If your rat rips off his or her toe nail, it can seem like a very bloody massacre to have a panic attack over. Almost every rat owner has faced a ripped off toe nail. It can be a scary incident, but with the proper care your rat will be just fine. It will not die! That is, as long as you take proper care of the wound and the rat during the healing process.
How Do I Stop the Rat’s Toe from Bleeding?
Sometimes, you might not notice it when the rat first becomes injured. Other times, you might hear a squeak or squeal, alerting you to the fact that something is wrong. When you run to the cage, the first thing you might see is blood everywhere! Don’t panic, as your panicking will only stress out the rat and make it feel uncomfortable and uncertain as you are handling him or her. Instead, check the toe to see if there are any additional injuries. The rat could have amputated its toe, it could have been in a bad fight with a cagemate and could have other injuries such as severe bites and lacerations, or it may simply be a broken off nail.
Once you have identified exactly what is going on, rush to the kitchen for some ice cold water, ice cubes, and paper towels or a microfiber cloth. You want something that will not snag on the injured toe. Place the toe in some cold water to rinse it off and constrict blood vessels. Then, use an ice cube as a momentary cold compress. The bleeding should stop fairly quickly.
Do I Need to Call a Veterinarian? Should I Take My Rat to an Emergency Clinic Since It’s late at Night?
As long as your rat does not have any further injuries, you should not need to call a vet. By the time you made it to the veterinarian, the bleeding will most likely have stopped. At that point, the only thing the small animal specialist could do is to clean and sanitize the wound with an antibacterial cream or spray. You could do this yourself at home.
If for some reason the bleeding will not stop, you should go to the clinic to get the bleeding under control. This also goes for amputated toes or mangled feet (accidents do happen- people have accidentally closed the cage on a foot and severely injured the rat), and rats who suffer severe injuries from an altercation with other rats in the cage.
How Do I Clean the Rat’s Wound? Will It Become Infected? Could My Rat Die From a Ripped Off Toe Nail?
For the most part, I recommend cleaning the wound with some non toxic antibacterial soap, such as dawn. Cages are loaded with germs, so make sure that the cage is clean and the injured toe is kept clean as well. After the initial cleaning, keep an antiseptic on hand. Apply it in the morning, and at night. The one to the right is perhaps my favorite recommendation, as it can be used on many different species with antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. If your rat rips off a toe, or dog develops a hot spot, it’s going to come in handy for sure.
As the toe is kept clean, you will see it healing very quickly. Generally, rats get over this very quickly. It is nothing to freak out about, unless there are more severe issues. Many people have ripped off finger nails and toe nails before, and while it SUCKS, it’s not going to be the end of you.
The only reason a rat would pass away from a broken off nail is due to infection or excessive bleeding. Both of these are possibilities, but avoidable for the most part. Using the ice water and disinfectant should keep both of these issues from occurring.