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Kidney disease in rats

Sometimes referred to as glomerulonephrosis, chronic progressive nephrosis is a common kidney disease in older rats that causes inflammation of the renal blood vessels. Obesity and a high-protein diet are some other factors which can lead to glomerulonephrosis. Male rats are most susceptible to the disease than females, and contract it at a younger age. And unfortunately, this kidney disease can not be treated and is fatal in rats.

Two Rats


  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Kidney and urinary problems
  • Protein in urine (proteinuria)
  • Fixed specific gravity of urine (isothenuria)


Glomerulonephrosis is hereditary in rats. Some other causes for the kidney disease include:

  • High caloric intake
  • Obesity
  • An excessively high-protein diet
  • Old age


The veterinarian will conduct blood and urine tests on the rat to confirm the diagnosis. A rat with glomerulonephrosis will normally have an excessive amount of protein in its urine. Its urine will
also have a fixed specific gravity; this measures the kidney’s ability to concentrate or dilute urine in relation to plasma.


There is no known cure for glomerulonephrosis. Your veterinarian will prescribe medication to ease its symptoms, however, the disease is fatal in rats.

Living and Management

The rat should be placed in a stress-free environment and given a low-protein diet, as protein can aggravate glomerulonephrosis. The diet should also be well-balanced and easily digestible.


There is no surefire way of preventing this disease as it is hereditary. However, a well-balanced, low-protein, low-calorie diet should maintain the rat’s health and help prevent the onset of
kidney diseases.


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