Rats are often considered as intelligent and compassionate animals, and they may fall sick at some point. Detecting symptoms of illnesses in a rat on timely manner is a key to helping it recover quickly. Some of the commonest symptoms of a sick rat include;
-reduction in feeding habits,
-Respiratory illnesses and Mycoplasma,
- Un-kept coat,
- fur standing on the ends,
Reduction in feeding habit is one of the earliest and most noticeable symptoms of sickness in rats. Generally, rats have extremely fast metabolism, and when a rat stops eating normally, a significant weight loss may set in, especially within the first few days of the sickness. Weighing a rat , at least 3 times a week is one of the fastest means of detecting whether it is sick because rats tend to hide their sicknesses initially, thus, weight loss could help you detect sickness early. It is important that you keep a scale around if you keep a rat as pet, even a rapid weight gain in a rat may also suggest sickness.
Rats are also susceptible to respiratory illnesses and the reason being that they are carriers of the bacteria- Mycoplasma. In most healthy rats, Mycoplasma bacteria have little or no effect on their overall health, because their immune system keeps such bacteria in check. A secondary infection that can trigger respiratory disorder is a virus, likewise stress can put enormous pressure on the immune system of a rat thereby empowering the Mycoplasma bacteria to gain more power and cause respiratory disorder.
Some of the symptoms of respiratory disorders in rats include; reddish colour discharge from the nose and eyes of the rat, persistent sneezing, labored breathing, moist breath and persistent coughing. Some secondary infections can trigger a more severe respiratory infection that can be fatal especially where there is a delay in the treatment of the rat. Infections such as Myco-plasmosis in rat cannot be treated by a single or combination of antibiotics; however a primary respiratory infection can be treated with antibiotics.
Rats are quite clean , thus they have a way of cleaning their furs, however when you see an un-kept coat, then you should suspect that a rat is suffering from a sickness. A sickness can also be a symptom of stress, and in that case, withdrawal of the rat from an unfavourable condition may be the best possible way of removing stress. Teeth chattering and the standing of fur at their ends are also signs that a rat is suffering from an infection that needs immediate treatment. Nipping and outright social withdrawals have also been found to be symptoms of a sickness in a rat.
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