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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone have any information on blocked milk ducts in rats? I noticed a soft moveable lump under one of Wafer's nipples today. I am assuming tumor but I read that it COULD be a blocked milk duct but I can't find any more information on that particular option. Does anyone have any information?

This is my first rat tumor ever.

PS. I rescued her. She WAS a breeder but hasn't had a litter in a long time... since before I got her last fall.
 

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You can treat it like and abscess and give warm compresses a few times a day. If it really is a blocked milk duct, that should clear it up. But unfortunately, it most likely is a tumor :( Since she's getting tumors, it would be really beneficial to get her spayed at the same time as the tumor is removed, and this should almost eliminate the chances of her developing any more tumors and having to go in for more surgeries. (I just did the tumor/spay surgery to my older girl, so I'm hoping it works out well and she'll not develop anymore tumors!)
 

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For the record, spaying after a rat already got a tumor does not prevent more tumors. My girl Cream had a tumor removed that ended up being surrounded by milk (strange, I know) and was spayed at the same time. Six months later, three more tumors popped up. Same type. She was a year and a half old when she was spayed and two years when she died because the tumors spread to her lungs.

Spaying young allegedly prevents tumors (I don't have experience with this so I don't know), but not when they're older. Maybe it lessons the chances, but don't count on it preventing more tumors.
 

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spaying reduces the chances of hormonally driven tumours reoccurring, it doesn't prevent then bit it does also slow thete growth.

I've come across milk duct blockages but they aren't that common and tend to be nearer when she's nursing. It could be worth asking the vet to du a fine needle aspiration as that will trek you very quickly
 

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Just pointing out I said almost eliminate, not definite, since mammary tumors are usually hormonally driven. It's not impossible of course for tumors to still occur, it's just much less likely (for the hormonal tumors like mammary and pituitary specifically). It's not very helpful for other tumors, like the ones that spread into other body parts unfortunately, which are not mammary tumors. There's studies that show that the chances of mammary tumors reoccurring after a tumor/spay surgery is drastically reduced, but still possible, just rare. But that if they happen to get mammary tumors after a spay, they usually grow much much slower, and stay fairly small. Nothing is a 100% guarantee on anything of course, especially when trying to predict health and genetics, but it is still beneficial and gives a much better chance for them to not come back. When spayed young, those studies found that most of the rats lived a much longer life than the intact or late-age spay girls. I think some of the lucky girls were 3 years and 7 months? I'd have to look it up again to be sure.
 

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Cream's tumors were mammary tumors. She might have had some other types too, which could be what spread to her lungs, but she had at least three visible mammary tumors (I guess it's even possible she just got pneumonia. Didn't do a necropsy so no way to know what was in her lungs). They certainly did not grow slowly nor were they any smaller than the tumor she had before being spayed.
 

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That's unfortunate. It's by no means a guarantee of course, just gives a much better chance at reducing risks for most rats. Your girl must have just been pretty unlucky in this case, poor thing. :(
 

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I recently had a rat with an infected mammary gland. It formed a lump and I thought it was a tumor. I'm presuming its the same thing as what you were saying about a blocked milk duct.

The vet offered to surgically remove it, but we didnt have the money at the time. So we kept an eye on it. Over time (about a month) it grew bigger and bigger each day, until it was starting to touch the floor of her cage and reduce her movement. So at that time, we made the decision to put her to sleep as I didnt want it to get red and raw and be painful for her.

She was behaving perfectly normally the whole time. Didn't seem to be suffering at all and was behaving like a normal rat.

I have a rat with 2 possible tumors (not 100% sure yet, waiting to take her to vets in the new year) and they are growing no where near as fast as her lump was.

I think, if your going to get it surgically removed, best do it sooner rather than later, considering how fast it grew.

Good luck, let us know what will happen :) xx
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just a thank you for the advice and the information. Warm compress didn't help so after Christmas, it is off to the vet. It isn't growing, changing shape, getting harder or anything so we're hoping for the best!
 

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I also suggest getting her spayed at the same time as removal. While spaying with mammary tumor removal doesn't guarantee future tumors won't pop up, it does reduce the likelihood and often will cause them to grow more slowly if they do appear. I've spayed and de-tumored quite a few rats and most of them did not have their tumors return. Those that did, they took time to recur that I believe they would not have had if not for the spays. Obviously, there may be exceptions, but it does help in most cases.
 
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