Worrisome abscesses?


New Member
Jul 2, 2020
Minneapolis, MN
I am concerned about my dumbo rat, Cherub. She is almost one year old, an intact female.

A few weeks ago she developed a small, hard lump on her chest. I believed it was either a cyst ot abscess, I now believe it’s an abscess. Several months ago she was bitten by another rat in the same area the lump appeared, her right armpit. For reference, she is not cage mates with the other rat. They live separately and it happened during a playtime session to get them comfortable with one another. They were separated immediately.

Anyways, the lumps. It started as one or two. They are small, around the size of a small pea. From past experience with rat tumors, I do not believe they are tumors. One of them developed a black spot and scab, opened, then drained itself of pus over the course of a few days. From reading online, this seems to be the normal healing process for an abscess.

Within about a week of that, her face began swelling. Concerned and consulting online again, my partner and I decided to start her on a course of amoxicillin. The swelling went down pretty immediately. We have continued with the amox to help the abscesses and prevent infection. The swelling in her face has not returned.

My current concern— the abscess are multiplying. They are in her armpit, on her chest, and on the right side of her neck. She’s very wiggly so it’s hard to tell, but I would estimate there are roughly ten of them. They don’t seem to be draining anymore. She doesn’t seem to be in pain or otherwised bothered by them— eating and drinking like normal, no weight loss, no change in behavior or energy level.

I’m a very anxious parent so this has got me pretty concerned. Unfortunately my go-to vet has left me less than impressed in previous visits, and they charge quite a premium. My partner has suggested popping one or more with a needle to see if that helps, but I immediately vetoed that idea.

Does anyone have help or advice to offer? I really love Cherub and want her to be okay.


Apr 27, 2020
Hi, sorry to hear about cherub.
I definatly agree do not needle them, could be painful, risk of infection and you do not know what you could be stabbing. Plus if she is very wriggly you could hit the wrong spot.

I have had a mixture of girls with tumors and abscess. Abscess tend to come up very quickly and in my experience can be very stubborn to go.

We have had to have some lanced by a vet which would not clear with antibiotics. Others took about 4 weeks to clear with antibiotics and anti inflammatory. We also speak to our vets first though as they are exotic specialists and are amazing. But i understand not all vets are the same as it took us a while to find ours.

Our vets always say if it opens up its a good thing because the gunk will drain out.

My worry is that if they are multiplying maybe the antibiotics are not strong enough or the wrong sort. We used for a very stubbon abscess in the past baytril and sulfatrim as well as baytril but can't remember the dosage.

Hope this helps


Staff member
Supporting Member
Jul 21, 2007
Toronto, Canada, Earth
You can move abscesses along with damp heat (like warm compresses or a shallow bath if the abscess can be submerged that way), it encourages them to surface, scab up then open and drain. Once an abscess is open you need to flush them twice a day with saline until they heal up near the surface. This helps get pus and gunk out of the crevices etc and encourages healing and drying out. If the abscess heals with any bacteria at all inside it will recur over and over.

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