Poor Burt. Things haven't been going his way lately.
As I posted earlier, Burt and Hammie did not have a very good go at our first attempt at introductions post-neuter and both ended up with small injuries. I normally don't worry much about skin wounds on rats. Rats heal extremely quickly and usually without incident, as was the case for Hammie, who is as good as new.
One particularly large scabby area cleaned up rather nicely and ended up looking like this:
I assumed this was an abscess that had come to a head, but I could not express what looked like pus - not with pressure or with massage from a warm wet wash cloth. Burt really did not like me messing with it, so I went to the online forums for help and learned that there is a good chance this is a cyst and not an abscess.
I decided to leave it alone and keep things clean until his appointment. I do not know what caused the cyst or if it is related to his squirmish with Hammie. Maybe the vet will have some answers for me.
His other injuries look like scabs. Because it is unusual for injuries to scab like this, I suspect there is some sort of skin infection involved that may be related to the cyst or that may have caused/worsened it. The shampoo I am using a chlorhexidine shampoo to bathe him. It is an antiseptic that may help if a skin infection is complicating things. I checked his neuter site and that is clean, healthy, and unaffected.
Despite these issues, Burt has been a real sweetheart lately. His neuter has softened his control-freak nature and he is much more laid back than he used to be. He sometimes lays next to me and boggles when I rub behind his ears. He no longer paces along the cage walls or bites the bars or chews the tray when the other rats are out. He is calm and relaxed. If we can get these skin problems cleared up, I am hopeful that a second attempt at intros may go better than the first. In the mean time, Ruby is keeping him comfortable and happy in the lower half of the DCN.