Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

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Vicki Pickle
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Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Vicki Pickle » Tue May 24, 2011 4:33 pm

My lovely black hooded dumbo rex Nessa is coming up for 32 months.

We lost her sister Rudi a few months ago. She'd had mammary lumps since she was just under 18 months. Two lumpectomies later and they just kept coming back, so we decided palliative care was the way to go, rather than put her through any more operations at her age. One of these lumps (under her forearm) became so big and after a while she just seemed to give up. We had to take the hugely difficult decision to help her along her way.

Nessa's got two lumps that've been much slower in growth than her sister's. The vet agreed that it was best to leave them, given Nessa's old age and the fact they weren't too disruptive. The main lump is underneath her belly and is now the combined size of two golf balls. The smaller lump is under her forearm (similar to Rudi). I'm not sure if I should post photos here, as the main one is quite big and horrible looking. I wouldn't want to upset people.

Over the last few weeks, the main lump has really started affecting the way Nessa carries herself. It affects the leg/foot and means she struggles to climb ramps, walk in straight lines, etc. It's obviously heavy as it's pulling her skin down tight over her back, showing her spine and hips/ haunches. She's lost weight in her old age and as she's a thinning-rex, it probably makes things look far worse than if she had a normal coat. In typical Nessa style, she's still climbing the bars of the SRS to starfish when it's dinner time! :roll: :lol: Although she needs help getting back down again. I had to customise a fuzzbutt snoozecube the other day after I watched Nessa trying to climb in a corner entrance, but get stuck on her lump. :(

I noticed last night that the underside of the lump has developed a small graze. Probably where the skin is stretched so tight around it and it's rubbing on the substrate. I'm gutted. I knew this day would come, I just wasn’t ready for it now. I'm so worried about an infection developing and her being in pain. She and Rudi were my first pair of rats and Ness will always be my original heart rat. So loving and affectionate. Last night she sat on my chest, licking away my tears after I found her graze. I told her it was highly unfair for her to be so cute and dear to me. She completed the cuteness by boggling at me. It breaks my heart.

I suppose it’s just a matter of time now, isn’t it? Anyone been in a similar predicament? Thanks for reading. x

ETA: Just had a thought. Should this be in 'Health'?
A cage full of aging ladies: Gentle alpha Sally Cinnamon, chubster black berkie dumbo Zillah, roan alpha wannabe Bobbie and dear tilty runty Princess Wobble Buttons.

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ErnieG!
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by ErnieG! » Tue May 24, 2011 6:45 pm

I would wash the graze, change the bedding I've heard green mile is good for rats with HLD so it might be kinder on her lump, I have a bale, just haven't got into it yet. As long as she has a great quality of life, which is sounds like she does, it sounds like she'll do just fine :)

ETA:
I had a girlie, that wasn't to old, but she was very very resp, and I had the choice to get her lump removed or not, I decided not to, and after two months or so it got so bad, it was like your girls, rubbing against the shelves and bedding, and it was affecting her walking, so in the end I got it removed and it was fine.

striches to your girlie :hearts:
Emma and the rodents, Meryl, Esmeralda and the 3 unnamed girls.
Kuzco, waiting for some friends.

Waiting for me at the bridge Jasmine, Francesca, Francis and Ebony :rainbow:

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Vicki Pickle
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Vicki Pickle » Tue May 24, 2011 8:15 pm

Thanks Emma. We're on green mile and I had a big clean out yesterday - you're right, it's definitely softer than finacard and the peices are bigger and less scratchy. Certainly less dust too.

As well as keeping the site clean, I was wondering if there's any sort of antiseptic I could use. I've put lots of extra things of interest at ground level and a hammock that's an inch off the ground, which she seems to be enjoying.
A cage full of aging ladies: Gentle alpha Sally Cinnamon, chubster black berkie dumbo Zillah, roan alpha wannabe Bobbie and dear tilty runty Princess Wobble Buttons.

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ErnieG!
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by ErnieG! » Tue May 24, 2011 8:45 pm

You could maybe use Hibiscrub, I've heard it's great for wounds of any kind :)
Emma and the rodents, Meryl, Esmeralda and the 3 unnamed girls.
Kuzco, waiting for some friends.

Waiting for me at the bridge Jasmine, Francesca, Francis and Ebony :rainbow:

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annc
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by annc » Tue May 24, 2011 9:01 pm

I'd use Dermagel, or else aloe vera gel.

