Ectoparasitic Infestation in Rats
Fleas are ectoparasites, or parasites that infest and feed on the outside of the body (e.g., skin and hair). These parasites are found in many pets; however, flea infestation in pet rats is very rare. Typically, pet rats typically only acquire this condition when they come in contact with wild rodents.
Though flea infestation is not a serious condition and treatment is available to control it, if proper steps are not taken to prevent further spread or reinfestation of the fleas, this can become a recurring problem.
Symptoms and Types
Fleas may be visible on the infested rat’s body, and you will notice your rat scratching the infested areas more than normal. The skin may be red/inflamed in some areas due to the flea feeding on the area, as well as to irritation from scratching by the rat. Another indicator of fleas is the presence of its feces, which may be seen as black dots on the skin or in the hair.
Flea infestation in pet rats is caused by rodent fleas, which are mainly transmitted to them when pet rats come in contact with wild rodents.
Diagnosis of flea infestation is usually based on visual examination of the skin for the presence of fleas. Other clinical symptoms that can be observed, like the presence of the fleas feces, seen as black dots, coupled with excessive scratching, may also aid your veterinarian in making a diagnosis.