Many people own rats as pets. They are very smart and highly trainable. Like any pet, it is possible for them to become ill. One of the illnesses they can contract is salmonellosis. It is an infection caused by the Salmonella bacterium. It is rare for rats to get it, but it is not impossible. It can be dangerous because it is possible for the pet to pass the infection on to its’ owner.
How do rats get it?
The pet rats get it by coming into contact with the bacterium. Eating food, drinking water, or touching bedding that has become contaminated with feces containing the bacteria. This usually comes from other rodents, whether they are pet or wild. This is an illness that can be very dangerous for the animal.
How is it diagnosed?
If salmonellosis is suspected, a trip to the vet is going to be necessary in order to confirm the diagnosis. It will require a fecal sample for the purpose of a culture. This sample, a physical examination, and an explanation of the time leading up to the infection will bring about the diagnosis.
What are the symptoms and how is it treated?
In many cases, the animal will ultimately die from the infection, but this is not always the case. The illness will present with symptoms including depression, dehydration, rough coat, distended abdomen, diarrhea, and weight loss. If the animal begins to improve, there is a good chance that it will survive.
There are no treatments that can be administered unless they begin to improve. Not all rats who catch it will die, but it is going to be a difficult recovery. Once the up-swing begins, antibiotics can be administered to aid in the recovery process. A veterinarian can also administer fluids and electrolyte supplements.
The animal should be segregated from other animals during the illness because it is possible for the animal to infect other animals and people. Great care needs to be taken when caring for and handling the animal. Gloves should be worn, and the clothes worn while handling should be changed as well. A veterinarian can advise on the best course of action and what should and shouldn’t be done.
Prevention is the best way to protect a pet. Cleaning the cage often and thoroughly and making sure to keep food and bedding in a place where other animals, including rodents, will not be able to get to them. It is also a good idea to quarantine new animals before they are put in with established pets.
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