Domestic rats are one of the best pets you can own. They are smart, sweet, and affectionate. These rodents can develop a special bond with their owner. Like any kind of pet, they are in need of a lot of attention. These animals can come in different colors, sizes, and breeds. If treated well, the domesticated rat’s lifespan is up to 3.5 years.
Caring for a pet rat requires knowledge of their nutrition, breeding, healthcare, housing, and, last but not least, neutering. Rat neutering has a lot of benefits, and it is highly recommended for pet rats.
In this article, you will learn about male rats’ neutering, such as what does it mean? Why is it done? What are the benefits and the inconveniences? And when should you neuter your rat?
What Is Rat Neutering?
“Neutering” is a term given to a surgical procedure where the reproductive organs of a male are removed in order to make them infertile. It is also known as an “orchidectomy,” where the testicles of the male rat are removed during the surgery.
How is it done?
One incision can be made over the scrotum or 2 small incisions can be made over each testicle. When the rat testicles are removed, the vet will close the incision with some stitches or surgical glue.
Safety and Pain
The rat surgery is done under general anesthesia, which means your rat will not be awake or feel anything during the procedure. It is important not to feed your rat on the same day of the surgery to prevent food accumulation that can make it hard for the vet to intubate your rat for anesthesia.
Before giving any kind of anesthesia, your vet will fully examine your pet and might ask for blood tests. This is important to ensure a safe surgery and to make sure that the anesthesia won’t have major side effects on your rat.
Your rat will receive pain medications and antibiotics at the vet clinic after the surgery. They might prescribe medications to give at home as well. Your rat might be tempted to remove his sutures. In case this happens, it is very important to rush him to the vet to prevent an infection.
How can you ensure that your rat will be safe?
- Separate from other rats for a week.
- Check the surgical site for any infections.
- Keep them in a clean and non-stressful environment.
- Give all the medications prescribed by the vet on time.
- Provide them with healthy meals.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Neutering Your Pet Rat
Neutering your pet rat is very beneficial and can make life easier for him, for you, and for the other pet rats, you have at home. Here’s why you should neuter your rat and what disadvantages this rat surgery has.
What are the advantages?
- Eliminates unwanted pregnancies if there’s a female rat living with your male rat.
- Neutered male rats are less likely to have aggressive behavior, which means they can live easily with other rats of the same or opposite gender.
- Eliminates the risk of spraying to mark their territory.
- Reproductive organs’ cancer is very common in rats. Testicular cancer can be deadly in rats. Neutering will eliminate the risk of cancer and provide a longer and healthier life for your pet.
- Neutered males tend to be friendlier with humans. If you’re facing an issue with aggression, neutering will help decrease that behavior if it’s induced by hormones.
- Neutered rats are more likely to get adopted because the owner won’t have to worry about unwanted pregnancies or behavior.
What are the disadvantages?
- Neutered males are at a higher risk of obesity. But it is important to know that surgery is not the cause of obesity. If you are feeding your rat an unhealthy diet, they are always at risk of becoming overweight, and a neutered rat is more susceptible to it.
Complications of Neutering Rats
Complications can happen in any kind of surgery, with any animal, or even by the best veterinarian. Some of them can be avoided, but some can happen without anyone expecting it.
When it comes to neutering male rats, complications are usually rare if the right protocol is followed.
Some of the complications that might happen during or after the surgery are:
Adverse effects of anesthesia
During surgery, some animals might develop an adverse reaction to the anesthetics. These reactions are not very common, and no one can foresee them, but since they can happen, veterinarians are almost always ready to fix them.
Bleeding internally during or after the surgery
This can happen if the vet made an incision internally and did not close it well or if your pet is very active and is constantly biting its wound. This is very unlikely to happen because the incision usually made is very small and less likely to cause internal bleeding.
If you feel that your rat is tired, barely eating, and he’s becoming pale, it is preferable to contact your vet immediately.
Postoperative infections are not very common as well, and they can be manageable with antibiotics that your veterinarian will prescribe. It can be caused by a bacterial infection that occurred during the surgery if the materials and environment were not sterile, or it can be caused by your rat while they are licking and biting its wounds constantly.
How do you know if the surgical site of your rat is infected? The wound will probably produce pus or a yellowish liquid, and it will seem swollen.
When to Neuter a Rat?
The best time to neuter your rat usually depends on you and the environment your rat lives in:
The veterinarian can neuter your rat starting at 4 months old. Some prefer to do it at 6 months old because it can lower the risk of the surgery.
You can choose when to neuter your rodent depending on how many other rats you have at home. If you already have females and you are worried that your rat will get pregnant, it is preferable to do it at 4 months old.
How Much Does It Cost to Neuter a Rat?
The rat neutering cost depends on the country you live in. It usually ranges from 50$ to 300$.
Female spaying surgery is surely more expensive. If you have both female and male rats and you are wondering how much it costs to spay a rat in order to not spend much, you should remember that the spaying surgery is not just to prevent unwanted pregnancies but to prevent unwanted diseases for your female rats as well.
Spaying of female rats is a more complex surgery that needs more time, materials, and anesthetics, which makes it more expensive than male rat neutering. It can range from $200 to $400 in the USA.
Rat Neutering is very recommended. It can prevent unwanted pregnancies, decrease aggressive and unwanted behaviors, and, most importantly, it will eliminate the risk of testicular cancer. It is not a complicated surgery and is also less risky. Even if it might seem a little expensive for some people, this surgery has a lot of benefits that are worth it.
- Neutering in rats
- Domestic Male Rats Added to Neuter List at Spca Serving Erie County
- Should I neuter my rat?
Lamis has remarkable humility, empathy and generosity. Out of love for animals, she founded her own animal rescue team. As of now, this team rescued, treated and rehomed over 60 animals!
She has worked as an Intern in various veterinary clinics and animal hospitals. She has also had numerous voluntary experiences including blood donations and creating educational content for her countrymen.
Currently, she’s pursuing her Master’s Degree in Veterinary Medicine at Lebanese Public University.
She’s CPD certified in –
- Small Animal Nutrition
- Nutrition of Hospitalized Cats
- Dog Grooming
- Pet Psychology