As a breed, Ratties are extremely healthy and exuberant! They do not have the bone, joint, heart, or eye problems that seem to plague other breeds. They also are fairly long-lived, with average life span running about 15 years.
On the down side, this breed is prone to allergies--some can become life-threatening. They are exceptionally sensitive to chemicals, perfumes, medications, and insect bites.
My little man is definitely a Rattie in this respect. For him to get his normal shots, I have to first get him treated with Benadryl and steriod injections to prevent his allergy to the medications from killing him.
I first discovered this trait when I tried to put flea medicine on Satchmo as a very young dog. I followed all the vet's instructions for applying the medication down the back of his neck so he could not lick it. Within a minute, Satchmo was running into walls and overall looking like a drunk sailor. He began to breathe really strangely, so I grabbed him up and both of us got into the shower--me fully dressed. I scrubbed and scrubbed him with Ivory soap until his breathing returned to normal.
I am standing in the tub dripping wet holding my dog, who minutes before could hardly breathe, and Satchmo looks up at me like "What happened?". In seconds, he was himself and demanding to be let down so he could run all over the house dripping wet to rub against every section of carpet and every piece of upholstered furniture he could find. He was no worse for wear--I, on the other hand, was a basket case.
To find out more about Rat Terriers and how to take care of them, please follow this link.
Rat Terrier Information