Do rats carry rabies?

Only a low number of rats have been found to carry rabies around. Even if it may be unclear why most rats do not suffer from rabies, it is believed that the rat is too small and when it is attacked by a rabid animal like a fox, skunk or raccoon, it does not survive most of the time.

How long the rabies will progress inside the rats will depend on the type of the rabies, the rabies strain, and the body weight and age of the rat. When the rabies is in higher doses, then the progression will also be higher. When the bites take place near the head or in multiple places, it is possible for the rabies to progress faster.

The owners of pet rats normally believe that when a rat survives the bite from a rabid animal, if it then bites a human, the transmission of the disease will not take place since the rats do have a dry bite. The bite of a rat occurs with a forward position of teeth at the mouth, and this is a position in which many believe that the teeth will not get wet. However, this is not true since the rats are able to transmit the saliva borne diseases, like septic arthritis and rat bite fever, through their bites. This means that it is able to transmit the rabies virus when it is carrying the disease.

Few rats are known to carry rabies and even fewer are known to bite humans and cause rabies. Rats are not known to be among the serious rabies risks, and most of the time the rabies shot will not be given after a rat bite occurs. However, any bite from a rat requires the rabies prophylaxis.

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