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Bite Wounds

Sometimes rats can inflict wounds on their cage mates. Sometimes there is a hormonal issue with one (or more) of the rats in the cage which is the trigger for the injury. In other cases it is a case of someone getting carried away power grooming a cage mate that has caused the issues. It is important to watch the dynamics of the group to be certain that the injury was not a result of hormonal issues or ongoing discontent in the cage for other reasons. If wounds are occurring regularly then the reason needs to be found and a solution found.

Bites tend to occur along the back of the rats. They look like lines where the skin has been broken by the teeth of the attacking rat. Most bites will have at least 2 wounds if not 4, depending on how much the closing pressure of the biting rats mouth was. When a bite occurs bacteria from the mouth is normally introduced to the other rats skin which can cause an abscess. It is important to rinse the wound out and make sure it is clear of any debris. We usually use a betadine solution to rinse the wound to help prevent abscess and other infections from occurring within the wound. Sometimes the bite wound will need to be glued or sutured close. For this you will need to seek your vets opinion because by closing the wound, any infection present in the wound is then being sealed inside. A course of oral antibiotics may be recommended.

Over grooming can result in wounds if the rat doing the grooming gets carried away. This tends to be minor and will need nothing more that the small wound flushed with a betadine solution for a couple of days until it heals. Usually these types of wounds occur when a new rat has been introduced to the group and the “pecking” order is being re-established. It is worth keeping a watchful eye on the group so you are certain that the injuries are not being inflicted intentionally.