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I'm in the UK, I was watching the Yorkshire Vet last night on TV, a show based on the clinic where Herriot worked. A boy on the show was only young (about 12-13) but was filmed with the pets he has and he was taking a rat to the vet because he was concerned about his weight. The rat was obese so cudos to the lad for knowing that... but I has some issues with how the rat was filmed being cared for.

To start with, his cage was too small and he was solitary. He was shown to be in a play pen at the end of the show but was still without a rat friend and seemed scared. Given limited information I don't know if it was because his rat buddy had died or if he was agressive, but the rat was alone nonetheless.
Secondly was his diet, he was fed on muesli... that I saw to have alfalfa pellets in. Admittedly the vet did say that he needed less of the muesli because it was too fattening, but only suggested that he was fed fruit and veg on the side.
Then there was the way the boy handled the rat, it was clearly frightened and the boy made loud noises when the rat sniffed or maybe nipped him. When it was held the rat spun his tail because he wasn't supported. I have a rat who hates to be held and spins his tail, but I always try to hold him close to my body and support his bottom and talk to him lots to calm him down, I also limit how much I hold him.
This rat also bit, and I don't blame the boy, or the rat, but how is that going to look to prospective rat owners. Some rats bite yes, but to people who don't know, it will be a red flag and they will not buy rats as pets for that reason. Well socialised, bred and happy pet rats shouldn't bite, but a non rat owner might not know that. This boy didn't know that because he acted as though it was normal. That doesn't show pet rats in a good light :(
The thing I'm most pissed about is that no one corrected the boy and showed him how to handle the rat, and his father seemed even more clueless. The boy clearly loved his animals and was obviously not doing this stuff on purpose, but I can't help but feel he was only giving care based on the advice from pet shop employees, and that information was clearly lacking. I'm pissed that they aired the show like this and that is how rat care was viewed.

The show about a veterinary clinic should of known better and should have helped the boy in his knowledge. The rat looked healthy but you can't always see distress physically. And other people watching that show with no rat care knowledge would think that was the norm.

Rant over, it just rubbed me the wrong way
 
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