View Full Version : Rat owners lend me your ear

My Peanuts
06-03-2004, 12:07 AM
I worded this subject that way because I want to know a lot of people's experiences. I am thinking about getting a pair of rats, but I have been doing a lot of research and now I'm worried. It seems to me that they have A LOT of problems. I'm not looking for problem free pets or anything like that, but it seems like a lot of heartbreak. I know they make great pets, but I'm still on the fence about this. I'm mainly second guessing myself because of all the health problems I'm reading about. It's quite scary! PTers, I'm asking you to give it to me straight. What are your happy and sad times with your rattys? Also what are your vet bills like, checkups and emergency bills? Thanks! :)

06-03-2004, 12:11 AM
Again, no Rattie expert here, but I've been told that they have very short lifespans. (Only live for a few years) .. so that itself is a very big heartache.

I've also been told that they generally don't need vet care, or check-ups.. only for emergency.

I don't know much about the diseases and such they can obtain. So, i'm interested in what those who are more knowledgable have to say as well. :)

06-03-2004, 02:20 AM
Rats are a lot of heartbreak and a lot of vet bills, but worth it 1000X over if you can afford it. :)

06-03-2004, 07:30 AM
We have 6 male hairless rats and 3 female hairless rats at my work. (We do a lot of small animal rescue.) One of the main problems we've had with rats is obesity. Our males are pigs, but hate to exercise. Our girls are not pigs, and love to exercise. Other than that we haven't had any problems. We are just careful not to feed them to excess and we are also careful what we feed them. Also keeping their cage clean will of corse keep them helthier. All-in-all rats make wonderful pets. The good defiantly out weighs the bad.

06-03-2004, 08:32 AM
I take great care of my rats, great food, bedding, nice airy cage, keep everything clean etc... that helps keep them healthy.

Their lifespan & the fact that they are prone to tumors are the biggest heartbreaks of owning rats.

I guess I have been quite lucky, over the past 17+ years that I have owned rats (which equals about 38 rats) I have only spent about $700.00 in actual vet bills.
I used to work at a vets & also have frineds that work in vets so I get *some* items cheap. Also I have many other animals & sometimes their left over meds can be used on the ratties so that saves me some. But even if I were to pay full price for those items it is probably only about $250-$350 more.
I would say just about $1000.00 give or take a little bit. Thats not bad for the amount of years & number of rats I have had.

I have also been very lucky as an emergancy has never occured after hours, that saves a bunch of money!

Some of my rats have come from shelters, pet stores, breeders etc.. And I have been very lucky to get mostly helathy ones. I have only had a handful that had myco & with the litter I use & keep everything clean I managed to have very little flair ups with them therefore little vet treatment.

I think overall rats are fairly easy to keep & fairly cheap. Their love makes up for any mishaps anyways LOL! They truely are great pets.

Desert Arabian
06-03-2004, 09:14 AM
We have spent well over $2000 on vet bills (total). We have to go to the vet, oh I'd say about 6 times a year due to illnesses and we walk out usually paying anywhere from $50-250 each visit. We were last at the vet May 11th and had to spend around $260 for vet care.

My rats are constantly getting sick, there is no way to avoid it. Almost all of the females rats I have owned have gotten tumors, surgery to remove them would cost us $650 according to the estimate given to us by the vet.

Suzie and Phoebe are the only two rats I currently own who have never gone to the vet- thank the Lord! *knocks on wood*. Suzie has developed a small bald patch on her forearm, I went to job shadow my vet yesterday, and he gave me some medicine for free to help it heal.

Oreo, Skittles, Nugget, Sweet Pea, Oscar, Fred, Chloe, Daisy, Peanut, Punkin, and Violette have all had to go to the vet more than two times. Suzie & Phoebe- never.

I am currently fostering three rats, and the patchwork hairless girl is looking a little thin and I think she is getting ill too, I will have to watch her, and knowing my luck I will have to go to the vet. :rolleyes: :rolleyes:.

They get a good diet, they live in a huge five story cage that gets cleaned all the time- it's not like I am abusing them. The fact that they are pet store rats says it all right there.

But the love they give me in return is well worth it all. :)

06-03-2004, 09:24 AM
If you go to a well known and respected breeder who knows their lines you will have very minimal problems, if any at all. All of my breeder rats are healthy, sept one who just had a seizure due to unknown reasons but it hasn't caused any other damage and he's perfectly fine. He's also one of my old guys anywho. The vet suspects the peanuts, so....I would really urge you to get breeder rats, as pet store rats have MANY problems, as YLL can tell you. They are NOT bred for health in mind at all! Nice quality breeder rats can live up to 4 years if you take good care of them. It mostly is dependent upon the owners care for them. If you don't clean the cage enough the amonia will build up and then they will get respiratory problems etc. I've never had a doe with a tumor, ever. Wrinkles, my hairless girl is going on three years old and is doing great. She does have the occasional Myco outbreak but she is from a petshop so that is to be expected. I have only had problems with health in pet shop rats, such as my Bandit, who gets constant Myco flareups about every day. But the love they give you in return is so worth it!!! Of course, there are breeders out there who don't give a crap about their animals, and those rats will have tons of issues, with both health and temperament.

Aspen and Misty
06-03-2004, 09:52 AM
I have 4 rats. We spend almost nothing on them in vet bills! They are known as our "cheapest" pet. When they do get sick it normally only cost us about 40 dollars to get them all well. The breed line at the pet store I bought my rats from must be better then others because none of my rats have gotten tumors and they all have been pretty healthy.


06-03-2004, 10:07 AM
I've had quite a few rats, although not as many as some here! My experence with rats mirrors luckies in the fact that I have never had a female rat with a tumor either. The differences in health between pet store rats and breeder rats is really substantial Ive noticed. My first boy (and first rat), Ratso was an oddball though, he came from some sort of lab and had excelent health for all his years (I think he lived to be about 4 or so). He didn't suffer any health problems and died rather peacfully in his sleep. The first rat I rescued from a pet store, Galahad, only lived to be about 2 and a half due to a tumor. After going with a breeder for so long (and having my last pair of rats live to be about 3 or 4), I was hesatant to go to a pet store, but the poor little guy was going to be fed to a snake so I took him. Cleo, my current ratty, has had some resporatory problems that required vet care but seems to be doing well now. I think she actually has an alergy to the bedding the pet store was using. Most pet stores use bedding that is KNOWN to cause problems as well as getting stock from really bad sources. The pet store I worked for shipped the poor little guys all the way from Az. By the time they got to us, they were pretty traumatised and in rather poor health. Ive noticed most pet stores treat thier rats this way. My next ratty is most assuredly is coming from a breeder. *and I found one nearby, yay*
Rats, although short lived, are one of the most intelegent and loving little critters a person can have. Having worked with a lot of small animals, I would say that as far as personality goes, I'd pick a rat any day of the week! The heartache is worth the love!!