Older rat with tumour

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mahiyu
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Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:37 pm

Older rat with tumour

Post by mahiyu » Tue Jan 19, 2016 6:37 pm

One of my rats has a tumour under his armpit which is worrying me - it seems to be growing (it was the size of a grape a few weeks ago, but is a lot larger now), so I would like to get it removed if possible.

The worry I have is that the rat in question is getting on - he is around 3 years old. He has HLD and while he is still able to get around to some extent his mobility is very limited - he needs my help to get out of the cage, and basically lives on the floor of the cage. I have been holding off dealing with the tumour due to age and mobility as it started off small and didn't seem to be growing, but now I think I need to make a decision as to whether to get it removed or leave it be.

Other than the tumour and mobility, I would say that his health is generally good. He eats and drinks with no problems, keeps himself clean, and I get the feeling that if it weren't for his HLD he would be happily climbing all over the place! He has no history of illness, other than a respiratory infection about 18 months ago (which cleared up completely with a course of Baytril, with no sign of recurrence.) The tumour doesn't seem to be causing him any discomfort.

Is it worth putting him through the trauma of surgery to remove the tumour? I have a few worries - at his age, will he survive the anaesthetic and surgery? I'm also concerned about the incision - firstly because he won't be able to keep it off the ground as he moves due to the HLD (so it will be rubbing against the floor a lot, possibly increasing the risk of infection?) and also because I can see him accidentally opening it up when he scratches himself - he still has enough use of his hind legs to scratch, but he's not in full control so the scratching seems a bit haphazard and he might catch the wound.

Thanks in advance for any help - it's a horrible dilemma!

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Caza66
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Re: Older rat with tumour

Post by Caza66 » Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:00 pm

Tough dilemma. ruby successfully had a lump removed between her back legs at the age of 3 years 2 months, she lived another 2 months after that. Weighing up quality of life is the key if they are healthy enough to have an op. Obviously ops always carry risks but think if it gets bigger how will it affect him. How big has it grown in how many weeks? It may be that the rate of growth is fairly slow enough not to bother.

The other thing to ask is how much excess skin is there around the area as this is a difficult area with less skin to stitch together. I had cordelia who had a lump behind her elbow and one vet said that they may have to amputate if there wasn't enough skin, luckily I asked the head vet who said it would be ok and it was. After care, I would house him on fleece until the wound heals so stopping any issues.

Good luck.
Officially ratless. Groot, Star-lord, Yondu adopted by another rat lover.
:rattyrainbow: To all those who have filled my heart, have fun at the bridge.

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barbaraoxon
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Location: Abingdon

Re: Older rat with tumour

Post by barbaraoxon » Thu Feb 18, 2016 1:36 pm

Hi,

How is your ratty? Did you go ahead with the op in the end?

I'm about to find myself in a similar situation, waiting for vet to confirm what the lump is, but probably a tumour. My rat too has HLD so shuffles around the cage floor. He seems happy though and still boggles. He keeps himself clean and wants to come out. Although lately has had this thing about chewing any paper I leave on my desk, I mean all rats chew ofc, but now he does it a lot rather than occasionally like before.

He has long term resp though nothing seems to have cleared it, although strangely it's been a lot better this last month.

Again the tumour is underneath at the back so will drag around the floor or the scar will.

mahiyu
Posts: 26
Joined: Sun Oct 09, 2011 9:37 pm

Re: Older rat with tumour

Post by mahiyu » Thu Feb 18, 2016 6:51 pm

barbaraoxon wrote:Hi,

How is your ratty? Did you go ahead with the op in the end?

I'm about to find myself in a similar situation, waiting for vet to confirm what the lump is, but probably a tumour. My rat too has HLD so shuffles around the cage floor. He seems happy though and still boggles. He keeps himself clean and wants to come out. Although lately has had this thing about chewing any paper I leave on my desk, I mean all rats chew ofc, but now he does it a lot rather than occasionally like before.

He has long term resp though nothing seems to have cleared it, although strangely it's been a lot better this last month.

Again the tumour is underneath at the back so will drag around the floor or the scar will.
Hi

He's doing fine :) The tumour was showing signs of ulcerating, so I had to choose between a risky surgery or almost certainly having him put to sleep - he had the surgery just over three weeks ago. Other than seeming a bit out of it that night he has been fine since - the wound has pretty much healed (though the stitches haven't all dissolved yet.)

It was a large tumour and the vet was concerned that he wouldn't be able to close the wound properly so there was a risk he would need to be put to sleep during surgery, but he pulled through and just got a course of Baytril. The only problem is that he has a second (much smaller) tumour that was found during surgery, but couldn't be removed as the vet felt it would make the wound too big :( I will be keeping an eye on that one.

I'm not sure if it would be safe to give yours surgery though - I remember being told by the vet some time ago with a different rat that respiratory problems can scar the lungs, so when their breathing gets shallower under anaesthetic they can pass away. Hopefully your vet can do something though!

With regards to the paper chewing, this might not be related but I've had a couple of older rats (this one included) who have started to chew at the orner of my walls - I think they might be after the minerals/salts in the plaster, and giving them mineral stones has helped. Probably not the same thing, but maybe it would be worth trying?

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barbaraoxon
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Location: Abingdon

Re: Older rat with tumour

Post by barbaraoxon » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:44 pm

Aww, so glad your ratty is doing OK. Great news. Hopefully the other tumour will stay small.

Yeah, they are concerned about the resp issue, which is why I'm not sure about surgery for him, as he's had it all his life and no amount of drugs has got rid of it.

Vet rang back and said they think it's a tumour from looking at a slide of some stuff they got out of him with a needle, said there was no sign of pus, but some kind of cells that when they dyed went a dark colour which means they're some kind of bad kind.

It appeared over 24 hours, rather quick!

starstar
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Re: Older rat with tumour

Post by starstar » Thu Feb 18, 2016 9:49 pm

We are going through the same with our 32 month old buck Loki, his lump started a few months ago, but due to him having two suspect strokes we and the vet decided against operating. Loki also has the start of HLD, my vet has just advised us to make sure there is no ulceration on the lump, so I go mad with very deep soft (shredded tea bag) substrate. Loki seems very happy in himself and the lump is of no bother to him at all, he eats, drinks, cleans himself and still bosses the other two about.
Ferret mum to..
Millie, Eddie, Riffraff & Fizzgig, Baloo, Dillon, Rupert, Pookie, Rosie, Buck, Kira, Louis and Lilly "Of the Clan Macphearson"
Dearly departed Mario and Taz, Luigi and Loki x forever in our hearts ratty babies x
Departed Ferret babies: Milo & Sam

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