Spaying & Neutering Your Pet Rats

Neutered Rat Guide – Can You Neuter Your Pet Rats & How Much Does it Cost?

If you have a pet rat, there are going to be many difficult decisions that you will need to make throughout your ownership of that rat.  One of the biggest ones that you will need to decide on is going to be whether or not you should have them spayed or neutered.  With that being said, there is actually not going to be a ‘one size fits all’ type of answer that you can simply fall back on.  This is because the health of every individual rat, how that particular rat acts, the age of the rat, and even their living circumstances are all going to need to be factored into this big decision.  If your rat is a male, making the choice to have them neutered is more than likely going to be based off of the behavior that they are displaying.  For female rats, getting your pet rat spayed is going to offer some very great health benefits, most of which are going to outweigh any risks that the actual surgery may pose.  And then you have the situation where male and female rats are going to be living together.  If this is the case, then you will more than likely want to get at least one of them either spayed or neutered, as not doing so can potentially result in them mating and leaving you with a new litter of baby rats.

Here is what you need to know about getting your rat spayed or neutered.

Getting Your Female Rat Spayed

When it comes to getting your female rat spayed, there really are going to be many different health benefits that they will be receiving.  Some of those benefits are going to include:

  • It is going to reduce the occurrence of pituitary and mammary tumors
  • It will essentially eliminate any chances of them getting ovarian cancer or ovarian cysts
  • It is going to be able to increase their lifespan

All of the benefits that have been mentioned above are going to be very good for your pet female rat.  The health benefits that you can expect your rat to receive after being spayed are going to keep them healthier for longer, as well as allow you to keep them as a pet for longer as well. 

Aside from the health benefits associated with spaying your pet female rat, how are you supposed to know when you should have the operation done?  If you have never had a pet rat before or even if you have had one but have never had them spayed, it can be very confusing to try and figure everything out on your own.  Here is what you should know about when getting your pet female rat spayed.

When to Get Your Female Rat Spayed

The following are all going to be excellent reasons to get your female rat spayed.  While there are obviously going to be other reasons as well, these are going to be the most popular reasons why people decide that they are going to get their female rat spayed.

  • If you already have an unneutered male and you are planning on introducing a new female rat to the environment.
  • If your female rat is in need of mammary tumor removal surgery.  This is going to be a great time to have them spayed, as it is actually going to help make sure that they do not have any future mammary tumors developed later down the road.

On a side note, you should keep in mind that if you are getting your female rat spayed for pituitary tumor reasons, it is going to be best to make sure and do it between the ages of 3-6 months.  Mammary tumors on the other hand, are more easily prevented, as this is going to be effective no matter what age your female rat is spayed.

When Not to Get Your Female Rat Spayed

While getting your pet rat spayed is normally going to be a great idea, there are actually going to be several different times when you are not going to want to do it.  Again, while there are always going to be different reasons on why you should not get your rat spayed, the ones listed below are going to be the most popular.

  • Your rat has some type of respiratory disease.  If this is the case, your veterinarian will have to do an assessment in order to see if the surgery will be too risky or not.  If their respiratory disease is on the mild side, your vet will place them on an antibiotic to help clear up the disease prior to them going into surgery.
  • If your rat is in heat, they will not be able to get the surgery done.  Since female rats are actually going to go into heat roughly every 4-5 days, when you do get them spayed, it is ideal that they have the surgery done about 2-3 days after the heat has finished.
  • When it comes to rats, not every veterinarian is going to be able to do the surgery, as not every veterinarian is going to be knowledgeable about rats.  Be sure that you find one that is familiar with them and has performed the spaying surgery on female rats in the past.

Getting your female rat spayed is a big decision for you to make.  But with the right knowledge and the right veterinarian, you will have no problems whatsoever.  Now that you know about spaying female rats, what about getting male rats neutered?

Getting Your Male Rat Neutered

While neutering your male rat is not going to give them the same health benefits when compared to getting a female rat spayed, there are going to be some behavioral circumstances that you are going to want to consider the surgery for.  Here are some of the times that it is best to have your male rat neutered.

  • He will be living with a female rat who is unable to be spayed (just know that it takes roughly three weeks post-surgery in order for the male rat to become infertile).
  • He is acting very aggressive and exhibiting excessive urine marking (it is normal for this to take up to 8 weeks after the surgery until you are able to see a decrease in the amount of aggression that they are displaying.  As for urine marking, it is going to either be eliminated altogether or greatly reduced).
  • He is continuously trying to mate with the female rat he lives with, even though she has already been spayed.  If it becomes too much for her to handle, it is time to get the male neutered.

One of the side effects that you can expect to see in your rat after they have been neutered, is going to be that there will be much less ‘buck grease’.  While this reason by itself should not be good enough to have your male rat neutered, after they have been neutered, you can expect the orange-ish and oily secretions that occur naturally on the skin of their back to be greatly decreased.  What this means, is that your male rat can potentially have their scent affected, meaning that there will be a very good chance that they will no longer omit the musky smell that they once did before they were neutered.

The Male Rat Neuter Procedure

When the male rat is neutered, the procedure is not as complicated as you may think it is.  The rat will be put under so that it does not feel any of the surgery happening.  Once the rat is under, a small incision will be made into their scrotal sack.  The testicles will then be extracted.  Once this has occurred, they will then be excised.  While it is going to be a very much less invasive procedure when compared to that of a spay, this is still going to be an elective surgery that is only going to be required in rats that are exhibiting some type of behavioral issues.

Just be aware of the fact that even after you have gotten your male rat neutered, they are still potentially going to be fertile for up to three weeks after the surgery has been completed.  What this means is that they can still get a female rat pregnant if she has not been spayed and it is within three weeks of the males neutering.  As for aggression, it can take as long as six to eight weeks for that to start mellowing it.  So, if you notice that your rat is still aggressive after they have been neutered, simply give them some time and you should notice that they will start to calm down eventually.

When you have a pet rat, the decision to get them spayed or neutered can be a big one.  But when you know the reasons why you should have them get the procedure done, it is much easier to make that decision.

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