Pet rat health care is not a very expensive proposition. However, since your pet rat’s health is invaluable, it is important to get a good veterinary doctor to examine your pet rat from time to time.
Rats are not genetically predisposed to any particular ailment. However, they may have some illnesses from time to time for which timely treatment may be important. If the animal is all hunched up, the coat is messy and fluffed and the rat looks lethargic, these may be early signs of illness. Half closed eyes, disinterest towards food, and laborious breathing are all sure signs of disease and a vet should be consulted immediately.
Here are some of the common symptoms of rat disease:
- If your rat has a red colored discharge around the eyes and the nose, it is a sign of illness or stress. Porphyrin, a red colored pigment which is present in the rat’s mucus, appears only when the rat is unwell or is dying.
- Some rats have red or pink colored eyes and their eyesight is not very good. These rats can often be seen moving their head from side to side, trying to gauge distances and depths. Though this is not an illness or a disorder, rats weaving their head in this manner should be watched closely. If their head is tilted towards a side or they are wry necked, it is an indication of an ear infection. It could also be a sign of a tumor.
- Wheezing, sneezing and breathing noisily are all signs of respiratory disorders. Mycoplasma, a microscopic organism, inhabits the respiratory tract of all rats. While some rats carry this organism without being affected by it, there are others which may appear symptomatic of disorders in the respiratory system.
- Rats may develop tumors when they are old. This tendency is greater in female rats than in male rats. These small lumps grow steadily and though they begin to grow as mammary tumors, they can start growing in the armpits, sides and many other places on the rat’s body. Rats that are fed on a high fat diet are more prone to developing tumors. The tumors, though usually benign, can sometimes become ulcerated and infected. In such a case, the tumors have to be operated upon and removed.
- Rat ailments also include development of scabs on the skin and while scratching these scabs, they inadvertently irritate the skin. These scabs and irritations are caused due to ingestion of certain foods or external parasites.