One of my two female rats developed a head tilt and loss of balance around the start of October last year. The vet initially thought it was an inner ear infection but when antibiotics didnt help she had an x-ray and the vet had a proper look in the ear whilst she was under anaesthetic. This revealed that she had a hard lump in her right inner ear, likely a tumour, the vet attempted to pull it out but it was firmly attached. They advised me that because of the location it would be very difficult to have removal surgery, and that she would probably adapt to the change in balance.
Since then she has been totally fine, her balance is significantly better (not as good as before the head tilt), she is perfectly happy and able to do all the things she enjoys (climbing, playing, running etc). Then last week I noticed another hard lump had developed under her chin. I went to the vet on tuesday, and her opinion was that due to location and attachment, rather than a benign mammary growth, it is probably a second tumour that has metastasized from the primary in the inner ear, into the lymph node on her neck. It is possible to surgically remove this second lump and they have quoted me a cost of £580 for the procedure.
My questions are:
- Is £580 a reasonable price for this type of procedure? I'm in cambridge which tends to be more expensive than other areas.
- Is it worth putting her through the surgery, given that the cancer has likely already spread into the lymph and other secondaries may well appear elsewhere, and we wont be able to remove the other tumour?
- How long does it normally take to recover from this type of surgery?
- If god forbid anything were to happen to her, what should I do with her sister who is in good health? should I get another rat so she is not alone
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!