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Rat with facial swelling.

Species: Other
Breed: Rat
Age: 1-2 years
My rat has developed swelling on the left side of her face. Her entire cheek has swollen, it's tender when I touch it and blood is being excreted from her nasal passage.
She was treated for a respiratory infection with Baytril about two months ago.
She gave birth to six rat kittens on the 18th of January.

I'm not sure what to do with my rat, the swelling is quite large, it developed over the course of day. Is it galangular (parotid or thyroid) or an abcess? I'm really stumped.

I need to know how to treat it.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

Sorry to hear that Duchess is having these problems.

There are a few things that can cause a swelling on the side of a rat's face.

I always get worried about cancers with rats. Some rats can get a cancer called a Zymbal's gland tumor. These cause an ulcerated mass on the side of the face just below the ear. Some of these can be benign but some can be very cancerous. If it is benign it's possible it could be removed with surgery. However, if this is a tumor and it is causing bleeding from her nose then the odds are that it is cancerous.

It could be an abscess - possibly a tooth root abscess. Unfortunately with rats, they do not produce a liquid pus that can be treated by just lancing and putting the animal on antibiotics. They usually need to have surgery to remove the pus as it is very thick.

An abscess as a result of an ear infection is possible as well. There's a small chance it could get better with antibiotics prescribed by your vet, but some of these need surgery too.

Unfortunately there really is no at home treatment I can recommend here.

Dr. Marie



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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.