If you have a piece of Vetbed or similar you could put it in the cage near where she sleeps.

With one of my rats we tried Galastop (cabergiline), which can make both mammary and pituitary tumours shrink.
Ann Clifton
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Hamster - Chip - Numerous hamsters and ratties at the bridge.

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Vicki Pickle
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Vicki Pickle » Tue May 24, 2011 9:11 pm

Thanks for the tip about vet bed and aloe.

I'm seriously considering the cost (not financial) of a lumpectomy. I had this consideration with Rudi but soon after, I saw that "look" about her. Her coat was fluffed up and eyes were dull. She didn't want to move, wasn't fussed about eating. It made my decision somewhat easier.

On the other hand - Nessa has just attempted to climb boxes during bathroom freerange and has ran around the room, bringing her lump with her.

By considering an op, am I really thinking of what's best for her, or am I doing it to keep hold of my lovely girl for a while longer? Saying that, one whiff of the anasthetic and she could be gone for good. I'll then always lament that I could have had an extra week or two with her - lumps and all.

I'm not sure a vet would even consider a GA on a rat at 32 months. Which leads me to query what on earth am I thinking?! Why do our precious ones last such a very short time? :cry:
A cage full of aging ladies: Gentle alpha Sally Cinnamon, chubster black berkie dumbo Zillah, roan alpha wannabe Bobbie and dear tilty runty Princess Wobble Buttons.

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ErnieG!
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by ErnieG! » Tue May 24, 2011 9:16 pm

To be honest, I don't think it matters how old, it matters how young they live their life and if you think they could pull through.
Listening to how she is, I would definitely get it removed, she seems young enough. But it really is a personal choice!

I hope you can make a choice :)
Emma and the rodents, Meryl, Esmeralda and the 3 unnamed girls.
Kuzco, waiting for some friends.

Waiting for me at the bridge Jasmine, Francesca, Francis and Ebony :rainbow:

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by petrify » Tue May 24, 2011 9:31 pm

Hiya, im in a similar predicament. My girl (tempest) will be 40 months old in june. She has a slow growing lump under her arm. It wasnt attached when it was first there but now seems to be. Because she got this 3 months ago, i decided against surgery due to her age and the fact that she had surgery around october time last year for a spay. I dont want to overload her kidneys. However, she is bright as a button, a beautiful girlie with a heart of gold, she will still try to chase the young ones but is a big softie when she gets flipped. In my girls case, surgery will be the final option IF she deteriorates due to her lump. Because it will either be a PTS before her quality of life evaporates, or possible death under surgery. Both options mean that she would be out of pain but the later still holds hope that she will come out of surgery fine and well. Its a small chance really, but i would risk it for my little love. Because with a PTS there is only one option. I dont think it is selfish at all, if she still has a spark then its our duty to go on fighting for them.

Having said that, please dont feel bad if you do choose Pts. Only you know when and what the right choice is for your little one. But i hope ive given you some help in deciding any way. Sorry if the post was passionate, just held my little love and we had a chat about it. Shes so bright and bubbly i hope the day never comes when she has to go. X x
Rayne & Myst Sleeping:Tempest, Ghost, Whisper, Casper, Lara, Flick, Hopeful, Little Bit, Phoenix, Lady-bum, Embie, Tommy, Fernie, Bea, Aurora, Hazel & Willow, Freya, Missy. Goos Harold & Humphrey

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by rattypetrolhead » Wed May 25, 2011 8:27 am

Dermagel is brilliant. I had an old lady (Mamma :love: ) who grew some very big lumps, one either side of her tail :-? . They were inoperable given her age but the Dermagel was great in helping keep the skin supple and intact. She carried on regardless, she was a subborn old mare :lol: . If I could have had them removed, I would have, but the gel really did help her stay more comfortable.

Good luck with lovely Nessa :luck: x
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Mainey » Wed May 25, 2011 8:03 pm

Don't mean to put a downer on things but deciding to get the lump removed from my rat a few years ago is the biggest regret in my life :(

She was around 26 months and I thought quite healthy at the time. She was a little off but I thought it was just because the lump was a bit of an annoyance or something. She was still eating and playing with me and being her usually lovely self.
She made it through the surgery but the next week was the most heartbreaking time of my life. She was so weak, she could hardly walk or eat and finally had no strength left and had to be PTS :(.

I still wish to this day that I'd just let her live her little happy life until the lump got too much for her.

