Post-Surgery Care?

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JParsons

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My two year old male rat is have a tumor removal surgery today. The tumor is quite large and on his side. They're going to give him a collar and they're recommending I leave it on for several days. Based on my research I think I'll take it off immediately and leave it off unless I notice him chewing the wound. Is this the right thing to do? They're also telling me to keep him separated from my other rat for several days. How necessary is this? My rats are very close, and I'm worried they will both get depressed if separated for long. Any advice would be much appreciated.
 

lilspaz68

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rats really hate e-collars so if they give you adequate pain medications to give at home he should be fine to not wearing it. Its usually only when they hurt that they pick at the incision and pull at the incision. Did they tell you what they would be doing to close the incision? My vet prefers dissolvable internal sutures and surgical glue for the skin layer. I give Metacam (meloxicam) for a 1-3 days depending on the surgery and the rat themselves.
The best thing to do is put your rat in with his cagemates as long as they don't bother him and not let him rest after the surgery. Its better to let the patient go back to normal as soon as they can...their home, their cagemates etc. They will relax more and settle down to heal. You can offer soft foods that first night, as he might be tired, flavoured baby cereal is always good.
 

JParsons

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They did use internal sutures and they did give me meloxicam. I have a recovery cage set up for him without anything for him to climb around on and maybe upset the wound. I think I'll put my other rat in there with him- at least when I can monitor them.
 

JParsons

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I have a couple new concerns.
He handled the surgery well and seemed to be recovering just fine for the first day. But now he's started sneezing a lot (it's not too bad when he's in the recovery cage, but when I let him out for free roam he's sneezing every couple seconds nonstop). My other rat is doing this too, though not nearly as much. The vet gave me an antibiotic (cephalexin) to prevent infection, and I'm hoping this will help to clear up any respiratory problems he may be having. Any thoughts?
Also, he's stopped drinking. He's acting fairly peppy and much like his old self, but I don't think he's had anything to drink for at least 24 hours. I've tried mixing some water with orange juice and giving it to him with a syringe, but he's not interested. I've also tried giving him water in a bowl, but he just takes a couple tiny slurps and moves on.
I have called the vet for advice but they never answer the phone and sometimes take days to return my calls, so I'm really at a loss regarding what to do.
 

Pepper_rat

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Personally, I would take him back to the vet. I have had rats show only some signs or URI (sneezing a lot) but are still peppy and seem to be happy. Then the next day they go down hill fast. I think they’re good at hiding illness. Keep a close eye on him and I think taking him back to the vet to the the URI checked is a good idea especially since he just has surgery.
 

lilspaz68

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So very sorry I missed your post. Sonetimes the stress of the vet visit and surgery can trigger a myco flare-up and cephalexin isn't particularly effective for that.

How is he now?
 

JParsons

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It's all good. Thanks for responding. He's much better now. The sneezing has stopped and he's drinking water like normal again. I have put him back in the bigger cage and everything's basically back to normal. He's still on antibiotics for another week. The incision looks okay- it's not swollen or red or leaking, but he does chew off the scab at the points he can reach. I have also noticed that the incision is quite warm to the touch, and I'm worried this may indicate infection. Any thoughts?
 

JParsons

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There's no obvious odor that I can pick up on. I'm a little concerned that he keeps chewing off the scab. Sometimes he makes it bleed a little bit. But I don't want to put him in the collar unless it's absolutely necessary.
 

lilspaz68

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Can you get a pic and tell me exactly how long its been since the surgery? They sent you home with oral pain medication correct? How much are you giving?
 

JParsons

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It's been eight days since the surgery. He has a follow up appointment in five days. The pain medication they gave me is Meloxicam- 0.2 mls every 24 hours for 14 days.
 

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JParsons

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I have one more concern. He is doing totally fine and seems to be fully recovered, but I've noticed that a strand of the internal stitches has become exposed and is sticking out (picture included). I'm not sure if it's supposed to dissolve over time, but it is a fairly large loop and I'm worried he might get his toes caught it in if he scratches himself. Would it be a bad idea to trim it?
 

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