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Illness symptom manifestation in rats is not that different than how signs of illness manifest in humans, but there’s little chance you will be able to tell if the common rat that lives in your home against your wishes is or is not sick. Symptoms may be observed in pet rats, but there’s no chance you could tell a rat is sick by checking it out during occasional swift sightings.
Signs that a rat is sick may include weight fluctuations, long teeth, sleeping for too long, eye and nasal discharge, breeding problems, reduced appetite, sneezing, lackluster eyes, crouching over, hobbling, and so on. Like I said, there’s no way you could notice these symptoms on a pest rat that’s briskly passing by.
However, there are some obvious symptoms that will let you know a rat is ill. If a rat is foaming at the mouth, or is missing patches of fur, if it’s lying on the ground or having convulsions, if it’s moving slowly and so on. You should never handle a rat without protecting your hands, no matter if it shows signs of illness or not – you should always use either protective gloves or some sort of towel, never your bare hands. A rat could not have a sickness, but exhibit some of these symptoms due to intoxication with poison. Still, you shouldn’t try and pick it up with your hands without using any protection. For more information, you may want to click on one of these guides that I wrote:
How much does rat removal cost? - get the lowdown on prices.
How to get rid of rats - my main rat removal info guide.
Example rat trapping photographs - get do-it-yourself ideas.
Rat job blog - learn from great examples of rat jobs I've done.