Pet Rat Medical Conditions


Your new pet rat Artie is already entertaining your family. This intelligent little rodent eats, drinks, and hops on his exercise wheel, right on cue. Artie seems to be a normal, healthy pet rat; however, he’s prone to several common rodent diseases. If Artie becomes ill, he’ll likely crouch on his cage floor, completely disinterested in his surroundings. He probably won’t bother to groom himself. He’ll eat and drink much less than normal, and you might also see a red nasal and eye discharge that indicates disease. Ask your Farmington Hills veterinarian to diagnose and treat Artie’s developing illness.


Kidney Disease

If Artie’s an older pet rat (relatively speaking), he might have developed chronic kidney disease. If that’s the case, he’ll drink more water than usual, and will urinate more often, too. If you’ve regularly fed Artie too much protein, that imbalance can play a part in causing or worsening his kidney disease. Decreasing Artie’s protein allotment, and increasing his water consumption, might provide some improvement. However, your vet can’t really cure Artie’s underlying kidney disease.


Respiratory Difficulties

Older rats and close-proximity groups are prone to respiratory problems, although individual rats can display symptoms, too. Perhaps you’ve noticed Artie sneezing, and maybe his nose is running. He looks like he’s having some breathing trouble, too. These problems seem to get worse when he breathes air brimming with urine ammonia fumes. Head off Artie’s respiratory issues by cleaning his cage frequently. If he does become ill, your vet might prescribe a round of antibiotics.


Dental Problems

Artie’s got some pretty impressive choppers. Your vet will need to keep Artie’s incisors trimmed so they don’t become overgrown, making it tough for him to grind his teeth down and eat. If Artie can’t eat, he’ll lose weight, which can lead to other medical problems.


Mammary Tumors

If Artie were an older female rat, you’d have to watch for mammary tumors. While most of these growths are benign, they can increase in size, causing your vet to recommend their removal. If the tumor is entirely removed, the rat’s recovery odds are good. If you decline the surgery, your Farmington Hills vet will recommend euthanasia if the rat is clearly in discomfort or is suffering an infection.


While you’re wise to be concerned about Artie’s potential medical problems, his odds of good health improve if he receives high-quality nutrition and excellent care.

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