How much does it cost to sterilize a rat? [What to Expect] (2023)

Castration of a rat, also known as castration or orchiectomy, is a surgical procedure in which the veterinarian removes the testicles of the male animal to render it infertile. This procedure has several advantages, but how much does it cost and what should you take into account before doing it? Here's everything you need to know to make an informed decision.

So how much does it cost to castrate a rat?The average cost to neuter a mouse is about $355, which is much more than dogs or cats simply because the surgery is not performed on mice as often as it is on other animals and it is a more involved procedure. However, the cost varies widely and rat owners have been known to pay anywhere from $15 to $800.

The short answer is that it depends.

But that's not very useful, is it?

And unfortunately, that means you definitely have to do some research to find the best place for them if you decide to go for it.

But more on that later.

A quick note before getting into the subject is the following.

In general, male rats are usually sterilized.

Female rats are only sterilized when there is a serious behavioral problem or medical emergency.

With that in mind, let's further explore the cost of neutering a rat.

It's more complicated than you think!


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  • 1 Why are there so many different prices?
  • 2 What other costs are incurred?
  • 3 male rats need to be sterilized?
    • 3.1 Benefits of castrating a rat
  • 4 Do castrated rats live longer?
  • 5 At what age should I sterilize my rat?
  • 6 Where to take your rat to be sterilized
    • 6.1 Experience
    • 6.2 Requirements for surgery
    • 6.3 Postoperative care
  • 7 finally

Why are there so many different prices?

Price fluctuations are mainly due to supply and demand. It's simple economics. In other words, prices tend to be lower in densely populated areas simply because demand is higher.

So a small private clinic that is the only place for neuter fees in a given geographic area can get away with charging more.

Much more.

Also, clinics that only sterilize a few rats a year have to justify their costs.

Rat castration is a relatively new practice, having until recently been considered too risky.

However, more and more veterinarians with a lot of experience with rodents can now sterilize them without hesitation.

What other costs are incurred?

The costs associated with sterilizing a rat are not limited to the procedure itself. Sometimes there are other costs that can drive up the price.

These are the main ones to keep in mind:

  • Preoperative tests or a complete health check, especially if you think your rat is not in optimal health.
  • Analgesicfor the days after the operation.
  • A separate living roomso that your rat can rest peacefully for a week, separated from other animals.
  • Another visit to the 7-10 days to remove sutures (this may be included in the vet's spay/neuter fees, check this first).
  • an extra visitContact your vet if your rat chews on the strings or if anything uncomfortable (changes in behavior, appetite, drinking, urination, bowel movements, or wound changes) develops after surgery.

Do male rats need to be sterilized?

Male rats don't necessarily need to be spayed unless they live with female rats and you don't want them to.Freundand have many children.

Even if your male rat lives with other males, neutering has many benefits.

Benefits of neutering a rat

  • No risk of testicular cancer.It is common for rats to develop reproductive cancers, so this is the main reason castrated rats live longer (see below).
  • Better adoption opportunities🇧🇷 If you need to find a new home for your rat, you have a better chance if it is neutered, as it can be housed with both males and females. Most males are infertile one week after surgery (although you can wait two weeks before introducing them to other animals if they experience pain or discomfort).
  • Less aggressive behavior compared to other rats.🇧🇷 Rats can be quite aggressive towards each other when they reach sexual maturity due to increased testosterone. Fights between animals can result in injury or death. Neutered males also tend to be less aggressive towards new mice entering their habitat, as they are not seen as competition.
  • Less urine marks🇧🇷 Your neutered rat's environment will tend to be cleaner in general as it won't mark territory with urine.
  • Easier to handle than pets.Castrated male rats may be easier to handle and calmer because their behavior is less influenced by hormones.

However, there is a downside to neutering, which is an increased risk of obesity.

You can avoid this by making sure your rat is eating the proper diet and getting plenty of exercise.

