Is my rat bleeding from the eyes duri...

Is my rat bleeding from the eyes during his bath?

Posted in the Pet Rats Forum

Shela Aetherius

Gig Harbor, WA

#1 Mar 13, 2009
So I have another question.

I now have 3 rats, two of them are the typical black and white ones that the pet shop sells, and the third one is an albino.

They have a cage, and a litter box in the corner, and are allowed to roam about the house as they please. They are absolutely wonderful rats, well-trained to come when called, and use the litter box. And the just adore cuddling up on the couch for t.v. with mommy =^.^=

But, wonderful as they are, they can get that rat-stink after a week or two. So when it gets to the point of being too noticeable, I give them a bath.

How I do this is by filling the tub with warm water, only an inch or two deep. Then I take each rat, get him wet under the gentle stream of warm water from the spout, then lather him up with baby shampoo (I read in a rat book that the baby shampoo is perfectly fine for rats, as it's gentle and won't irritate them), and rinse him off. Then I put them in a box full of towels to play in while they dry off.

They do squirm quite a bit when I do this, the black and white ones just enough to show discomfort, but the albino one (Doc), he squirms so badly that I actually drop him into the water sometimes, with rat-scratches all over my hands. He REALLY hates taking these baths! Unfortunately, he gets just as stinky as the other two. I'm as gentle as I can be for this, but I'm getting concerned because he appears to be bleeding from the eyes.

I'm not sure if it's just him, or if the other two do as well and I just can't see it due to their black faces. But this red liquid comes out of Doc's eyes, and stains his face red. And when he shakes off, you can see red splatter on the walls of the tub and in the towels.

I've heard somewhere that there is a red pigment in rat's tears, and he could just be crying. But I'm wondering... is it possible that he IS bleeding from the eyes? Is there some other way to bathe my rats without causing this? Or is it just tears, perhaps due to distress, and therefore nothing to worry about?

I absolutely adore my rats, and don't like to hurt them... I figured a bath every week and a half or so wouldn't be too bad, as it's only a few minutes long, and only seemed to cause them some discomfort. Any advice on the subject would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you!

Geelong, Australia

#2 Mar 16, 2009
sounds just like porphyrin. rats usually get it when something is maybe stressing them out or they are off-colour.
this is a really good rat website that i belong to, i've learnt heaps of important stuff about rats here.

Happy Valley, Canada

#3 May 18, 2009
i gave my pet rat a bath and i dropped him and i think he had blood coming from his eyes...
i am very scared and would like some advice

Las Vegas, NV

#4 May 26, 2009
Generally rats don't need baths but it can be done, however, be prepared to show your battle wounds.

Becka, how far a drop was it and did he land on his feet?
The 'blood' you saw coming from his eyes was simply porphyrin and is the color of tears for rats. Not that he was crying it's what happens when they are stressed.

West Hollywood, CA

#5 Jun 29, 2009
I have my rat a bath yesters and her eye started bleeding. it tripped me out cus i thought soap got in there but it didnt. as she was rubbing her self dry she scratched her eye and thats what caused her to bleed. other than that it was all good.

Bloomington, IN

#6 Sep 27, 2009
honestly, you guys really need to not give your rats baths. and if you are going to, not every week. come on..obviously if the rat has become stressed out then it is a sign they should not be bathed so often. rats clean themselves often, and therefore do not need baths. when a rat has red by its eyes, they DO NOT LIKE what is happening. it is unnecessary to bathe them.
haille hansen

International Falls, MN

#7 Nov 5, 2010
i have a rat and i gaive it a bath and i used baby shamp and i got scare becuase is eye had red coming out of in i am olny 12 years old and i just want to now why that happend

Canton, NY

#8 Mar 8, 2011
Don't worry it's phorphin. Rats get it when they r stressed. Don't give your rats so Many baths. If they r in a clean environment they shouldn't be that dirty. Honestly they wash themselves and most rats(not all) don't enjoy water even though I've seen some rats swim for fun, just keep the cage clean and if u feel u NEED to clean up your rats jus wipe them Down with a wet paper towel. Itll b alot less stressful
Creeztuhl Zee

