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One of my girls, Fable, is 2.5 years old and has developed a gigantic tumor on her abdomen and is growing two more near the neck and near her genitals. She had two tumors removed last October near her armpit. I decided I wasn't going to get the other tumors removed, mostly due to cost (I've had medical and car problems recently myself, and it's been very tight lately). I had read they can live with them for awhile as long as they're able to get around. She's been mobile, eating, drinking and chewing unassisted, but losing weight and her fur is thinning. The mass has really ballooned the past two weeks or so. Saturday her tumor opened while I was at work but had stopped bleeding but the time I got home. I went to a vet (not my regular, but the only one open who knows exotics) first thing Sunday morning and she gave me Baytril and said to keep it clean and separate her from her cagemate, Gypsy. I'm fully aware that quality of life is important for creatures like rats, who are so sensory. I know Fable isn't fully enjoying a good rat life. I was asking if the vet thought euthanasia would be an option at this point, and she kind of waffled on it. She made me feel guilty not springing for the surgery, but the past surgery set me back 300+ less than a year ago, plus another couple hundred I've spent on Gypsy in June for pneumonia and care. Plus, Fable's developing two more in different places and I just don't see her surviving that hard of a surgery. The last two I got removed while they were small.

Has anyone been in the same boat before? If things worsen in the next week I'll make an appointment with my usual exotic vet. She's pretty no-nonsense but has really good bedside manner. (Not that the one I saw Sunday didn't, because she's wonderful. She just made euthanasia seem like the very last option in a line of expensive procedures and that I should consider, and I felt terrible for asking.) I used to volunteer in wildlife rehabilitation and watch animals be euthanized frequently am acutely aware that quality of life is essential for deciding. I just don't know what to do this time.
 

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If she is still eating, drinking and happy to see you than let her live but if she is sleeping constantly and doesn't look happy to see you which shouldn't be taken personaly that it may be time. II'm so sorry that you have to make this difficult choice.
 

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In my limited experience, having gone through this 3 times, once the tumors start growing fast, like you can see them getting bigger every day, your rat is pretty close to the end... It might be weeks or days, but no matter what you decide it's mostly out of your hands one way or the other.

Max, our last girl to die of tumors was pretty much OK with them, until one evening she just flopped into my hand when I called her out of her cabinet... a few days later she was gone. In a strange way nature is kind to rats, once they get to a certain point they go pretty fast.
 

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2.5 is pretty old to consider surgery. With the size and locations of those tumors it would probably be pretty invasive and take a long time with her under anesthesia which would be very risky. Most of my rats all passed on for one reason or another around 2.5, not many made it much past that so Fable is a senior lady already. I'm sorry for all your expenses and money troubles, I hope you're doing well personally with whatever has happened on top of the vet expenses. It just stinks that these things tend to snowball and everything seems to happen at once and it gets overwhelming and you have to make tough decisions. Try not to feel too guilty about not giving her surgery earlier. Especially since she has popped up with so many more, it can really feel like an uphill battle with girls and tumors..

The biggest concern right now is of course quality of life like you said. I dont' think she should be separated from her cagemate, they will both probably get stressed and depressed. Unless the cagemate is bothering her wound, there really shouldn't be any reason why Fable and Gypsy should be separated. If she's not already, try making a single story "retirement cage" for her to live out her remaining time until she passes on or needs to be PTS, and line it with fleece. That should feel much softer on her wound, and won't get littler particle pieces risk getting into her wound and causing more issues (you may already use fleece though, I don't know). And be sure to really watch those tumors that are close to her genital area and make sure that she can still pee everyday. If those tumors start to block her urethra and ability to urinate, it can be very painful and cause kidney failure. That might be more of a concern than the scary looking giant opened tumor right now.

If it is typical old lady hair thinning and weight loss (and she is still acting normally, no other signs of maybe pituitary tumor or something) then just increase her calories to try to help. If she may not have much time left, spoil her with all the tasty food! Good weight gaining foods are baby food, soy infant formula, whole fat goat/sheep yogurts (goat is supposedly easier to digest than cow dairy), eggs, tuna, chicken, sardines, oysters, and those shakes made for gaining weight (they have different formulas, so look for the weight gaining ones) like Ensure brand. My rats liked the chocolate flavor! Nutrical is also usually loved. Not sure if this is a good option or not though since sugars should be avoided for rats with tumors since sugars seem to speed up tumor growth. To be safe, avoid all sugar if possible. But proteins and fats should still help her gain weight hopefully.

I'm so sorry you're going through this, it sounds like she just needs some spoiling and hospice care until her time comes. Hopefully you feel comfortable that she can live with her cagemate too so they don't have to be alone.
 
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