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Vet Costs for Rats

9797 Views 8 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  Vladina
As many know, for their size, rats are among the more expensive rodents to keep, mostly because of their higher than expected vet costs. I'd like to get a feel for how much each of us spend on our rats for vet care, both out of curiosity for how much it can cost, and education for anyone considering a rat as a pet. I'll start with mine:

I have had 7 rats since March 2010. Here are the broken down costs over the course of their lives:

Tucker (26 months old as of this post):
Office Visits/ABs (Antibiotics): $150
Tumor Removal Surgery: $100
Abscess drainage: $30
Total so far: $280

Windham (Died young of some neurological problem):
Office Visits/ABs: $80
Steroids: $20
Euthanasia: $25
Total: $125

Jeffrey (healthy until the brain tumor at the end):
Office Visits/ABs/SubQ Fluids: $80
Euthanasia: $25
Postmortem: $110
Total: $215

Zmei (my wheezy smeezy. 19 months as of this post):
Office Visits/ABs: $450
Vet Stay for severe respiratory illness: $200
Total So far: $650

Melon (hairless wonder! 17 months old now):
Office Visits/ABs: $200
Neuter: $40
Abscess from Neuter: No charge (thank you vet)
Total so far: $240

Skinner (Melon's twin brother):
Office Visits/ABs: $250
Neuter: $40
Total so far: $290

Black Pete (17 months old now):
No cost so far. Like Jeffrey, a healthy boy!


Current Total with 7 rats and 2 years of rat ownership: Approx. $1800
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Wow...yeah, I don't even know if I WANT to know how much Russ cost over the 28 months of his life! But I can say that the vet charges $56 for an office visit, but he usually cut that price in half for one rat (he was very nice, and cut everything in half for my boys, except the meds, which were priced based on amount dispensed).

Stanley hardly cost anything in his 32 months...just one vet visit as a baby for a dose of Revolution and one as an adult for an abscess.

Russ was in and out of the vet about every 6 months, and on meds most of his life. The Baytril was the most expensive... I think it was usually around $30-40 for 1-1.5 months worth of that, plus about $15 for doxycycline.
Hmmm I should pick my more expensive living ratty?

Inca then. Came to me with a leg that had been amputated somehow, accident at home, not a vet. The stump was ulcerating, so we had to remove the whole hind leg

Rescue exam - $30
Limb Amputatation - $270
Burprenorphine injectable - $30 (I had metacam at home)

Then she had a melanoma grow on her ear and that had to be removed as well
Rescue exam - $30
Removal - $150

Next was a tumour removal and a spay (a 3 legged girl just cannot deal with mammary tumours so this was a must)

Spay and removal - $280
Metacam - $35

Overnight she ripped herself wide open, so had to go back in and be repaired on Saturday morning
Gas down, internal sutures and glue, and e-collar - $120

Last one was my poor old lady recently developed Demodex mites (uncommon in rats)
exam, scrape and ivermectin - $150

She's doing much better and the case history will be going up on ratguide so that's awesome :D
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Yeah, Russ was a wheezy boy too, like Zmei. Poor little men. I'm ballparking over $700 for Russ in his lifetime, which is probably where I'm going to come out with Zmei.

Lilzpaz, how many rats do you currently have living at your place?

I've tried to imagine how much you spend on them in any given year in vet costs. While Inca's exceptional at $1000 dollars for one rat, which would be more if you weren't a rescue, I am estimating that for those rats receiving proper care from their owners, the average vet cost per rat in a year would be between $100-$200. We quickly find ways to reduce that cost by minimizing unnecessary vet visits and buying some supplies in bulk etc. and training ourselves in medical procedures, but it's still substantial. In fact, that number is barely less than the average dog vet visits per year.

I'd love to know how much /anyone/ keeping large numbers of rats pays for their vet bills?

I'm at $1700 for 7 total rats in 2 years, and that's even with 4 of the 7 being from lines that have a reputation for being over all on the healthier end of the spectrum.
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I definitely agree that home care and knowledge about medicine can save a LOT of unnecessary expenses in the long term. For instance, once my vet realized that I knew what I was talking about with regards to rat care (which was basically right away in the beginning when Russ started on his ABs), they let me phone in to get the prescription renewed or altered instead of making me bring him in for a checkup. That saved a TON of money right there. Then being able to use sudafed and other OTC drugs as a supplement was also a big help for him. It definitely pays to be knowledgeable about your pets!
Right now I have about 50...with 3/4 of them over 21 months and up to 33 months.

I have a colour coded chart for my rats, ages, medical issues, medications taken and when they started, any health issues noted at home and the date, etc.

30 mo and Over - 4
Between 25 - 29 mo - 11
Between 21-24 mo - 20
Between 18-20 mo - 4

It really does help to be able to deal with things at home. For example, most moderate sprains that swell up can be taken care of at home, slice injuries, abscesses, bumblefoot, minor wounds, etc. The first year I did this was a very expensive year, I ran to the vet for everything...LOL

I am also lucky that I have an understanding with my vet, and he has taught me things that other owners may not get to, for eg. Sub-q injections...being able to give fluids to a sick, dehydrated rat, dexamethasone to a rat whose having serious issues breathing, etc has saved a lot of them.

I would say about $150-300 for a rat in its lifetime would be about right depending on your vet's pricing and knowledge.

For eg. cheap vet with exams at $35, but gives you Bactrim for a serious respiratory infection. A week later, you go back and say "not working", then they give you doxycycline (doesn't work)...then you fight and finally get baytril/ now you are at about $150 for one URI....see what I mean? A good vet is priceless!
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I think our small animal vets in the Seattle area where I live are probably expensive compared to some other parts of the country, unfortunately! Between Klausse and Wolfgang, with their combined URI issues, the exams, overnight stays in oxygen "hospital ratty rooms" with more meds, etc, at the local 24 hr. emergency animal hospital (which is first rate, but pricey), and then finally the cost for their euthanasia, cremation and ashes, etc, we probably spent around $1200 to $1500.00maybe...somewhere in there. How it got that high still amazes me, but yes, I have noticed two things about the small animal care facilities in the greater Puget Sound/Seattle area...excellent small animal and rodent doctors/facilities, big price tag. Maybe emergency animal hospital care is always expensive no matter where you are? Not sure. We could never put a price tag on trying to save our babies though, of course.
I got my boys, Patrick and Hat in February 2012
Nail trims- 32.00
Ringworm Culture (with general exam)- 162.00
Miconazole Shampoo for ringworm- 35.00
Oral Anti-Fungal Meds (2 rounds)- 90.00
Re-culture in 3 weeks for ringworm- 75.00
This does not include the medical cost of getting myself and my kids treated for ringworm (OTC wasn't working, had to use 2.5% prescription creams)
about 400.00 for just the rats
Agreed! We all do whatever we can for our rat kids! :D
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