Advice about lone rat(4 Posts)
We lost one of rats today to a respiratory infection which wouldn't respond to antibiotics. The vet said it would be mycoplasma and that our surviving rat is likely a carrier. However she is not showing any signs of illness at the moment but the vet says that we should not introduce any new rats as she will be contagious. The difficult thing is that our rat is very young, only about 9 months old, and I feel terrible leaving her alone for the rest of her life without a rattie companion. I'm interested to know what others have done in our situation or to get advice from seasoned rat owners.
So sorry to hear about the loss of your rat
Your vet is right that your rat is likely a carrier, but most pet rats are carriers of mycoplasma, so please don't worry about introducing new rats to your existing one, any new rat/s is/are very likely to have it already. A breeder will be able to reassure you about this. The only restriction is really not to introduce rats who are currently showing signs of illness, however once you start introducing them they may show some minor signs like porphyrin due to stress, so don't panic if they start getting red noses during/after intro sessions!
Mycoplasma is an underlying disease that stays dormant a lot of the time but can flare up, it can cause respiratory illness of varying degrees, though it rarely kills without other factors being involved (not seeking treatment at the right time, underlying health issues, particularly young/old rats, etc).
This is a great website for looking up rat illnesses, I've linked you to the myco page particularly but it's worth a browse occasionally just to be aware of some of the more common issues.
We've been in this situation a couple of times, we got a new pair of babies each time it happened to keep the existing rat company, apart from once when we had an old boy, Howl, whose brother died. Howl had had respi issues his entire life and had been on and off of meds the whole time, so we didn't think he'd make it much beyond 2 (they were nearly 2 when his brother died). We kept him alone for a few months, we weren't too happy about it but didn't want two baby boys at the time as we had five girls too and we didn't want to get a rescue male as introducing adult males can be difficult, but somebody we spoke to had an old male who she allowed us to 'borrow' until our boy died. Our boy lasted another 9 months (he was nearly three when he died!) and we still have the other old boy, who is now over three!
Keeping lone rats is really time consuming. We have one now and had one in the past. Both had/have health issues which made them incompatible with other rats. But it means having them out very often, giving them a lot of love and attention. Ashi used to sit on me for most of the day, he had a minimum of 5 hours out a day, 5 days a week. Rygel, our current boy, is not getting quite so much time as he has no warnings for his seizures, and his seizures cause him to start defending himself against any touch, so we only have him out when both of us are home or when DD is napping so that he can't harm her during a seizure.
Thanks for your response. The children and I were devastated to lose her, she was such a sweetie. She was very small though and I suspect there was an underlying issue.
I actually contacted a local rat rescue centre and they said pretty much the same thing so we're off to see a six month old double Rex on Saturday who is also on her own at the moment with a view to bringing her home asap. My lonely rat looks so sad, I have her out each morning before and after work but it's the most we can do because we're out all day. Fingers crossed for Saturday! The children were a bit unsure about a almost bald rat but I'm hoping they'll love her when they see her.
How did the trip to meet the new rat go? I love double rexes, they're really warm which always throws me!
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