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This past weekend, I saw an ad on my local Craigslist for a litter of rats for pets or feeders. It was a couple of days after deciding the girl I took in that I thought was pregnant was not (she'd have been overdue and had not grown much more than you'd expect a young rats to grow), and I was pleased she wasn't, so young! But, as I had already found a few homes for babies in a litter, I contacted the woman to say I'd be interested in taking on the whole litter and briefly explained that.

Well, she had already found someone that wanted to buy the whole litter, but took my number just in case it fell through. I told her a bit about myself - that I'm a vet tech at a hospital that has a great exotics/pocket pet vet, with 9 rats of my own, have ambitions to open a rescue in the future (school loans limit my plans to do that sooner rather than later lol), and that I could promise good pet homes for all of them.

But she called me yesterday to say she hadn't heard from that person in a few days and she knew they would have a better home with me, the inflection and wording of sort of struck me as them going as feeders (she didn't outright say it), and that she would rather they go to me. She does want some money, but significantly less than she was asking for, even for feeders. I arranged it so I'm getting them today rather than this weekend, because sooner is better than later here.

SO! I don't know much about them. They're about 4 weeks old - she didn't know exactly when they were born, as she walked into the room and found them one day (and I guess didn't write it down?). I know that's young, but she wants them gone now, and I would rather them come to me and find loving homes than wait and maybe be fed... I'm not inexperienced, so I'm not worried. There are 15 or 16 babies and she hasn't sexed them yet, so I'll be doing that first thing. They're black/white and blue/white (well, I'm guessing - she said light grey, so it could be a few things, but blue is pretty common in some areas around me), and I'm assuming hooded, though I suppose they could be something else. I plan to keep 2 myself, my friend is taking 3-4, and one of the vets I work with has been thinking for a few months about getting rats with his wife and their 3 boys, and he's been asking a lot of questions and doing his own research and coming to me about it, so I'll be talking to him on Tuesday. :) I'll be looking for other good homes in the MA area, though none will be rehomed until they are older and I have a better knowledge of their health and they're sturdier.

Pictures will be coming later on once I get them and have time to take them somewhere in between setting them up, sexing and weighing them, and thinking up names (that I'm sure will be changed when they go to new homes but they'll be themed for a bit, haha).
 

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I am really excited to see pics of these little sweeties! They couldn't have gone to a better place, especially since you want to keep a few for yourself. Being a vet tech, I wanted to ask you a question. Why are their not many exotic vets around? I have been looking for one closer to me and there is only 1, over an hour away! There is also only one place willing to do a neuter/spay on a rat and that is almost 3 hours away. When I call to ask most vets say that they will not spay/neuter rats because they are known to be self mutilators? I know what that is, but I don't understand what they mean when it comes to rats. What do they do that is so different from a dog, cat, rabbit?
 

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Sorry for the delay in reply! I've had my hands full with 25 rats (and my dog and 4 cats, haha).

This is something I've actually talked with multiple vets about! Not only with my exotic vet that I work with, but also with many cat and dog vets, and a few large animal vets. The reason that it's harder to find a vet who treats past dogs and cats is simply because the majority of training in vet school (in the US, at least) is dog and cat oriented. There is very limited actual training past a bit of knowledge with other animals - the person has to pursue the specialized education and training needed to treat the other animals. I work with three vets regularly (and a few others here and there) at the moment: one is my exotic vet who will see anything but fish and venomous species, one is a cat/dog doctor for us but actually focused on large animal before (and still does, though mostly equine dentistry work now), and one who is a cat/dog vet who actually went to undergrad with the exotic vet (funny how the world works!). She's excited to have an opportunity to learn more about exotics by working with Dr. L., and she has mentioned a few times regretting the limited exposure to anything else.

As for the vets who won't neuter, it's more than likely that they don't have experience doing it. I have never heard that they shouldn't be neutered because of the risk of self mutilation, but it seems more like an excuse to not do it. An experienced vet and quality pain control would prevent that if it's actually a concern, I'm assuming. :) Personally, I'd hold out on neutering until you find a vet that has experience neutering a rat. The procedure for neutering varies slightly by species in general, though. For a quick example, felines are done by a process known as scrotal neutering (where a small incision is made on each side of the scrotum), and dogs are typically done by a process called pre-scrotal neutering (a single incision is made before the scrotum), though I've worked with vets that would do very young puppies (we were in a shelter setting) by a scrotal neuter as well. I actually asked my vet yesterday how long it takes her to neuter, and she said between 10 and 15 minutes (for comparison, she does a cat neuter in 4-6 minutes - surprisingly not the quickest vet I've worked with for that, either!). I should have asked her more about the process, but I do know she likes each testicle to appear larger than a grape before she'll do it, lol. I cannot wait to get my boys done, even if I don't end up merging my male and female mischiefs. They just need to get bigger (and my girls, too, for spaying!).

Update on the rescue litter coming in the next post! I have had my hands *full*! :D
 

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Smarion, it means that some rats tend to chew on their stitches and open their wounds. There are ways to deal with that, obviously an experienced rat vet would know how. When my rat had a tumor removed, I had to keep her wrapped in a bandage for the first week. After that, she did mess with one part of the incision, which turned out to be a piece of suture material that was stuck under her skin. Once we got that out, she was fine. Exotic vets do surgeries on rats all the time. I guess I'm lucky to live in an area where we have many to choose from!
 
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