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Pododermatitis (Bumblefoot)

Foot lesions may be seen in Rats that are housed on rough or wire floors, or when there is poor hygiene and soiled bedding.

The affected Rat should be immediately moved to a cage that has a solid bottom with clean, fresh, soft bedding which should be changed at least once daily.
The bacterium S.aureus is often the causative agent of ulcerative pododermatitis (which is also known by the name “bumblefoot”) these lesions themselves are a form of abscess. It is possible for human to spread this bacteria to Rats, by not washing our hands before handling them. S.aureus is a normal resident on the skin of humans.

This condition is sometimes also seen in Rats where the above mentioned potential causes do not exist. In is not uncommon for bumblefoot to occur in Rats over several generations of the same family, and it is believed that some Rats have a genetic pre-disposition to it.

Veterinary treatment is a must if bumblefoot is left untreated the lesions can become ulcerated abscesses which will need to be treated with surgery.

Even with professional treatments, bumblefoot can persist for many weeks possibly even months, so do not give up if there is no sign of improvement in a few weeks.

Bumblefoot can be extremely painful and the vet may place the rat on a course of antibiotics (to stop infection) as well as some pain control medications.