Finding the right vet for your rat!!!!!
Please read this very important information!!
Vets for our rats and how to find the right one without pulling your hair out can be tricky. I was in your shoes many years ago myself and have lost count of the hundreds, no wait....THOUSANDS of dollars that had be spent on sick rats that only ended up either passing away on their own while still at the Vets office, in oxygenated cage, (at least they were comfortable or so I would like to think they were) or having to be put down using humane euthanasia. Had things been different, such as having the right vet to treat them properly, is it fair to say that some of my rats would or could have lived longer? Yes, its fair to say that. I do believe had my rats been in the hands of the right vet, and now with all of the experience I have under my belt, I am positive that many of my rats were have made a full recovery.
As a rat owner, there are a few things when it comes to vets you need to remember.
Your rat, although far from being an exotic pet, falls into that category when it comes to finding a vet for your rat. Exotic animals, at least for the time being, mean anything other than the traditional household pet, which would be cats and dogs. If you have a rat, hamster, ferret or even a bird, this falls under the category of avian (that would be the bird doctor:) and exotic specialists. Now the bad news. There are only 130 board certfiied avian/exotic vets in the WORLD. Thats it! 130. One hundred and thirty. 1-3-0. LOL Scary huh? But it gets better.....as of 2009, the Veterinary society has introduced a brand new category, which would be titled: Small exotic companion mammal specialists. This means that FINALLY our rats will have a vet that is more geared to treat them. The bad news is that those 130 vets that are already certified avian/exotic vets? They are the only vets that are able to take this course (once they apply for and are accepted into the program, that is) so MORE waiting. This leads me to the reason for this page on my site. To help rat owners know the difference between the right vet and wrong vet. I am going to try to be very fair about this because there are many vets that are general DVMs and are also very good with small mammals, but there are more vets out there that are NOT so good with our rats, yet continue to take them on as patients, only making matters worrse by improperly treating them and when they could have made a full recovery if they were treated properly, they die prematurely and its just totally unneccesary. I want to try to help rat owners understand how to find the right vet so we can have better treatment for them rather than spend thousands of dollars only to lose it
Finding a Vet for your rat is very confusing. There are thousands of Vets that treat dogs and cats but out of those thousands of Vets, did you know that only about 10% of them are truly educated enough to properly treat them and even less than that have the proper facilities to house them overnight during emergencies such as respiratory issues that require oxygen therapy 24 hrs a day.
Confused? It gets worse! Many people are fooled y certain "titles" that Vets have on their advertisements etc... one is when they refer to either themselves or their clinic as a "Small animal practice" or "Small animal specialist" Right away people that own small mammals get excited thinking they have finally found "the one"! The truth is, small animal Vets are simply Vets that treat small animals, which would be dogs and cats, but does NOT mean they are certified to treat avian/exotic animals which is where the confusion starts. Small animals to Vets are dogs and cats, and large animals would be the horses/cows/farm animals etc... the small animal specialist simply implies that the vet may have a specilaty under his belt such as having a specialty in dermatology or cardiology, but this means it is for cats and dogs.
What I usually prefer is to find a vet that has alot of experience with rats and knows alot about their ailments. There are avian/exotic vets that can see our rats, but just the past two years the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) granted provisional recognition to a new specialty that I am very thrilled to announce. It is known as The Exotic Companion Mammal Practice (ECM). The new specialty will focus on small mammals including rats, rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice and other exotic companion mammals. Not any Vet can
I am pleased to announce the first list of Vets that have passed this very difficult certification:
The following Diplomates obtained their certification following the successful completion of examinations held on November 6]8, 2009, in Chicago, IL.
*Indicates certification in two or more practice categories
For more information on the Exotic companion mammal specialty, please refer to the link below: