Newborn foot injury, can't identify cause!

Discussion in 'Health & General Care' started by Kay O., Aug 16, 2019.

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  1. Aug 16, 2019 #1

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    I adopted two rats over the weekend, I specifically asked for two females that were not pregnant (this is only my second set of ratties), aaaaand both were pregnant to my surprise! o_O Now that I've come down from the stress of not being prepared....everything seems to be going okay with the first litter. There were 8 to start, one was very tiny, and the next morning it was gone. Nature's crazy, right?

    Anywho, it's day 3 and yesterday I noticed a bit of swelling on the back foot. I did a lot of research on bumblefoot and I'm fairly certain it's not the same thing. It almost looks like an injury of some kind, but there is nothing standing out to me that would have caused it, unless the mom stepped on her and scratched her maybe. I want to make sure she/he doesn't lose the foot or get eaten! I know it's just what they do, but it seems perfectly healthy aside from this swollen foot.

    Anyone ever had this happen before or can give me pointers on how to help fix it?

    Thank you!!
     

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  2. Aug 16, 2019 #2

    ViciousCurse

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    Depending on your rats' ages, they may be new moms. At least from what I can tell with the photo, it looks like the baby's leg was scratched by mom.

    Are moms and their litters in separate one-level cages, or are they together? I'm not experienced with keeping momma rats and her babies, so hopefully someone more experienced can comment!
     
  3. Aug 16, 2019 #3

    lilspaz68

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    Like Viciouscurse asks. Are the mom's separated or together? That's a pretty serious injury for a tiny baby. Very difficult to treat them when they are this young but you could start with rinsing it with isotonic saline (sane salinity as our body fluid) and keeping the cage super clean. Check babies leg carefully to see if a thread or human hair is wrapped around it.
     
  4. Aug 16, 2019 #4

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Yes, I went out and bought another cage immediately for the separate mom, I read that two females could stay in the same cage but did not want to risk it. I cleaned the cage yesterday, but I did leave behind SOME of the bedding (I read that on other forums that if you clean the cage completely it may stress the mom out) but I sanitized everything aside from that. How often do you recommend cleaning the cage and doing the saline rinse?

    My other mom had her kiddos last night! Should I get them out this evening to check on them or wait a full 24 hours? This was something I was paranoid about because every article on the internet says something different.

    Thank you guys!
     
  5. Aug 16, 2019 #5

    Dena

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    I personally have had a few litters. Well, not me, but my rats.....anyways, I wouldn't clean their cage until the babies had eyes open and were wondering around. So about 2 weeks. I'd obviously clean up a bulk of the trash, and replace bedding, but no cleansers. Nothing to erase mom's scent. It's especially important in the first few days, and I'd say about the first 10 days. At least. You don't want to do anything to alter the smell of her home, or her babies. Picking them up, and handling them is a good idea from day one. I usually give mom a few hours to recoup, and then I start baby checking. You don't want to stress mom out, but since babies need to eat very often, it's best to make sure they have a milk stripe often, so if mom isn't taking care of them, you can put them in with the other mom (by rubbing the other litter on them, and maybe even some of the foster mom's used bedding first) so she can take care of them quickly. Keep their cage in a fairly quiet room for a few days, and make sure you still let moms out for social and play time a couple times a day. But I only did for about 15 mins or so at a time for a while. Then around day 10, the babies will start driving the mom batty, and she will need more time out. Also, once their eyes open, let the babies out (in a baby safe play area of course. Babies are fast, and you need to count them each time you put them away) with mom for a small time. Once they are around 4 weeks, you may intro them to the other mom, and babies. The girl's and boys need to be separated around 5 weeks. Girls can stay with momma forever. They grow super fast at this stage, so watch them, and enjoy! They are super fun around day 10 and on! Keep us updated! We love some baby pics!

    On a side note, if you clean too often, or thoroughly, mom could get stressed, think her litter is in danger, and possibly eat a few, or all of them. Or she could just get really protective, and start biting. But handling and socialization is crucial in these early days. So is mom's diet.
     
  6. Aug 16, 2019 #6

    Kay O.

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    Thank you!! I have only had the moms about 3-4 days before they gave birth. The poor things don't fully trust me yet, so I am doing my best not to stress them out. I am feeding them Oxbow Essentials, with some fruits and rice treats. I am going to pick up some eggs (i'm vegan so I dont have them on hand) to up their protein. Is there anything else I should be adding?

