Hematuria: Is My Rat Peeing Blood?
Seeing blood in a rat’s urine is definitely scary. Blood means that there is something going wrong somewhere along the urinary tract, with dozens of causes possible. Hematuria is not a condition than an owner can overlook; it must be treated immediately. Each and every potential cause of this scary symptom could potentially cause death if left untreated. Not every condition will cause the rat to meet its untimely demise, but it is quite possible when the rat’s health is neglected.
What Is Hematuria In Rats?
Hematuria is when rats are urinating blood. In some cases, the blood may not be visible to the human eye, but shows up in laboratory tests. This is called “microscopic hematuria.” When the blood is very clearly visible in the rat’s urine resulting in tinted pee, it is called “gross hematuria.” The rat’s urine might be slightly tinged, being perceived as a very light peach or pink color. The more blood there is in the urine, the darker it gets. So, what causes it?
1: Infected Urinary Tissue
An infection in the urinary system could cause blood when urinating. Severe infections can cause extreme damage to the urinary tract, resulting in blood. Bleeding signals a fairly advanced infection that needs treatment immediately to save the rat’s life.
2: Kidney Disease or Failure
If the kidneys become diseased or begin to fail, they too can cause blood to occur in the rat’s waste. Severe kidney inflammation could even result in excessive or very little urine, depending upon the state of the kidneys. Most owners may not be aware of what is normal for their rat, so it’s always good to monitor a rat’s bathroom habits when you suspect that the animal might be sick or in bad health.
3: Kidney Stones
Just like humans, rats can get kidney stones. As you might have already imagined, it is incredibly painful for them as well. As the kidney stones make their way from the kidney to the bladder and out the urethra, they are going to cause some damage. Rats experiencing a kidney stone needs to be given antibiotics to ensure that this damage doesn’t lead to an infection. Poor diets can be a leading cause as well.
4: Bladder Thread Worms and Urinary Blood
Thread worms are highly invasive parasites that can destroy the bladder of a rat and ultimately kill it. Here, anti parasitic medications will be necessary. If the worms are not killed, the rat will only continue to worsen in health. In addition, any other rats who share a cage with the infested rat will need to be treated as well. It is a near promise that the other rats have some degree of infestation as well.
5: Tumors & Cancerous Masses
Unfortunately, it is possible for rats to develop urinary cancer. Most commonly, it is cancer of the kidneys or cancer of the bladder. Other masses and tumors can also take a toll on the urinary system, especially during later stages. Any tumor within the body cavity can grow large enough to shut down the kidneys or the entire urinary system. If this is the case, the rat should be put to sleep (euthanized) when the quality of life deteriorates greatly.
How Do You Get Rid of Bloody Urine?
The best way to eliminate the blood is to treat the cause of the bleeding. A rat is not going to pee blood cells for no reason at all. Instead, there is something that is causing damage to the urinary tract. For any bacterial infection, rat safe antibiotics will be necessary.
Will My Rat Die If I Don’t Go to a Veterinarian?
In some cases, the rat could potentially heal itself and all may be well. However, is this a risk you are willing to take? With the wide range of potential ailments that could be afflicting your rat, he or she needs to visit a vet and have some tests performed to find out the cause of the issue. It is very possible that a rat could die from the health problem that led to the bloody urine; especially if it is an out of control parasite, urinary tumor, or an infection that makes its way to the blood.
What Medications Are Used to Treat Hematuria In Rats?
In the case of inflammation, steroids and anti inflammatory medications may be prescribed. These will reduce swelling, preventing the organ or tissues from causing more damage to themselves and reducing pain as a result. Bacterial infections will require one of a large selection of antibiotics, depending on what pathogen is causing the infection. As for pain, such as in cases involving kidney stones or tumors, pain medications like Metacam can greatly improve the quality of life for a sickly rat.