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How Often Should I Take My Pet Rat To The Vet?

Jul 29th 2015 at 5:27 AM

Pet rats may have a short lifespan, but they are prone to a long list of illnesses. Make sure to pay close attention to any new symptoms, and try to visit your veterinarian every six months.

Much as many people tend to avoid that dreaded yearly physical checkup with their "human doctors," many pet owners tend to put off a visit to the veterinarian until they begin to show signs of illness. However, it's important to realize that animals generally have a much shorter lifespan than humans, and this is particularly true when it comes to very small pets like rats. More importantly, your miniature companion has no way to tell you whether or where something hurts. As a general rule of thumb, it's a good idea to get him or her in for a checkup every six months. That way, underlying issues can be caught before they become too severe, or even untreatable.

Establishing a strong relationship with a trustworthy, rodent-friendly veterinarian as soon as you bring your new pet home is a good way to ensure the longest, healthiest life for your rat. Even experienced pet owners can miss telltale signs of disease, and, unfortunately, rats are prone to many types of illnesses: even early in life. Getting an initial checkup lets your vet establish a baseline for your pet's health, making it easier to make a quick and accurate diagnosis if any future issues arise. You never know when your veterinarian will discover a devastating condition that you would not have noticed on your own.

In addition to the initial and regular wellness exams, there are a number of symptoms to watch for that should warrant an immediate visit to your vet.

In terms of diet and activity levels, you should be concerned if your rat shows signs of decreased appetite, increased thirst, diarrhea, constipation, increased or decreased urination, or general lethargy (Does your rat still like to play? Is he or she sleeping more than usual?).

Other common signs of illness include respiratory and dermatological issues. Puffed up fur, scabs, excessive itching or scratching, audible or wheezy, labored breathing, and constant sneezing are all good indications that your pet may be suffering from a more serious underlying issue. Any new lumps or bumps on your rat's body can also be signs of an abscess or tumor, and should be checked by a qualified veterinarian as soon as possible. Caught early, tumors can often be removed safely, but left to expand these growths are typically deadly. You should also watch for any unusual squinting, redness, or cloudiness of the eyes, as well as any open wounds that could lead to serious infection.

The bottom line: anything out of the ordinary with your rat's behavior or health should be an indication that he or she should at least get a quick checkup. To learn more about veterinarian for rodents in San Jose, visit this website.

Author Bio

Nancy has a deep love of animals and talks and writes about them regularly. She is a huge animal rights advocate. Read her thoughts at Tumblr blog.

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