Saturday, August 24, 2013

Weekly Rat Facts: Daily Health Checks

You might not think that you need to worry too much about your rat if they seem fine when you do a daily poop patrol in their cage each morning. But the fact is most rats won't show any signs of being in pain, having a medical problem or other health problems until they are in a lot of pain or their health is so bad that they need a visit to the vet's office. 

The one important thing you can do every single day is to check your rat over for any little health problems they may be having. 

Rats need their teeth in order to eat. If they can't eat, they will lose weight and can die of starvation. A rats teeth keep growing so they gnaw on things in their cage to keep them trimmed down. They will also gnash their teeth together grinding them together which will also grind them down.

You should check your rats teeth to make sure they aren't over growing. Some rats have teeth that grow faster than they can grind them down which will cause problems for them when trying to eat and they can grow into their jaws which is incredibly painful and can make for a costly vet visit when they have to sedate your rat and trim their teeth. 

You can make sure your rats teeth are normal and not broken or in need of a trim by holding your rat and pulling back their lips and looking at their teeth. They should not be over grown and they should be yellow. Yellow teeth are healthy teeth for rats. If your rats teeth are over grown you will have to take them to a vets office and have the vet trim them and show you how to trim them. 

Genital Area
You wouldn't think that you would have to worry about your rats genital area but especially in male rats when they get overweight or older they might not clean themselves properly and get penis plugs. You can tell if your male rat has a penis plug by a foul smell coming from that area or if their genital area looks like there's a lump under the skin/fur.

Lumps and Bumps
You should be handling your rat everyday. That's the best way to trust train them to trust you, bond with you and get them used to humans touching them. Most rats love to be petted, cuddled, picked up and played with but some rats are more shy and stand offish. I have a rat who really doesn't like to be picked up but once out will crawl on you and cuddle with you.

You should be feeling around your rats body each day for small lumps and bumps. Right now I have a rat who has a small lump on his side and I'm watching it closely because it's either an abscess or a tumor. An abscess will most times be a little squishy in the middle which this one is and as it gets bigger it will pop on its own and all I'll have to do is clean it off each day and maybe put some neosporin on it. If however a lump grown massively and is hard, you should take your rat to the vets office to have the lump removed or if the abscess won't pop open and drain on its own you can have it lanced and drained at the vets office. 

But if you aren't checking each day or every other day for small lumps and bumps you won't know how fast it's growing or it it's hurting them until it's big and you have to take your rat in for emergency surgery. 

Always check your rats claws to make sure none of the nails are bleeding or too long to where you have to clip them. You don't want your rat to be in pain.

You should be handling your rats everyday. It's the easiest way to get them used to you and the best way to check them out and make sure they aren't hurt in some way.