Figure 2e: Oral abscess
Case history and photos
The photos below are of an elderly male rescue rat.
Acute oral abscess as a result of malocclusion (misalignment of incisor teeth causing unrestricted continuous growth).
He was aggressively treated with Clavamox. The area was flushed several times a day with saline solution. Colloidal silver spray was also applied to the area.
Unfortunately the infection was too far advanced and he did not respond to treatment. Surgery was not an option for him and his teeth could not be trimmed due to the amount of tissue damage to the gums. The abscessed area did drain freely. He survived for about a month on soft foods (mostly baby food) and soy formula. He never did lose weight. Towards the end he became lethargic, congested, and refused food as well as medication. After an evaluation by the veterinarian it was decided to humanely euthanize him.
*Notation regarding preventative care:
Oral abscesses often do not have a good prognosis due to the fact that they are generally rather advanced by the time they are noticed and treated. It is important to check your rats teeth on a regular basis. Look for red or puffy gums, tooth discoloration (orange is the natural color for an adult rat), misalignment of the teeth, refusal to eat hard food, or a bad odor from the mouth.
These types of infections must be treated aggressively with antibiotics that are able to penetrate soft tissues (such as Clavamox). It is also helpful to use a dilute saline spray several times a day on the affected area to encourage healing. An oral abscess can spread through the sinus cavities, into the ears, nearby glands, or even into the bloodstream.
An infection of this type in the incisors can destroy bone and tissue causing the teeth to shift (malocclusion) from tissue deterioration or pressure caused by the abscess. In turn, if a rat has malocclusion due to injury, genetic, tumors, or other non infectious reasons and the teeth are not kept trimmed it can result in oral abscess from the teeth penetrating the facial or soft oral tissue
Photo 1: Shows rat with oral abscess.
Photo 2: Shows malocclusion of teeth as result of abscess and swelling.
Photos courtesy of Bellaratta’s Nest Rattery