Would you get surgery for your pet rat in this situation?

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  1. Dreamhowl profile image93
    Dreamhowlposted 10 years ago

    Would you get surgery for your pet rat in this situation?

    I have a pet fancy rat named Patches and she is about 2 and 1/2 years old. We took her to the vet today concerning what has been confirmed as a mammary tumor. Tumors are frequent in older rats, especially females, and most often benign. However, it can grow, steal nutrients and eventually make it hard for her to move.

    Surgery will cost between $350 and $500 dollars (expensive for us) and won't guarantee that she doesn't grow another tumor. I've also read the surgery on older rats can be dangerous. Would you get surgery and risk it, or let her live her life worry-free as long as possible?


  2. wymyczak66 profile image77
    wymyczak66posted 10 years ago

    No way. Don't rats only live 2-3 years on average anyway? Maybe 5 at the most? I'd just enjoy your time with her, she's lived a long life as it is and it sounds like you take very good care of her.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Yes - she is an old lady, and I am surprised the vet didn't bring that up at all. Thank you for your kind words and advice - I feel better just hearing it.

  3. CraftytotheCore profile image75
    CraftytotheCoreposted 10 years ago

    I know how difficult this must be for you.  I've never had a pet rat. I have a dog that I adopted with cancer.  She was suspected to be around 8-10 years old.  I agreed to have the tumor removed, but I did not agree for them to test it.  The removal was $70.  The testing was $300.  My dog is so healthy and happy today.  I am just appreciating the time we have left with her.  But fortunately she has never had another tumor.  I know our pets don't live forever, and maybe the your pet rat would feel more comfortable without invasive surgery.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      I'm so happy your dog is healthy and happy today! Rats have a life expectancy of 1 1/2 to 3 years, with 5 being the luckiest of the lucky. Thanks for your advice, I honestly appreciate it.

  4. Theophanes profile image88
    Theophanesposted 10 years ago

    No, I would not. I bred rats for a number of years and have had my run-ins with mammary tumors. A rat who is 2.5 years old is already six months older than the average rat when it dies. This means she's already way too old to be recovering from any surgery. Add to that the fact mammary tumors love to spread as soon as you cut into them (unless you get EVERY cell out of there which is usually not the case.) Surgery will just speed up the growth of more tumors and possibly encourage them to spread to other parts of her body and organs. Yes, the tumor will grow out of control eventually... but it'll probably take a little time (plus you can feed certain supplements that may slow it down further - currently my dog has this problem and the Stasis Breaker I get from the homeopathic vet, Turkey Tail Mushroom supplement, and Turmeric seem to be doing well for her but I have never tried these things on a rat. You'd have to look it up.) In the end you'll just have to keep an eye on her, make sure she's comfortable, and when the tumor starts making her quality of life go down you'll be faced with the big decision of letting her go. I'm sorry. It's hard to lose them in this way.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you so much. I have heard of a few foods and supplements that can help slow things down, and the turkey tail mushroom sounds familiar. I'll definitely research those options.

  5. sprickita profile image60
    sprickitaposted 10 years ago

    good luck hope it all works out , very cute little nose all selfie snap shot 8-) and she doesn't look a day over 12 months

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks! That picture is pre-tumor but she still looks the same otherwise - she is thankfully very healthy, and we are going to try and keep her that way.

  6. aliasis profile image73
    aliasisposted 10 years ago

    I too had a pet rat develop a tumor. The rat was about two years old at the time, so my vet recommended putting him to sleep. It broke my heart, because as amazing, friendly, clever and loving as rats are, two years is about the average lifespan. I would say brace yourself and talk to your vet about how to make your rat's life comfortable until the end, but if he's in pain you're going to have to make the horrible choice every responsible pet owner must. sad Sorry to hear about your rat.

    Also, about vets, keep in mind that a lot have no idea how to treat rats. I don't know if that's true of your rat or not, but try to find a vet that is an expert in dealing with them.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you. The vet didn't seem to know much and didn't have any other advice, so it was disappointing. I don't think I'll be going there again unless an emergency pops up.

  7. wychic profile image85
    wychicposted 10 years ago

    I'd have to agree with the other answers -- it may be heartbreaking, but I wouldn't do the surgery. My oldest rats lived to three years old, many die around two, so she's already had a good long life. If it was a 17-year-old dog or 30-year-old horse, my answer would be the same -- let them live as long as they're still happy and relatively healthy, and be willing to help them out of their misery when or if they lose any semblance of normal life.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 10 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you for your advice. We have decided to let her live her life. The tumor hasn't grown since the vet visit, and we have been feeding her foods to slow the growth so she can be the happiest for the longest.

  8. LoisRyan13903 profile image62
    LoisRyan13903posted 9 years ago

    I would let her live her life without surgery.  Normally rats have a life span of 2 years.  I had a pet rat once and they are the nicest pets.

    1. Dreamhowl profile image93
      Dreamhowlposted 9 years agoin reply to this

      Yeah, we didn't end up doing the surgery and had to put her down due to her deteriorating condition back in April. She was past two years old though. Her sister is still alive, but she was younger.

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