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QUESTION: Hello, My name is Kevin. My pet rat, Imi, experienced a uteran prolapse a little over one year ago. It was a horrible experience, but since then she has been spayed. I thought this would solve the problem, but today I woke up to find similar red tissue prolapsing and would like to know if you know any rat specialists in my area I could take her to. I live near Syracuse, NY.
  This is how it went last year when I brought her to the Cornell University Companion Animal Hospital:

First late night emergency appointment:
  No exotic specialist was available, but since she was acting normal, they gave us some anti-bacterial swabs to use to keep the tissue moist until the exotic vet could see her. So we took her home.

Next day appointment:
  The vet was unsure what was causing the prolapse, but gave us three options: Spay surgery, Euthanasia, or Antibiotics and Anti-inflammatory drugs. We chose the drugs. Later that night, she started bleeding very much, it was very scary, we didnít know if she would live through the night. Later we guessed that maybe the anti-inflammatory could have caused the bleeding, so we stopped giving it to her. Luckily the next morning her bleeding had stopped. We decided to get an appointment for spay surgery right away.

Last appointment:
  We took her in to Cornell where she had a routine surgery and was released the same day, eventually had her stitches removed, and has been acting normally ever since.

Until now of course. Her symptoms are red puffy tissue coming out of the vagina, other than that she is acting normal. Iím just so confused as to what could be happening, any expertise or opinions you have would be welcomed and appreciated. I just donít know what else to do. Thank you so much for replying. -Kevin and Imi

ANSWER: Hi Kevin,
I'm so sorry Imi has had to go through so much. Can you please send me a picture of what is protruding now so I can advise you.  BTW, was the anti-inflammatory they gave her the first time Metacam?  If so, it is an NSAID, which like all of them interfere with blood clotting and can cause bleeding. You did really good stopping it.
Deb

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

QUESTION: Hi Deb, Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. I would send you a picture, but this afternoon the swelling has reduced so much that there is no tissue protruding, so right now she looks normal.
  While this is good news, I'm worried it will happen again, as there were many ups and downs with Imi's condition the last time this happened.
  I called the Cornell Vet. Hospital about the same time I emailed you and a few hours later received a call from the doctor that performed her surgery. Given that the swelling had reduced, the doctor advised that I keep an eye on her, and if she swells again that I could help reduce it with a cold pack (not my preferred method, I know she would hate it(She's a hairless rat) and it could just make things worse), or alternatively I could apply dissolved sugar water to reduce swelling.
  If it happens again, I will definitely send you a picture right away, meanwhile I am taking all the precautions I can, like lining her cage with clean paper towel so I can monitor her elimination and quickly notice any bleeding if it occurs.  And to answer your question, yes, Metacam was the anti-inflammatory Imi was prescribed. Thank you again for responding so quickly. Iím just going to keep a close watch on her for now, but if there are any questions you have for me that might help figure out whatís going on, let me know. Thanks again, -Kevin and Imi

ANSWER: Hi Kevin,
I'm glad she is better. Most of the time when people think their rat has a prolapsed vagina or uterus, it turns out to be a tumor growing in the vagina that sticks out. Too bad when they spayed her they did not remove her entire uterus and vagina. Of course that is not usually done for a routine spay, but then hers was not routine. I hope she continues to be well.
Deb

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

Imi1
Imi1  

Imi2
Imi2  
QUESTION: Hello again Deb, Imi has started having the same troubles again. I attached two images so that you could see what's going on. I actually think that the vet did remove her uterus, but I'm not sure about anything else. I was hoping it would go away like last time but she has been like this for over a day now, so naturally I am concerned. She is acting completely normal as far as eating, drinking, and eliminating are concerned. If you have any advice to offer it is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Answer
Hi Kevin,
I'm so sorry your girl is having problems again. Thanks for the pictures. It definitely looks like a prolapsed vagina. The problem is that when they did the spay, they obviously only removed the uterus, which of course is the normal way to do it, but since she was being spayed for a prolapse, too bad they didn't remove the vagina as well. How old is she?
Deb

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Debbie Ducommun

Expertise

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 www.ratfanclub.org/helpfinfo.html. 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.

Experience

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.

Organizations
President of Rat Assistance & Teaching Society

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

Education/Credentials
BA in Animal Behavior

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