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A week ago (2/17) I took my rat Sugar to the vet, where she had an abscess opened, drained, & cleaned. I was given Chlorhexidine to rinse out the abscess pocket, Bactrim oral meds, and Silver Sulfadiazine to put inside the abscess as well.

It seemed to be on its way to closing up until yesterday (3/4), when I saw that she (or her sister) had licked/chewed the abscess open again (edges were bloody & fresh, not like the abscess had "re-opened" on its own). Last night after her daily cleaning I wrapped Sugar up in a "burrito" bandage and she's not happy, but hasn't wiggled out yet and can't get to the wound anymore.

Considering this set-back, about how much longer should I expect healing to take? I only have two or three days of oral antibiotics left, but plenty of the wash and topical. I know some people say abscesses will heal on their own without any meds, but this is my first experience with one so I'm extra nervous.

Obviously, if it starts looking infected (well, more infected, it is an abscess after all) or Sugar seems to be in pain I'll bring her back to the vet, I'm not asking for medical advice. Just reassurances I guess. :)

And have a picture of Sugar sulking in her wrap just because:
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In case anyone wanted an update, it's been just over two weeks since Sugar's abscess was drained and it isn't healed yet. :/

I planned to call the vet today, but apparently the clinic closes much earlier than I thought so I will have to wait until Monday when they re-open since this isn't an emergency. The abscess still doesn't look "bad", it's not actively draining, swollen, hot to the touch, bloody, etc- but it's definitely still open and looks kinda crusty inside. Aside from that it does seem healthy pink, which is reassuring.

And have another picture of the sweet girl; she was very happy to have that bandage taken off!
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An unfortunate update- over the weekend Sugar's abscess went from "not getting better but not getting worse" to "now it's Worse" so I called the vet, and sent pictures. The vet wants to do surgery to clean the abscess and remove infected tissue. Unfortunately I have gone over my finances forwards and backwards, and I can't afford surgery- the vet estimated it would be around the same cost as an earlier tumor removal, $300. I also don't want to put Sugar through the stress of anesthesia, etc, since she's a little over 2.5 years now, and because the abscess is right in her groin I am worried that surgery may compromise bladder & bowel function.

I think the abscess wasn't healing because I wasn't very thorough at cleaning the pus & infected material out the first time, so the infection just festered. I was too squeamish about causing Sugar discomfort when I cleaned, and tbh I was kinda grossed out by the idea of pus. After soaking and exploring it (carefully!) today I also found that the pocket went deeper than I originally thought.

Now that I know things aren't improving on their own I am being far more aggressive and frequent in my cleanings, and have asked the vet for another round of antibiotics. She is skeptical that it will cure the abscess but since surgery is outside of my means, this is the best option I have for treatment because I'm not ready to give up- and I don't think Sugar is either!
 

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Minor update just to say that I am amazed at how much gunk one little rat can have inside them.

Since Monday when I talked to the vet I have been soaking Sugar in warm water & physically cleaning the abscess out with cotton swabs twice a day, and it seems like every session I end up removing so much gross pus. I'll spare y'all the gory details but her abscess isn't one smooth pocket inside like a simple abscess but is convoluted, so I have to clean in stages depending on how much she can put up with in a single session.

As well as oral antibiotics and the earlier medicines, this time the vet also gave me some "golden-yellow salve" which is an herbal mix based on Chinese traditional medicine, has anyone ever used it on a rat? The vet says she's used it on a few rabbits, but mostly just dogs & cats. From what I have been able to look up it is mostly anti-inflammatory and mildly antiseptic, and shouldn't cause a bad reaction but of course you never know. I am focusing on cleaning the abscess fully before I really start packing it with this, but I'm intrigued.

Sugar is such a trooper for putting up with all of this and not even getting cranky with me for it! 🐁❤
 
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