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Tumor removal vs QOL

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RosemaryGinger

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Jun 19, 2019
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I have a 3.5 yo female rat named Ginger. Recently, she developed a tumor and has quickly grown to be about the size of a lime (I've attached pictures). She's skinny and her back legs are starting to drag. I took her to the vet, and my options are either euthanasia ($70) or surgery ($400).
Ginger's sister Rosemary (from the same litter) on the other hand is perfectly active and healthy. With Ginger gone, Rosemary would be left alone, and given her good health, would probably live alone for a while (I'd prefer not to get another rat, but I don't want to give her up either).
I can't help but feel that without her tumor (which from what I can tell is most likely benign) Ginger would be just as healthy as her sister.
Should I do the surgery? Or should I put her to sleep. I have to decide soon, and I'd like some outside opinions.
 

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ViciousCurse

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Minnesota, USA
Ultimately, we can only give you advice and offer our comfort and condolences for such a difficult decision, because it is yours to make in the end. It's an extremely personal decision to make when it comes to our furbabies.

Depending on what your vet says, does he or she think the surgery is worth it? Will it provide her better quality of life or is it just cosmetic? Can you afford the $400 needed for the surgery? I hate putting price tags on our companions, but we want to also provide for them AFTER the surgery. Personally, having a lump that huge removed would improve my life, but if it's malignant, it may just be slightly prolonging the inevitable.

However, if her back legs are dragging, it may suggest neurological problems, whether it be a tumor or something else.

As for poor Rosemary, if Ginger is euthanized, I would highly suggest you find her new rats, whether that is you taking in older rats in need of a home, or she finds a new home. Living alone isn't fair to her. I know that's not the answer you want to hear, but it's what's best for her.
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
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central New Brunswick Canada
I am so very sorry that Ginger has a large tumour and that you are facing this difficult decision.

You may want to see what other good, experienced rat vets in your area charge for tumour removals.
If you decided to have the surgery done, make sure nothing is given by injection until Metacam is given after the surgery - rats must only be given a gas anesthetic for surgery https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/things-to-discuss-before-surgery.7691/

It looks like a mammary tumour …….

If Ginger really is 3.5 years old then she may only have 6 more months or much less since it is unusual for rats to live to 3 or 4 years of age.
Ginger may have other health issues …….. occasionally the anesthetic from surgery will cause a slow growing pituitary tumour to start growing faster
As mentioned above, if Ginger is put to sleep, then Rosemary will need a new friend or two

Mammary Tumour:
If it is a mammary tumour, the good news is they are usually pretty easy to remove as they are usually on the surface http://ratguide.com/health/neoplasia/mammary_tumor.php
- Girls that are not spayed have more then and 85% chance of getting mammary tumours. Girls who get one mammary tumour will get multiple mammary tumours.
- Mammary tumours grow very large, can out grow their blood supply and become necrotic
- If you decide to have it removed, then you will want to either get her spayed or put her on meds to hopefully prevent or slow down the growth of more tumours.

If you put Ginger to sleep, you will need to make sure it is done properly - most vet are not aware of how t do it properly. You will need to discuss this with your vet and be present to possibly hold and to comfort her if at all possible. .....................… Rats are given the gas/oxygen mix used for surgery, when unconscious to at least a surgical level, then they are injected. The rat is kept unconscious with the gas/oxygen mix until dead. …………………… Never allow a conscious rat to be injected into the heart - this is so cruel and painful that it is illegal in some places

All the best with your decision
 
Last edited:

lilspaz68

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at 3.5 years old she potentially will not make it through the surgery. I think your most humane option is to spoil her as long as you can and let her go with love. She looks like a doll.
 

RosemaryGinger

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Washington
Thanks for the advice everyone. The tumor is making it super difficult for Ginger to move, so I've decided to schedule her for surgery. I know it's probably just prolonging the inevitable, but I'm willing to spend the money and I can't bear the thought of Rosie having to live without her sister.
 

SQ

Senior Member - Vegan for the animals
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Messages
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Location
central New Brunswick Canada
I hope everything goes well
I hope that Ginger makes it through surgery and that she has lots of good quality time left despite her advanced age.
 

Jacksapp

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Oct 20, 2019
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Location
Indiana
What medication are you talking about that slows growth of mammary tumors? I have had 5 removed in the past month off my 2 girls?? Please enlighten me!!
I am so very sorry that Ginger has a large tumour and that you are facing this difficult decision.

You may want to see what other good, experienced rat vets in your area charge for tumour removals.
If you decided to have the surgery done, make sure nothing is given by injection until Metacam is given after the surgery - rats must only be given a gas anesthetic for surgery https://www.ratshackforum.com/threads/things-to-discuss-before-surgery.7691/

It looks like a mammary tumour …….

If Ginger really is 3.5 years old then she may only have 6 more months or much less since it is unusual for rats to live to 3 or 4 years of age.
Ginger may have other health issues …….. occasionally the anesthetic from surgery will cause a slow growing pituitary tumour to start growing faster
As mentioned above, if Ginger is put to sleep, then Rosemary will need a new friend or two

Mammary Tumour:
If it is a mammary tumour, the good news is they are usually pretty easy to remove as they are usually on the surface http://ratguide.com/health/neoplasia/mammary_tumor.php
- Girls that are not spayed have more then and 85% chance of getting mammary tumours. Girls who get one mammary tumour will get multiple mammary tumours.
- Mammary tumours grow very large, can out grow their blood supply and become necrotic
- If you decide to have it removed, then you will want to either get her spayed or put her on meds to hopefully prevent or slow down the growth of more tumours.

If you put Ginger to sleep, you will need to make sure it is done properly - most vet are not aware of how t do it properly. You will need to discuss this with your vet and be present to possibly hold and to comfort her if at all possible. .....................… Rats are given the gas/oxygen mix used for surgery, when unconscious to at least a surgical level, then they are injected. The rat is kept unconscious with the gas/oxygen mix until dead. …………………… Never allow a conscious rat to be injected into the heart - this is so cruel and painful that it is illegal in some places

All the best with your decision
ary tumors?
 

Kye

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Joined
Feb 1, 2019
Messages
61
Location
Maine
What medication are you talking about that slows growth of mammary tumors? I have had 5 removed in the past month off my 2 girls?? Please enlighten me!!


ary tumors?
If you could please make a new thread for your girls that would be helpful as it would get more attention and you wouldn't take over someone else's-?
 

Jacksapp

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Oct 20, 2019
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Location
Indiana
I keep trying to but I must be doing it wrong, so ive went thru alot of threads looking for this certain subject
 

church

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Nov 7, 2019
Messages
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Location
Tulsa
Apologies if this has already been said: I choose for surgery and pathology on new tumors. Sometimes it's not cancer and their health is restored. I'm sorry for your little Ginger and you.
 

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