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6544 Views 42 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Poppyseed
I noticed today that Hershey has developed a lump right behind one of her front legs. What could it be? I can't afford to take her to the vet right now, so is there anything I can do in the mean time????
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Yeah that is a standard place for a mammary tumour. She's a bit young to be getting one but I have noticed this more and more. If the lump showed up slowly then it would be a tumour most likely. If it showed up very suddenly its more likely to be an abscess which can be treated, even at home or with the vet. With mammary tumours you have a couple of choices.
1) Have the tumour removed surgically with a proper rat vet who is accomplished at this surgery. It can cost quite a bit but if you have the money, its very worth it as it can really extend the life of your rat. The tumour may return but it would have to start again from "scratch" so that all that time it grows you have given to her. The only real issues with this are if your rat has chronic respiratory problems and then cannot be put under for the surgery. If you really wanted to, you could have your ratgirl spayed at the same time, and this would really reduce any chances of more tumours.
2) Leave her be. The tumour will continue to grow. Some grow slowly and some grow quite quickly. It shouldn't affect her life until it starts to impede her mobility, or if the tumour gets big enough to rub on the ground, or if it gets big enough that it starts to steal the nutrients and blood supply from her body. Her life could be as short as 2 months or a lot longer, depending on speed of growth.

I do advise one thing, make sure you have the money to have her humanely put to sleep if she needs the help. This means gas first til they are unconscious, then the fatal injection to the heart.

Good luck whatever your decision. :)
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OK here's my take on things.
I have, as some of you may know, a lot of rescue rats here. I have been thru many many surgeries over the last year and a bit. I have lost 1 rat, just one, and he died of a hidden respiratory problem that we didn't know about. He was also over 2 years old. As long as you have a good vet, antibiotics and pain meds for 1-3 days then its really not that hard on them. They heal and bounce back eerily fast. Its almost unnatural..hehe :lol:

Sebastian - neuter at 22 mo, cancerous face tumour removal at 25 mo (lived til 38 mo)
Dominic - neuter - 26 mo (aggression - died 4 days later)
Selene - tumour removal - 21 mo (still alive)
Rafiki - tumour removal - 14 mo (died of chronic respiratory at 22 mo)
Ceres - tumour removal 16 mo (died of PT at 18 mo)
Brie, Valora, Vesta, Kamali, Kyrie - spays at 5-7 mo...
Aura (my first e-spay) at 5 mo
Prima, Terra, Lucine and Zuri - spays at 5 mo plus toe amputation for Zuri
Dilbert - neuter at 3 mo
Beni, Tucker, Bear and Ortiz - neuters at 4 mo
Bronwen and Rennie - spays at 4-5 mo (both were ooops moms)
Hestia - tail amputation
Brie - lancing of throat abscesses

I myself was very worried about spaying myself, but I realized that putting a young healthy rat thru surgery is much better than putting a compromised older rat thru it later on. :( Tumour removals seem to be harder for them to bounce back from but spays (which they say reduces the possibility of mammary tumours and pituitary tumours to about 5% from about 90%) they recover beautifully from.

For all curious here is Brie and Kyrie as soon as I brought them home.

And here is Brie's spay incision

Just know that surgery can really prolong your beloved rats life and should be carefully considered. Get the facts before deciding this. A tumour on a 14 month rat could end their life by 16 months...or you could have them up to 24 months happily. If a tumour regrows it still has to take all that time to grow again so you have given them months and months of life.
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