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Rats and Mice

Providing the best care for your rats and mice

  • General Health Checks and Preventative Care
  • Diagnostic Facilities
  • Hospitalisation Facilities
  • Neutering
  • Referrals

General Health Checks and Preventative Care

Chronic Respiratory Disease testing in Rats

Chronic respiratory disease in rats is very common. In most cases it is multifactorial. Mycoplasma is commonly blamed however there is a long list of microbes that can cause respiratory disease in rats and confirmation is often needed to guide treatment choice, length of treatment, treatment expectations and to help determine the prognosis.
The respiratory pathogen screen we offer tests for the 5 conditions which are listed below. These are the most common diseases causing chronic respiratory disease in rats.

  • Sendai virus
  • Mycoplasma pulmonis
  • Cilia associated respiratory bacillus 
  • Pneumonia virus of mice
  • Pneumocystis carinii

Cost of the screen includes collection of the sample, processing and reporting the results. Please ring reception on 0161 881 6868 for the current costs. Where clubs have joined together providing bigger numbers of individuals for screening we have in the past been able to negotiate discounts on the cost from the laboratory.

Coordinate with a qualified Veterinary Surgeon for:

  • Interpretation of the results
  • Implications of the test results
  • Formulate a plan of action

If you wish to have a consultation with one of our specialists to discuss the results to develop a plan of action, then we would need:

  • Husbandry information
  • Social history, information on the newest introductions and any contact with other species
  • Medical history of your animals before the consultation

Other names sometimes used for chronic respiratory disease in rats: CRD, The Snuffles and Murine respiratory mycoplasmosis, (MRM)

Diagnostic Facilities


We have an in-house laboratory where we can run a wide variety of diagnostic test.

Emergency cases often require rapid diagnostic blood tests. Most commonly these are biochemistry, haematology and electrolytes.  Having the results of blood tests rapidly will allow us to give the correct treatment and also to determine the chances of response to treatment as unfortunately not all diseases can be treated.

Cytology is invaluable in that a tiny sample obtained with a needle may tell us what type of tissue a cancer consists of, is it inflammation, infection or cancer. If it is cancer, then we can often tell what type so an informed decision about treatment can be made.

Our laboratory also runs a range of other diagnostic tests.

  • Parasitology
  • Urine analysis
  • Water quality
  • Serology
  • Disease identification via serology
  • Skin tests

We also send samples for testing to a range of other diagnostic laboratories. In these cases results will take longer.


Diagnostic Ultrasound

Ultrasound is very useful diagnostic tool in the rat medicine, having the ability to see images of the structure of internal organs. It does not cause any pain and a good proportion of rats can have an ultrasound without any sedation. However, the fur has to be shaved where the probe will be positioned.



Endoscopy in rats is used in the oral cavity, larynx, trachea, bronchi, ears, gastrointestinal tract and into the bladder in females.



X-rays are very important in the investigation of bone problems, middle ear disease, heart and lung disease, urinary tract disease and disease of the structures in the abdominal cavity.

All our x-rays are digital and in the DICOM format which allows optimisation of the image for diagnostic purposes. We are able to provide jpeg versions for clients who would like to have a copy of their animal’s x-ray at home.


Hospitalisation Facilities

At the Avian and Exotic animal clinic our hospitalisation facilities for rats, mice and other small mammals are away from other species. Many rodents find it very stressful to be in sight, sound or smell of species they would regard as predators.

It is very common for rats to need 24-hour monitoring and administration of medication and supportive care through the night. Those with breathing difficulty are often on continuous oxygen with medication at frequent intervals to clear their lungs. At the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic there is a veterinary surgeon present round the clock so that critical patients can be monitored and that the appropriate medication can be administered at the correct time.

If there are any changes even in the middle of the night we will be able to update you unless you request we don’t call at certain times.


Traditionally rats are not generally neutered. However it has recently been shown that if female rats are neutered at a young age the incidence of mammary tumours and of pituitary tumours is greatly reduced. This is because most of these tumours are hormonally stimulated. Neutering older female rats after several reproductive cycles will not affect the development of these tumours but will prevent disease or cancer of the reproductive tract as this is removed in the neutering surgery.
Male rats are usually neutered to reduce aggression. They are usually calmer and easier to handle after neutering. These behavioural changes are more marked when the neutering occurs at a young age. Neutering males will also prevent testicular cancer although this is rare.

Male and female rats can be neutered from four months of age.


Mice are rarely neutered prophylactically. Males are sometimes neutered to prevent intermale aggression and/or to prevent unwanted pregnancies. Females are neutered as a treatment for disease of the reproductive tract that will not respond to medical treatment.


Our team at the Avian and Exotic Animal Clinic are very experienced in dealing with complex surgical and medical cases. We have the necessary equipment, drugs and specialised staff to diagnose and treat conditions in rats. The average rat is 1/10 the size of the average cat but with appropriate equipment that is not a problem. When critically ill, 24-hour monitoring is essential  as smaller animals deteriorate much more rapidly than larger animals.

The diseases and disorders of rats and mice are very well understood, as they are widely studied as models of human diseases, so the information is available to provide the same level of care for them with the appropriate facilities.

A referral / second opinion consultation can be arranged by the referring veterinary practice or directly by the client.

  1. Contact our reception team
  2. They will arrange an appointment with the appropriate clinician.
  3. Reception will then obtain the patient’s medical records and let the clinician know in advance, so the medical history can be read and any additional preparation can be made.
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