What to do when a rat or mouse injures a toenail.

Photo by Debbie Douglas

Photo by Debbie Douglas

Climbing, running and spastic play often leads to a ripped or torn toe nail and one point or another. As experienced rat, mouse and other rodent folks know, a ripped toenail will bleed to the point where it looks like a mass murder took place. Fear not! Though there appears to be a lot of blood the treatment is fairly simple and non-threatening to the animal.

Once you get your heart out of your throat and back where it belongs, remove the injured animal and assess the situation. If the toe is still bleeding you will need to take care of that first. It is always best to keep some styptic powder on hand for such occasions. Styptic powder contains benzocaine, which helps to stop the bleeding. If you do not have styptic powder on hand corn starch or flour will also work, though styptic powder is recommended. Coat the offending toe with the styptic powder and check periodically to see if the bleeding has stopped. You may need to apply slight pressure to the toe. If it is a fresh wound you can expect it to take a good five minutes to stop bleeding and clot.

Once the bleeding has stopped apply some Neosporin to the toe. Try to keep the rodent from licking the Neosporin from the toe until it dries a bit. If the nail was removed from the toe it will grow back in time, just as human nails do. If it is still attached you may wish to trim the nail. Continue to apply Neosporin to the toe several times daily until any redness goes away. If the toe becomes otherwise discolored or greatly swollen after 24 hours, vet assistance may be necessary to treat for infection.

To prevent toe nails from being ripped, keep your rodent’s nails trimmed on a monthly basis.

Featured Photo by @Rat_Tails