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Mallyumpkin_abscessed tumor
Hi Debbie, My name is Tiffany (I've already asked questions on ratfanclub- but have loads more).

My 2.5 year old girl (Mally) has an abscessed tumor. She can't get it removed because her breathing is too labored. In the beginning she seemed fine, but unfortunately she was treated for Myco (to hopefully get her better for surgery). But like I've read, secondary infections should be treated first, right? Well now, her breathing is definitely worse than before. And it's most likely cancerous (it returned almost immediately and it was more flat shaped- while her other one just made her look pregnant).

I'm still treating her with meds and supplements, keeping an air purifier, a humidifier, and cleaning her cage every 1-3 days, and her nesting material- at least 3 times a day (she pees in there sometimes! She doesnít poop in there though).

Her abscess isn't gushing blood or anything, but the paper towels where she nests always have blood spots on them. I bought a topical ointment for her (HealX soother plus), but I was wondering what I should clean it with.  I bought a Bactine cleansing spray- but it says not to apply over raw surfaces, so I bought something called HIBICLENS. Do you think that would help?

I bought something called BOOSTER as well. She wasn't eating it, until I rolled up a piece of bread like a tiny meatball, smudged some on and put peanut butter over it.

I'm still worried about her breathing. Are there any oils I can put in her water or aroma therapy that would help. I bought Eucalyptus oil but am afraid she'll have a reaction. Plus my mom is allergic to it, so if she steps in my room she'll probably have to go to the hospital.

Also, she should be on pain medication? Iíve heard her squeak a couple times- I just donít know what to think. She canít have Metacam, Baytril, or Sulfa-Trimethoprim (because it gives her spasms), and If I take her to the vet again she wonít be able to handle it. Sheís had too many visits, last time I put her in her medium size cage for the drive, she instantly had diarrhea and porphyrin was speckled all on the paper towels she was on, and her breathing was instantly worse.

So, in conclusion (so you donít have to read thing long thing again),
Should she be on pain meds?
What can I clean the infected area with?
Sheís been put on Doxy (.2ml, she weighs 13.76 ounces) should I increase her dose?
Whatís a safe dose for Amoxicillin (I ordered that one myself)

Ps. She still eats, drinks, grooms herself, and plays a little (not really playing-but exploring)
Pss. Since she didnít have the signs of Myco, and now that sheís being treated and it isnít helping at all (never did), I had a feeling she might have congestive heart failure. If that was the case, would Doxy even help her?
I do have more questions regarding cancer- should I be more concerned about the Cancer or Sepsis (since I know those canít be avoided without surgeryÖ.right?)

Ok, I guess thatís it.(sorry, I really did intend to just ask about cleaning it). Iíll post a picture of it, but the picture is from 2 weeks ago. Since It hasn't changed too much (a little though), and I donít have the heart to bother her at the moment.

Thanks for reading

Hi Tiffany,
Rather than using for long questions like this, you could email me directly at then we could correspond. I also highly recommend my Rat Health Care booklet which you can read about on my website at on the Books page.

The photo you included is blurry, but it looks to me like it's not an abscess but a cancerous mammary tumor that has opened up. The big lump next to it looks like a benign mammary tumor, but it is common for them to have both. You don't want to try to clean it because it won't do any good and may cause it to bleed more.  Mammary cancer can be treated with a drug called tamoxifen which a vet needs to prescribe from a human pharmacy.

I can't tell you if the doxy dose is correct unless I know the concentration of it, the mg/ml.

The dose of amoxicillin you want to give is 10 mg/lb twice a day. I mix a 250 mg capsule in 7.5 ml of flavoring and then the dose is 0.3 ml. The amoxicillin won't dissolve but makes a suspension so you have to be sure to stir it well each time. Keep it in the refrigerator.

Rats with advanced lung infections, or congestive heart failure, do need other medications other than just antibiotics. I explain all this in my booklet and on my website.

The only pain killer you might want to give her is acetaminophen (Tylenol) because NSAIDs interfere with blood clotting. You can try giving her 90-140 mg/lb every 4-12 hours to see if it makes her feel better.

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Debbie Ducommun


I can answer any questions about pet rats, but you will probably be able find answers to simple questions more quickly on my website at If you have a life-threatening emergency you can try calling me at 530-899-0605. I am not usually on the computer on the weekend.


I have been "The Rat Lady" since 1985 and am recognized as one of the world's experts on pet rats. I have 3 published books and already answer lots of questions about rats daily.

President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

I am a monthly columnist for Pet Business magazine, and my writing has appeared in other magazines. I have 3 published books.

BA in Animal Behavior

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