I believe they can only get them from live rats, if they’re fed from a chain pet store or other new or unreliable source then it could be worms.
Before we got her she was on live mice (Or switching from live/frozen as the guy said) so that could be it!
I feed live rats and mice. I get mine from a pet store. But, they get good reviews. They have been in business for a long time.
Worms can come from live or frozen rodents. The oocysts of some species can handle short-term freezes.
Depending on the severity of the infection, there may be no signs (mild infection) to lethargy, anorexia, regurg, diarrhea, visual worms in the stool…
Unless the store is breeding their own rodents in house then you cannot necessarily guarantee that the feeders are clean. Most all pet stores acquire their feeders from a supplier and the supplier may or may not be diligent about good husbandry and colony monitoring
They order there’s from a supplier. Don’t know who though. I have not seen any worms in my pet rats stool. They came from the same place.
But, I haven’t really been looking that close. I don’t think my rats would be as fat as they are if they had worms. Lol!
A healthy appearance doesn’t mean much. I worm every breeder rat twice a year. They don’t have to get worms in any nefarious ways. Most parasites live some portion of their lives in intermediary host like flies. Flies deposit them on rat feces, the rats contact that feces and pick up the parasites.
In the 6 years I’ve been breeding rats I’ve only spoken to a couple other feeder breeders who actually worm on a schedule. Unless you have no possibility of vector intrusion in your rat room, the rats should be wormed.
So should I take them to a vet and get them wormed? I have never wormed my 4 pet rats. I have had Scarlett for a couple years now. Maybe 3 years.
I’ve always done it myself with Ivermectin Horse Woming Paste. It’s easy to overdose them though and I did hundreds of feeder rats before I ever had to do it to a pet rat.
I’m a lot more confident doing it than I am suggesting someone else do it. Whether they are just normal side effects or due to overdose I can’t say, but there are side effects. Out of my 70-80 breeders I’ll usually see 1-3 experience rapid breathing and profuse sweating. 1-2 times a year one dies from it. Mice seem to have less side effects but I also have less mice so…
I always err on the side of caution. You can worm a live rat again if you don’t knock the parasites out, dead ones don’t allow for second chances.
I make a dauber out of stiff copper wire, and polish the end so it can’t scratch the rat. Put an appropriately sized dose on the dauber and wipe it in the rats mouth or cheek so that they can’t avoid ingesting it. It’s easier with two people. Don’t let them put their paws up to their mouth until they’ve ingested the paste or they’ll just wipe it out. If you use the apple flavored paste sometimes they’ll lick it off on their own.
For adult rats
-1 dab the size of a grain of rice.
For rats 5 weeks and up
-1/2 the above dosage or less
Rats under 5 weeks
-I don’t suggest worming rats this small
Repeat every 7 days until they’ve had 3 doses.
This is using a product outside of it’s specified purpose which means you’re on your own if anything goes wrong. If doing it makes you nervous, consult a vet. I grew up around livestock production and worked with various game birds on a large scale before I ever bred rats so I have a lot of experience with basic procedures like this, or injections, drenches, etc.
**1 tube of wormer usually treats 1200lbs so it’s really easy to over do it
I worm my horses myself. So I keep that wormer all the time. But I don’t think I will attempt to give it to my pet rats. I don’t want to kill them or make them sick. As long as they are thriving and playing and seem to feel well they will be fine. If they start looking sick I will take them to a vet.