Do castrated rats live longer?

Castrated rats appear to actually live longer, averaging four months longer, or 14% longer overall. 4 months may not sound like a lot, but since the average lifespan of a mouse is less than three years, those extra months make all the difference.

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Rats, which benefit from the greatest increase in lifespan, are typically spayed at three months of age.

At what age should I sterilize my rat?

The best age to sterilize your rat is around 3-4 months of age for males. They want to wait a little longer for the females and spay (or spay) them when they are 5-6 months old.

The reason you would want to wait so long, given the relatively short lifespan of a mouse, is that you want your mouse to be fully grown before surgery to ensure the safest possible recovery.

Adult rats are at lower risk of post-surgery complications, which are rare but may include:

  • A side effect of anesthesia.🇧🇷 This is very unusual but can occur with any drug or anesthetic.
  • A reaction to the materials used for stitching.🇧🇷 Again, this is rare, but it can happen. Look for irritation, swelling, redness, or an oozing sore. Unfortunately, your rat may need more surgery to remove the sutures. Some vets use surgical glue.
  • an infection🇧🇷 This is also rare but can occur around the area of ​​the cut. In this case, your vet will prescribe antibiotics. Often, infection can occur if a rat licks the area too vigorously or is not kept in a sufficiently clean and dry environment. You can help prevent infection by keeping your rat's housing area clean and checking the surgical site several times a day for redness, swelling, pus or other discharge, or broken sutures.
  • internal bleeding.If your rat is very active after surgery, for example running or jumping, internal bleeding may occur. Signs to watch for include a swollen abdomen, weakness or lethargy, lack of food, pale gums, or depression.

Where to take your rat to be sterilized

Where you take your rat to be neutered will depend on your budget given the wide range of prices and the experience of the vet.

If money is an issue for you, the cheapest spay/neuter providers appear to be animal rescue clinics, so you may want to see if there are any rat sterilizers in your area.

Here's what to look for when choosing a vet to spay your rat:


Of course, you want a vet with a lot of experience spaying and neutering rats. When your vet says, "I'll try," he's not very encouraging!

Small animal surgery is delicate and requires someone with experience.

Ask your vet how many rats he has sterilized or how many he usually sterilizes in a year.

Some small clinics make as little as ten a year, while other vets make hundreds.

The more rats that have worked, the better the chances that they will take good care of their rat.

Requirements for surgery

If your vet asks you to fast your rat before surgery, that's your cue to choose someone else!

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Unlike cats and dogs, rats do not have a gag reflex, so they do not vomit during surgery or otherwise.

Any vet who asks you to fast your rat is loud and clear about their lack of experience with these small animals.

If the person at the front desk asks you to fast your pet but your vet won't, just ignore him; many people assume that all mammals need to fast, as dogs and cats need to fast.

It's not your fault; They probably just weren't told (you can enlighten them if you want!)

Fasting can be dangerous for mice because it lowers their energy stores and makes them more susceptible to hypoglycemia and dehydration.

Lack of food in its system can even alter the rat's response to anesthesia, so feed it as usual before surgery.

postoperative care

You will need a vet who can give you full instructions on what to do after your rat's surgery to ensure a speedy recovery.

Make sure your vet shows you the incision site and tells you what "normal" looks like so you can monitor for any changes.

Ask for emergency contact information (possibly for an experienced rat emergency vet) if you need help when the vet's office is closed.

A good vet can give you a phone number to call.

Ask if your vet uses sutures or notsurgical glue.

Some vets use glue, in which case you don't have to go back to the vet for another appointment (reducing cost to you!)

You'll still need to check the incision site for changes, but it will save you another vet appointment.

(Video) SHOULD YOU NEUTER YOUR RATS? | Rodent replies 🐭


The cost to neuter your rat depends entirely on the circumstances.

In fact, you won't really begin to understand until you start doing your research and looking for what's available in your area.

