Surgery and After Care
There are a myriad of health problems that can occur in rats. Ideally find a vet with extensive experience with rats. Thankfully it’s not very expensive to get care and two rats can often be included in one consultation. The prices for rats is often the same as for cats even though it’s more tricky to perform certain procedures on them as they’re smaller. They usually do this out of goodwill since these small animals are not very profitable business. If you have a low income, there are ways to get cheap or even completely free care for your rats if you are willing to ask around. Check with the local rat club or the SPCA. The instant you detect there is something wrong with one of your little guys, you need to take them to a vet. Rats can be quite tough, but when they get sick, things tend to go downhill fast.
In terms of surgery for your rats, there is always the risk of them not surviving it, just like for us humans. While medical procedures have improved drastically, even in the last 5 years, there is still a chance of something going wrong. One of these major breakthroughs is in the use of inhalant anesthetics. This is a much safer alternative to the older, inject-able versions. Be sure to ask the vet or surgeon if they use Isoflurane or not. This is an inhalant anesthetic that is safe even for smaller mammals. The track record for it is great and your rat will be back on their feet soon after the procedure. Just make sure you don’t starve your rats leading up to the operation as there is simply no need. Rats are not able to vomit so starving them will just weaken their immune system and make them more prone to infection.
After an invasive operation, most rats will try to get rid of their stitches somehow because they find them annoying. Obviously this should not be allowed to happen as it can be very dangerous. One great solution is to use a product called Johnson’s Anti-Peck. This is great stuff and is usually used to stop birds from pecking each other. Bitter Bite is another one but is meant for dog and cats. All you need to do is apply some of it around and over the wound and the chances of them biting at the stitches to pull them out is reduced dramatically. Never use one of those outdated collars to prevent biting as rats hate them and it puts them under a lot of stress. What does work though is some surgical stocking placed over the whole of the rats body with holes cut for their legs to poke through. This does the same job of preventing their teeth from making contact with the stitches. For the best results, use a combination of both.