Rats as Pets

We have recently noticed a rise in the number of people owning rats.

Who can blame them?! Rats are also known as pocket dogs, and with very good reason. They each have their own personalities, are highly intelligent creatures (they can be trained in basic obedience and some other pretty cool tricks!) and can be better suited to those who don’t want the same time commitment as say a dog or cat.

With the rise in the number of pet rats in the area, we have also had many enquiries about rat desexing. Just like with dogs and cats, rats can get desexed too. This is normally performed when rats are around 4-6 weeks, before they reach sexual maturity.

Desexing your pet rat has added health benefits, especially for female rats. They are prone to mammary tumours (which can get very large) and uterine cancer (which is often in the advanced stages before signs and symptoms appear) and so removing the uterus greatly reduces the chance of cancers occurring.

Male rats can become quite aggressive with so much testosterone, especially when kept with other rats, and therefore desexing helps reduce aggression in males, and can make them quite smoochy! It also eliminates the chances of your male from getting testicular cancer.

Here's some basic rat information:

  • Average life span – 2-3.5yrs
  • Weight – male 267-500gm  female 225-325gm
  • Sexual maturity – 6-8 weeks
  • Gestational period – 20-22 days
  • Size of litter – 6-16

If you ever have any concerns about the health of your rat, the following list is great for letting you know when it’s best to visit the vet.

WHEN SHOULD I SEEK VETERINARY ATTENTION?

It is a good idea to have your vet seen if;

  • There is any sneezing or coughing
  • Any change in appetite or weight loss
  • Any respiratory changes
  • Any nasal or eye discharge
  • Any lumps or bumps that have appeared especially if growing rapidly
  • Any blood in the urine
  • Diahorrea
  • Any itching, scratching and/or hair loss
  • Any behaviour changes eg. aggression
  • If legs or tail becomes wobbly or weak

And remember, if you ever have any questions, queries or concerns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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