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Pet Rats/swollen neck on one side


QUESTION: I've been to my reg vet and Dr Ryan, my rat vet (exotic), got some antibiotics and a shot of baytier, I'm not sure, for the swelling.  Its the weekend and I'm very worried she'll go down over the weekend.  Her check is hard and large, the shot did nothing for it.  My sweet little Belle Donna is 2 1/2, the sweetest little nester you'll ever see and i'm very worried.  Is there anything at all I can do to help her that you know of?  Or do you believe the medication will begin to work and to wait and see?  I'd love to send a picture but I simply don't know how.  She weighs 1 lb and is a fawn, really lives up to her name.

ANSWER: Hi Sherry,
Unfortunately, a lump on one side of the neck is likely to be cancer. It might help to put some cannabis oil on it. I know a case of cancer that was kept under control for 7 months with a cannabis salve, but it was an open cancer, so it could be applied directly on it.

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QUESTION: Debbie;  Thank you so much just getting back to me,  I feel completely helpless.  I've had a rat that had cancer and, although it was only a matter of weeks, came on quickly but not as quickly as from the morning to late afternoon on a friday, yesterday.  Now it's the size of a largish marble, slightly larger than yesterday.  if indeed it is cancer, in your opinion, would you have it surgically removed?  I've had the life of a large male do fine after surgery for months but the stress he went through was heartbreaking.  
Do you think there could be any chance of it being a clogged saliva or lymph gland?  I can't tell you how much I appreciate just being able to talk to someone who knows about rats in general let alone who has a working knowledge on them.  Thank you so much for your time and suggestions.  Sincerely yours;  Sherry

I do not recommend surgery for this type of cancer because it will only leave an open wound that won't heal. Because it has gotten bigger quickly, it just might be a simple abscess, and in that case it would open, drain and heal on its own. But, a cancerous tumor can also develop and abscess, and then it would open but not heal. Only time will tell.

You'll find info about tumors and abscesses on my website at  Good luck!

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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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