About the Rat Guide

About the Rat Guide

The Rat Guide is an ongoing project that was initially conceived in 2000. It began with a collection of medical photos and an idea of using them in a way to help rat owners become familiar with some of the medical issues that affect rats. As the project progressed it was decided that in order to do it justice it really needed its own website, and so ratguide.com was born. As the site grew the initial collaboration broadened to include not only fellow ratkeepers, but also veterinarians, pharmacists, veterinarian research universities, and medical doctors.

As you tour the Rat Guide you will find that it has been divided into 4 main sections. The first section is Rat Health Guide, a layman’s guide to medical and nursing care of rats. The second section is the Rat Care Guide, a layman’s guide to basic care and responsible ownership of rats. The third section is the Rat Medication Guide, a layman’s guide to medication use in pet rats. And the fourth section is the Rat Breeding Guide, which addresses aspects of mating, pregnancy, labor, health and development, basic genetics, and orphan rats.

Also included on this site is the link to my original website KuddlyKorner4u. This is the home of my precious pet rats. They are ultimately the inspiration for this project.


I want to thank all those that contributed photos and case histories, many of whom are listed in the acknowledgments in the Rat Health section. It is their contributions that helped to make this site what it is. I especially wish to send heartfelt thanks to the following:

To Joanne “Bella” Hodges of Bellaratta’s Nest Rattery Archived page from 2018-05-20 (via the Wayback Machine), Coordinator of “Florida Rat Community”, and Past President of the Florida RMCA chapter for giving me more than gentle nudges to get this project moving in the right direction, for being my partner in our liaison to the various research vets and medical professionals, for contributing to the writing of articles and editing, for being the project’s primary rat medical/nursing photographer, and also for assisting with keeping the site graphically balanced. Bella also created the “medical rats” artwork used on the main page as well as throughout the site.
We were deeply sadden by the passing of “Bella” due to illness in 2018. She was a remarkable inspiration and Dear friend to us, as well as, to the entire community of rat lovers worldwide. We miss you, Bella.

To Kristin Johnson (The Wererat’s Lair, RMCA web admin.), for endless hours of reviewing and proofreading my articles, answering my many questions about formatting, design, and coding, and for installing, configuring and helping maintain the “content management system” and MySQL database used to house the Rat Guide when the project got too big for hand coding. My life would be an endless jumbo of codes and figures without her endless knowledge.

To Jorunn Hooi of Ridges and Rats Archived page from 2015-08-20 (via the Wayback Machine), for designing (multiple times) the individual banners used for each section of this guide as well as the main banner. It is these beautifully executed banners that will link the Internet rat community back here to Rat Guide.

To Mary Ann Isaksen (Founder of Rat and Mouse Club of America), for always being there with words of wisdom, a wealth of rat care knowledge, and endless support for the project.

We would like to express our many thanks to the Veterinarians and Vet Techs, who so tirelessly and lovingly care for our rats, who willingly listen, learn from, and collaborate with many of us rat owners, and who take the time to look into and update their knowledge on the care of exotics. It is with your help that we are blessed with our rats being able to live longer, healthier lives, as well as to ease their pain, and our sorrow, when their time comes to cross the Rainbow Bridge.

Special thanks go to:

– Natalie Rabiner, DVM, and her wonderful staff, for always being there to help care for my ratties when needed. Dr. Rabiner has generously extended a special condolence in the memory of my beloved ratties Chloe and CoCo, by making contributions in their names to her Alma Mater, the University of Missouri-Columbia, College of Veterinary Medicine. Dean Kornegay has informed me in a letter that her donation will go to providing needed services to animals.

– Carol Himsel-Daly, DVM, and author of Rats: A Complete Pet Owner’s Manual, for her supportive words when I took on this project, and for her contribution to the Rat Medication Guide.

– Richard Mackinnis, DVM, South Seminole Animal Hospital in Fern Park Florida, for his many contributions to this project.

– Craig L. Franklin, DVM, Department Head of Pathobiology for University of Missouri (IDEXX RADIL), for taking time from his research/teaching schedule to consult with us. His assistance has made it possible for the Rat Guide to rise to a higher degree of accuracy.

– Greg Lawson, DVM, Director/Pathology and Laboratory Medicine for David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, for his unending patience in allowing us to consult with him.

– Thomas M. Donnelly, DVM, DACLAM, Warren Institute, Michael Hutchinson, DVM, Animal General Cranberry Township PA, and Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP-Avian Certified Avian & Exotic Pet Medicine and Surgery, for sharing their wealth of knowledge, in many email discussions, about care and treatment regimens for the pet rat

– Prof. Paul Flecknell, VetMB, Newcastle University, for sharing his knowledge in email discussions on pain management for the pet rat.

To my friends:

– Nathalie Baldwin, DVM, Kingston Veterinary Hospital Kingston OH, Vanessa Pisano, DVM Medical Director, VCA North Springs Animal Hospital Coral Springs Florida, and Adele Wharton, BVSc, MRCVS, CertGP (F&L), Locum Veterinary Surgeon, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom for their case submissions, for consulting with me on Rat Guide, and for being so supportive of my many questions.

– Carolyn Sekela RNC-e, for her assistance in helping with research and editing of articles.

– Lindsay Pulman, LVT, for her technical assistance in the care of pet rats.

– Cyzahhe, for assisting in compilation, editing, and submission of case histories, and setting up the photo strips for several of the case histories.

Our sincere thanks, for without the help and support of all of you this Rat Guide never would have become a reality!


To my husband, our family and folks, thank you for your love and support with this project, and for encouraging my love of animals.

To “Bella’s” Woody, a special dedication. He is a good example of how one rat’s life can teach us how to help others. Hugs to you, Uncle Woody.

To our fellow rat keeper Heide Walsh, who passed away on November 29, 2003. She was a champion for the rats. She was a friend. And we miss her with all our heart.

To “Karen” from Bella and Kristin, for listening to our endless suggestions and allowing us to have a part in shaping the Rat Guide.

And especially for Beanie and Cecil and my many dear and beloved rats before and to follow. I never realized I would ever become so wrapped around those little rat fingers. I never dreamed that you could give us so much unconditional love and affection in short lives, and I never dreamed that as a Registered Nurse (for humans, of course) I would be writing a layman’s medical/nursing and basic care guide for all those who share this wonderful love of rats. In doing the research and writing for this guide (even though I am well aware that rats are used in research) it never really hit home how much their medical and nursing needs are like our own. I only hope that what we have researched and included in these pages will be able to help in some small way to make even one rat’s health just a little bit better.

What Is a Rat?

He’s one that’s all furry, or maybe he’s not,
that sits on a shoulder and nuzzles a lot.

One that is timid or bold as can be,
but always is sweet when he knows that it’s me.
Who shares his short life and teaches me much,
about hammocks, and treats, and unconditional love.

And when his time comes to part from me then,
and make his way across Rainbow’s colorful bridge,
I’ll always remember the love that he taught,
and know that he’s made me ready for more rattie loves.

In Remembrance of
3/24/00 to 3/24/03
3/24/00 to 11/3/03

author: Karen Grant



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The Rat Guide and its affiliates accept no responsibility for misuse or misunderstanding of its information. This guide in whole or part, exists solely for the purpose of recognizing and understanding the care and illnesses in the pet rat. Please seek advice and treatment from a qualified Veterinarian if your rat is ill.

2000 - 2024 by Karen Grant RN. All rights reserved.
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