There are many misconceptions about rabies including that it is only transmitted through bites from wild animals like bats or foxes. In reality any mammal can get rabies including domestic pets like cats and dogs—and yes even rats.
While the chances of your pet rat contracting rabies are low it is still possible for them to catch the virus if they are exposed to an infected animal. If you are concerned about your rat getting rabies there are a few things you can do to help protect them.
First make sure your rat is up-to-date on their vaccinations. There is no vaccine specifically for rabies but the standard distemper vaccine will offer some protection. Second avoid contact with wild animals especially if they are acting strangely. If you must handle a wild animal wear gloves and wash your hands afterwards.
If you think your rat may have been exposed to rabies see a veterinarian immediately. There is no cure for rabies but there is a treatment that can be given if the exposure occurred within the last few days. The sooner you seek treatment the better the chances are for your rat.
For more information on rabies please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.
Is it true that rats can get rabies?
Yes rats can get rabies although it is rare.
How do rats usually contract rabies?
Rats usually contract rabies through a bite from an infected animal such as a bat or another rodent.
What are the symptoms of rabies in rats?
Symptoms of rabies in rats include aggression paralysis seizures and hypersalivation.
If a rat has rabies is it always fatal?
Yes if a rat has rabies it is always fatal.
Can humans get rabies from rats?
No humans cannot get rabies from rats.
How can I tell if a rat has rabies?
If a rat has rabies it will typically show signs of aggression paralysis seizures and hypersalivation.
What should I do if I think a rat has rabies?
If you think a rat has rabies you should contact a local animal control or wildlife agency immediately.
Can rabies be treated in rats?
No rabies cannot be treated in rats or any other animal once symptoms have developed.
How long does it take for rabies to develop in rats?
It typically takes 3-8 weeks for rabies to develop in rats after they have been infected.
How long can rats live with rabies?
Once symptoms of rabies develop rats typically only live for a few days.
What is the incubation period for rabies in rats?
The incubation period for rabies in rats is 3-8 weeks.
Can rats spread rabies to other animals?
Yes rats can spread rabies to other animals although it is rare.
Can rats spread rabies to humans?
No rats cannot spread rabies to humans.
If a rat has rabies should I try to kill it?
No if a rat has rabies you should not try to kill it.
Instead you should contact a local animal control or wildlife agency immediately.
What should I do if I find a dead rat?
If you find a dead rat you should contact a local animal control or wildlife agency to have the rat removed.