Within 24 hours the inflammation around the abscess has gone down and the size of the lump has decreased significantly.
Korsakoff is being very good at keeping the area clean. I decide to rinse the cavity by squirting the saline solution inside twice daily.
The cavity has shrunk to basically nothing so rinsing the area seems pointless now. I am amazed at how quickly it has healed.
Nothing remains of the abscess but a tiny, tiny scab that I expect to disappear within the next few days. 2 weeks after draining the abscess, it is essentially completely healed.
What I learned:
Try and find a vet who has had experience dealing with abscesses in rats. I was not impressed by the way the vet I saw went about inserting a needle into the lump. The needle to tear through the skin, making a gash. He also never talked to me about having the abscess drained, which is essential.
June 2003 – Ivan’s abscess
A day or two after I got Ivan and his two brothers I noticed a small lump on his back near a bite wound. Ivan’s father had started ganging up on Ivan shortly before I got him with the result that he arrived with several bite wounds on his back. The perfect scenario for an abscess. Since the wound was on Ivan’s back and not near his face or groin I figured I would try treating it myself to see if I could drain it and get it to heal. Applying a warm damp compress to a struggling young rat was pretty difficult but after a few minutes the scab loosened up and I could just barely see the pus inside the lump. I was lucky that the wound still had it’s scab (and therefore an exit hole for the pus). I was able to squeeze the pus out by restraining Ivan in a towel with just his back exposed. I then rinsed the wound with peroxide followed by a saline solution just as I did with Korsakoff. After this I could tell the lump was smaller but there was still a lump present because of the inflamed tissue. Over the course of several days the lump decreased in size until it eventually disappeared. Success! If the abscess had been on Ivan’s face or on his stomach/groin I would have gone to the vet for antibiotics because abscesses are much more dangerous in those areas.
This information is by no means intended to replace the advice of a veterinarian. I strongly suggest that anyone dealing with an abscess discuss all treatment options with their vet. Under no circumstances can anything found in the forum, or anywhere else on the Pet Rats Canada site, be construed as professional veterinary advice or instruction. All vet care discussion at Pet Rats Canada is intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your local vet. Any other use is done at your risk and is solely your responsibility.