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 Post subject: Reintroduction after mammary tumour removal
 Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:06 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Hello,

I am not sure if this is a health or behaviour question really!

6 days ago one of our rats, Trixie, had a large (soft, free moving, hopefully benign...) mammary tumour removed uneventfully. We have had her on her own in a 'sick cage' since then, as recommended by the vet. We have had it positioned right next to our big cage which houses our other 5 rats so they know each other is there.

The wound is long but healing really well with no complications. Trixie seems very sad and isn't eating much but otherwise looks fine. Over the last 2-3 days we have had her out in the bathroom on her own and she has happily wandered around for a while. Last night and this morning I have had her out with one of our more quiet and kind rats (a different one each time). Neither occasion went well. Trixie was very hostile and the other girls clearly didn't really want to be with her. This morning Trixie was viciously grooming Nelle and really making her squeak. She didn't seem to be worried by the wound or protecting it particularly.

As a bit of background, Trixie is 14 months old and has always been a bit of an odd one out. She is not at all sociable (either with her 5 cagemates or humans) despite much encouragement from us. She has always been a bit of a bully. Compared to the other 5 she is much harder to love. That sounds awful but it's how it is.

So, when and how do we put all 6 rats back together? Do we need to go back to using the carrier method do you think or is that over the top?

Advice would be very gratefully received.
Thanks,
Helen

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Popcorn, Me-Me and Nelle
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️


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 Post subject: Re: Reintroduction after mammary tumour removal
 Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 10:11 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
I forgot to mention. Trixie has never appeared uncomfortable and we have completed a 2 day course of nobligan (pain killer) and 4 day course of metacam (anti-inflammatory). She is walking fine and not bothered by the wound. So, I am pretty sure she's not in pain.

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Popcorn, Me-Me and Nelle
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️


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 Post subject: Re: Reintroduction after mammary tumour removal
 Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 11:08 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm
Posts: 603
How is the op site now? I'm not an expert, but if it looks like it's healed well enough to hold up to some scrapping, I'd go with carrier method intros, given how the recent meetings went with her former cagemates. To be honest, if Trixie hasn't been eating well, I'd start intros regardless. She's obviously bothered by something, and despite her antisocial nature, if she's not been fussing at the op site then it's likely to be some combination of boredom/loneliness from being in a hospital cage on her own.

For future reference, rats don't need to be kept on their own after ops. It's generally recommended here that they not only have a cagemate in the hospital cage with them, but also have one accompany them to the vet so that they've got a familiar face nearby while they recover from the surgery.

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Fondly remembering: Falere the contrary NLA36, Mirala the best and finest NLA36, Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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 Post subject: Re: Reintroduction after mammary tumour removal
 Post Posted: Wed May 17, 2017 1:40 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:29 pm
Posts: 61
Location: Gothenburg, Sweden
Thanks Cub :)

I wondered about having a cagemate in with Trixie afterwards and we had even had a big discussion about which of the other 5 it would be. But when I specifically asked the vet she said we should not give her a cagemate. The vet is one in a big practice here with a specific small and exotic animal department so I went with her advice :?

I think the wound looks pretty good so maybe we go with the carrier method? Do we just use the same kind of time frame as when we used it for introduction of new babies or can we go faster than that?

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Popcorn, Me-Me and Nelle
Never to be forgotten: Trixie, Paws, Tica, Doris and Bella ❤️


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 Post subject: Re: Reintroduction after mammary tumour removal
 Post Posted: Thu May 18, 2017 7:40 am 
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Fancy Rats Team
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 am
Posts: 5731
Location: South Cambridgeshire
Vets don't generally appreciate how much difference companionship makes to rats unfortunately, and many seem to have a fixation on companions interfering with stitches but that doesn't happen. If a rat becomes depressed through being on their own it's going to impact on their rate of recovery, not to mention the straightforward fact that rats should always have company, so if you have a next time, please give them a friend. ;)

Rats do heal very quickly, and even after a complex operation with a large wound, I would expect the patient to be okay in their normal cage after 3 days at most.

Regarding re-introduction... it's unlikely there will be problems, but I would pop them all into a large carrier for a few hours just to ensure everyone's had proper contact, and then you should be able to return them to the main cage. I bet Trixie will be delighted. :luck:

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Mary x

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