eyes i give her water and she drinks it so fast. I don't know what's wrong with her, i did hold her when i was sick with a cold and maybe she got it. My parents wont take them to the vet because they dont want to pay the money and shes normaly a very hyper and friendly girl, so is there something i could go buy at a near by pet store that can help her out. Please help, thanks for your time.


-Christina Onwer of Angus, Aly and Aj.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that your rat is not feeling well. The symptoms you have described have me concerned.

The red tears that you have described are likely porphyrin. This is a pigment that is released by rats during times of disease or stress. If all we were seeing were some red tears, and otherwise the rat was feeling well then I wouldn't be too worried.

However, the fact that she is weak and drinking a lot makes me concerned that there is an illness present.

There are a few possibilities to explain the increase in thirst in a rat:

  • Kidney disease - some rats can be born with a predisposition towards kidney disease. Unfortunately there is not a lot we can do for this.

  • A tumor in the pituitary gland in the brain. This is difficult to diagnose and also difficult to treat.

  • Diabetes. Diabetes is potentially treatable in rats.



Unfortunately there really is nothing that I can recommend for her other than a vet visit if at all possible.

I really hope she is ok.

Dr. Marie.

---This question was asked in our Ask A Vet For Free section.---


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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. AskAVetQuestion.com 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.

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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.