Sometimes, female rats may bleed from the vulva. Some people might assume that this is a rat in heat, or estrus. Others might assume that female rats have periods or menstrual cycles. However, the truth is there is something going wrong in there! A female rat should never bleed if she is healthy; unless she has recently given birth or is in the process of giving birth.
If My Rat Isn’t Having a Period, Why Is She Bleeding from Her Vulva?
There are a variety of things that might be occurring, ranging from normal circumstances to alarming conditions. Losing a pregnancy, giving birth, pyometra, or even a tumor can cause this bleeding. The only way to know for sure is to take the rat to a vet. That is unless she delivers a litter of pink, screaming kits!
I Just Bought My New Rat Less Than a Month Ago- What Could Be the Cause of Bleeding?
If the rat was recently purchased, it is VERY possible she was bred before you purchased her. This is even more likely with rats purchased from feeder breeders or pet stores. This is one of the many reasons I strongly advised seeking out a breeder for rats. They are frequently thrown into communal tanks, and the owners have no desire to separate the sexes; after all, in their eyes, having more rats could turn into a bigger profit should the animals breed.
A rat’s gestation is 20 to 25 days, depending on her health, the size of the litter, her age, and much more. They typically deliver on Day 22 or 23 in my experience. If it has been 1 to 3 weeks since you purchased her, don’t dismiss pregnancy! Watch for the signs of labor.
Is the Rat Having a Miscarriage?
If the rat was bred and is under 18 days gestation, it’s time to consider a miscarriage. Be on the look out for small pinkies or nesting behavior by the female as the bleeding continues. It is very possible that you will not see any babies if the mother is reabsorbing the fetuses. The earlier a pregnancy is lost, the less evidence there is. You might not even notice that she was pregnant and lost them. Knowing the signs of a rat miscarriage will help you to take the proper course of action.
My Rat Had Babies a Few Days Ago, but Is Still Bleeding!
If your rat has recently delivered but the bleeding did not stop within 24 hours, she needs to see a vet immediately. A female rat can bleed out if she has severe injuries to her uterus, birthing canal, or vulva. The uterus could be prolapsing right after birth as well. In addition, there is a massive risk of dangerous infections. She will need antibiotics, and may even require surgical operations.
My Rat Is Definitely Not Pregnant, So Why Is She Bleeding?
If you are positive that there is absolutely no chance that the rat is pregnant, get her to the vet immediately. This is a sign that the rat is probably suffering from pyometra, uterine prolapse, or a rare tumor; both of which are life threatening. Pyometra is actually quite common in older female rats, and involves an infection of the uterus. It can be a very scary situation.