    So far the mom of the first litter has only eaten 2 of her babies. There was a little one that I kind of knew wouldn't make it, but last night she had eaten another one, which I don't understand quite. I did clean the cage yesterday but I kept all the bedding that was in her hut and put it right back. Hopefully it wasn't my fault!!

    The eating of the babies is the most stressful =( I know it's natural but it's hard to know it's happening right under your nose
     
  7. Aug 16, 2019 #7

    Dena

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    You don't have to do eggs. You can also give them some organic soy infant formula and mix it with baby rice cereal. A little more vegan friendly. ;)
     
  8. Aug 17, 2019 #8

    lilspaz68

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    Dena you might be thinking about hamsters. Rats rarely eat their young if they are healthy. I handle my rescue babies from day 1, clean cage on day 2 of fouled bedding. I then clean cage as needed but try to leave the best intact when they are younger. Depending on the mom, if she's friendly and confident I handle the babies and/or clean the cage when Mom is having her Out time. Her time away from the babies is only 20-30 mins at a time in the first week but can be extended once the pups are older, have fur (can regulate their own temp). Baby poo is mostly liquid orangish stuff until they start eating solids and can smell alot lol
     
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  9. Aug 17, 2019 #9

    lilspaz68

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    How is the babies foot now?
     
  10. Aug 17, 2019 #10

    Rocket99

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    That foot looks pretty bad. I hope he/she pulls through. And i have seen rats eat other rats, always mothers eating babies, although i have heard of rats killing and eating another member of the group if he is a liability, or is a high risk of getting the group discovered by a predator due to any issue that might expose them. They kill him to squash the risks and eat him to eradicate any possible evidence that could cause more exposure, or a new risk, like the unmistakable stench of a decaying animal.
     
  11. Aug 17, 2019 #11

    lilspaz68

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    Adults only eat another after a rat has passed, it's a leftover instinct from the wild where they don't want to attract predators to the rest of the colony so "clean up" their dead. It happens but not very often. Mom's have a maternal instincts that kicks in once a baby wiggles and eeps. If they are born dead or die soon after birth mom will ignore the body. Sometimes they eat it to "clean up" or as a protein source to help nourish her/surviving babies.
     
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  12. Aug 17, 2019 #12

    Dena

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    How is the baby who's foot was hurt, doing? Is the foot doing any better?
     
  13. Aug 18, 2019 #13

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Here is what it looks like today, I could be wrong but it looks to be improving? It just looks like it needs drained or something, which I know is not something I can or should do. Any suggestions? I’m still doing the saline rinse at least once a day, and keeping the cage and bedding clean. I did a day 3 vs day 5 side by side for comparison.
     

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  14. Aug 18, 2019 #14

    Dena

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    Awwww! He's got his markings. Just no fur yet! Naked babies are so cute!
     
  15. Aug 18, 2019 #15

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    I know right!!! The momma is hairless, I have no clue what the daddy was, I’m excited to find out!

    My mom is a nurse and aided me in lancing/draining the white filled area, she said it wouldn’t heal unless it was drained =( I’m doing the saline rinses 2x per day along with applying antibiotic ointment. It’s still swollen this morning but the white area is completely gone and looks like it was never even there. I hope this means good things!
     
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  16. Aug 19, 2019 #16

    Rocket99

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    I think you are doing everything right, and a vet wont suggest anything else other than what you are already doing. Keep up the amazing doctoring and your side by side progress views. She should start to make better strides about now as she is getting older (aka...stronger and healthier) and the inflammation should subside. By any measure, he/she is definitely not getting any worse.
     
  17. Aug 21, 2019 #17

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Here is it as of last night! Looks like the lower part of the foot is MUCH better! Still some swelling on the heel area, but I'm going to wait it out and may end up seeing a vet about it once they're weaned. =)
     

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  18. Aug 22, 2019 #18

    Dena

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    Awwwww! Little velvet baby! The foot definitely looks better. Keep us updated.
     
  19. Aug 22, 2019 #19

    lilspaz68

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    If the swelling continues past 3 weeks or so, you could look into Metronidazole, which is an antibiotic that works on anaerobic bacteria (no or very little oxygen needed) to resolve an internal infection. I used it on a girl who had an infection in her hock.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  20. Aug 30, 2019 #20

    Kay O.

    Kay O.

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    Thank you! I will look into that. Do I have to take her to the vet for that?
     

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