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AnnaOwl

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Feb 10, 2021
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UK
Hi, I'm Anna. My most recent rats were called Regina and Cady but sadly Regina died and I've really struggled to find some rats to keep Cady company (mainly because of where I live in the UK and covid restrictions) Cady got a lump on her side and she's going into the vets tomorrow for an operation to have it removed. I'm really nervous about it and so I've been looking through the forum to find more information about mammary tumors and treatment... Anyway thanks for having me and I look forward to learning more about rats in general.
 

lilspaz68

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Oh so sorry I missed your post. I try to keep an eye out for medical but didnt see your question here in Introductions. How did Casy's surgery go? Were you sent home with oral pain relief to give her? Like Metacam (meloxicam)?
 

AnnaOwl

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UK
Hi, thanks for replying. Sadly the vet called me and said he's decided not to operate because she has a tumour on her bladder too which he can't remove. He basically said it's a case of waiting for her to get too ill to eat and that's when he'll put her to sleep. It really bothered me that he didn't atleast remove the mammary tumour because that is only gonna get bigger. He didn't give me any medication because he said he doesn't think she's in pain. I'm thinking of taking her to another vet.
 

Weaselsue

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Columbus, Ohio
I hope your baby is doing well! One of mine had a huge lump removed (it was about the size of a kiwi fruit) and she’s all better now, and back to all her old shenanigans.

I just saw your reply. I’m so sorry! The mammary tumor my girl had didn’t seem to hurt, but mostly annoyed her when it was big enough to get in the way. Surgery was stressful for her, and so was recovery time because they have to be restricted in movement while the stitches heal. She wasn’t allowed any space besides flat areas, no ramps or anything. There was a bandage wrapped around her middle section which kept her from twisting or turning much. It was difficult for her to clean certain areas. They tend to pick at wounds, and that can be worse than the surgery itself. Just wanted to describe my experience so you have more info to make a decision with for your girlies best happiness.
 
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AnnaOwl

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Joined
Feb 10, 2021
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25
Location
UK
I hope your baby is doing well! One of mine had a huge lump removed (it was about the size of a kiwi fruit) and she’s all better now, and back to all her old shenanigans.
I'm glad you could get the lump removed and that she's okay now. I was hoping it'd be the same for Cady, but the vet seemed to just want to get rid of us even though he was prepared to operate only days earlier. I'll try a different vet and let you know what happens.
 

Rocket99

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Joined
Jun 16, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
Anna, please do not assume the vet just wanted to "get rid of you". From my point of view from what I've read, and filling in the blanks, it looks as if your vet was planning to operate "depending" on the x-ray results (unless he actually opened her up as literally saw the bladder complication), but he decided against it once he had additional information. I don't know all the relevant info, such as prior medical history, age, current health, etc, but everything can change when new info is found. Mammary tumor removals are usually not a complicated procedures, BUT.... IF there's any involvement with internal tissue or organs, then it becomes a much more serious procedure. Since your rat's tumor has bladder involvement, it would likely not be completely removed, as to keep the bladder sac intact. That would them allow the tumor to continue to grow, probably at an even faster rate since your rat is recovering and his immune system is compromised. Therefore, the surgery would be counterproductive. If he had already started the procedure, then yes, he could have removed the non-invasive mammary tumor, but as I said, that would then require recovery time, during which a new tumor, or the bladder tumor, would grow in its place, and rapidly. Leaving the rat untouched will allow for a longer time to enjoy a decent quality of life. I understand how you feel, but your vet did his job correctly. I currently have a girl with several incredibly fast growing mammary tumors, so fast that they appeared within a few weeks, and are now putting a lot of pressure on her urinary tract and her butt. So much so that she is pooping small poops because it's hard for her to poop. But.... She's still relatively mobile (slow and can't climb, but moves about still), seems to be in no pain, or very little, and is eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom. She is in a hospice environment, so no cage levels, carefully watched while interacting with cage mates, and spends much if her time on the rattie hospital bed lol, yes, they have a hospital bed that is soft, clean, and can be used to nest, tunnel in blankets, play, stay warm, etc, etc. She was considered for surgery by the regions best rat specialist and deemed unsuitable. She's 2⅓ years old and has a slight URI, which is typical of the rescues I rehome. They come to me rehabbed but their prior Myco progression is permanent, so I treat them as soon as I hear a tiny cough. Anyway, so, after I just wrote all that, please don't blame the vet for not operating. If he HAD operated and there was organ involvement, I would have been concerned about his decision making process. But, with mammary tumors, rats can, and do, continue to live a quality life for quite awhile. Just keep an eye on her and love her unconditionally. And... I'm sorry you had to hear this, but I am just trying to help. I included a photo of my girl taken today. If you think she is in bad shape, you'd be right. But she still has time, quality time, as long as I am vigilant and give her the individual attention she needs. She's in no pain, just has difficulties with mobility and the bathroom. But until something gets worse and degrades her quality of life or causes a noticable change in her level of happiness, she will be allowed to live and be loved. 😁
 