Saying that, you know your rat better than anyone and if she's strong enough. From what you've posted I can tell that whatever your decision you're doing it with her best interests in mind :)

I wish you all the luck, whatever you decide will be right :)

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by louisealex » Thu May 26, 2011 5:38 pm

Hi,I'm going through exactly the same with my Hero.

Even the lump size and location seem to match,so I sympathise.
She is 32 months so I wouldn't consider operating but of course everyone quite rightly,has their own opinions.
The way we deal with it is to make sure her environment is as easy as possible for her.All her things are now at ground level.She is still desperate to come out at freerange and is still just able to get out of the cage.
We have wooden floors so she can pull herself around easily and when she wants to go up to the" play are a"behind the T.V she waits patiently for us to notice and pick her up.
She has sneaky treats all the time and first dibs at the food bowl.
I feel that she still has a huge enjoyment of life (and food) and is not ready to go yet,but of course the time is not far off.
Only you know your own rat and what is best for her,so hugs to you whatever you decide. Louise xx

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by iadorerats » Fri May 27, 2011 2:20 pm

My rat Pip had a lump/tumour on her side, we just kept her in fluffy beds and cuddles making sure her box was very clean but she has unfortunately passed away :( we miss her so much. :( :(
iadorerats-pixie,snacks,trixie,pip. Happy to help and ask...

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Vicki Pickle
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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Vicki Pickle » Tue May 31, 2011 1:18 pm

Thank you for all the lovely replies. No one put a downer on anything - the replies reminded me how lucky I am to have such a lovely caring forum available to me.

I'm sorry to hear about Pip btw. :rainbow: Play hard at the bridge little one.

Mainey - thank you for sharing. I'm so sorry about your ratty. You did what you thought was best at the time - which is all our rats could ever ask of us. Who's to say how quickly she might have deteriorated without the lump removal anyway? *hugs*

Looking at the situation now, I realise my posting this thread was panic and a little bit of selfishness on my part. I could never put my little girl through an op at this age. Even if she came through the operation, it might extend her life by a couple of months - a couple of months with a scar/ risk of infection/ possible pain. I'd rather have her for less time, but have her comfy and pain free.

Like Louise, we're keeping things accessible for Ness at ground level. Also making sure she gets first dibs on food. I'm making sure she's kept fresh and clean with a little daily wash with warm water on a cotton pad. Especially round the lump itself. Can't be nice not to be able to keep yourself clean. Will find some dermagel this week - thanks rattypetrolhead. x

Thank you again my FR friends for indulging my selfishness and anxiety. I loff you all. xx
A cage full of aging ladies: Gentle alpha Sally Cinnamon, chubster black berkie dumbo Zillah, roan alpha wannabe Bobbie and dear tilty runty Princess Wobble Buttons.

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by Mainey » Tue May 31, 2011 2:09 pm

I'm so glad you've come to a decision that you feel happy with :) I've been thinking of you ever since I came across the thread. Thank you very much for the kind words.
Nessa's very lucky to have an owner like you :)

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Re: Elderly, lumpy fuzzy lady rat

Post by pinksaffy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:43 pm

Best wishes to Nessa. It does sound like she has lovely owners to keep her comfy :D .

I'm having a similar problem with a rescue rattie, Schnapps, we took home in March. The rescue weren't sure how old she was but 16 months was suggested.

Anyway she developed a lump under her left forearm about four weeks ago and has just developed another on her underbelly closer to her tail. The vet took one look at her and said that, although I had the choice of an op, she was unlikely to make it through due to stress and age (the vet said she looked closer to 3 years!?). So I decided to go with giving her meds to keep her comfy and ride it out from there.

I was so worried I'd made the wrong choice but the replies to this thread have reassured me that it was probably for the best. She is starting to struggle a bit with her left forearm when walking (although bless her she still gallops around in free-range time, the best she can) but otherwise stays as active and inquisitive as normal. She's also my most snuggly rat and enjoys a good back stroke.

My main concern is that she's losing weight. The vet noticed this also (we went back to have the second lump looked at) and recommended we allow her more treats and food. But she's just not eating the extra food, just her normal amount, and thus is starting to look scaringly skinny. How can I keep the weight on her?
My ratty team: Roland (28 mnths) :girly: Squirrel (5 mnths) :dumboteen: Mole (5 mnths) :dumboteen:
R.I.P. Ringo :rainbow: and Schnapps :rainbow:

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