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The Truth About Salves

Topical ointments help us with those small cuts and injuries. If we have a cut, we wash it off, put some antibiotic ointment on it, bandage it up, and go about our business.

It helps us so we think it'll help our rats too. But this isn't always the case.

Unlike rats, after we cut ourselves and put the salve on, we also generally put a band-aid on. Nor do we hobble over to a full toilet and rest our injured part in there for a couple of hours. In fact we generally make conscious attempts at not rubbing our injury in anything - even with the band-aid on.

Mother nature prepared us for injuries. Believe it or not, we'd survive without salves for smaller cuts and injuries. Soap and water alone do a lot to get the gunk out and leaving it dry allows it to heal...naturally.

Of course we also need to take into account what we do, where the wound is at, etc. If we work on cars, shovel barns, play with food, etc. it's not a bad idea to bandage wounds in areas that will come into contact with what we do. If we sit at a desk and shuffle papers, just salve and/or soap and water will do (no band-aid necessary).

Similarly with rats, we should consider all aspects of their activity, environment, etc before globbing on the salves....especially since there are no rat band-aids (and for good reason - rats kill band-aids!)

Yes, an antibiotic salve will work at keeping the adverse organisms at bay...but so will their bodies.

However: Salve will also work at attracting and embedding more organisms.

In other words, salve can both help and hurt at the same time.

So if a rat has got a wound on his/her abdomen or tail....places that get soaked in toilet mire a lot....DON'T use salve. If the wound is elsewhere, and the rat doesn't wallow in whatever on that portion of the body, go for it...but also keep an eye on it. Your rat may have some behavior that's causing that salve to do more harm than good....in which case, the best option is to wash the area with soap and water and forego the salve.

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Disclaimer: There are many non-sarcastic accounts and tips on the web regarding rat care. This is not one of them. These are merely accounts of our experiences with rats, our perceptions of these experiences, where we've failed and where we've succeeded. These accounts are here for two purposes:

    1) To entertain.
    2) To help avoid repetition of mistakes

  Remember! Your rat is not a science project, he is your friend!

All content contained herein © 1996-2007 by Andrew Waltz, Nathalie Baldwin, & the rats of RatRaisins, Inc.  
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