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Pet Rats/My pet rat has tumors


QUESTION: Hi. My pet rat eve (whom I wrote about before) has two medium tumors and one large one, one on her side and two on her tummy. The one in the side is larger and appears to be coming close to opening. As far as we know they are benign and the vet just told us to look out for behavioural changes and we can choose when to put her down. However, although she is 2 and a half, she is going strong: eating, playing. We are going on holiday in a month and we don't want to leave her with the carer in this state. We are having difficulty deciding whether it would be better to put her down in a  few days or a few weeks. Is she in pain? When we squish the lumps she is fine and she is preened frequently by our other rat. Do you have any advice? Thanks :)

How long will you be gone on holiday? It is definitely not time to euthanize her yet. Is it that you can't afford to have them surgically removed?

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

QUESTION: Hi. We will be away for a week. Just having a look today, I can see that the skin has stared to break down slightly, but as I said, she is still very perky and happy. We had a tumour removed in September but now she is older and has three, we cannot afford it. Any more advice?
Thanks so much :)

I understand. It is common for the skin over a large benign mammary tumor to break down, but this usually does not seem to cause the rat any discomfort, or cause any serious problems. I recommend letting her live until it is clear she is not comfortable, or doesn't want to eat. She might have many good months left.

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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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