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Hi All,

One of my female rats, Olivia (both females are 10 months old), has developed a tumor in about her front right armpit. I'm assuming its a mammary tumor :( about the size of a marble. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with this and if you can help me estimate how the next couple of months will progress.

Do you know how quickly they usually grow? (I feel like it became noticeable within the last 2-ish weeks).

I'm not going to put her through surgery. She had a respiratory infection at about 6 months old so she doesn't have the strongest of genes anyway and I just couldn't bare to put her through the pain and post-op of a surgery. I know the general signs of pain but is there anything that I should be watching for that would really signal her quality of life has been compromised?

And then if anyone has advice on how to take care of a single rat after her companion has died, that would be much appreciated. Zoe has only ever known life with Olivia and when Olivia goes, I don't know if it's kinder to have them both put down together. Assuming Olivia lives another maybe 6 months? They would be just under 1.5 years and with the inbreeding that I think they came from, I'm not sure either would live much past that.

Any advice is greatly appreciated.
 

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I put my rat through surgery and made sure she had pain meds because I wanted her to have a few extra months of a better quality life. Her tumour came back and quickly grew to three times its original size (which we had surgically removed within a week of noticing it). What you can watch out for is the tumor getting bigger and bigger each month and watching your rat slip away and be in discomfort.

Contemplating putting a healthy rat down is ridiculous. You can spend extra time a lone rat if you don't want to top your rat up. I top my rats up if they loose a cagemate or have a ninja rat as a cagemate. It doesn't always work out though.

ETA: I have a rat living by himself who was housed with his brother until he bit his brother open down to the muscle. Although he is a 'lone' rat he is doing fine and because of his aggressive nature he is not allowed to freerange with any other rats. He seems to be doing fine and is goofy and comical by nature although he is sliced me open too.
 

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If her breathing is good now I would recomend surgery. I had it with two of my girls, and you'd be amazed how fast they recover. The next day except for the shaved fur you'd never know anything was ever wrong. They were old at the time and both are still active and healthy. Without surgery, it will grow until it ulcates, and then the only kind thing is euthanasia. I was so afraid when mine had it, but I thought if they were going to die either way, at least this way they had a chance and if they died on the table it would be as painless as being put down.

If her breathing is still bad and surgery is not an option, there are things you can do to slow the growth. My Dash has a tumor on her side, and I would have had it removed, but tumors were also found in her lungs. I tried a mix of turkey tail mushroom powder, apricot baby food, and wheatgrass powder. later I added gogi berry juice. The vet said she'd be dead in weeks. That was well over two months ago and her lump has grown slightly, but otherwise she's the healthiest she's ever been.

Rats can live to three fairly often. I definately would not put Zoe down when Olivia goes unless she's obviously suffering. If you think the end is near for Olivia, I would get a new rat and introduce her to Zoe before you have to have Olivia put to sleep. You may be surprised at how much time Olivia has yet though. I know tumors are terrible, but they aren't an automatic death sentence. Until they get big enough to affect movement rats don't really seem bothered by them. I still recomend surgery if, but only if, her lungs are clear now. A rat actually has only a four percent chance of dying under anethesia, and they do recover fast. You may have over a year with her yet. But if surgery is really not an option, the treatment I've tried has really, really made a difference with Dash
 
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