Typical diseases are well described in pet rats, but their prevalence and management are largely unknown. During a six-month period, standardised records were obtained for 375 rats presenting in three French centres to determine the diagnoses made and the treatments prescribed. Rhinitis, healthy animal and mammary gland tumours accounted for the majority of diagnoses. The 10 most common diagnoses accounted for 66.9 per cent of all cases. Inappropriate environment was a risk factor for respiratory disease (P<0.001). Mean age of presentation of rats with respiratory disease was lower for rats living in non-appropriate environment (P=0.049). Twenty-two per cent of animals underwent surgery, with a significant difference according to sex because of the higher rate of mammary gland tumours in females (P=0.006). Tumourectomy, ovariohysterectomy or castration accounted for 70 per cent of all procedures. Training veterinarians on 10 clinical situations, 3 surgical procedures and 3 therapeutic classes would improve the management of most of the pet rats. An early visit to provide owners with all recommendations and information on appropriate maintenance, and one visit around 15 months of age to detect any mass at an early stage, could help to reduce respiratory disease and improve clinical outcomes.
- Pet rat
- Respiratory disease
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