Poor Franc.  He’s had a rough time of it lately.  On March 9th hubby said “it looks like he’s holding food in his cheek [like a hamster]”.  On the 10th his face was visibly swollen.  By the morning of Saturday the 11th I was in full freak out mode because he looked like this:

franc had an abscess that made his face swell up       

Super swollen on one side of his face, and a blackness starting to appear on his cheek.  He also smelled REALLY bad.  Like death but different.  It was nasty.  I was so worried about my boy!

Thankfully our rat vet, Dr. Cahill at Seaport Vet in Gloucester, could see him that morning, and ended up draining what amounted to be a nasty abscess.  Dr. Cahill said the smell almost made him pass out, and it was full of blood clots & grey pus.  Yum. We took Franc back home and he had some medicine, ate some scrambled eggs, & rested:

franc after returning from the vet & getting his abscess drained

By Monday morning he was looking much less swollen, but the blackness was more pronounced:

It looked like he had half a handlebar mustache.  Thankfully he was eating and taking his 2 antibiotics & anti-inflammatory medicine like a champ.  We’ve been giving him soft food like scrambled eggs, avocado, whipped cream, bread, & cheese.

By this past Friday [the 17th] he was looking and acting so much better.  He had his energy back and was zooming around his cage.  But the black spot was forming into a big scab with tufts of white fur poking through:


By last night I finally caught a glimpse of my adorable boy’s adorable bottom lip – look at that smile!:

But this morning we were greeted by a nasty surprise.  The scab had fallen off, revealing a hole in the side of Franc’s face *horror*:


My poor boy!!!  Thankfully today was his follow up vet visit.  Dr. Cahill said overall he’s looking really well.  Phew!  I left Franc with him for a few hours.  He wanted to sedate Franc and do a thorough examination of his mouth.  He also took some x-rays to check for an impacted tooth root.  Franc came through with a clean bill of health!  So he’ll be on antibiotics for another couple weeks, but Dr. Cahill thinks he’ll make a full recovery [asides from his cheek].

He enjoyed some whipped cream this morning before his visit:


Hopefully his face will heal, but he might always look a little snagglepuss:


Franc is my 31st rat since 2003.  I’ve never seen anything like this.  Dr. Cahill thinks he might have cut the inside of his mouth on something and it caused the abscess.  I’m just so thankful he’s on the mend!

(Visited 471 times, 1 visits today)


  1. Carolyn

    Hi! I wanted to know more about Franc’s abscess and what the doctor said about the black marks. I am having a similar issue with my ratty Jupiter. Please write me back. This is the first rat I have seen with what looks similar to what mine is going through. Thank you,

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      Hi Carolyn, I’m sorry to hear about Jupiter. The black spots were dead/necrotic skin 🙁 The vet drained the abscess, and gave Franc antibiotics and slowly he got better. The abscess area turned into a large scab which fell off to reveal no upper lip on Franc, as you can see in the photos above. Where is Jupiter’s abscess? Have you taken him to the vet yet? If not, please do, it won’t get better on it’s own and the bacteria inside could kill him.

  2. Wow! Poor little Franc! Was the black stuff necrotized flesh? As long as he isn’t in pain with that awful abscess anymore, I doubt he will care. Just don’t let him look in the mirror! 🙂

  3. Anne

    Poor Franc. If he ends up with a lopsided face, he’ll never know the difference. He’ll just be happy Franc.
    You’re lucky you have a such great vet nearby.
    Keep us posted.

    1. Nine Dark Moons

      So lucky to have found Dr. Cahill! He was working for Dr. French when I first met him, and then left to start his own practice. I and many other people followed him. He’s amazing with all animals, including rats!

Comments are closed.