Just like many of our other small friends, rats, mice and guinea pigs are all extremely good at hiding when they are unwell. Many exotic species that we keep as pets are very good at this, and our rodent friends are no exception.

Rodents are very good at just going about their day, pretending that everything is ok. This often means that once they show signs that they are unwell, and come in to the clinic, they can often be much sicker than they appear.

While hiding signs of illness is natural behaviour for all of our guinea pig, rat and mouse friends, it makes looking after them more challenging for their owners!

If you have any concerns about your pet or wish to book in for a health check, please call the clinic on 07 3217 3533.

Monitoring your pet:

One of the most important things in being able to identify what is abnormal for your pet, that may be a sign of illness, is knowing what is NORMAL.
It is important to be familiar with your friend’s normal behaviour and habits. By knowing what your pet normally does, you will be more easily, and more quickly, able to pick up on when something is not right.

Spend time with your pet, and watch what they do – eating, exploring, grooming and burrowing as well for rats and mice. These are all very normal behaviours. It is a good idea to become familiar with how your pet does these things, and how much time he or she spends doing them.

Having a small set of scales, that weigh by the gram, and weighing your pet regularly and recording their weight is a good idea. Body weights often fluctuate a small amount, but if your pet’s weight is consistently dropping, despite seeming well otherwise, then it can be a sign that something is not right. If your pet is losing weight, then it is time to visit the vet!

Signs of illness in Guinea pigs:

  • Weight loss
  • Eating less
  • Only eating soft foods, no longer eating hay
  • Drooling
  • Diarrhoea
  • Less active than normal, lethargic
  • Unkempt coat, not grooming
  • Less active than normal, lethargic
  • Eating less than normal
  • Lumps or bumps anywhere on body
  • Hair loss
  • Scratching all the time
  • Coughing
  • Sores on their feet

Signs of illness in Rats and Mice:

  • Increased porphyrin (red staining around the eyes and nose)
  • Increased sneezing and mucous from the nose
  • Breathing faster
  • Breathing harder
  • Eating less than normal
  • Lumps or bumps anywhere on body
  • Hair loss
  • Scratching all the time
  • Increased snuffling sounds in the nose and upper respiratory tract
  • Upper resp tract noise
  • Sneezing
  • Unkempt coat, not grooming
  • Less active than normal, lethargic

These are some of the most common signs of illness in our rat and mouse friends. It is always a good idea for all rats and mice to have regular health checks. If you have any concerns, or you aren’t sure if something is right or not, then it is always worth getting your pet checked by a veterinarian. Please call the clinic on 07 3217 3533

The very adorable little Pavlova came in for her health check! You can see in this photo that she looks very alert, and her eyes and nose are clear of any discharge
This is Gremlin! He is enjoying a small treat during his health check. You can see that his coat is thick and glossy!
Ginger, displaying some healthy eating habits. Guinea pigs should also eat around 80% long stem, grassy hay like timothy hay.
Seymour and Etta here are both showing off their healthy coats, eyes, ears, noses and toes! It’s also important to check the bottom of guinea pig’s feet, for any red patches or sores that may develop!
Jakey the rat is quite happy to come in for health checks, particularly when it involves a tasty snack!

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