Rat Forum banner
1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello. The other day I discovered a mammary tumor near my rat's groin. I know this is common in females, and she is 17 months old which is a common time for tumors to pop up. Luckily, it is benign but it will keep growing. I took her to the vet who gave me two options (which I already knew of): 1) Surgery or 2) Leave the tumor be. Both have risks. I am leaning toward surgery, as money doesn't matter. They are fairly cheap with tumor removal. Still, I know that the anesthesia can kill the rat. Additionally, she'll have stitches for a couple weeks (I'm scared she might want to try and nibble them out) and will have to be separated from her sister during that point (can anyone confirm that they MUST be separated post-surgery? They really love one another). Also, she is fairly young. I think that can benefit the surgery. If I don't go with the surgery, the tumor will get bigger and she might have a miserable life since it could affect her walking and more. I really would hate to watch the tumor grow and put her through agony; however, surgery is risky too.Has anyone chosen to remove the tumor? If so, can you share your story? Same question in regards to leaving the tumor be. I really am in a crossroads because I just want to do what's best for my little girl. I love her deeply. Any advice on what you did/or would do would be highly appreciated.Thank you!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
I haven't owned rats long but I'm pretty much a surgery veteran already. I'll share the advice I was given before the first surgery as well as my personal experiences.

There is ALWAYS a risk but you can reduce that by asking the right questions. Ask your vet about their rat surgery experience. Ask what sort of anesthetic your rat will be under and most importantly, ask if your rat will be kept warm after surgery. The thing that complicates surgery on rats the most is coming off the gas. Keeping them warm helps them post surgery.

If your vet tells you not to feed your rat for any amount of time before the surgery, DO NOT LET THEM DO SURGERY. Rats NEED to eat as much as they can up until the time of surgery or they lose necessary strength.

Make sure they send you home with antibiotics and a pain killer. They like to give me Baytril, Doxy, and Metacam.

Now for my experiences. Chai had a VERY dangerous hernia surgery. It was so risky, I had a hard time finding a vet to do it. She had a large hernia in her genital area. She had a good chance of not making it through but she pulled through like a pro. Within HOURS she was nearly hurting herself trying to climb out of her hospital cage. She was in recovery for a while (2 weeks) due to the nature of the surgery and because she had actual stitches rather than glue holding her together.

Later, she had a lump removed. She was MUCH older at that point. She didn't recover nearly as quickly. I believe that was due to her age. She was mostly tired and developed a hematoma at the surgery area. (Harmless blood pocket that went away on its own.) That surgery site was glued rather than stitched. She was in recovery for a while mostly because she was tired. (A week I think.) I sent her back with the others when she seemed to want to go back in.

Wafer is my other rat that had one removed from her armpit. She was a little younger than your rat, but not much. She came out of surgery like a champ with her incision glued shut. I tried to keep her apart from the other but she REALLY wanted to go back. I let her back in with supervision. It went fine.

Rats recover SO quickly. When you let them back in with their cagemates, the important thing is to make sure your post surgery rat feels up to it (they let you know) and their incision is clean and healing. Ensure the other rats aren't picking at the glue or stitches. If they are, obviously, separate.

Best of luck with your decision!

Edited to add: They SHOULD be separate post surgery. If your rats get anxious about seeing their friends and they seem to be doing well enough, you can arrange a supervised visitation. When the post surgery rat looks tired or looks like she might be getting hurt, let her go back in the hospital cage.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you so much for your long, detailed response. That does make me feel a lot better! But what kind of anesthetic should they use? I'm emailing them these questions right now! Thanks again.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
To be honest, I don't really know what the best one is. I THINK my vet uses isoflurane. I don't remember though. The important thing is to ask your questions and watch for the things like their experience with rat surgery, post surgery warmth and general post surgical care, and if they should eat before the surgery - remember they NEED to!

You can ask any questions about what they use and feel free to look them up.

I don't want you think there are no risks. Of course there are risks. The mindset I go in with is that IF they die, they will have just fallen asleep painlessly. You CANNOT blame yourself if something goes wrong.

Make sure your rat is VERY healthy before surgery. No respiratory issues, especially.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,115 Posts
Oh... feel free to PM me if you just want some emotional support or advice.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
I personally would recommend surgery, I have two rat sisters and each have had one or more tumor removal surgeries. It is stressful, wondering if they will wake up from the anesthesia, but if she is young there's a better chance of her waking up. The sisters must be separated post-surgery: we kept ours apart, unfortunately we let them play together for a minute and the sister pulled a stitch out and we had to rush our rat back to the vet. You can't keep a rat from taking out their own stitch, but hopefully they will be unsuccessful. And make sure to give your babies lots of love! Wishing you the best of luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the advice! I was leaning towards surgery, and you all have made me feel a lot better regarding it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
664 Posts
Surgery Is definitely the best option. My first ever surgery was on Cookie for tumor removal. She was nearing two, and I was very afraid, but the tumors kept growing, with a second one soon forming. It was a question of have surgery or put her down, and I figured if I lost her on the table it would still b painless since she'd b asleep and at least that way she'd have a chance. I'm so glad I opted for surgery. Se healed quickly and lived a long time after that. If money is not a factor I would recommend two things. Use lasers if offered. Less bleeding, less time under anesthesia, and quicker recovery. The wound is neater so it's less painful. Also have her spayed a the same time, otherwise the tumors will come again.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top