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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. These past two weeks have been rough for me and my little guys! It all started with my boy, Basil, and his respiratory infection. The vet prescribed him a heavy dose of meds to be administered for two weeks. We are now one week through, and he seems happy and healthy as ever. But unfortunately, I cannot say the same for his buddy, Chubs.

Knowing how easily the infection could spread, I have been keeping a close eye on Chubs. He seemed to be doing just fine and wasn't showing any of the signs of a respiratory infection. I did, however, notice something unusual. He kept checking his belly. I couldn't tell if he was grooming himself or what. I started to get worried and considered the possibility of the whole penis-can't-retract issue that can happen to male rats. I checked his belly and applied a little bit of olive oil around the penis area just to be safe. When I did this, I did not notice anything unusual. But when I checked him again the next day, I felt a hard, hazelnut-sized lump on the lower right side of his belly. My immediate thought was tumor. I am aware (and frankly hoping) that it is just a firm abscess... but the fact that it is so hard suggests otherwise. I have scheduled an appointment with the vet for Monday afternoon. This is the first time I've encountered a tumor in a rat, and I am just not sure of what to expect.

Naturally, I have been doing tons of research, trying to figure out what this might be... whether it is a tumor or an abscess, whether it is benign or malignant... anything I can get my hands on before meeting with the vet. My biggest concern right now is if this tumor is cancerous. While I want more than ever to simply remove it surgically, I honestly don't see the point in doing so if more tumors are going to come up. If it is benign, I will most likely go with surgery. I am, however, a broke college student, and I am pretty concerned about costs. For those of you that have done this before, how much did your vets charge? I realize it varies from vet to vet, but I'd like to get an idea of what I'm in for before making any big decisions. Also, when your rat(s) had its tumor(s), what symptoms did (s)he display? My little guy was acting totally normal yesterday, but seems pretty lethargic today. The tumor does not seem to have grown since when I checked it yesterday. I am really worried about him and am eager to hear any information you have to offer.

PS- sorry for such a long post! I just have a lot to get off my chest :-\
 

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Do warm compresses. Since he was bothering it, he likely had a small wound and it abscessed.

As to the vet, make sure to get a fine needle aspiration. One time they were sure my rats lump was a tumor and then on the fna they found it was a nasty abscess.

For cost, I would expect between $80-150. If you are in the us, there is a credit card for medical use only called care credit and it has a $200 6mo same as cash deal.
 

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In that location its highly likley to be a preputial gland abcess, if you can get a photo i should be able to tell you pretty quickly (i've seen far too many of them). They are two little galds located about 1cm up and across on either side of the genitles. These are fairly common in bucks and easy to deal with. They can be a little sore just before they pop (at which time they feel like firm balloons) so the rats often fuss them. A warm compress will help encourage them to come to a head. Once you see a dark patch forming then soak that until it softens and lifts off. At which point you will be rewarded by foul smelling green gunk coming out fairly quickly. The trick with abcesses is to keep them from scabbing over, flush them twice daily/daily and soak off any scabs that forms. They need to dry from the inside out. A health healing preputial abcess looks like a dry crater in there belly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi all,

Thanks so much for your replies! I apologize for not updating sooner (midterm week has me swamped!).

Yesterday I noticed that the lump had developed a black scab and as Isamurat warned, it smelled terrible. By that point, I was certain he had an abscess.

Today we met with the vet, who confirmed my abscess suspicion. Chubs has been put on antibiotics, in addition to daily wound cleanings. I'm not happy about the abscess, of course, but I can't deny that I am thrilled it's not a tumor. The appointment and medication added up to $90, which was actually much lower than I was expecting. I am looking forward to my little guy's recovery!
 
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