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Pet Rats/Bump on rats cheek?



Hi Debbie!
I have been searching the Internet for information on tumors and abscesses with pet rats and I'd like for you to tell me that you think?

I have a male hairless. I've had him for around a year and a half and he was an adult when I got him. He's in a hope with 2 other furry rats! They aren't aggressive at all.
I've just recently spotted a large bump on his cheek. What almost looks like food stashed inside of it. But isn't.
I have attached a photo.

He is eating fine. Drinking fine. And let's me touch it. Doesn't seen to hurt him at all.
And I see no 'head' or sore.
Any idea what it may be?

I would LOVE to take him to the vet.
But cannot exactly afford it.
That's why I'm looking online.
To do all I can at home.
With a vet visit being our last resort.

Hi Layne,
I doubt a vet could help with this anyway. It is probably either a simple abscess, which will likely resolve on its own, or it is cancer, and in that case a vet wouldn't be able to help. I do not recommend surgery for a suspected cancer on the face, because it can't cure the cancer, it tends to make the cancer grow faster, and you are left with an open sore that wont' heal.

How long has he had this lump and how fast did it take for it to get this big?  Tell me exactly where the lump is and what it feels like. Is it soft or hard? Is it attached to the underlying muscle or does it feel loose?  Can you move the skin over the lump separately from the lump or does it feel like the lump is inside of or attached to the skin?  Does the lump look dark or normal skin color?  

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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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