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Discussion Starter #1
So earlier, my daughter took a hard core bite while breaking up a fight between two of the boys we were trying to reintroduce (a post in Rat Behavior, if you'd be so kind to lend a hand with that as well!). I have a question regarding the likelihood of the bite she's got becoming infected:

It's pretty deep, though we've decided it's not stitches-deep. We've washed it, put Neosporin on it a few times, and bandaged it up. It's finally not bleeding like a nicked vein anymore (for a while there it was pretty icky, but she's always been a bleeder - a paper cut bleeds like you wouldn't believe, so something with depth to it... man!), but I'm worried about it getting infected, and of course if you even MENTION an animal bite, all **** breaks loose. I've already told her that, if she's asked by anyone, not to mention it came from one of the rats. I know, I know - I shouldn't condone lying, but I remember a year ago my mom's puppy was trying to grab a toy from her hand and missed and got her instead. She ended up needing stitches, and she told them what happened - puppy, wound up and hyper, aiming for the toy and got her - and she still had paperwork to fill out and was essentially filled with the fear of all things holy about it ever happening again. And that was a dog with an adult. A child with a rat? That's not going to go nearly as well, I fear.

Anyway. With regular cleaning and antiseptic and what not, what are the chances of this being a problem?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
New fear. I just made myself a little ill. Rat Bite fever - One in ten cases?
 

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Don't get too worried. I'm not a doctor by any means, so I would suggest you definitely see one to make sure everything is okay. My take on it is this: Don't panic about RBF, just be cautious. There have only been a few deaths (I'm pretty sure the statistics were single digits) in the last ten years or so. I would compare the risk of actually dying from RBF to the risk of dying from toxic shock syndrome. It's possible, but very unlikely, especially in a healthy individual. Possible, but lightning strike rare. There have really only been a few studies done, and there aren't very many statistics for how many cases involve pets because hospitals aren't required to report it like, say, TB or ebola. I'm not an expert at all, but from what I've read the disease is little understood by emerges in a lot of people with flu-like symptoms, and most people are able to recover to my knowledge. RBF can be caused by simply coming into contact with rat secretions (urine, saliva) and having them get into an open wound or other entry point to the body. There have been a handful of cases reported by people who have worked in pet stores and simply got it from changing dirty bedding. You can even get it from scratches. But, it's a lot rarer than it's hyped up to be. Odds are, if she's been caring for these guys for a while she will have already been exposed and probably will not come down with it. I was afraid of RBF at the beginning because my girls were very scratchy as they got to know me. Two weeks passed, and I knew I was in the clear - because if they were going to give it to me, I assumed they would have by then, since they are in constant contact with me. That's not to say that your rats are not carriers, because not much is known about that. What is known is that dying from RBF is exceedingly rare.

Watch her for the next few weeks and make sure she doesn't come up with any flu-like symptoms. If she has a high fever, get her to an ER right away. I would get it seen by a doctor anyway, just to make sure that it's truly not warranting stitches, because sometimes it may seem like it doesn't when it really does. And, they may start her on a course of both topical and oral antibiotics similarly to what would occur after a dog bite or cat scratch. I was bitten by a neighborhood chihuahua a few years ago, and though I did not need stitches, they gave me mupirocin ointment and a course of oral antibiotics as well as a tetanus shot as a precautionary measure. It would be good to get her looked at to be safe and prevent any infection from occurring. In any wound, there is a potential for infection. (I've even been to the doctor for hangnail infections!) And even localized infections can spread. My skin gets infected super easily and it can get really painful, so anything you can do to prevent that is great.

I hope this helped, and best wishes. Make sure to let us know how she is doing. By the way, raw honey is so excellent for cuts and sores, especially when it has the sugar crystals : ) I've used it when I was out of neosporin and it worked better than the ointment. I bet if you used honey in conjunction with the neosporin it would be very potent!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks! I think the RBF moment was just that sort of mom-fear of "Oh my God, what if..."

Once I thought about it, we've had Billy and Prismo (the hairless rats who seems to be the culprits of the problems) for two months now at least, and both my daughter and I have been scratched and nipped enough that, if it were a real problem, one of us would have come down with something by now.

I'll have to look into the honey though! I feel like I'd read that on here as well. Does it itch? I almost imagine it would, for some reason.
 

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One my rat bucks attacked me last year and literally pulled back a layer of skin on the webbing of my hand. You could also see where he dug his bottom teeth into my hand and 'spread' his teeth apart to get a better grip. As a precaution I went to the doctor to get antibiotics because the wound was deep. For bites have yielded blood but no depth, I treated them with a topical antibiotic and crossed my fingers that I wouldn't get rbf. I survived and so did my son from these smaller bites that have broken the skin.

It's best to watch out for signs and symptoms of rbf. Just be extra vigilant during the next few weeks.
 
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