Topi Rats

Specializing in Healthy & Charming Fancy Rats for Pet and Show

Emergency Rat Care

In case of an emergency involving your rat it is crucial that you know what to do in the moment so you can safely get you rat to the veterinarian. The following is some situations that would be considered emergent and what you should do.

Laceration aka a cut


Commonly caused by broken cage wire, glass, sharp plastic edges, self inflicted grooming injury, or metal. To control bleeding clean the wound first. Call your veterinarian to let them know you are on your way if the laceration is large (longer than approximately an inch or in a tear pattern that could not be stitched and is starting to curl at the edges), near the eye, or bleeding persistently. Follow up by keeping the wound clean and dry. Provide the rat with soft cloth or paper towel bedding to keep debris from getting in the wound until it's heals.

Complications could arise if the area becomes infected. This is why it is so important to keep the wound clean and dry. Should the wound become infected (red skin discoloration, sometimes a presentation of puss) contact your vet immediately and get your rat on antibiotics as soon as possible.

Bite Wound


Commonly caused by aggression from a cage mate. First control the bleeding and clean the area. If the wound is deep, flush it with a 1 part peroxide, 5 part water solution. Again the rat should be provided with cloth or paper towels to keep the wound free of debris. Complications from bite wounds are common. The most common being an abscess (see below).



Commonly a secondary infection caused by a bite wound or different kinds of puncture wounds. You will know there is an abscess when there is localizes swelling of the wound that is red and painful. Inflammation will cause hair loss around the area. If not drained, and abscess will eventually rupture and drain pus. You should be aware though that if you choose not to drain the abscess yourself it will rupture, either outside the rats skin, or internally. If it ruptures internally your rat will become septic and die without immediate veterinary care.

To drain the abscess use a warm compress on the area which can help to speed up the rupture and soften any scabs that may have formed over the area. After you have an open area flush the wound to remove any puss or infected and dead tissue in severe cases. Keep the wound clean and open so it is able to heal and grow new skin. Consult your veterinarian if the rat's condition worsens or your rat stops eating, drinking, or grooming themselves. The abscess can come back if not properly cleaned or given a chance to heal.

Torn Toenail


Commonly caused by catching the nail on fabric, the cage, etc. The toenail may be completely or partially broken off; bleeding is usually alarming because it can seem so profuse. You're rat might indicate it's in pain by not allowing weight on the area or squeaking when the area is touched. If the toenail is broken you want to remove the broken part by clipping it with clippers. Then control the bleeding. If the bleeding does not stop after 2 minutes of constant pressure on the area contact your veterinarian immediately. If all goes well the nail will grow back in a few weeks.

Fractures (Broken Bones)


Commonly caused by falling, being stepped on, catching a foot or toes in cage wire or corner pig rings. The appearance of a fracture obviously depends on the location. Some fractures, such as on the paws, ribs or skull, may be hard to detect visually. Fractures of the long bones of the leg are usually more apparent. The leg may appear misshapen or bent in an unusual fashion. In some cases like an open fracture the bone with be visible protruding through the skin. For first aid confine the rat in a small, safe place and take it to your veterinarian ASAP. Follow-up with your vet until the rat is 100% healed.

Head Injury


Commonly caused by falling, being stepped on, or getting stuck between two solid surfaces. You may see bleeding from the ears, mouth, nose or eyes; altered demeanor, ranging from depression to seizures; loss of consciousness. For first aid confine the rat to a small safe space and take it immediately to your veterinarian. Irreversible brain damage or death may occur.

Degloving of the Tail (tail skin coming off)


Degloving is a natural defense mechanism that many species of animal have. In rodents it allows them to escape when they are caught by the tail by permitting the upper layer of skin and tissue to be pulled of and removed. For this reason, never, under any circumstances pick your rat up by the tail!!! Common causes are getting the tail stepped on or shut in a door, or being picked up by the tail. For first aid clean the tail as you would a laceration. If the injury is extensive and not just a small section of the tail get you rat to the veterinarian immediately. Keep the wound clean and dry. Provide the rat with cloth or paper towels to keep bedding debris from getting into it and preventing it from healing. Follow up with your vet as needed.



Commonly caused by exposure to temperatures 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, especially when combined with humidity. Symptoms include drooling, reluctance to move, collapse, unconsciousness, and their tail usually feels warm. For first aid submerge your rats body in cool, not cold or freezing, water. Make sure their head stays safely above water and their ears. You can also give pedialite or high electrolyte, low sugar sports drinks. Frozen water bottles wrapped in cloth may also be placed in the cage with the rat. It is important to know that rat's do not sweat, and therefore can only regulate their heat through their tail. Never put the cage in direct sun light, and always make sure there is proper ventilation of cool air through out the rats cage.

Eye Injuries


Common causes are bite injuries, foreign bodies, abrasions, or falling. For first aid it is recommended you do nothing and instead rush your rat to the veterinarian immediately. Follow up as your vet recommends.