Therefore, it will require some work on your part.

However, there are a few reasons why you should put your rat through this procedure.

And if you can do it on the cheaper side of average, it becomes a lot more attractive.

Just be sure to see a reputable vet with experience with rats.

And be aware of all the different steps, both before, during and after the operation.

You want to make sure that you can support your mouse throughout the entire process.

How much does it cost to sterilize a rat? [What to Expect] (1)


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I am an experienced pet owner with decades of experience owning many different pets. I'm also the head writer and editor-in-chief here at Pet Educate; a website I created to share everything I've learned about pet ownership over the years and my extensive research along the way.


How risky is neutering a rat? ›

In general, complications are rare with this surgery. However, as with any anesthetic or surgical procedure, there is always a small risk in any species.

What age should a rat be spayed? ›

When should I have my rat spayed? Ideally, most rats are spayed between four and six months of age.

Do spayed rats live longer? ›

The maximum life span for the control rats was 2 years 10 months, while their average age at death was 2 years. The maximum life span for the spayed rats was 3 years 7 months, nearly 25% longer than the controls. The average life span for the spayed rats was 2 years 10 months.

Should I get my rat neutered? ›

Benefits of neutering male rats include the following: -The risk for testicular cancer is eliminated after neutering. Reproductive cancers are very common in rats; neutering can potentially increase their lifespan.

Do neutered rats smell less? ›

Neutering can reduce the musky scent. It also often helps reduce or even eliminate urine marking. Some male rats however, can actually be trained to stop urine marking.

How long do rats take to recover from surgery? ›

In light of HR, nocturnal home cage activity, water consumption, and body weight gain, animals were recovered by about 7 days after surgery.

Do female rats have periods? ›

Rodents do not naturally menstruate, the only exception to date being the spiny mouse (10). Currently, there are few established captive colonies of spiny mice across the world, with various species used to study different aspects of biology.

Do rats need vaccines? ›

Rats should be examined by a veterinarian at least once a year and twice a year as they get older. Rats do not require vaccination.

At what age do rats reach full size? ›

Most female rats become fully grown at 7 months, even though they may have birthed litters before then. Male rats may stop growing at 8 to 9 months. If rats continue to add on weight past these ages, it could indicate an illness or overeating.

Why do pet rats only live 2 years? ›

Rats have very high metabolisms and incredibly high heart rates (300-500 beats per minute), which is partially why they have such short lifespans. Genetics also have a role in determining how long an animal lives.

What is the longest rat lifespan? ›

We report a new record for the world's longest-lived rodent, a male naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber). On the basis of his weight at capture, this animal was approximately 1 year old when collected near Mtito Andei, Kenya in July/August 1974. He died in April 2002, indicating that he lived for more than 28 years.

At what age are rats infertile? ›

You can't count on a female being completely infertile until she is 2 years old. Before deciding to breed your rats, you should consider a few things. Do not breed rats who have or have had active mycoplasma infections.

Do male or female rats make better pets? ›

Always adopt the same sex, so you don't end up with babies. It's always best to adopt littermates when possible. Gender: Although all rats have individual personalities, females tend to be smaller, more active, and playful, while males are often larger, more mellow, and snuggly.

Do male rats get lonely? ›

Rats are social creatures and need the company of other rats. They use their sense of smell to recognise others, finding out about where they've been and what they've been doing. As rats are social animals, they can get depressed and develop abnormal behaviour if they live on their own.

Will my rat survive surgery? ›

If all proper pre- and post-operative care is provided, these patients typically recover quite well. Even rats with coexisting health problems, such as respiratory disease and or congestive heart failure, appear to tolerate surgery well if their symptoms are controlled in advance with appropriate medications.

Do rats recognize their owners? ›

3. Rats make lifelong bonds with their owners Ask any rat owner, and he or she will tell you: Rats recognize their owners and respond to their sight and voice. They are very social and love to hang out with human family members on the couch or on peoples' shoulders or in their laps.

