In the section of our web site you will find topics relating to skin problems caused by :
Establishing definitive diagnoses on skin conditions proves difficult or even impossible, even in the most capable diagnostic labs, because of the complex interactions between some or all of the following ;
- Overt Pathogens
- Opportunistic Pathogens
- Host Responses
- Genetic Variations of Hosts
- Environmental Factors
- Social Interactions
- Other Often Unknown Factors
Most common skin problems in Rats is cased by itching. The Rat scratches itself which creates scabs, most often on the neck and shoulders, but sometimes also on the face, chin and forehead. These scabs are sometimes mistaken as injuries caused by other Rats. The cause of itching can be:
- Fur Mites
- An Allergy
- Excessive Protein Intake (such as fish or meat)
- Fungus Infection.
A bacterial infection of the skin may also be involved, but is rarely the primary cause. Itching can also be related to stress, common for eczema. It is also possible that some Rats infested with mites can keep them under control until their immune system is suppressed by stress. If you have more than 1 Rat with scabs it is more than likely that mites are the cause. Regardless of the cause of the itching , when the Rat scratches, its back toenails frequently break the skin which allows bacteria to enter. As the scratches heal, scabs form and can themselves cause itching which results in more scratching, starting the cycle over again.
The first step to stopping this vicious cycle is to clip your Rats back toenails. Trimming off the sharp tips reduces the amount of damage the nails do to the skin. Trim only the very tips of the nails, too much clipped off and bleeding will result, creating possible further problems. If you are still not sure how to clip the nails speak with your Vet as they will more than likely be willing to show you how to do it. Vitamin E cream applied to the scab once or twice a day may be sufficient to clear up the scabs. If scratching and skin damage recur then you will need to look for another cause of the itching.