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Halycon is a good sensible person to ask about rats.I have both and have never had any health issues with the rats.There has been a very nasty virus doing the rounds in rats so you need to be careful with your initial purchase.
 

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I suppose there must be many different respiratory illnesses with different causes.The illness I have had with mice seems to be within them rather than caught and its just a case of weeding out the ones that exhibit symptoms.I haven't had any of the sort that spreads from mouse to mouse and I haven't had any at all in rats.Where as some people have had very contageous varieties that haven't responded to antibiotics indicating a virus.Its been with the mouse fancy for more than 100 years with no satisfactory permanent treatment.I think its part and parcel of geriatric rodents.
 
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