Rat Health Care & Information

Rat First Aid Kit

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These are items that should be kept in a safe, clean dry place for emergencies and aftercare only, always take your rat to a Veterinary Surgeon if it is ill or injured.

COTTON BUDS

COTTONWOOL BALLS

SMALL TOWEL(S)

PIECES OF FLEECE FABRIC

ROLL OF KITCHEN TOWEL

TWEEZERS

NURSING SCISSORS

SACHETS OF UNFLAVOURED DIORALYTE OR SIMILAR REHYDRATION  SALTS

VETERINARY DISINFECTANT

DILUTED TEA-TREE OIL

WOUND POWDER

VETERINARY OINTMENT OR CREAM

TUBE OR TIN OF CONCENTRATED FOOD

SMALL SYRINGES WITHOUT NEEDLES

WIRE CUTTERS

Heat Pad

Stethoscope

HOSPITAL TANK


COTTON BUDS

These are useful for cleaning small wounds and infections and for applying topical medicines.

Get them from: Pharmacist, Supermarket, Discount shop.


COTTONWOOL BALLS

These are useful for cleaning larger areas.

Get them from: Pharmacist, Supermarket, Discount shop.


SMALL TOWELS

These can be used for wrapping a rat if it is struggling during treatment or for drying a rat after washing.

Get them from: Discount shop, Charity shop.


PIECES OF FLEECE FABRIC

Fleece is fairly cheap to buy from fabric shops and can be cut up to make blankets for wrapping sick or shocked rats in to keep them warm. There is also a product called VetBed which is available from pet shops and can be cut to shape to fit tanks or hospital cages.

Get them from: Fabric shop, pieces cut from old clothes.


ROLL OF KITCHEN TOWEL

Particularly useful when treating infected wounds and abscesses as a table covering or to soak up liquids as it can be destroyed after use.           

Get them from : Supermarket, Discount shop.


TWEEZERS

It is worth buying good quality ones as they work much better. Used for removing foreign objects.

Get them from: Good ones from a Pharmacist, cheaper ones from Discount Shop or Supermarket.


NURSING SCISSORS

Good general purpose scissors, can be used for clipping nails, and fur from around a wound or abscess.

Get them from: Pharmacist.


REHYDRATION SALTS

For replacing lost fluids in sick or shocked rats. Follow the instructions on the packet for the correct dilution.

Get them from: Veterinary surgery (usually large packets designed for horses) Pharmacist (smaller sachets for babies and children are good, flavoured or plain e.g Dioralyte)

Alternative make your own with sugar and salt dissolved in warm boiled water.

1 litre cooled boiled water, 1 level teaspoon salt, 8 level teaspoons sugar.

OR

1/2 litre cooled boiled water, 1.75 grams salt, 20 grams sugar.


VETERINARY DISINFECTANT

For cleaning wounds, follow instructions on the packet to make sure the dilution is correct. It's worth asking your vet for a small bottle of Hibiscrub as this is what they use in the surgery's as disinfectant. You can also buy Hibisol from chemists.

Get them from: Pet Shop, Veterinary Surgery, chemist. 

Alternative: one teaspoon of salt to one pint of cooled boiled water.


DILUTED TEA-TREE OIL

For help to treat skin conditions and complaints such as staphylococcus aureus. Tea-tree oil cream or wash with at least 5% tea-tree is recommended to be the best mix to help clear staph skin infections. (also use on yourself as this is transferable to humans)

Get them from: Chemist or drug store


WOUND POWDER

Useful for  small cuts and nail injuries as it helps to stop minor bleeding.

Get them from: Pet Shop, Veterinary Surgery.


VETERINARY OINTMENT OR CREAM

For treating wounds and sores and infection especially if you do not want them to dry out or close too quickly.

Get them from: Pet Shop, Veterinary Surgery.


TUBE OR TIN OF CONCENTRATED FOOD e.g NUTRICAL, HILLS A/D

For rats that have poor appetites who need to gain weight and strength. Also Hill's A/D is fine enough consistency that it can be used for syringe feeding rats, either straight from the tin or watered down. It can also be frozen in smaller amounts from the tin, so no wastage and always some in the freezer for emergencies.

Also useful for hiding foul tasting medicines.

Also a product call PolyAid from the Bird Care Company

Get them from :Veterinary surgery, Pet Shop.


SMALL SYRINGES

For flushing out wounds and abscess cavities. Also for administering liquid medicines and rehydration fluids.

Get them from: Veterinary Surgery.


WIRE CUTTERS

Rats can become trapped in wire cages and half chewed igloos and may need to be cut out, always keep them handy. If you ever have to trim rats teeth, a good quality pair of wire cutters is one of the best things to use.

Get them from: Hardware Supplier.


HEAT PAD

After operations or if a rat is ill, it is important to keep the rat warm, so heat pads (the type used commonly for reptiles/spiders is perfect) or a method of helping keep the rat warm are important. A hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or even the microwavable heated grain packs will also do.

Get them from: pet shop.


STETHOSCOPE

Stethoscopes can give you a good idea when something is wrong by listening to a rats breathing. The heart rate is really fast, but if you can hear abnormal noises, then it is worth a trip to the vet.

Get them from: online medical stores, pet shop, veterinary surgery.


HOSPITAL TANK

Make this yourself from plastic storage boxes and garden wire.


There are many sites with alternative and extended First Aid Kit for rats. Do bear in mind with first aid kits that any medications you choose to keep will have a short expiry date so will need replacing every few months or so.

http://spazrats.tripod.com/firstaid.html

http://health.ratzrus.co.uk/firstaid.htm

http://www.afrma.org/firstaidkit.htm

http://www.ratfanclub.org/firstaid.html

Original Article written by Marion Benham and updated by Estelle

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Images & Text Copyright 2009 Estelle Sandford, Alpha Centauri
Please do not reproduce without permission
Last modified: February 08, 2017