Pet Rats/Follow up:


QUESTION: I have a female almost 2 years old. Recently I noticed a little blood on the deck in her cage. I have 3 females so I picked "Lil Bit" up and started examining her. Upon this I noticed that she had a big blister looking thing on her vagina. Its about the width of a dime. I immediately got an antiseptic and cleaned the area. It looks like her vagina has turned inside out, I can't think of another way to describe it. I have had rats for 4 years now but this is the first time I have seen anything like this. I called a vet after reading a conversation on this site about a prolapse (after lots of research and pics on google) but the vet has not called me back. The conversation said that if its a prolapse she needs to be spayed. Can you give me any advice. She is still eating, drinking, and playing with her cage mates and does not appear to be in pain.
If it will help I can send a pic.

Thanks so much,

ANSWER: I probably won't need to see a picture.  It certainly does sound like a prolapsed uterus, which could very well be caused by a tumor growing that is pushing the uterus outwards.  

This is quite serious and your girl may or may not be in pain...rats are very good at not showing signs of pain until it becomes very bad.  Rats do continue to eat and drink through health problems and when they stop eating and drinking, it is usually a sign that the end is very near.  That you are seeing blood is also not a good sign.  You will need to act quickly so that it does get to that point.

Let me ask if your vet is either an exotic vet or at least one who is experienced with treating and doing surgery on rats and small mammals.  If they are not, then it is critical you locate a vet that does have such experience.  Your girl needs to be spayed as soon as possible.  Let me state that spaying small mammals is an extremely delicate, invasive and risky surgery that needs to be performed by an expert in this.  If you don't know of such a vet in your area, please reply with your zip code or city you live in (or nearest large city) and I can help find one for you that is within reasonable distance.

I hope to hear back from you very soon so that we can get your girl proper help quickly.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks so much for your quick response. Im near Charlotte, NC. The vet that was supposed to call me back on friday, and still hasn't is Dr. Weelock (not sure about the spelling of his last name) and it is Dilworth Animal Hospital. They said they have 2 vets on staff qualified to treat/operate on rats. Neither is a certified exotic vet but they both have a special interest in exotics. They quoted me $100 to spay her but then said if it is a prolapse then its more complicated than just having her spayed. But if spaying her will fix the problem then what are the "complications" they are referring to? Or is that their way of trying to get more money. I explained to his staff that I recently got out of the hospital and was there for a month, and that finances are tight.

Please get me in the right direction. If spaying will fix the problem, then I can spare $100. But the way they are talking it will be much more.

Thanks again,

ANSWER: I was able to get some information for you from a close source who has access to rat vets in all parts of the US and has extensive experience in rat care.  It just so happens that she lives in the suburbs of Charlotte and is very familiar with all the nearby vets.  When I mentioned the vet you are using, Dilworth Animal Hospital, she cringed and warned against letting them spay your girl...remember that this is a risky procedure.  I didn't ask for details but she said they are not good.

I have the name of a highly recommended certified exotic vet, who is only about a 30 minute drive from you, located in Kannapolis, NC
Dr. Griffin at Griffin Exotics -->

The reason the cost of the surgery may be higher than just a standard spay is that they have to also determine what is causing the prolapsed uterus and take care of that as well.  If it is a tumor, then that would also have to be removed.  If it is an infection, then that would have to be treated as well.  The vet likely won't know the underlying problem until your girl is in surgery and the vet will have to determine what to do at that point.

I hope this helps.  Please do contact this exotic vet.  Ask about a possible payment plan and if they can't offer that, ask what they could possibly do to help you so that you can get your girl into surgery as soon as possible.

I would love to hear back from you in a few days with an update if you wouldn't mind.  I wish all the best for your little girl.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I took her to Griffin Exotics yesterday. Thanks so much for the referral. She does not have a prolapse. She has a polyp. Its right above her vagina, so at first glance it looks like a prolapse. But they examined her and took a closer look, and when they touched it they pushed it forward a little so we could see her vagina. They gave me a quote to do the procedure to remove it. Dr. Griffin did take a quick look at her, but the dr. overseeing her is Dr. Edgerton. Right now I can't afford the procedure but they told me that the polyp is still small and it's not something that has to be done this week or even next week. So it gives me a little time to save for the procedure. For now they gave me some metacam to give her orally once a day and also an anti-inflammatory cream to put on it 2-3 times a day. They said that it's not infected, which is a good sign that she is cleaning it well. She was so good the whole time she was there. She grinded her teeth and popped her eyes most of the time. They listened to her with a stethoscope and said she sounds great, no heart murmurs, no lung issues either. When the doc felt her stomach she said shes 99% sure that the polyp has not reached the stomach so that's also very good. Clearly the procedure needs to be done sooner than later, so we're going to try to get it done within the next month. I asked if a month is pushing it and the doc said no. But she did say that if anything changes with it, like the size or it bleeding a lot, to bring her back. They said other than that she is very healthy, very rare in color, and clearly very well taken care of. I felt so much better when I left there yesterday, and wanted thank you so very much for taking the time to help me out with this. I love my rats so much.

Thanks Again,

I am SO happy to hear the great news!  Often, I don't hear back from questioners or hear back with more bad news.  I am glad doctors there were able to take care of your girl properly.  It also worked out well for your financial situation.

Before you have the surgery to remove the polyp, be sure to ask about the sutures they will use.  I highly recommend internal sutures, as rats WILL chew out external ones and trust me, it is a nightmare that you don't want to go through.  If they do use some external sutures, insist on mini staples over sutures as rats tend not to mess with staples nearly as much.

I am glad I was able to help you and your girl out.  I'd love to see a pic of her (and her very rare color) :)

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Irene Murphy


I can answer a variety of questions regarding adoption and care of pet rats throughout their lifetimes, including questions about their health and well being, temperment, diet, bedding, cages, toys, etc. I will try to answer your questions to the best of my ability in a timely manner and I have an abundant amount of resources to help me to help you with your pet rats. I love rattie pictures, so include pics with your question if you can. You may ask me medical questions, but please be advised that I am not a vet. I may use my resources to answer some medical questions, however, I will need to refer you to your local vet with medical questions that I feel I am not qualified to address.


I have been a huge rat enthusiast for many years. Since becoming a rat owner, I have educated myself in all areas of pet rats from every resource I could find including the internet, books, conversations with local exotic vets, as well as several local rat breeders.

I have a college degree but not in the area of animals. I have obtained my extensive experience and knowlege of pet rats all on my own because in my eyes, pet rats are the most interesting and fascinating creatures you can ever imagine to have as pets. I also am saddened by how mislabeled and misunderstood these amazing and extremely smart animals are by the majority, and my mission in life has become to educate and change as many people's perceptions of rats as I possibly can.

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