Rats have certainly become more popular as pets within the past several years. And many rat owners have more than one or two as pets! Rats are quite intelligent, and each has their own personality and quirky traits. They are fairly easy to care for, and can be very social if handled often. This is J.C., a male rat that presented to us with two skin tumors. Rats are very susceptible to tumors–we see many rats for this reason in particular. Fortunately, the tumors are usually benign and not cancerous. The tumors, however, can grow quite large. In some cases, the tumor can interfere with mobility. Also, the rat or its cage mate might begin to pick at the tumor, causing infection. For these reasons, it is often advisable to have the tumor surgically removed.
J.C. had his surgery this week, and both tumors were removed at the same time. One of the tumors had just ruptured so it was a good thing we had surgery scheduled. J.C. did great under general anesthesia and had a smooth recovery. Because rats are great at chewing out any skin stitches, J.C.’s surgery sites were closed with internal stitches and tissue glue. He was discharged later in the afternoon with an oral pain medication for a few days. Assuming he leaves his wounds alone, his prognosis is great! It is not unusual, however, for rats to develop more tumors as they age. Please call Nebraska Animal Medical Center and speak with Dr. Frey if you have any rat or other pocket pet questions!
Dr. Carrie Frey