Managing a pituitary tumour - experiences with cabergoline

Raspberry

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Sydney
Hi everyone,

My little lady DC has been not-quite-herself for the last couple of weeks. There was no overt sign of illness and we couldn't put our finger on what was wrong, but something just felt off. We've been keeping a very close eye on her. Unfortunately, last night I noticed some of the unmistakable signs of a pituitary tumour (difficulty holding food, arms crossing over each other). She has an appointment with the vet tomorrow.

We've previously had a rat with a pituitary tumour who we treated with cabergoline and steroids. The cabergoline didn't seem to help at all, in fact every time we administered it her symptoms would immediately worsen for about an hour (however the steroids seemed to help manage symptoms). Giving cabergoline was really traumatic and I feel a huge amount of guilt when I think back on it. I have done a lot of reading about it and it does not appear the reaction my old rat had was typical, however I can't help but feel afraid of even trying to go down that route.

I am wondering what your experiences are with administering cabergoline, and if it's a route worth trying.

Thanks for your help
 

Rattdad

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
36
Location
Rhode Island
I don't know if you saw the thread down below started by Harway about her rat. I added my experiences there, and Lilspaz also has some good info. I've had two rats come down with PTs, but only one was treated with cabergoline. Maybe I'll add something about my other rat Sophie, who passed last November. I had a stressful rat situation at the time with some rats with health problems, and I adopted a very type A rowdy and poorly socialized male, and it was all very complicated, rat-wise. My girl Sophie, a gorgeous grey, was the only 'normal' rat I had, just a real sweetheart. I noticed her grooming was not good, and I thought maybe she was stressed by the constant rodent mayhem (although she got along well with the new boy, who I mostly kept in a separate cage). I took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with mites, which I took to be further signs of her stress. But then I noticed other stuff going on with her, and I exchanged some emails with Lilspaz, who wisely said some of the symptoms sounded like PT. Within a few days, it became more clear that that was the case, and she deteriorated quickly and was put to sleep.

Since Sophie had been spayed, and I considered her to be in good health, I didn't expect her to develop a tumor and frankly I missed a lot of the signs that something was going on with her. I read in Deb Ducommon that some rats can live pretty good lives on cabergoline and/or steroids, but I didn't see that in either of my two rats who had pituitary tumors. For me, there's really not much of decision to be made when a rat develops a PT. It's still sad, but there's no choice and no hand-wringing. Others might have different experiences, but for me, cabergoline doesn't help enough to justify the discomfort to the animal and a PT is a life-ending health situation.

If I caught it early and the situation was sudden and unexpected, I could see giving one of my rats cabergoline for a couple of weeks, to give him/her a little more time, but short of that...
 

Raspberry

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Sydney
I don't know if you saw the thread down below started by Harway about her rat. I added my experiences there, and Lilspaz also has some good info. I've had two rats come down with PTs, but only one was treated with cabergoline. Maybe I'll add something about my other rat Sophie, who passed last November. I had a stressful rat situation at the time with some rats with health problems, and I adopted a very type A rowdy and poorly socialized male, and it was all very complicated, rat-wise. My girl Sophie, a gorgeous grey, was the only 'normal' rat I had, just a real sweetheart. I noticed her grooming was not good, and I thought maybe she was stressed by the constant rodent mayhem (although she got along well with the new boy, who I mostly kept in a separate cage). I took her to the vet and she was diagnosed with mites, which I took to be further signs of her stress. But then I noticed other stuff going on with her, and I exchanged some emails with Lilspaz, who wisely said some of the symptoms sounded like PT. Within a few days, it became more clear that that was the case, and she deteriorated quickly and was put to sleep.

Since Sophie had been spayed, and I considered her to be in good health, I didn't expect her to develop a tumor and frankly I missed a lot of the signs that something was going on with her. I read in Deb Ducommon that some rats can live pretty good lives on cabergoline and/or steroids, but I didn't see that in either of my two rats who had pituitary tumors. For me, there's really not much of decision to be made when a rat develops a PT. It's still sad, but there's no choice and no hand-wringing. Others might have different experiences, but for me, cabergoline doesn't help enough to justify the discomfort to the animal and a PT is a life-ending health situation.

If I caught it early and the situation was sudden and unexpected, I could see giving one of my rats cabergoline for a couple of weeks, to give him/her a little more time, but short of that...
Thanks so much for your reply! So sorry to hear about poor Sophie, you would never expect it with a spayed ratty :(

I do think I caught it early enough. She went to the vet today and we got a prescription for cabergoline and she seemed to tolerate it well. Time to spoil her rotten for whatever time we have left!
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,290
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
The reason your first rat may not have responded was she had a pituitary tumour other than a prolactinoma which is the most common kind for rats and the only one Cabergoline or Bromocriptine is effective on. With those rats I just pray they respond to steroids for awhile.
I wish you luck with your lady having a good response to her meds. I have only used bromocriptine myself and have had varied results but my best was Malcolm at 26 months who went from immobility to symptom-free until he died at 32 months of age :)
 

Rattdad

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2019
Messages
36
Location
Rhode Island
Lilspaz, the story of Malcolm is really incredible... enough to make me reconsider!

Good luck, Raspberry.
 

lilspaz68

Administrator
Staff member
Admin
Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2007
Messages
24,290
Location
Toronto, Canada, Earth
Here's Malcolm's story
 

Raspberry

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Sydney
Here's Malcolm's story
Thank you so much for sharing, I really enjoyed reading that! What an amazing recovery for little Malcolm!

I can only cross my fingers that the drugs work enough to buy us some symptom-managed extra time with DC. She's doing okay today - right now she's happily munching on a cucumber (her absolute favourite for some reason - she's the one with the black and white coat).
 

Attachments

  • video-1632606980.mp4
    1.5 MB · Views: 0

Raspberry

Member
Joined
Oct 10, 2020
Messages
12
Location
Sydney
Update on my lady: She responded really well initially but has really started to decline today despite having her Cabergoline dose this morning. She's still running around and eating pureed food independently, but she's definitely slowing down and losing interest in food. I plan to try and keep her comfortable over the weekend (all the exotics vets are closed) and take her in to be put to sleep early next week. This is the third rat we will have lost in a month (3yo PTS because of internal mass, 2yo died in surgery for lump removal, and now a pituitary tumour). I'm absolutely heartbroken, but I definitely don't want her to suffer. What an awful disease :(
 

Latest posts

Top