After doing some research on the internet and asking some rat owners about abscesses, I confirm my suspicion that abscesses need to be drained to heal. Some owners suggest allowing the abscess to burst on its own while others say that the best thing to do is have a vet lance the abscess. Either way, the abscess must be drained in order to heal. The vet did not discuss this with me. If an abscess is allowed to grow, there is always the risk of it popping internally which can lead to severe infection and death.
The day after our appointment at the vet, I gently feel Korsakoff’s lump and I am horrified to discover that it feels like it has doubled in size overnight. Korsakoff also lifts his leg up in pain when I touch the area whereas before the lump did not cause him pain. After some panicky moments I begin thinking rationally again and decide that the soreness and increase in the lump’s size and is probably due to inflammation from having the needle inserted.
I decide that the best course of action will be to try and get the abscess to come to a head and burst on its own. Warm compresses are supposed to help this happen. I attempt to put a warm compress on the lump but because it is in the groin region near the hind legs, Korsakoff struggles and kicks at the compress, making it ineffective. My next attempt involves making Korsakoff stand in a couple of centimetres of warm water in the bathtub. Five minutes later I have incredibly scratched up hands and one panicked rat that believes I am trying to drown him. Attempt number three: I place a wet face cloth over a hot water bottle filled with hot water and get Korsakoff to sit on it while I feed him treats. This is the least stressful of all the methods and it works, but I worry that it will not be enough.