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Rocket99

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Joined
Jun 16, 2018
Messages
45
Location
Massachusetts
I would definitely try for a 2nd opinion. Im sorry she didn't get her surgery
Often, no procedure is the best course of action. You know this. She could be old, have a progressed URI, or, as is the case, a complication such as organ involvement. There's no removing a mammary tumor that has become an invasive tumor. You can't remove the parts of the bladder that are affected, and that leaves only a partial removal as a solution. And a partial removal means that, since the rat will need to recover, her immune defenses will be compromised, leaving the remaining tumor to grow almost unimpeded. That's actually WORSE than not operating at all. Leave it be and it is only going to grow as fast as the rats immune system will allow. The immune response is not much of a defense anyway with tumors, but the recovery from a surgery is like opening the floodgates for tumors to grow. Ok, I'm sorry, don't mean to disagree, but... I must. I don't like seeing a vet blames for not doing his job when he actually did. With regards to the Hippocratic Oath, he adhered to his promise. He was not going to cause more harm.
 

AnnaOwl

Active Member
Joined
Feb 10, 2021
Messages
25
Location
UK
Anna, please do not assume the vet just wanted to "get rid of you". From my point of view from what I've read, and filling in the blanks, it looks as if your vet was planning to operate "depending" on the x-ray results (unless he actually opened her up as literally saw the bladder complication), but he decided against it once he had additional information. I don't know all the relevant info, such as prior medical history, age, current health, etc, but everything can change when new info is found. Mammary tumor removals are usually not a complicated procedures, BUT.... IF there's any involvement with internal tissue or organs, then it becomes a much more serious procedure. Since your rat's tumor has bladder involvement, it would likely not be completely removed, as to keep the bladder sac intact. That would them allow the tumor to continue to grow, probably at an even faster rate since your rat is recovering and his immune system is compromised. Therefore, the surgery would be counterproductive. If he had already started the procedure, then yes, he could have removed the non-invasive mammary tumor, but as I said, that would then require recovery time, during which a new tumor, or the bladder tumor, would grow in its place, and rapidly. Leaving the rat untouched will allow for a longer time to enjoy a decent quality of life. I understand how you feel, but your vet did his job correctly. I currently have a girl with several incredibly fast growing mammary tumors, so fast that they appeared within a few weeks, and are now putting a lot of pressure on her urinary tract and her butt. So much so that she is pooping small poops because it's hard for her to poop. But.... She's still relatively mobile (slow and can't climb, but moves about still), seems to be in no pain, or very little, and is eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom. She is in a hospice environment, so no cage levels, carefully watched while interacting with cage mates, and spends much if her time on the rattie hospital bed lol, yes, they have a hospital bed that is soft, clean, and can be used to nest, tunnel in blankets, play, stay warm, etc, etc. She was considered for surgery by the regions best rat specialist and deemed unsuitable. She's 2⅓ years old and has a slight URI, which is typical of the rescues I rehome. They come to me rehabbed but their prior Myco progression is permanent, so I treat them as soon as I hear a tiny cough. Anyway, so, after I just wrote all that, please don't blame the vet for not operating. If he HAD operated and there was organ involvement, I would have been concerned about his decision making process. But, with mammary tumors, rats can, and do, continue to live a quality life for quite awhile. Just keep an eye on her and love her unconditionally. And... I'm sorry you had to hear this, but I am just trying to help. I included a photo of my girl taken today. If you think she is in bad shape, you'd be right. But she still has time, quality time, as long as I am vigilant and give her the individual attention she needs. She's in no pain, just has difficulties with mobility and the bathroom. But until something gets worse and degrades her quality of life or causes a noticable change in her level of happiness, she will be allowed to live and be loved. 😁
Thank you so much for your reply, it's nice to hear that maybe the vet did choose the best option for Cady, however he said the mammary tumour is separate from the bladder tumour. His reason for not removing the mammary tumour was because he said it'd just grow back. It's true that they can keep coming back but with Cady, she probably doesn't have all that long to live so by the time another one appeared, she might be already at the point where I'd be taking her in to be put to sleep. I told him I'd noticed blood in her urine and he said he noticed it too on the sheets she had in her carry case. He told me to rub vasseline around her groin area so that it would be easier for her to urinate. He also said that with her being over 2 years old, it'd be too stressful to operate. This seemed a bit of an odd thing to say since he'd already anaesthetised her, and he knew her age days earlier when he said he'd operate.

I'm sorry to hear your little girl has tumours too, it's good that you're looking out for her though and making sure she's conformable. I'll be doing the same for Cady and hopefully I can make the time she has left as pleasant as can be 🙂
 

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