News with a Twist / NOLA Pets

Veterinary Care for Pocket Pets

If you’ve seen the animated film Ratatouille, you know rats make great chefs in the movies, but they also make great pets in real life.  From the tiny ears to their cute little paws, rats like Spot can sure be charming!  At Southeast Veterinary Clinic, Dr. Rick Rockar says, “If they’re handled from the time you get them, they become very easily trained, they’re very friendly- one of the more intelligent animals.”

They’re easy to care for and great indoors, but even pocket pets need basic veterinary care.  Rats enjoy companionship, so it’s always nice to have two.  However, you also have to keep in mind how fast they can reproduce.  “They are very prolific.  They’re very successful at breeding.  That’s why they’re so successful in the wild.  So, if you do have rats of opposite sex, you’re gonna have lots and lots of babies.”

Dr. Rockar uses the same principals to neuter spot that he would for a dog or a cat.  He downsizes the anesthesia, but the dose is slightly higher because rats have a high metabolic rate.  When it’s time for gas, Spot’s entire furry head fits inside the mask!  “Monitoring the anesthesia is a bit more of a challenge because the equipment, we can’t very easily attach it to them, monitoring heart rate and so on, so we depend on our technicians to watch them closely.”

After Spot is prepared, it’s a quick procedure.  Dr. Rockar recommends he stay alone a couple of days to heal.

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