Should I do something about my rat's dead toe?
May 10, 2016 10:37 AM   Subscribe

We have an elderly (3+ year old) rat. A few days ago, he got a toe caught in a baby blanket in his cage, and the frayed end wrapped so tightly around one of his toes that I had to cut it off. There was a little bit of the string left there afterwards, and when I went to check on him last night, I realized that the entire toe now looks dead and skeletal. Should I do anything? I

It doesn't seem to be hurting him (apparently rats don't have a lot of pain receptors, but he does let us know when something hurts, like when he initially got the toe caught. Leaving aside the idea of taking him to the vet (seriously, this rat is older than dirt, and the injury isn't bothering him), can I just wait for it to fall off or something, or could there be complications?
posted by missrachael to Pets & Animals (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had to cut the string from the blanket off, that is! Not the toe.
posted by missrachael at 10:39 AM on May 10, 2016 [15 favorites]

Can you call your vet to ask their opinion? I know they might say to bring him in no matter what, but there's a chance they say something different.
posted by warble at 10:51 AM on May 10, 2016

Could get gangrenous, and kill the rat.
There's a lot of bone in that toe compared to flesh, so it's not like strangulating the balls off of a ram with an Elastrator.
Ratride to vet. They'll snip it off, and disinfect it.
posted by the Real Dan at 11:04 AM on May 10, 2016 [6 favorites]

Since he's elderly, call vet asap bcs there's risk of gangrene/infection. Rats generally heal quickly when they lose a toe and don't always need vet attention, but since he's older, definitely consult vet.

(I've had rats for years and have seen a few toes get torn off, usually no big deal but be extra cautious with old animals.)
posted by phoenix_rising at 11:24 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

You are absolutely misinformed that's rats don't have many pain receptors. You should see a vet ASAP. Anything else is cruel and negligent.
posted by OsoMeaty at 4:03 PM on May 10, 2016 [7 favorites]

Argh. You're absolutely right that I was misinformed. I got the information from the website of a woman who has written several books on pet rat care, and I assumed she was an authority. It turns out that she is not, and her advice should not be trusted.

Look for "Rat Fan Club" a few messages into that thread.

I'm leaving this reply here because it seems my mistake was a common one, and I'd like people to have this information if they search AskMeFi for rat care advice.

I'll take the little dude to the vet tomorrow.
posted by missrachael at 5:05 PM on May 10, 2016 [8 favorites]

Update update: he'll be fine. He's on antibiotics, just in case.
posted by missrachael at 8:59 AM on May 17, 2016

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