whats the symptoms, signs, treatment and prevention for rats with tumors?
Tumors are unfortunately very common in rats, especially when they start to reach old age (1.5-2 years). They, along with many other rodents, are especially suceptible to mammary tumors in females (males are as a whole less prone to tumors).
These tumors will usually present as a small lump or hard spot on the flanks or belly of the rat that can grow surprisingly large over time. These tumors are typically benign and only pose a threat once they become large enough to impede the animals movement or breathing.
Treatment for these types of tumors is typically palliative in nature; it is nearly impossible to remove a tumor once it begins to grow, and a rats fragile body precludes it from being a candidate for more aggressive forms of treatment that may work on a human (radiation). The best thing to do is to keep them happy and comfortable. Most rats can live on with very few, if any at all, limitations or pains for quite a while after a tumor becomes apparent. Once the tumors becomes large enough to cause discomfort for the animal, the best route is typically to consider euthanasia.
As along time keeper of rats, I know how hard it is to let one go. They pack a lot of personality into just a couple short years. I've lost too many to mammary tumors, it's unfortunate that they are so prevalent.
Hi there. As Abendin wrote below, it is an unfortunate part of our little rats lives that tumors may cause problems in elder life. Sometimes however, what appears to be a tumor at first feel, may in fact be nothing more than a blocked hair folical. This is easy enough to treat, as it is in humans, a gentle squeeze will release a cottage cheese type puss, bathe in a little saline until the head has healed.
There are two basic kinds of tumor to be found on rats, One is the loose tumor. This is when you can pinch underneath the bulk of the growth and is reletivly easy to remove by a skilled vet. The second is the deep tumor which is anchored to the muscle, this kind is often the most unfourtunate and is almost impossible to remove effectivley due to the nature of the tumor and its aggresive nature.
Thankfully however, as the pet breed is following a path further and further away from the original lab cluster of which the pet rat was bred from by caring and intuitive rat breeders, tumors and genetic bred complications are becoming fewer and fewer.
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