Rats exhibit strange behaviors throughout their lives. One of these curious behaviors is rolling around all over the place. But what does it mean when your rat is rolling around?
A rat will roll around when they get an inner ear infection, which could be a result of mycoplasma or bacteria. The inflammation of the inner ear affects their ability to sense the space around them, so they start rolling.
While an inner ear infection is fairly common and can be treated promptly with the right vet, leaving it untreated for too long could make it even worse. Find out all there is to know about an inner ear infection in rats by reading this article.
Inner Ear Infection
Inner ear infections and ear infections, in general, are common in rats. They are usually caused by mycoplasma or bacterias like pseudomonas or streptococcus. All of these diseases cause inflammation in the ear, and this makes it impossible for a rat to hold their balance.
At first, they may just tilt their head to one side, but if you leave the infection without treatment for too long, you could see your rat rolling around. If they are rolling around all the time — which they have to, under these conditions — they can’t eat or rest.
Most owners choose to hold their pet rats until they reach a vet since affection tends to calm them down and grounds them for a bit. You should pet them and be gentle with them too. If you don’t react on time, their head may end up permanently tilted, or their face could be paralyzed.
If you notice any symptoms, you should take them to the vet immediately. Most vets will use certain drugs in combination to achieve results. For example, this might be a combination of amoxicillin and enrofloxacin, or they might just use chloramphenicol, as well as a steroid to reduce the inflammation. All of this has to be prescribed by the vet, and you shouldn’t give any drugs to your rat without consulting with an expert.
A head tilt could be caused by a tumor or a stroke, so check with your vet if you notice this. It might not be an inner ear infection.
If your rat has an inner ear infection, it loses one of the most important elements of keeping their body under control, so the result of such problems could be anything from rolling around, head tilting or twisting, falling, spinning, and so on. This won’t be easy for you as a pet owner since your rat is being tortured by their own body, and it’s truly upsetting.
However, the faster you react to this, the more quickly it will go away.
Inner ear infections prevent the tissue from signaling to the brain where the rat is and how to move, which is often visible through the rolling movement. As mentioned, medication could stop this fairly quickly.
When the infection reaches the cerebellum, then the situation gets more complicated. It’s hard to treat, and the chances of your rat making it out healthy and normal are smaller.
For most other animals, a vet would attempt to give them a CT to get the full picture of the situation, but rats are too small for those machines, and even finding a vet who will take care of a rat can be hard.
They will try solving the problem with medications first. If that helps, your problem was probably milder, but if not, they will need to try different medicines. Most vets hope that medicines work immediately because further action could be more complicated and possibly even deadly for your rat.
Mycoplasma pulmonis is a bacteria in mice and rats that cause serious infections. The symptoms of this disease are sneezing, difficulties with breathing, sniffling, rough fur, etc. These are just some of the first signs of this bacteria.
A symptom could also be an infection of the genital area — this means that a female might bleed, have a small number of babies, or be completely infertile. If not treated on time, all of these could cause death.
If you notice any of the symptoms, you should take your rat to the vet immediately, and they will be able to administer some antibiotics. You may need to give them medicine through their water daily for a while since these diseases tend to be chronic. If your rat’s condition is severe, they will need to be injected with medicine. Therapy will reduce the symptoms, but it won’t eliminate the bacteria.
Keep in mind that the disease is contagious, so remove any other rats from the infected rats. Unfortunately, by the time most people notice, it’s already too late, and more rats or other rodents are infected. It transfers through sexual activity and respiratory drops. Mice can sometimes be the carriers of this disease, so keep any pest mice away from your pet rats, especially if you don’t know their health history.
Many rats are simply born with this infection or with this bacteria. They get it from their parents, and they show symptoms such as sneezing and sniffling. You should take them to the vet if they show this sort of behavior.
The first step to reducing the symptoms of this infection — especially the rolling movement — is flushing the rat’s ear, and this is something that all vets should do before administering any medication. This will help the wax leave their ears, and the healing process will be a lot easier.
For these purposes, it’s best to use saline water. Your vet will administer it by pouring it into the rat’s ear until it’s seeping out. Then they will put some light pressure on the base of their ear, which will help break up the debris and push it out.
The cotton balls will be used to clean this off. Repeat this process until the ear is completely clean. Your vet will be very careful not to cause any more damage to the ear than there already is. They will do everything gently.
Your vet will wait for about two hours before giving any medication to your rat. For milder cases, you can expect to be given some topical medication you’ll be able to apply at home too. The ear should be dry before applying this.
If the case is more dangerous, then they will give some antibiotics to your rat. Some of them are oral, and some of them will be administered through an injection. If you can administer medicine at home, they will give you detailed advice on how to do it and when to do it.
How To Stop Your Rat From Rolling
Rolling occurs because your rat doesn’t have a sense of space, and they are not sure where their feet should go. This will consume their time completely, and they won’t have time to eat. To stop them and give them some rest, take them gently into your hands and keep them safe. Pet them and try to offer them some food.
They will feel more comfortable if you pet them, and you’ll be able to help them this way. If you can, go to the vet immediately. If you can’t go right away, try to keep them as comfortable as possible. Don’t try to give them any medicine on your own since you could do something wrong, and this will cause even more problems.