Degloving Injury Figure 4

Figure 4: Tail degloving injury in 23-month-old female rat (Lilith).
Case history and photos


Lilith is a 23-month-old, rescued, spayed adult female rat housed with cage-mates. Previous history includes a litter at a very young age, an impaired tear duct requiring debris removal under anesthesia on a regular basis, and a keratoacanthoma on the cheek.

Clinical Signs

Lilith, while free-ranging, is noticed by the owner to have a tail injury in which the skin was peeled off the end of the tail showing approximately a 2.5 inch length of bone and tendon exposed. The cause of the injury is unknown. The portion of removed skin is found under the bed at the same time Lilith is found squeaking under a blanket, jumping every time her tail touches anything, and in obvious pain frantically licking the damaged tail.


Visible degloving injury of tail. Owner unable to determine cause.


The rat was not brought to the vet clinic as the veterinarian was ill in the hospital at this time, therefore, treatment was begun in the home.

The rat was initially given meloxicam at 1 mg/kg for pain relief and reduction of any swelling, and continued for 3 days. In addition she was started on Baytril at 10 mg/kg for 7 days to prevent any infection. She was kept in a hospital cage for a couple of days on fleece, and her environment kept very clean. She was then moved back in with her cage-mates once the tail had begun to dry and the pain had gone. By day three the rat began to self-trim the dead tissue which continued during the healing process until the healed stub remained.


Healing of the tail stub occurred without further incident or infection.


tail degloving

The first photo to left is of Lilith before degloving incident. The photo to the right shows the tail on the day of degloving and the inset photo shows the approximately 2.5 inch of removed tail skin.

tail degloving

Photo left shows Lilith the second day of incident with the inset showing close up of degloved tail. Photo top right is of the third day in which Lilith has begun to trim her own tail. Photo second down from top right shows degloved portion one week following incident. Photo bottom right shows healed stub of tail approximately 4 weeks following incident.

Case history and photos courtesy of Shelagh Hall


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