Need help with Mammary tumor

Mdenny86

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My 2 yr old rat was diagnosed with a inoperable mammary tumor on her lower abdomen last month. The vet told me that they are not painful on there own but I do notice times that make me question that. The tumor is very large ( approx 2 inch diameter), hard and purple in places. It's been extremely difficult finding veterinary care for her in my area. The vet charged $300 for the exam and ultrasound, I have just about exausted my funds for vet care and was given no advice on how to care for her other than to euthanize (when she will longer take food or water or when I decide it's time). I am hoping there are things I can do at home to ease her discomfort...relieve swelling perhaps...is there anything that could help? Warm or cold compress? Any pain medication rats can take safely? Any educated or experiential advice would be appreciated. I love her very much.
 

lilspaz68

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Unfortunately mammary tumours are just that masses, not swelling in tissues you can treat. I'm sorry you went through all that with your vet, not sure on why the ultrasound as usually these masses are visible to touch and sight. That money could've been put towards the surgery. Can you post a pic? Can you get your fingers partially or fully around the mass? Some are only connected by a small amount of tissue and skin, others are more like a limpet and are fully attached...these are the difficult ones or the ones vets aren't comfortable removing ("inoperable")

Once we get a look at where the tumour is and how attached it is, we can give you better options on palliative care and what to look for.
 

Mdenny86

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Unfortunately mammary tumours are just that masses, not swelling in tissues you can treat. I'm sorry you went through all that with your vet, not sure on why the ultrasound as usually these masses are visible to touch and sight. That money could've been put towards the surgery. Can you post a pic? Can you get your fingers partially or fully around the mass? Some are only connected by a small amount of tissue and skin, others are more like a limpet and are fully attached...these are the difficult ones or the ones vets aren't comfortable removing ("inoperable")

Once we get a look at where the tumour is and how attached it is, we can give you better options on palliative care and what to look for.
Here are the pics.
 

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lilspaz68

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Yeah that one is inoperable, it may not be benign either. I'm very sorry.
OK this type will potentially impede internal functions if it is invading inwards. Watch for discomfort, the skin splitting from being so tight, able to poop and pee normally and mobility. Rats adapt to disabilities really well, so as long as she's happy and "healthy" just watch and wait. I would put her on a soft bedding if she' not already. Fleece or paper based bedding is best, nothing that could abrade that tender skin over the tumor. If she already prefers the base of the cage (instead of lugging that thing up the levels) make sure she has everything she needs there, water bottle set lower, food, houses. For oldies with issues if you use hammocks, they do like to crawl into double decker hammocks as they get the hammock feeling and support without too much effort on their part. I'll include a pic so you can see what I am talking about.

Bottom right

and how they use it
 

Mdenny86

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Ok, thank you for the help. Would you happen to know if there are any medications I could give her for pain? Children's motrin? Someone suggested I give her children's pain meds but They were not sure about dosage so I haven't tried it.
 

lilspaz68

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you should try to find infant liquid ibuprofen (either 40 mg/ml or 200 mg/5 ml on the bottle). With Childrens you would have to give twice as much.
My go-to is Advil pediatric drops grape flavoured, dye-free


Can you get a weight on your lass? Then I can work out a dosage for you
 

Mdenny86

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This is the page from the vet. It says 792.00. I think it must be grams. The vet did say she was a bit over weight so I switched her food. She seems a tiny bit lighter but not by much. She also gets an awful lot of the red discharge from her eyes lately, sometimes more than she can keep up with as far as grooming it away on her own. I have been blotting it away with a fresh cotton pad with warm bottled water. Should I do anything else? Is there anything I can do to soothe the skin on the outside of the tumor? What should I do if the skin breaks?
 

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Mdenny86

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She does tend to sleep with her eyes partly open, perhaps that contributes to the red tears?
 

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Kye

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I can't help with much but I can let you know the red discharge is porphyrin and all rats have it, healthy or not. My gals also sleep well their eyes open- sometimes all the way.!
 

lilspaz68

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792 grams is very big for a girlie. We'll use that weight for figuring out a dose of infant ibuprofen though.
Her dose would be 0.4 ml every 4-6 hours initially. See if she seems happier and brighter while taking it.
 

Mdenny86

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I tried the advil infant drops and she does seem to be in much better spirits. She's enjoying time out of her cage, exploring and even doing some curious teeth chattering 😊 thanks!
 

lilspaz68

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Sounds like she's bruxxing :) keep her comfortable as best as you can. Try to find the lowest effective dose of ibuprofen you can, it can be hard on their kidneys long term.
 

Rocket99

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Sounds like she's bruxxing :) keep her comfortable as best as you can. Try to find the lowest effective dose of ibuprofen you can, it can be hard on their kidneys long term.
FYI, Mdenny86, bruxxing, contrary to popular opinion, is not always a sign of content or happiness, but is also a sign of distress and discomfort, hence the recommendation by lilspaz68 to find the smallest dose
 

Big Schpog

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I tried the advil infant drops and she does seem to be in much better spirits. She's enjoying time out of her cage, exploring and even doing some curious teeth chattering 😊 thanks!
That tumour has gotta hurt in the sense that it's large and impeding. The Advil should help minimize the swelling on the affected structures it's pushing on.
 

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