Pet Rats/Abcess


QUESTION: Hi! I have a big boy named Boots that has an abcess on his back. I would notmally let him handle it himself but he can't reach it to clean it out on his own. It opened up a while back and the tip kept slowly coming out so I finally took some tweezers and plucked the top off and a big gaping hole was left. There was still some white pus but it was a little hard and crumbly. I tried to push it out like a pimple but it didnt come out too well, plus it was painful for boots. I left it for a couple of weeks hoping that it would work its way out bit it ended up forming a tip above the skin again. I plucked it out again but the white pus is still a bit hard. I also put some neosporin on the opened abcess just to be safe.  Is there something that I can do to clean it out or is this something I should take him to the vet for?

ANSWER: Hi Kristina,
Sorry I didn't reply yesterday. I meant to and got super busy. This doesn't sound like an abscess, it sounds like a sebaceous cyst. Can you send me a picture?  You'll find info about the sebaceous cysts in the article about abscesses on my website at

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QUESTION: I see now, Thank you. It does look a lot like the picture on your site. I did try to squeeze it out but he squealed and kept jumping away. and blood was starting to come up so i didn't want to cause more harm then good. Here are some pictures that i just took.


Yup, that's what it is. You could try putting a little dab of Neosporin Plus, which contains a pain killer, on it and letting it sit for a little while and then try to squeeze it. But, you don't really have to squeeze it out, unless it seems to really bother him.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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