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Squishy Raisins? Yogurt!

Knowing the difference between abnormally soft stool and normal stool is very important as even we become dehydrated as a result of perpetuating diarrhea. And dehydration is a bad thing - we need water, we are water.

If your rat makes 3-5 normal raisins and the following gift of raisins are increasing degrees of soft, that's normal. Your rat is probably nervous.

If your rat's droppings are still raisins but soft, it's probably dietary. Are you feeding a long of vegetables? If so, cut back a little and the raisins will firm up a bit.

But if your rat has outright squirts, that's a problem and the very first thing you want to do about this problem is to feed that rat about 1/4 tsp. of yogurt (with live active cultures! Check for this verbiage on the cup of yogurt). Tip: Blueberry Yoplait always tends to be a hit.

The next leaving should then be much more firm and one more 1/4 tsp. of yogurt should yield totally normal raisins.

Understanding why this works is also important. Yogurt, namely the "live active cultures," replenish the good bacteria that is in the guts of all of us. If you give a rat 1 tsp of yogurt (or let him have his fill), generally that will also give him the runs so it is very important to limit his intake until his tummy's back on track.

But you also need to assess why he had the runs so you can stop/control the cause of the problem. If the rat is taking antibiotics, for example, the antibiotics could be killing off both good and bad bacteria (Baytril is notorious for this) and so it is necessary to, about 4 hours after the Baytril dosing, give 1/4 tsp. of yogurt during the entire course of the antibiotic treatment. If the rat isn't taking antibiotics, think "greens." Some rats favor them so much that they essentially stop eating other foods and end up with the intestinal byproducts to prove it - moderating the intake of greens will resolve that problem.

But if your rat's not super-keen on greens and he's not on antibiotics and the raisins do firm up after giving him yogurt but they become squishy again as soon as you stop, think parasites (worms). The most common are pinworms which are treatable with ivermectin in the same way that you treat lice or mites (but you do 4 weeks instead of 3) but there are other options so you can either opt to treat for pinworms and see if it works or bring a stool sample to your vet for identification and appropriate treatment (which usually ends up being fenbendazole, albendazole, etc).

Prolonged diarrhea is a problem, though, so whatever you do, don't procrastinate. Your rat's life and health depends on it!

One last thing: If your rat is around 4-5 weeks old, has a distended abdomen, and has very soft stool, you're probably looking at a physical defect. Read this.

See here for what to do about general (i.e. non-megacolon-related) bloating problems.

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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

    1) To entertain.
    2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

  Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

All content contained herein © 1996-2007 by Andrew Waltz, Nathalie Baldwin, & the rats of RatRaisins, Inc.  
Use of images and/or text without permission is prohibited.