Solway, MN

#9 Jun 4, 2011
dont get freaked out or anything if you see red stuff in/around your rats eyes and nose, they have red snot and tears. :P

Katy, TX

#10 Sep 3, 2011
haille hansen wrote:
i have a rat and i gaive it a bath and i used baby shamp and i got scare becuase is eye had red coming out of in i am olny 12 years old and i just want to now why that happend
i did the exact same thing today and my rat started having red liquied comeing out if her eyes too but i figured out its this thing called porphyrin its caused by and infection not serios thou and some rats get streesed out by it but some dont u shouldnt worry abought it to much just have a very calm enviorment for the next little while and im 12 too haha thats funny

Bromsgrove, UK

#11 Nov 21, 2011
I put a large dog bowl with water in out for my rats so they can wash them selves I only give them baths in the summer I fill the bath with a little water I bath at least 2 at a time so they dont get stressed but my rats love the water as ive done this from a young age ive only had one rat that had red stuff in his eyes but he had it all his life and no medicine ever got rid of it he live till he was nearly3 so its nothing to worry about just give them water to play in so they get used to it and no need to bath them loads once a month at most :-)

Alva, OK

#12 Dec 10, 2011
my rat has has sores on his back feet and is not walking right on them and has lost weight can anyone tell me wht might be goin on with him do u think i need to take him to the vet?

Katy, TX

#13 Dec 13, 2011
He most likely has bumble foot. I would defently say you should take him to the vet. It stinks when that happens. :(

United States

#14 Dec 20, 2012
Help me my rat scratched my hands really bad while I was bathing her. She's an albino and I dot know what to do im only twelve and I'm freaking out. This happens a lot

United States

#15 Dec 20, 2012
Ugh I ment she has a ton of red around her whole face

Beaverton, OR

#16 Apr 3, 2013
My hairless rat had red stuff coming from eyes, she is breathing kinda faster than normal and she is not eating or drinking much. I too gave her a bath to help with dry skin.

Dunedin, New Zealand

#17 Dec 23, 2013
I always give my pet rat "elbye" baths and his eyes always bleed and the reson there eye bleed in the bath is because the shampoo and conditioner and sope still left on the sides of the bath wash fown in to the water wich gets into his or her eyes and causes its eyes to bleed alway rember to wash down the bath befor filling it up :)
P.s once i washed down the bath before i filled it up his eye stoped bleeding

Noida, India

#18 Apr 20, 2015
My rat is of almost 2 and a half years and the time when I gave him a bath after that he started bleeding from his eyes and nose, it's been 2 days now and the bleeding hasn't stopped yet
he is not able to eat properly, all what he is able to is liquid food
at first my rat started breathing really fast but I thought it's because he is getting old
but now this bleeding thing is scaring me
can anyone help me out?

Provo, UT

#19 Aug 19, 2015
I have had rats nearly all my life and it sounds like your rat is physically telling you that it is time for him to go. At about two years old they tend to start physically decaying. I have found that it is best to not let them suffer through all of that. However, I have never had a bleeding issue with my rats and you may want to consult a veterinarian. He or she will be able to give you the best advice to care for you pet.

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Pet Rats Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Rat Chat (Jun '08) Nov 16 Gigi73 14
my pet rat just recently started nipping at me (Aug '08) Sep '16 Carol 49
my rat won't stop biting (Apr '07) Aug '16 Demonsxinsidexus 167
My rat (May '16) Jul '16 Crazy Rat Lady 2
My pet rat has started nipping people Jul '16 Crazy Rat Lady 1
My normally friendly rat has been biting me (Feb '09) Jul '16 TheRealRatPack 50
Very poorly rat Jun '16 Sophie87 1
More from around the web