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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 08:56 PM Thread Starter
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NEW RATS--emergency. Please help.

As you can see by my last post, we got 2 young rats at a pet store 10 days ago. We were told they were both "males." They are 5-6 weeks old.

This is our 2nd pair of rats. They are blue dumbos and we are in love.

I've noticed today that one rat's testicles are clearly descended and the other has no noticeable testicles. Now, we're freaking out. I've read a lot of stuff online about sexing them, and I just can't tell. If I had to guess, I'd say one--our favorite--is female. They both seem to have penises in the same place, and I can't find any nipples on the "female". Is it possible that the testicles just haven't descended? They aren't from the same litter.

I'm totally freaking out for two reasons:

1. They seem to make a really happy pair and we love them. If one is female, they will have to be split up, and we will likely have to give our favorite rat back. We just can't have 2 pairs with 2 separate habitats.

2. What if one is already pregnant?

PLEASE HELP ASAP. Any advice is appreciated. I have to work all day tomorrow, but plan to take them to the vet on Saturday, if I can get in.


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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:07 PM Thread Starter
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I just looked again with my wife, and we are almost certain Pancake is a girl. I felt/saw some nipples.

I'm totally heartbroken. I'm in love with these rats.

What are our options? I can't do anything until Saturday, as we both work all day tomorrow. Should I separate them now? They are going to be so scared and depressed.

One will have to go back. Pancake--the female--is our favorite. But we've never had female rats. What are their temperaments? If we took a boy back and had a female pair, are they as likely to be social as males?

I'm so, so sad.


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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:38 PM
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Just so I understand, you got two six-ish week old male rats. Now you brought home two more six-ish week old rats, one male, and one possible female?

Separate your 'female' until you can get the four of them properly sexed Saturday. They're all young enough that re-introductions won't be a problem even if they need to be separated for a few weeks.

You also don't necessarily have to get rid of your female. You might consider spaying or neutering. I keep mixed sex colonies with neutered males. Male rats can be neutered as young as 8-10 weeks, and the cost varies from 30-100 dollars per rat. Female rats can also be spayed as young as 3-4 months old, and that usually runs between 60-150 per rat, and also has the additional benefit of preventing mammary tumors. ( I just had a heartbreaking experience with one of my females who had rapidly growing reoccurring mammary tumors. It was a drain on my emotions, her health, and my wallet. If I ever have it to do again, I'm spaying my females early, or at least at the occurrence of the first tumor. )

If she is pregnant, you can find that out too when you go to the vet, and an espay is an option. This will run something like 200-300 dollars.

To me though, the cheapest thing, assuming she's not pregnant, is to keep two colonies. I have three happy colonies kept in one corner of my living room in a space no bigger than 2 x 3 feet. After the initial cage purchase, it's no more expensive and only a little more personal time than keeping one colony half the size.

If you are looking for tips, and costs etc, I've pulled together a bunch of resources on my blog here at Paw Talk.


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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I'm very upset.

We HAD 2 males (3 years ago).

We now HAVE 1 male and 1 female (that we assumed were both male). I'm pretty sure the female is already pregnant.

If they were kept together as a mixed sex pair, would that cause any additional complications? Would they both need to be spayed/neutered? Or only one?

And, if the female is already pregnant, what are our options?


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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:41 PM
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Replying to your second post:

I love both males and females. Females tend to be busier and playful, and stink much less than males. They often stay silly and fun like juvenile rats their whole lives, while males mellow out and get very lazy. Over all, there's little difference between the two though. I wouldn't let lack of experience deter you from keeping them. You'd be missing out on some specialness.


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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Does anyone know of any vet in Chicago that does espay for female rats? (That's would take care of the pregnancy and spay at once, right?)

Should the male be neutered too, in that case?

We have an exotics vet for our bunnies, but he's very pricey. We payed $400/each for them.


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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 09:45 PM Thread Starter
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Sorry, just wanting to clarify.

So, if we got this "espay" for Pancake--the female--we could keep them both together? And, chances are, they would stay bonded?


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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:02 PM
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No worries. Just catching up to your posts and answering your questions: (as of post 7)

I don't know of any Chicago vets. In my city, I got a list of vets and started down the line calling them. I asked if they had an exotics vet that had experience with rats, and if not, who they would recommend, and if they did, I asked what they would ballpark me for a rat neuter. They were always reluctant to quote prices over the phone until I made it clear that I wasn't trying to nail them down, but just getting a ballpark loose idea of their pricing range.

As for espay: Yes, that would take care of both the pregnancy, and the sterilization for your female. It's basically a hysterectomy while she's pregnant.

Once she's spayed, she'll be sterile immediately, and if she got along with your male before she was spayed, she'll get along with him after. They're more intelligent than other rodents (and many other pets). They will take a liking to someone and it will be for life.

If she's not pregnant, and you can't afford a spay (though in the end that would still be much cheaper and less heartbreaking than repeated tumor removals from an intact female), you can get your male neutered, and likewise they'll still get along. In fact the easiest introductions are between neutered males and females.

