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Pet Rats/Treatment of rat scratches?



I got my 2 girl rats about a month ago, and they've been very sweet and well behaved, so this hasn't been an issue yet. But last night, they were on my shoulders when the dogs went nuts in the living room, barking and howling at the UPS truck. Needless to say, the rats panicked, and there was much scrabbling and scratching to get back to the cage. My chest and shoulders got torn up a bit, most of the wounds bled for a few minutes before clotting up. With all the other small animals we've had, we've always just kept an eye on the wounds and never had any turn infected, but I've not dealt with this in rats before. Do I need to disinfect and treat the wounds, or is it pretty safe to just let them go? I've not found information except for a bunch of scare-information on Rat Scratch Fever, and treatment for -rats- that have been injured. I tried asking over on the medical side, and I got "go to the ER immediately for vaccinations and proper medical treatment", which to me seems a bit overkill for -pet rats-.

You will be just fine.  I get rattie scratches all the time on my arms, legs, shoulders, etc. and even had one sink her teeth quite deeply into my thumb (accidentally).  I generally just wash the areas with water and let them heal on their own.  But a little disinfectant followed by a band aid can never hurt and is a good idea whenever there is an open wound to prevent germs from getting in, but pet rats don't carry diseases.  That one incident that was in the news regarding Rat Scratch Fever was a very rare occurrence and was of course blown up by the media.

Please let me know if I can help you with anything else.

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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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