Do pet rats stink up a room? ›

Rats are in fact incredibly clean animals. They frequently groom themselves and should not smell. If you are encountering problems with your rats smelling or you're concerned about this as a potential problem, rest assured it can be avoided.

Do rats have balls? ›

The first sight of a male rat can be a shock to the uninitiated. Those testicles, giant pillow-like things hanging behind the rump, seem to take up one's entire field of vision. Rat testicles -- also known as torpedoes and goolies -- give rise to a lot of humor and embarrasssment.

Can you get sick living with rats? ›

Some mice and rats can carry harmful diseases, such as HPS, Leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis, plague, and typhus. The best way to protect you and your family from these diseases is to keep mice and rats out of your home.

Can rats feel regret? ›

Rats showed both a behavioral sign of regret (turning and looking at the missed high-value reward) and were then more willing to wait for a reward following regret-inducing instances, indicating that they learned from their mistake.

Do rats need to fast before surgery? ›

It is generally not necessary to fast rodents prior to surgery. In any case fasting should be limited 8-12 hours. Fasting minimizes individual response to dose to anesthetic drugs. Administer fluids pre-operatively and consider preemptive analgesia.

Can rats smell period blood? ›

Aside from dogs and cats, rodents (yes, some keep them as pets) also have an advanced sense of smell. However, although they can detect whether or not their humans are menstruating, they are even less bothered about it than cats since rodents aren't particularly responsive to humans, to begin with.

How can you tell if a rat is happy? ›

The best way to tell if a rat's happy, according to a new study, is to look at its ears. A happy rat's ears hang relaxed to the sides (right), instead of perked up (left). Please be respectful of copyright.

Do female rats pee mark? ›

Both males and females urine-mark, but marking is sexually dimorphic: males mark more than females. In addition, adults mark more than juveniles, and intact rats mark more than neutered rats. Female marking tends to follow the female's 4-5 day reproductive cyclical: females mark most the night before they ovulate.

Why are rats not good pets? ›

Rats aren't good pets for very young children.

Despite their cleanliness, rats—like all animals—can transmit diseases and pathogens to people. These include the bacterium Streptobacillus moniliformis, which can cause rat-bite fever, a very serious disease if left untreated.

Why rats should not be pets? ›

Many people own and enjoy pet rats. However, pet rats, even when they look clean and healthy, can carry germs that can make people sick. A clean environment will help reduce the chance of the rat becoming sick and spreading germs to humans. Taking proper care of your animal is important to your own safety.

What diseases can rats give to humans? ›

They can carry many diseases including hantavirus, leptospirosis, lymphocytic choriomeningitis (LCMV), Tularemia and Salmonella. Wild rodents also may cause considerable property damage by chewing through wiring in homes, car engines, and other places.

How much attention do rats need a day? ›

But they do need lots of attention, so you'll need lots of time to care for them. They'll need daily social interaction and at least an hour of exercise outside their cage every day, so it's important that everyone in the family is keen on the idea of keeping rats as pets.

How old is a 2 year old rat in human years? ›

Rat's age in monthsRat's age in yearsRat's age in human years
18 months1.5 years45 years
24 months2 years60 years
30 months2.5 years75 years
36 months3 years90 years
6 more rows

How long do pet rats live in years? ›

Top rat facts

They're normally active at night and at dawn and dusk. Rats live for around 2 years, but some may live longer.

How can you tell how old a rat is? ›

Color of Their Teeth

While it's not a foolproof method, observing the rat's front incisors indicates a rat's age when wondering how old is my rat. Younger rat tooth coloration will be a pale yellow shade. As rats age, their tooth color will darken. In adult rats, the most common tooth color is dark yellow.

