At Risk for Rat Bite Fever?

Image of a woman kissing a pet rat.

Rats have made numerous appearances on the screen and the page as you've watched theater movies with your children, read popular children's books or relaxed while checking out family films with your home's technology system.

Movies have made the rodents popular in the world of children. Popular children's books and stories have increased interest about the rodents. Their new popularity has increased their presence in the lives - and homes - of children. The Harry Potter movies and Disney's Ratatouille are examples.

The focus in movies, videos and stories is about fun, interest and delight in these small creatures. They do not tell about the risks of rats in the lives of children. Those risks could put your child in harm's way or cause injury.

Rat bite fever (RBF) is a risk. RBF is an infection that a person can receive from a rat's kiss or small scratch. There is often no malice involved in RBF, just fun playtime and gentle holding of the pet. Even healthy rats can carry the bacteria that causes the infection. The infection spreads through direct contact with the rat's mucous membranes.

The infection is a full body infection and doctors consider it a systemic infection because it does not remain in only the area of the kiss, scratch, scrape or bite. The infection needs to be treated and without treatment can be life threatening.

"Diagnosing the disease remains very difficult," says Montreal pediatrician Karine Khatchadourian in The Rise of the Rats: A Growing Paediatric Issue. "It can easily be confused with various viral or bacterial infections such as meningococcemia, Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever."

Dr. Khatchadourian advised that children treated all had a wide range of symptoms such as high fever, abdominal pain, vomiting, severe headaches, diarrhea, stiffness and pain in the neck, wrists, hips, knees, as well as hemorrhagic pustules on the hands and feet. After diagnosis was effectively made the children were cured with a simple penicillin treatment.

When you think you want to indulge your family and incorporate a rat into your household as a new pet remember to talk with your veterinarian for guidance. Your veterinarian will be able to provide pros and cons of this rodent as a family pet. Your vet can also help you talk with your pediatrician about the benefits and risks a rat could present to children living in or visiting your home.

Location

Find us on the map

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Thursday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

7:00 am-6:00 pm

Saturday:

8:00 am-12:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Testimonials

Read What Our Clients Say

  • "I began working for Dr. Kaiser at the Animal Clinic of Mandarin over 3 years ago. I decided
    to get a new Lab mix puppy and made the decision to enroll Zuri in Trupanion. I made this
    decision after hearing other employees and Dr. Kaiser talking about how great it has been for
    their own pets and our clients.
    Within the first 6 months my puppy Zuri’s knee kept coming out of place and she would stiffen
    up and could only walk on 3 legs. She had to have surgery and between working with Dr. Kaiser
    and the specialist I couldn’t have been happier that I was able to take care of Zuri and give her
    the treatment that was needed at such a young age. I now have no worries as she grows older
    that I won’t be able to take care of her financially. I recently added a new 1 year old rescue Great
    Dane, Zane to our family. He also has Trupanion because I can’t imagine the cost if something
    happens to him being such a large dog."
    Melissa P.
  • "Dr. Kaiser and staff are awesome. Great customer service. They deal with the pet insurance company directly for you so you don't have to pay what is covered directly out of pocket. They have gone above and beyond to help our fur baby. Super clean! We love to see Harry (the beautiful St. Bernard) growing up as well!"
    Nicole P.
  • "I called and was able to get an appt the same day. The office was very clean and customer service was very exceptional. Dr. Kaiser took her time to go explain everything and get a thorough history. Sick call exam and consultation came up to $51.75. She also offered a deal on pet insurance. Overall we had a very good experience."
    Charlene H.