You will only need to get one of them speutered. The other can stay intact. Though there's a chance you may eventually need to get the intact one speutered too. This is because occasionally males hit adulthood and if they have poor breeding, may develop hormonal aggression that is usually curbed by neutering, or as I said earlier, your intact female may start developing mammary tumors later.


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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. I have been sitting here crying for an hour, thinking there was no alternative to taking the female back to that terrible petstore.

I'm going to call our exotics vet tomorrow and, provided it doesn't cost $300/each, I'm likely going to have both spayed/neutered. THANK YOU.


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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:08 PM
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Oh btw, I've got one exotics vet who works in a ritzy side of town and who is highly recommended for rats. He quoted me $400 for a tumor removal. A regular spay would have been 700 dollars. The vet I actually use charged me $50 for a tumor removal. He's also more willing to work with me on prices etc. So it's well worth your effort to shop and ask around.


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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:09 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!

And, in the meantime, if there are any Chicago rat owners who can recommend their vet, please do!


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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:11 PM
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And you're very welcome. Don't panic. You really do have a lot of options open to you, especially if you are financially able to provide proper vet care. Go to the goosemoose forum and do a thread search for chicago vets. If anyone has the skinny it would be the folks on goosemoose.


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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Had a $700 tumor removal off one of our boys from the last pair.

Hard pill to swallow, but I'm accepted responsibility for them, and I want to do right by them.


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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:22 PM
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It's always tough. But, don't feel like you have to use the one vet. It was amazing the price variation between vets, and the quality of care and knowledge wasn't horribly different. In fact, while the quality was higher at the ritzy vet because at those prices it aught to be, at the less expensive vet, he had twice the experience with rats so I trusted him more. Go figure. LOL


I found an Illinois rat vet list for you just now btw from The Rat Report last updated this month. The dates below each name lists when the vet was last recommended/added to the list and the person who added it so you could possibly email them to ask if/why they recommend that particular vet. This should cut down on your redundant calling to vets who know nothing about rats at all:

http://www.ratfanclub.org/vetref.html

Dr. Ron Durante
Algonquin Animal Clinic
10412 Rt. 31
Algonquin, IL 60102
847-658-3626
(2005—Leslie, [email protected])

Dr. Byron de la Navarre
Animal House of Chicago, Complete Vet. Care
2752 West Lawrence Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60625
(773) 878-8002
[email protected], www.animalhouseofchicago.com
(2002—Tracy Henske, 2004— Julie Davis, [email protected])

Dr. Susan Liszewski
TLCFirstAnimalHospital6468 N Milwaukee AveChicago, IL60631Tel.: (773) 631-0706
www.tlcfirst.com
[email protected]

(2009)
Dr. Lex Bonam
Arboretum View Animal Hospital
2551 Warrenville Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515
630-963-0424
Owns and loves 2 rats!
(2007)

Dr. Susan Cechner
Elburn Animal Hospital
403 E. North St.
Elburn, IL 60119.
(630) 365-9599
(2007—Jennie Kanyok, Veterinary Nurse)

Dr. Robert Ness
Exotic Animal Wellness Center
1007 Maple Ave
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 737-0077
(2008—Sherie Haze)

Dr. Stephen Barten
Dr. Eve Cheung
Dr. Susan Sneed
Vernon Hills Animal Hospital
1260 S. Butterfield Road
Mundelein, IL 60060
847-367-4070
www.vhah.com
(2011—Sara Brugam)

All doctors
Prairie Oak Veterinary Center
207 B Landmark Dr.
Normal, IL 61761
(309) 454-8606
(2004—Mary, [email protected] )

Dr. Odem
Preiser Animal Hospital
2975 N. Milwaukee Ave
Northbrook, IL 60062-7117
847-827-5200
(2004—Beth Kennedy, [email protected])

Dr. Durst
Hillcrest Animal Hospital
227N. Alpine
Rockford, Illinois 61107
(815) 398-9313
(2005—Jess, [email protected])

Dr. Mikel Pulins
Animal Clinic of Romeoville
334 N. Independence Blvd.
Romeoville, IL 60446
815-886-0404
(2012—Kerstin Morse)

Dr. Jeff Merrill
Companion Animal Medical Services
P. O. Box 3808
St. Charles, IL 60174
630-430-2531
[email protected]
(2002--Janice Klosowski)

Midwest Bird & Exotic Animal Hospital
1923 S Mannheim Rd
Westchester, IL 60154
(708) 453-8181
www.midwestexotichospital.com
(1999-Pat Babyar)

Dr. Kenneth Welle
All Creatures Animal Hospital
708 Killarney
Urbana IL
(217) 328-4143
Special Pocket Pet Program

Dr. Kurt Thurman
Caring Hands Animal Hospital
1704 Philo Rd
Urbana, Illinois 61801
(217) 328-5350
(2004—Liz Nowack, [email protected])


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Last edited by Storyseeker; 12-27-2012 at 10:24 PM.
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 12-27-2012, 10:27 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! You've really been a great help. I'm going to call all of these in the morning, and I'll post an update.

One more question, actually: will they be too young--at just 6 weeks--for the neuter/espay?


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