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Home Remedies for Rodents with Bumblefoot
(ulcerative pododermatitis)

Ulcerative pododermatitis, known to pet rodent keepers as
Bumblefoot, is a fairly common and very painful infection of
a soft pad on the bottom of a rodent's foot. Even a very
small injury to the foot can lead to a bad infection with a
fungus or staphylococcus bacteria, which creates a swollen
lump on the foot that may be crusty or may bleed profusely.
If the infection progresses, the rodent may stop eating and
become ill, the infected limb may need amputation, and if
left untreated the infection can lead to the animal's death.

The condition can occur in nearly all captive rodents, from
chinchillas to pygmy mice, as well as in captive birds and
rabbits. It is believed that foot injuries from walking and
climbing on wire cages are a primary cause of this problem,
so it is a good idea to cover the bottom and shelves of your
rodent cages with smooth plastic so the animals are less
likely to be injured and so give the bacteria a foothold.
(Pun intended.) If you build your own cages, consider making
the floor and shelves from solid non-toxic and chewable

Antibiotics prescribed by your veterinarian are the best
cure for a chronic or progressed Bumblefoot infection, but
there are some home remedies that other pet owners have used
that may help clear up a beginning ulcerative pododermatitis

Below are some prevention and home remedy suggestions for

1. One of the best preventatives is to keep your pets from
becoming obese. It isn't only obese rodents that get
Bumblefoot; obesity makes the infection much more likely.

2. Make sure that your pets, even if they aren't obese, get
plenty of exercise and playtime and that they aren't
overcrowded or kept in temperatures that are too warm or
humid for their species. All of those things seem to
contribute to depression of the animal's immune system and
increase its vulnerability to all types of infections.

3. Experienced rodent keepers suggest that as soon as you
see symptoms of Bumblefoot, bed the animal on towels or
other soft bedding to prevent further injury, rinse the foot
with a topical antibiotic fluid, apply topical antibiotics
ointment (such as Neosporin), and apply a bandage if the
ulcer is open and weeping or bleeding. Change and sterilize
the bedding daily and change the bandage and reapply the
antibiotics twice a day until the injury is healed. (If the
injury doesn't begin to heal up within a few weeks, oral or
injected antibiotics from a veterinarian may be required.)

4. The herb Echinacea is believed by many to boost immune
response in many species including rats and humans. You
might add a few drops of Echinacea tincture to your pet's
drinking water every day. (If your pet doesn't seem to like
the taste you can also add a few drops of honey.) Don't give
Echinacea full time as a preventative because the body
develops a resistance to it, but you can give it to your
pets one week out of each month for its preventative
effects, and give it for longer periods if an animal becomes

5. Probiotics boost the immune systems of both rodents and
humans. If your pet is not a rat, mouse or other omnivorous
rodent you may want to ask a knowledgeable veterinarian
before giving probiotics, but for the more common rodent
pets you can purchase a probiotic product designed for
animals and give it regularly for an immune boost.

6. Garlic is almost a miracle drug, in our opinion! It is
said to have antibiotic properties equal to penicillin and
mild side effects (indigestion is possible with too much
ingestion). Try crushing a raw clove into your pet's
favorite food, or at least mix in the contents of a garlic

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