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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22584
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hello . my rat which is 8 week old has a swollen face which

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Hello . my rat which is 8 week old has a swollen face which is around his nose and whiskers. Yesterday I gave my rats a selection of fresh vegetables which was a bit of broccoXXXXX, XXXXXato, and added couple of new vegetables which was Pak Choi and magetout. He is not a big fan of fresh food so probably tasted something few hours ago. And swollen appeared just couple hours ago. I cannot afford amergency vet because of the cost how can i help him until tomorrow morning while I get an appointment to my vet ? Many thanks.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.


Can you tell me if there is anyway he could have gotten his nose caught in the cage to induce the swelling?


Is he showing any signs of distress?

Any discomfort if you touch the area?

Does he appear to rub the area more (as if it is irritating him)?


Any changes to his breathingor activity?

Can he still eat and drink comfortably?






Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Cage has really narrow bars so there was no chance to get his nose stuck. I just noticed that his left side paws are a bit swollen too. But he is not showing any signs of distress and at the moment he is eating his dry food. Breathing is normal as usually and no excess rubbing.

Thank you Indre,

First, I would note that the foods are unlikely to have caused his signs. Focal swelling of this region would be more suggestive of poor venous drainage (if the nose had been trapped in cage wire, thread, etc) or if your wee one has been in contact with something that has induced a focal allergic response.

Now as long as this wee one is breathing comfortably and not in distress, there is no reason why you cannot just monitor him until his vet is open in the morning. The allergen or material that could have cut of circulation (even if not his cage bars) is gone, then often they will settle with time +/- supportive care (if they are having any struggles eating or drinking). So, we can just monitor here since he is otherwise well in himself.

Otherwise, to address allergies, you could consider administering a tiny dose of Piriton. If you choose to do this, the children’s liquid version would likely be your best bet (for ease of administration and obtaining a small enough dose). For a rat, we would give Piriton at a dose of 0.001mg per 100 grams of body weight (so a very tiny dose). Otherwise, we could try Benadryl with him but we'd have to appreciate that in this country our Benadryl is cetirizine which we don't have an established safe rat dose. (Rather we'd have to extrapolate from other species and rat toxicology studies for human use. Which in that case he could likely have 0.25mg (1/4ml of a children's benadryl liquid) of this if you wished).

So, in this situation, if your lad is comfortable, eating, and not having any distress or breathing troubles then you do not need to rush him to the ER vets. Instead, you just need to keep a close eye on him for any progression of signs +/- consider an antihistamine if you think he could have come into contact with an allergen source (ie insect bite, chemicals on the veggies, etc). And while food is quite an unlikely trigger, you can choose to err on the side of being safe and remove access to those new food stuffs for the time being until you can have him checked by his vet.

I hope this information is helpful.

If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!

All the best,

Dr. B.


If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )

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