Mites are ectoparasites, or parasites that live outside the body of an animal. Mites can infect any animal, including pet rats. There are three types of rat mites. Radfordia ensifera is a fur mite that causes hair loss and skin lesions. Notoedres muris are burrowing mites, which affect the ears, nose, tail and genitals of the rat. Ornithonyssus bacoti are bloodsucking mites that cause anaemia and transmit rickettsial blood parasites, which affect humans as well. It is important to treat these mites immediately, as they will make your pet rat extremely uncomfortable and possibly cause death.
Place a new bag of cage bedding in the freezer before opening it. Mites often spread through contaminated bedding. Let the bedding sit in the freezer overnight. In the morning, remove the bedding.
Remove your rat from the cage. Take out all toys, wheels and huts and set them aside. Dump out the old bedding in an outdoor dustbin.
Mix a solution of ¾ cup of liquid bleach and 1 gallon of warm water. Soak the rag in the solution and clean the entire cage or tank. Rinse thoroughly and dry with a clean towel.
Place non-porous toys in the bleach solution for a few minutes to disinfect. Remove the toys and rinse them thoroughly, then let them air dry. To avoid harming your rat, dispose of porous toys. Parasites burrow in porous objects such as wood.
Give your rat the recommended dose of Invermectin, an oral medication safe for most rodents. Bring your rat to the veterinarian before giving him any form of medication; some animals are more sensitive to drugs than others.
Repeat the disinfecting process of the cage and toys once a week. Continue giving your rat Invermectin as recommended by the veterinarian until the mites are gone.
Always visit the veterinarian before administering any mite treatment to your pet rat.