What type of pet rat is best? ›

The Dumbo rat is the most popular variety today thanks to its namesake featured in the 2019 Disney movie, Robbins said. “A well-bred rat will be kind of like a well-bred dog,” said Chronister, who now breeds rats as a hobby and owns Dumbo rats. “They will be friendly. They will be curious.

Do rats need alone time? ›

Rats are social animals, gaining much enjoyment and stimulation from each other's company. They live in large family groups in the wild, so in captivity they live a more natural life if kept in pairs or more. They are not like the Syrian hamster, which is a naturally solitary animal, and hence is kept alone as a pet.

How long is a rats memory? ›

These studies suggest that rats remember at least 32 items in context, episodic memory can withstand at least 15 unpredictable transitions between contexts, and item-in-context memory persists for at least 45 min.

How long do rats live after eating poison? ›

When rodents consume rat poison, their blood-clotting ability begins to fail, and they slowly die from internal bleeding, or they become more susceptible to severe consequences and even death from minor injuries like cuts and bruises. It can take as long as 10 days for a rodent to die after consuming rodenticides.

Do boy rats live longer? ›

Females live longer than males in many mammalian species. For instance, male Wistar rats, in our laboratory, have an average life span of 24 months whereas females median life span is 29 months, i.e., 14% more than in males (Table 1). Of the most importance, the same happens in humans.

What month do rats have babies? ›

Rats do not have a real breeding season. Instead, they will have a baby boom of sorts. You see, rats will typically avoid breeding in the winter months due to the temperatures. However, if they are all cozy and tucked up in your attic or garage, for instance, that may be a perfect time.

Can rats breed with their siblings? ›

Inbred Strains. Inbred rat strains are produced by breeding related individuals, primarily brother by sister, for at least 20 consecutive generations.

How many times a year do rats give birth? ›

A female rat typically births six litters a year consisting of 12 rat pups, although 5-10 pups is more common. Rats reach sexual maturity after 4-5 weeks, meaning that a population can swell from two rats to around 1,250 in one year, with the potential to grow exponentially.

What is the most cuddly rodent? ›

The guinea pig is undoubtedly among the most affectionate rodents: in fact, this little animal needs physical contact with his owner and also needs to live with a mate of his own species (of the same sex or, if a couple, the male should be neutered).

What are the friendliest rat breeds? ›

Many believe Dumbo rats to be friendlier than other types of rats. (Dumbo rats' ears are on the sides of their head rather than on top—similar to Walt Disney's “Dumbo the Elephant”.) Burmese are also often considered to be very friendly.

What is the best bedding for rats? ›

Nesting material - rats like making their own nests and spend lots of time playing with nesting material. Suitable materials are hay, shredded paper, paper strips and paper tissues.

Is it cruel to have one rat? ›

Rats are social animals.

They enjoy the company of others, much like humans and other animals do. While it's true that a single pet rat can often live a healthy life and won't exactly pine for another rodent, it's been shown that rats with a playmate or two are happier animals.

What to do when rat dies? ›

After donning your mask and protective gear, place the rat into the plastic bag and seal it. Then, place that bag into a separate trash bag and tie the trash bag tightly. This may seem like overkill, but it's better to be safe than sorry. You may be able to throw the rat into your outdoor trash bin.

How long after neutering is testosterone gone in rats? ›

After a surgical castration the testosterone stores in the body fat is gone after only a few hours. The behavioral changes, on the other hand, may take two to three weeks. This is partially because of a storage pool of testosterone esters. This storage pool takes about two weeks to deplete.

Why pets should not be neutered? ›

Research shows that spay-neuter can increase the risk of joint disorders and certain cancers. The likelihood of negative health outcomes varies widely between breeds and sexes. Decisions about whether to spay-neuter should be reached through informed discussion with a veterinarian.

Do rats know when another dies? ›

Rats can experience grief after the death of a companion just as humans can. Although rats may not have the intellectual ability to rationalize such a loss, it is clear that they recognize their companion is gone and they can show many of the same physical manifestations that we feel.


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