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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello everyone! I was just curious about something.. I've tried to read up on it through the internet but wasn't quite sure what to believe.

I was just wondering if pet rats can transfer any certain illnesses or diseases to humans that have been known to be common. I looked online to find some answers but it was either people saying rats are 10 times cleaner than humans, or rats are dangerous and harbor all sorts of diseases (which I know isn't true in most cases, some people just immediately think terrible things when they hear the word "rat", unfortunately).

I'm not worried about it at all, it's nothing like that. I recently took my sweet rattie to the vet a few days ago anyway. I was just curious in general if there were any sicknesses that transfer to us often. Of course I've heard that rats carried the plague with information to support that claim, and I've heard otherwise with supporting information as well. So I was just wondering what may or may not be true and what people over the internet are just making up or blowing out of proportion (because let's face it, it definitely wouldn't be the first time that's happened, lol).

Anyway, thanks in advance! &Have a great day/night everyone :)
 

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I've actually heard it was the fleas on the rats that carried the plague not the rats themselves, not sure that's true but who knows.
anyway I know they can transfer rat bite fever but only if they bite and reach blood but before you freak out and start panicking- realistically the chances of the rat giving you this disease are super super slim. it's just as likely for someone to catch something from their pet dog, which again u never hear of happening because well its super rare. The only "precaution" we need to take as rat owners from that is if your rattie bites you and hits blood and later you have any unexplainable flu/fever bad enough to go to the ER don't forgot to mention about the rat bite to the doctor or else they won't test for that. but again the chances of this ever happening to you SUPER super super rare. Also rats don't generally bite to begin with and if they do its generally just a little nip and doesn't hit blood. If your rat is biting like that something is wrong and that's a whole other discussion. Other than that though I don't believe we can catch anything from rats. You'll hear some people say things like they gave their rat a cold but rats don't really catch colds as far as I know and cold like symptoms in a rat probably mean they have a respiratory infection which is a really common disease in rats. And can you catch that? No. Your rats can catch it from each other but humans cannot. Other common rat diseases are things like cancer which again isn't contagious. So really as far as I've ever heard there's very little risk of catching anything from your rats.
 

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All pets have some risk of carrying diseases and giving them to us. Even cats & dogs. There are very deadly stuff u can catch from both dogs or cats but no one ever seems to worry about that!

But for the most part you are perfectly safe with all your pets, rats included :) There is really nothing to be worried about. Rats have no more of a chance of getting us sick then any other pet.

Always have common sense. If your pet is sick- take them to the vet. If you are bitten by any pet the smartest thing is to go to the doctor- though more realistically just keeping an eye that the wound is healing and that you are feeling well is what most people do. But for all purposes I do suggest visiting a doctor if u are ever even slightly worried or if you are young/old/sick.

There is also a huge difference between wild animals and domesticated pets. Dont hang out with wild animals and never let your pets hang out with wild animals lol

The plague was actually carried by fleas, and humans living in close dirty situations. It isn't a rat thing but like all rodents where fleas can feed off of and spread it. It is really nothing to do with our pet rats. You should be keeping all your pets flea free and really it is not very likely for them to get fleas.

Rat bite fever is a real health issue caused by bacteria in rodents bites. It is not only caused by bites either- kissing, swapping saliva, sharing food. If this was an issue most pet owners would be dead lol There have only been a handful of cases. Though in truth it can also be passed to dogs & cats and given to us through them. It is extremely rare. And is not likely anything to worry about with pet rats.

Ringworm is something I have heard can be spread to human from again any pet.

Worms may be possible but very very unlikely unless they were somehow exposed to worms in the first place. You are more likely to get them from your cat or dog.

Your dog or cat could give you rabies but it is pretty near impossible for rats to carry it. I believe there has never been a case of rabies from a rat to human in the US.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Okay, thank you guys! I was just curious. I'm a new rat owner and I don't know too much about them in that sense. I've read up on them a lot regarding their living habitats/habits, behavior, and foods they can or cannot consume, of course. But I've never really looked into the health side of them before now (besides tumors and respiratory infections), so I was just wondering :)

Thank you both though! I appreciate it! :rat:
 

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A few years ago, we caught a bronchitis that wouldn't go away, it bounced around from family member to family member and strangely enough that included the rats. It was winter and our girls weren't outside so they couldn't have brought it home so they had to get it from us.... They got sick about the third day it hit our house and pretty much got over it around the same time we did. It really was a nasty bug.... In general though our rats seem immune to most colds and flu's my wife or daughter drag in.

But yes, from all evidence there are some, although most likely very few, illness that can affect both rats and humans.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh okay, I'll definitely keep an eye out if I get really sick or anything just to make sure.

Did you have to put them on antibiotics or anything when that happened or did it just resolve on its own?
 

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Oh okay, I'll definitely keep an eye out if I get really sick or anything just to make sure.

Did you have to put them on antibiotics or anything when that happened or did it just resolve on its own?
There are very few things that your rat would be able to catch from you. This actually just came up on a rat group I am in that is very strict about giving out info and is filled with vets and those considered experts in rat health and care.

Most human pathogenic viruses are not pathogenic in rats. The virus that causes the common cold in humans is not something that can affect rats. Humans are commonly affected by the rhinovirus or coronavirus which are species specific.
While info is often shared that rats can get strep from us, that too is untrue. Strep throat is caused by streptococci pyogenes and rats can not catch this either.

If your rat has any respiratory issues they need to see a vet and/or be giving treatment always! If left untreated it can cause long term issues or death.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That's interesting. Good to know though, I'm just going to keep an eye out for anything anymore just because since I lost her sister Lily I've realized you definitely can't be too careful!

Thank you all though for all the responses and information you've given me since I've joined this forum, I appreciate it a ton!!
 

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In our case, the humans did wind up on antibiotics, but the rats recovered on their own... At the time we only had one true shoulder rat and although she had pretty bad mammary tumors at the time, she was the first to recover... Rats that go outdoors build up some pretty strong immunizes... out more or less indoor rat recovered more slowly. I did three courses of antibiotics... the nasty infection bounced around our family like a ping pong ball, as best as I could tell we were reinfecting each other because we never had the good sense to get treated at the same time and the wife doesn't like antibiotics... In any case it was a miserable resp infection...

But in all of the years we've had rats, this is the only case where we had an infection that hit both humans and rats... I might add that there were a few treads at the time of other folks getting sick at that same time as their rats. Mostly though, moonkissed is right on the money. Rats have their diseases and we humans have our own...
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's really strange how it effected both humans and rats! Thank you both for your answers though, I'm just always curious about everything :)
 

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Certain viruses and bacteria learn to transfer from one species to another... like the bird flu or the mexican swine flu that started in birds or pigs. So likely can cross back and forth. And some pathogens are literally carried by one animal so as to infect another like trichinosis. But basically most of our pet rats come from breeders and don't carry things like rat fever or hentai virus... Yes those of us who take their rats outside take bigger risks, but like I wrote, we got our rats sick, not the other way around. In fact you are 1000 times more likely to get sick from your human contacts than from any rat.

Life is a matter of understanding and managing risks... we can't live in a vacuum. Every time you go outdoors or go to work you are at risk of the flue, or West Nile Virus, Ebola or even Rocky Mountain spotted fever, but you go out anyway. In light of all of the germs you come in contact with daily, any risk your rats pose to you or you pose to them is negligible and insignificant.

I hope that makes sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It does :) It's a valid point as well. I'm not worried about it though, I'll keep an eye out for anything just in case but for the most part I was just curious about the whole case.

Thank you though :) It's nice to have discussions with others on here!
 
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