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You should not try to drain an abscess on your own, since there is a danger of pushing the infected fluid deeper into the body, rather than out of the body. This could lead to a blood infection, sepsis, a fatal condition. You will need to take your rat to your veterinarian, who will drain the pus from the wound, irrigate the wound, and dress appropriately it to prevent further damage by the rat. It will also be necessary to use medication in the form of topical antibiotics containing steroids, to treat staphylococcal infections and oral antibiotic treatment to be sure that your rat makes a complete recovery.
Monitor your rat regularly for signs of illness, as disease conditions can be stressful and lead to an increase in staphylococcal numbers. It is advisable to clip the toenails of the hind feet to prevent any damage to the wound when the rat scratches it, and to prevent accidental injuries from occurring in the first place. Regularly follow your veterinarian’s advice regarding the application of medication to the wounds to help in the healing process.
The primary preventative is to maintain excellent hygiene at all times. Cleaning your rats' living environment on a daily basis, clearing all urine, feces, and spilled food -- all of which can harbor the staphylococcus bacterium.
Take care to treat fight wounds and other open wounds promptly so that secondary bacterial infection due to the entry of staphylococcal bacteria does not arise. All wounds should be cared for immediately with thorough cleansing at least twice a day, observing the healing process until the wound has scabbed over and is healing without swelling or any other sign of inflammation. If any signs of swelling or inflammation develop, you should see your veterinarian immediately. If treated quickly and appropriately, these wounds can remain non-threatening.
Providing proper care and nutrition and avoiding stress to your pet rat can also help to prevent staphylococcal infection. Humans are also implicated in spreading infection, by handling an asymptomatic infected rat and not washing their hands and clothing before handling another rat. It is important to have a policy of always cleaning your hands thoroughly, in addition to changing your clothing before handling rats from different locations.
A medical condition; the contamination of a living thing by a harmful type of bacteria
A type of bacteria, round in shape
A product made of fluid, cell waste, and cells
The singular form of the word bacteria; a tiny, microscopic organism only made up of one cell.
Term used to refer to a condition of having a disease or affliction but not displaying symptoms of it.
A localized infection, usually a lesion filled with pus. Can be large or small in size.
The species that a living thing has descended from