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Pet Rats/severe abscess infectionincluding eye.


My pet rattie Paul has been suffering for 2 months now. He is 2 years old and has been healthy up to now bar a couple of problems. He had a lump removed on his left shoulder in March of this year the vet thought the tissue removed was benign and he recovered quickly. He has had a permanent porphorin stained left eye which began when he was about 5 months old.He had disappeared behind the washing machine and came out with dust round it. He washed it off but the eye started to secrete porphorin. The vet gave him a course of baytril which did nothing and he has had it ever since. It has not caused him any problems and the eye itself has remained healthy.His eye was examined and nothing could be found.Two months ago he had an abscess come up over night.It was under his jaw in the middle of his neck. His lower face swelled up and he looked like a hamster. The vet thought it was a tumour and booked him in to operate.However I realised it was an infection as it was hot to the touch the vet put him on baytril as a precaution.  I bathed it with warm water and it burst a few days later and smelt appalling I cleaned it out and continued with the Baytril when he went in for his surgery I explained it had ruptured and they further cleaned it by reopening it.At this stage it appeared to be healing.He had Baytril for another week when he went back the middle was still not healing and suppurating.I asked for a different antibiotic but was told he couldnt have anything else as it would kill him. I did take the box of synulox palatable drops my other rattie Vincent had had once for a different problem from another vet but she advised they synulox would not be appropriate and they didnt have it.In the meantime Paul was losing weight as he had started eating using the other side of his jaw and he could only manage softer food. After another week on Baytril I took him back by now another lump had started to come up on his jaw under the left eye. The vet thought he had a tumour of the jaw but suggested debridement of the abscess that had not healed. I thought the first abscess had come up further along as it looked much like how the first one started.He had an anashetic for the clean of the first abscess and I had asked if the vet might clean the other one too anc check his teeth were ok that side of the jaw.When I got him back he had a very large wound where the nearly closed one was and the vet said there was nothing in the other lump so it could not be an abscess she then said to continue with Baytril.After a couple of days the pus started to come back I felt that if the Baytril had not worked for 3 weeks it wouldnt now and I asked to see a different vet as his toes were going black.She syringed the other lump and it was filled with runny pus.She gave me the details of an exotic specialist they gave me synulox[1milx2per day] and flagyl[4mlx2perday]. He had a result almost immediatly and the toes returned to a normal colour but seemed weak.After a week the abscess was healed but the original still open and a bit wet so he had another weeks worth.In the mean time he is eating only ready brek with soya milk and bits of mashed banana, occasionaly yoghurt and baby food sporadically.His weight has halved.His left eye started to look funny as he finished the second lot of synulox. He had the eye ooked at which was not ulcerated at this point. He was given chloramphencol eye drops.The next day the eye was bulging and very red.He got an appointment the following day and the eye was now ulcerated.Worse the pus was back in the original abscess.He has now had an injection of antibiotics which are unlicensed. He has been very ill barely eating and the eye has not improved.Two days on he has started eating quite a lot.He is also tidying his cage again [ he has always liked everything in just a certain way]The infection is still there but less and it has gone back to dried out looking  it does not smell the eye is still red and bulging and dry looking I am giving him metacam pain relief.He is seperated from Vincent. What is going on with him and what should I do next? Please help as I do not want him to suffer he has been through so much but I dont want to give up on him if there is any chance of a resolution. The exotic vet would have put him down at the last visit as she thinks the infection is in his bone but he is trying so hard to live spending ages feeding himself readybrek and banana with his hands.I dont know how he has got this he is kept really clean because the other rattie Vincent has a paralysis from an injection of anti inflammatory that went wrong [in to his spine]when I got him at 9 weeks and although he got movement back he wobbles from side to side and cant lift himself high from the ground so the cage is cleaned morning and night to prevent him getting urine/ penal infections.

Hi Tina, I am so very sorry for my late reply.  Your poor little boy...I'm so sorry he is suffering.  I am waiting for help on this problem from a friend who is much more experienced with rat medical issues.  I wanted to just let you know that you haven't been forgotten and I will get back to you as soon as I get her input.  Thanks for your patience.

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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