animals

This is the best way for your rat to recover after surgery

An operation in rats can have very different reasons such as abscesses, tumors or castrations. But such a surgical intervention is a drastic and stressful experience for such a small rodent’s body. So there are some rules to follow for the time after the operation.


The cute brat is recovering from his surgery and has a good night's sleep!  – Shutterstock / Preobrajenskiy

The cute brat is recovering from his surgery and has a good night’s sleep! – Shutterstock / Preobrajenskiy

Starting the recovery phase of an operation completely unprepared can still have undesirable consequences, even after the operation has been successfully completed. Read our guide on what to consider after an operation and what you should prepare for if necessary.

Rats: recovery after surgery

This detailed checklist provides information about what needs to be considered after an operation so that your rat recovers quickly:

  • Separate “sick cage”: After surgery, your rat will be weak. Despite all the longing, the freshly operated animal should under no circumstances be immediately returned to its group. It needs rest to recover and you need to keep a close eye on your little patient. It is better to put your cute rodent in a sterile individual cage for several days. In this way, the probability of inflammation is kept as low as possible. To do this, the cage must always be kept as clean as possible. In addition, after the operation, your rat is far too weak to defend itself if there are arguments in the pack.
  • water and food: Do not offer any food to your rodent while it is dazed from the anesthesia. In the next few days, the small animal patient should only eat porridge and fresh food. Flat bowls or small plates are best for your recently operated rat – the nipple drinker may be too high for the weakened animal.
  • Minimalist cage setup: Set up the “sick cage” in a minimalist way. This means that the rat must not use obstacles or climbing opportunities, otherwise the wound could open up again. Forgo litter and use kitchen towels for hygienic reasons.
  • Keep rat warm: It would also be good if you try to keep your rat warm, for example with a hot-water bottle. There are special models for pets on the market.
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  • As little stress as possible: The spout or rat playground will now have to wait for some time. Here, too, the risk of the seam coming undone is simply too great. Stressful experiences can also disrupt the healing process. So don’t expect too much activity from your rat. Is she experiencing significant stress from isolation? Then put a trusted, quiet companion in the sick cage with you.
  • cuddle units: As little stress as possible, yes, but of course that doesn’t rule out other attentions. Has your rat always been fond of petting and cuddling? Then, of course, they also benefit the healing process.
  • Hygiene: If your rat is too weak even to take care of its own personal hygiene, it needs help. Simply use lukewarm clear water and a soft washcloth. Clean the genital area to prevent inflammation at this point.

Complications after the operation

If your rat is in severe pain, refusing food, or exhibiting any other unusual behavior, something is probably wrong. Even if no faeces or urine is visible on the kitchen towels, take your little rodent to the vet as soon as possible. He can give you painkillers and give advice if the wound has become infected or other problems have arisen.

What if your rat pulls out his surgical sutures? This phenomenon occurs from time to time when the rat finds the seam and the threads disturbing. A bandage or a neck brace is recommended here. The latter is available on the market especially for rodents, but it hinders your rat in all everyday situations. A bandage can be made from gauze and a nylon stocking, for example. However, this must not be too tight and is not easy to put on the animal. You may need a second person to assist you.

Now you are well prepared. If the vet gives the go-ahead at the follow-up appointment because the wound has healed well and the rat is fit again, you can put your protégé back with his friends. She and her pack will certainly be happy to see you again!

You might also be interested in these topics on Einfachtierisch.de:

Cancer in rats: detecting tumors

Taming rats: This is how the clever rodents become trusting

Rats as pets: tips for keeping them

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