Rats and mice are becoming very popular pets for all the right reasons. They are easy and cheap to keep but more importantly, they have great personalities and offer warm and friendly companionship. However, it is important to keep your pet healthy and get proper advice regarding their health and care.
Not many rats or mice get to go to the vets. They can die suddenly from strokes and heart failure. They are cheap to replace in some people’s eyes and therefore not a lot of time or money is spent on veterinary science researching their health issues. Sadly most vets don’t get much practise seeing these great pets.
Nonetheless, ring around and choose a vet that has some experience with mice and rats. Don’t be discouraged or disappointed our local vet used to send mice and rats to my pet store because they didn’t know how to deal with them. Also ask what fees and charges you may be up for and compare these with other vets to make sure you are getting value for money.
I had two rats that lived in my shop: Samson and Delilah. After the shop closed they were kept separate because I didn’t want them to breed and I wasn’t set up for having babies. Sadly Delilah had a stroke and she wasn’t coping in her cage. She knocked her water over all the time; couldn’t find her food bowl (I assume she’d gone blind) and generally seemed quite distressed. I didn’t know what to do so I put Samson in with her. Interestingly they never had babies but he cared for her for a few months. He took her food and groomed her intently. He made nests for her in their ‘house’ and she actually seemed to get better. It broke my heart when he died. He was over two years old and his time was up. Over a period of a week, his health deteriorated and he passed away in his sleep. Delilah only lived a few months after that herself and we buried them together. What a love story! And from two rats!
If you are looking for specific advice there are many experienced mice and rat breeders available online. Just make sure they live in your area and can offer you advice that is relevant to your country. There are different diseases present in different countries, like rabies, for example, and also environmental differences may influence their knowledge and experiences too. Nonetheless, they can offer advice of breeding, rearing young, diet and caring for seniors and also forums to speak to other people who share your passion for these pets.
Remember: By feeding your pet lots of delicious healthy food you will keep him or her healthier and happier. Poor diets that include junk food, coffee, alcohol and foods high in fat are only going to shorten the life span of your rat or mice. Think: if it’s not good for me, then I won’t give it to my rat or mouse. Less stress in your pet’s life will cause a happier healthier pet.
Sue Day has worked in the pet industry for many years. Now a full time dog trainer, Sue has put together a website of over 50 pages to share her knowledge and experiences of pet care.