Bite Wound Figure 7

Figure 7: Bite wound to ear during introductions in a female rat (Yasmine).
Case history and photos

History

Yasmine is an adult fawn hooded rat (intact female). When she was approximately 1 year and 1 month old, her left eye was surgically removed by a veterinarian due to medical problems.

When Yasmine is approximately 1 year and 10 months old, two (castrated) 3 month-old semi-wild male rats are introduced into the group: Gambit and Twix. On day 6 of the introduction there is an interaction between Yasmine and Twix that results in a wound behind Yasmine’s left ear.

Clinical Signs

Yasmine sustains an approximately 1cm long clean-cut skin-deep wound a few millimeters behind the base of her left ear. The ear itself is not injured. There is minimal bleeding. When Yasmine turns her head to the right the gash opens up; in all other positions the wound closes perfectly. Yasmine does not appear to be in discomfort and does not groom or otherwise interfere with the wound.

Diagnosis

Presumed (accidental?) bite wound; Twix lunge-jumped towards/onto Yasmine and it seems unlikely that a sharp toenail could do this much damage.

Treatment

Veterinary care is not sought, as the wound is fairly small, clean-cut, remains perfectly closed most of the time, and Yasmine does not appear to be in discomfort.

Good hand washing technique is done with soap and water before inspecting the wound. The wound is not formally cleaned.
*Note that their cage contains only fabric and paper as bedding material; the litter boxes contain wood pellets.

Wound closure with tissue adhesive (“skin glue”) is considered; however, it is determined that the “fresh” tissue on either side of the wound should adhere itself more quickly without interference.

Yasmine is given two oral doses of Carprofen (prescription veterinary painkiller): one immediately after she sustains the wound, and one on the following day. No antibiotics are given.

Outcome

Within five hours the wound has closed, and within a few days it has healed. For more explanation regarding the introduction process for this case see: Problematic Introduction Figure 3, in Introducing Rats, in the Care guide section of Rat Guide.

Photos

Bite wound to ear

Photo on left taken on day 1, shows bite wound behind left ear a few moments after being inflicted.
Center photo taken on day 2 shows closure of wound. Photo on right shows Yasmine and Twix eating together inside a house after a successful introduction.
*Note: history of surgically removed left eye for medical reasons.

Case history and photos courtesy of Cyzahhe.

Cross-references

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