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I'm aware this isn't really in the right place but I still have these obligatory posts to use up, so...
Luna had a large abscess on her side just below her arm. It was about the size of a gumdrop at its largest. I researched abscesses carefully, and a day or two after the scab appeared, I took her into the (empty) bathtub. I filled a cup with very warm saline water, soaked a cotton ball in it, and began gently dabbing at her scab with it. After a few dabs, the scab split and pus began leaking out. Using more cotton balls and some gentle squeezing, I drained the abscess steadily until Luna gave a squeak and jumped--that's when I decided to stop. The scab didn't fall off so I left it on for the time being.
I was worried about it being hurt by my other rat/cage fixtures etc so I moved her into the small travel tank we have, really more of a cricket keeper but large enough for them both to hang out comfortably. I gave her bedding to keep warm, as well as some peas and water, and kept her isolated in there for another day or so. This may have been overkill but I just didn't want her getting hurt. After another day or so of being in this small isolation tank (which we kept right against the main cage so she wasn't truly "isolated"), I took her out, wettened the scab again, and removed it gently. There was a small amount more of pus, which I cleaned, as well as a tiny bit of blood. I used Neosporin on it, kept stroking her head for about 10 minutes to let it absorb, then returned her to the small tank. The next day the wound had a good fresh scab (the first one was black and gross) so I returned her to the main tank. Everything seemed fine.
The next day when I woke up at 4AM (night shift) she was cold and still.
What could have happened? I described the process of the abscess in detail because I'm assuming it was related. I assume any type of virus or sickness would take days to manifest and have visible symptoms; also my other rat, Dagny, is as perky and happy as ever.
My hypothesis: I read in several places online that Neosporin was OK for rats, so long as you made sure it absorbed and wiped it off before the rat tried to eat it. But here's the thing--the "Neosporin" I keep at my home is actually a prescription kind left over that a friend gave me when I wounded my hand at work. It reads "Neomycin and Polymyxin B Sulfates, and Bacitracin Zinc Ointment"
Please understand that I would NEVER EVER give any unknown medication to an animal; just that I read that Neosporin is safe and I have been equating this stuff with Neosporin for years now. I assumed it was the same and I am now deeply ashamed, I think I'm responsible for the death of a sweet, innocent baby animal. Her life was short but she was lovely to know.
Does anyone think that this ointment I used may have killed her, or have any other theories? The room the cage is in is kept very warm, they had adequate food and water, no signs of violence from other rat on her body, even the scab from the abscess still looked fine. I have never had an animal die so suddenly before. Even when my dog was poisoned by someone (grr), he became very ill and we were able to detect it and take him to the vet and save his life. Maybe a rat's metabolism is just too quick.
 

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Neosporin shouldn't of hurt her. As a complete guess I think there was something else going on. Being it was under her arm I would think mammary or some kind of lymphatic issue. I'm thinking it was really a tumor there that had abscessed and then burst. Her untimely death may of been caused by whatever the real issue was, a tumor can have a lot of blood vessels involved and perhaps when the abscess burst, it also did inside and she may of either bled internally or allowed the infection to spread internally. Without a necropsy there is no way to be certain.

I'm sorry for your loss. Abscess are normally quite easy to deal with, but I think your rat had something else going on.
 

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When I looked up the product, it spoke of possible allergic reactions. So if the rat ingested the product, it may be a cause in her death. But there is not really any way to know for sure. It sounds like you provided proper care to your rat. I would avoid that med in the future tho. Stick to polysporin or neosporin just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. I was pretty stunned I guess, she was a very sweet girl. Today we went to the only two local animal rescues that keep rats; neither had any females. So I'm checking craigslist and stuff, looking for a new friend for my other rat...
 
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