Ulcerative Pododermatitis Figure 4

Figure 4: Ulcerative pododermatitis in male rat (Snowy).
Case history and photos


Snowy was a 2 year 2 month old male rat that had been housed with a cage mate. He had a history of respiratory illness involving Mycoplasma, and was on continuous antibiotic therapy. No other apparent illness. It is unknown if litter mates or any of his line also experienced problems with pododermatitis.

Possible contributing factor was the placement of added wire ladders to the cage, which may have caused trauma or minute scratches to heels permitting an entry point for bacteria.

Clinical Signs

Open sores with some bleeding noted on the heels of both hind feet. The sore was more pronounced on foot than the other.
According to Snowy’s owner “the bumbles seemed to spring up from nowhere and got big in so little time.”


Ulcerative Pododermatitis, causative bacterial infection likely that of staphylococcus.

Initial Treatment

Owner located in a rural area of UK without access to an exotics veterinarian.

The veterinarian mentioned that ultimately surgery would be needed to remove the extensive bumble, but that based on Snowy’s health and age surgery was not an option. After the veterinarian cleansed and applied a dressing to the foot the following instructions for care were given:
Bathe heels in warm salt water and gently rub application of a cream called fuciderm- carbomer gel to both heels daily.

No improvement was observed by the owner, and further information on additional treatment and care of ulcerative pododermatitis (bumblefoot) was obtained.

Follow-up Treatment

Snowy’s cage environment was modified to prevent climbing up and down on ladders. Vinyl was used to cover flooring and shredded paper for litter was removed and replaced with clean cloths. Bedding and cloths were changed daily.

Per the veterinarian the antibiotic, amoxicillin, that Snowy had been on was changed to Baytril, and doxycycline (due to persistent respiratory illness).

Per Owner, treatment for bumbles was changed to:
Hibiscrub 1 part to 3 parts water used to bathe the feet and a drying agent aqueous Gentian violet with aloe vera spray was applied daily. No change in the size of the bumbles was noted after a week. Grapefruit seed extract was then added to diet. The Gentian violet used to apply to the bumbles was temporarily discontinued as it seemed to cause irritation for Snowy when applied, and the fuciderm cream was restarted. After a few more days it was noted that the bumbles on the heels had ceased to bleed. Hibiscrub continued to be used daily. The application once a day of the fuciderm cream, Gentian violet spay, and calendula oil was alternated on different days. It was noted a few days following this treatment that one bumble seemed to be getting notably smaller until it was no longer visible, while the other seemed to be half the size and flattening.


Unfortunately, although the bumbles themselves appeared to be diminishing, the infection persisted and seemed to be progressing. In addition, Snowy began to suffer hind limb paralysis. All this along with advancing age and history of chronic respiratory infection was too much for Snowy to battle successfully. Despite his respiratory illness he died peacefully in his sleep.


ulcerative pododermatitis 6/11

Photo 1: Well developed bumble can be seen on June 11.
  ulcerative pododermatitis 6/20

Photo 2: A week later on June 20.

ulcerative pododermatitis 6/29

Photo 3: Some progress noted nine days later.
  ulcerative pododermatitis 8/21

Photo 4: This photo taken two months following treatments.

Case history and photos courtesy of Janet and Snowy


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