Pet Rats/Bella


Hi I got your message about the possibilitys of what to do with Bella. I'm kinda afraid to have her tumors removed. She has around four or five, some looked like they combined into one. Would that be a problem? The tumors are at a pretty large size as of right now. Is the something I should rub on the bottom of her big tumor, because she drags one tumor around and she has lost hair on the bottom on that tumor. Other than that she is doing real well, proper weight and she is still mobile. Thanks for the help:)

Hi Sydney.  Being that Bella has a number of tumors, chances are that she is prone to tumors and even if you do have them removed, she is likely to continue to develop more.  My main concern is the one tumor that you say looks like is ready to bleed/ulcerate.  That is mainly why I suggested avoid a possible emergency situation.  But it is of course your choice.

When you say the tumors are large, this is relative and also depends on the location of the tumors and if they impede her quality of life (ability to eat/drink, walk, and groom herself).  When she struggles to do these things is a good time to euthanize.  My own Lulu lived with her tumors for about 6 months from the time I noticed one growing to the time I had her euthanized, and they were right on her stomach and were very large when she was put to sleep.  One tumor looked like it was close to ulcerating.  I am posting a photo of her after I brought her home from the vet when she was euthanized.  I hope you don't mind the photo (she looks rather peaceful in it and to me it's not gruesome), but I'm showing you so that you can compare the size of Bella's tumors to what Lulu was able to live with fairly well.  

If you decline surgery, there are several things you can do to allow her to live out her life as comfortably as possible.  Make sure you have her in a 1-level cage and remove anything that she should try to climb on to prevent falls or rubbing against her tumors.  Igloos instead of hammocks for sleeping for example.  Make sure food and water are easily available.  Perhaps consider replacing her water bottle with a heavy bowl of water she can't tip over and change the water every day.  Stop using bedding if you are and instead, line her cage with fleece because it is soft and won't rub against her tumors, especially the ones that might ulcerate.  Check her tumors several times a day and if you notice any bleeding or that they are very close to opening, take her to the vet immediately.  As far as putting something on the tumors, don't use creams or anything she could ingest that could hurt her.  Rubbing small amounts of olive oil on them would be ok to moisturize them and is healthy for her if she licks it off.

Finally, you should spoil her to no end!  Offer her favorite treats often, yogis, dark chocolate, ice cream, etc. and give her tons love, cuddles and time spent with you.

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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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