“Phi” and one of her sisters (both intact females) are adopted at a little over 4 months old, as additions to a resident rat group that contains an adult castrated semi-wild male, Twix, who has a prior history of inflicting bite wounds during introductions.
Phi sustains an approximately 1.5cm long clean-cut skin deep wound across the back of her neck. There is minimal bleeding. When she bows her head, the wound opens up. Phi is visibly upset, although perhaps more so by the agonistic interaction than by the actual injury. She does not groom or otherwise interfere with the wound.
The wound is not cleaned, in the assumption that – provided Phi remains still* in the correct position for long enough – the “fresh” tissue on either side of the wound will adhere itself more quickly without interference. Note that their cage contains only fabric and paper as bedding material; the litter box contains paper pellets.
* Note that after the injury occurred, Phi and her sister were allowed to play in the free-range area for awhile, with the intention to alleviate Phi’s stress. Had they been confined to their cage, they may have gone to sleep, which would have allowed the wound to “rest”. However, it is uncertain whether the outcome would have been different.
For the following days, Vetramil (honey cream) is “packed into” the wound twice to five times a day. After application Phi is distracted for a few minutes, before allowing her to groom it off. She does not object to the application (i.e., it does not appear to hurt).
Additionally, on the third and fifth day the exposed tissue is gently but firmly “scrubbed” with wet and dry cotton buds, in an attempt to remove a yellow-brownish moist-looking layer that is forming over the tissue, as this is feared to be a sign of infection. Phi does not object to the cleaning. However, she does object (nip) when the surrounding area is gently squeezed to determine if there is any swelling (there is none, nor does the area feel too warm).
Phi-Adara’s introductions were continued carefully over the course of 30 days with close monitoring. With no further acts of biting aggression, Phi was housed with the group successfully. For more explanation regarding the introduction process for this case see: Problematic Introduction Figure 2, in Introducing Rats, in the Care guide section of Rat Guide.
Photo on left taken on day 3, when the wound was at its largest. Center photo taken on day 5, before cleansing with water and cotton bud. Photo on right shows wound packed with Vetramil (honey cream).
Photo on left taken on day 8, showing scab formation; daily packing with Vetramil was continued. Center photo taken on day 11, showing signs of healing. Photo on right taken on day 13; by this time the wound had healed and the introduction continued successfully
Posted on May 22, 2012, 13:13,
Last updated on June 12, 2012, 16:21