Baby Watch: Wound Care

Last night there was a bit of a mishap with the babies. Mama Jinx turned her nest box upside down, and panicked about her uncovered babies. She had a tissue box in the tank to take siestas in, and in her concern she moved the babies into the tissue box for cover. On the way, one of the babies got its legs caught on the box edge and ended up with some nasty little cuts on its legs.

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Although these wounds look pretty ugly, the course of treatment for wounds like this is really to just leave it be. Rats heal very quickly, and will do an excellent job of taking care of cuts like this. If the foot had become swollen, or baby seemed to be in a great deal of pain, we would give her Motrin or Tylenol. You can use Bactine to clean it up, but your rat will keep it clean. Triple antibiotic creams like Neosporin aren’t necessary, and will likely just get licked off anyway.

If your rat is bleeding actively, you can use cornstarch or flour and pressure to assist in blood clotting to stop the bleeding. If this doesn’t work, apply a tourniquet just above where the the wound is on extremities such as the feet and tail. Release the tourniquet after 20 minutes to check if the bleeding has stopped or slowed enough to be controlled with pressure and cornstarch or flour.

If bleeding continues, replace the tourniquet and seek assistance from a vet. Don’t give your rat Ibuprofen if it’s bleeding, as Ibuprofen can prevent the blood from clotting, making it harder to control the bleeding. Tylenol is okay to give for pain in this instance.

Here is baby’s foot after one day of healing time.

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It’s scabbed over, and healing pretty nicely. Both baby and mama are doing a great job of keeping the wounds clean. There’s still some swelling in baby’s toes, but as the wound continues to heal, that swelling will keep going down. So long as baby doesn’t seem to be in pain, we’ll just keep watching and letting it heal on its own.

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