Pet Rats/Tumor/Cyst


Hi, I have a rat that is about 2 1/2 years old.  She is my baby.  Unfortunately she has been growing a tumor or cyst for quite some time now.  It has grown to be about the size of her and is growing out of her arm.  I am a poor college student, so I cannot afford expensive surgery, and I don't feel it's right to put an animal down unless they are in pain.  My question is that even though this mass does not seem to affect her at all (she still runs around, even though it makes it difficult to maneuver, she still eats, she still drinks, and she still gets excited to see me) when would be the time to put her down?  Or is there a less expensive solution than surgery?  Thanks for your help in advance.

Hi Kacie,
This is no doubt a benign mammary tumor, which are very common in older female rats who aren't spayed. Surgery is the only alternative. I don't suppose you live in northern California, near me? You do not have to euthanize her as long as she is still feeling well. The tumors can get so big the rat can no longer move, without causing the rat much discomfort, so you still have time to spend with her before you have to make the decision to euthanize her. You'll find more info on my website at on the Rat Info page.

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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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