I got my 4 male rats neutered because I wanted all the rats (female and male) in a cage together. As long as they are all one sex you do not have to worry. This time around, I will not be doing that. I do not want 6 at a time because that can get messy. I also did not like what happened after the neutering. The rat has a special kind of scrotum, and if you neuter them the wrong way, they tend to have hideous abscesses. The vet I had really botched the first 2 neuters (even though he swore he knew how to do it). Long story short, the testes cannot be removed from the outside like a dog or cat. Getting a female spayed would be hard too since they are such small animals. I would just have the same sex of rat all the way through.
As far as "is it better?" I would answer by saying that for an animal who normally lives 2 years at most, being in pain for a few weeks is like you (living 70 years or so) being in pain for months and months. I would say that the proportional time in pain to span of life is not worth it. See what I mean? Rats get cancer anyway. That is why scientists like to use them as "guinea pigs" in cancer trials. They are prone to many human diseases, tragically. It is almost that because of their already short lives, the decision of whether to treat will need to come up before you emotionally get into chemo therapy for a rat.
I know this will get longish, but I had a good friend who I took care of from the time he was diagnosed as having cancer in 2009, to the time he died in 2012. Logically, any cancer detection test except possibly a blood antibody test, is not going to detect cancer until the person has had it for 10 years or so. By that time, if it is metastatic, there is really nothing that they can do but hit you with cell-killing poisons. Chemo therapy kills all cells not only cancer cells, and by the time the person dies they look like a wax candel. If I ever have cancer, I am not getting chemo. I really think that most people who die of cancer actually die of the medicine they give for it. If you can go happily on with cancer the size of a pencil eraser that has taken 10 years to get to that size, you can go for another 10 years and have a cancer the size of a grape. Okay, so rats, depending on the cellular division rate will probably die of the disease (if you are removing the uterus to remove the potential of getting reproductive tract cancer) it most likely will become fatal at about the time the rat dies naturally anyway.
Now, as i said above, what will kill a rat faster, (more often) then cancer of the reproductive system is breathing issues caused by breathing dusts of things like bedding material. Oh, also do not spray air fresheners around them either.
And frankly, they do smell a bit. The cage should be cleaned and bedding changed often. Male rats smell worse than females because they have musk glands and have a secretion called "buck grease" that they like to rub all over their fur. Male rats (probably female too) should get a bath at least once a week. I use a Ferrret shampoo since nothing is made specifically for rats.
Tell me if I can help you again! I totally have loved my rats. They love to hop around the house but if you do that remember to also make sure they are not in a room where they can go under something. I cannot tell you how many times I had to move a couch or a bookshelf to "find a rat."
Last edited by Gita; 07-16-2016 at 05:59 PM.