My Experience with An Abscess
One of the worst possible scenarios when owning rats is to find a lump on one of them.
Lumps usually turn out to be one of two things: a tumour (benign or malignant) or an abscess. Luckily (sort of) for my rat Korsakoff, a lump on his abdomen turned out to be a rather large abscess. Here are descriptions of my two experiences dealing rat abscesses – once with Korsky in February 2002 and once with Ivan in June 2003.
February 20 , 2002 – Korsakoff’s abscess
Korsakoff, my one and a half year old male rat, is examined by a vet. There is a lump about the size of a small marble in the groin area. Upon examination the lump appears to be free-moving and the vet suspects that it is a tumour. The vet explains that I can book surgery now, or have another test done to see if the cells are benign or malignant. This test involves inserting a needle into the lump and extracting some cells and then sending the cells away for analysis. I agree to the test. The vet takes Korsakoff into the back room and then returns to tell me that he extracted pus from the lump. This means that the lump is most likely not a tumour, but an abscess (although sometimes a tumour can get an infection around it). This is a relief because surgery is not needed. I decide to pay for a rather expensive test ($72) to be done on the pus to find out which bacteria we are dealing with. Results will take at least 3 work days to come back. Knowledge of the bacteria will tell us which treatment option will be effective. Some bacteria (eg. Pseudomonas) are extremely resilient and need antibiotic therapy.