is feeling very neglectful concerning her companion,
Eloise. She has been caring for Eloise for about a year
and a half, since soon after Eloise was born. About five
months ago, Eloise developed a small lump on her right
side, starting out about the size of a marble. Paula did
what I think a lot of folks do and ignored it, hoping it
might magically disappear.
for Paula and, more importantly, Eloise, it did not.
Instead, it continued to grow at an alarming rate and is
now to the point at which Eloise’s lump is, according
to Paula, as big as Eloise. Paula feels bad about her
"ostrich approach" to Eloise’s problem and
is desperately hoping it is not too late to help her.
is a rat. Paula is hoping that Eloise might be able to
have surgery to remove her now enormous tumor, though
she is not very hopeful that it will be successful. She
has taken Eloise to her local veterinary hospital and
was told that she would not be a candidate for surgery;
euthanasia was recommended. Paula’s guilty feelings
worsened, though she did not give up. Hence her emailing
me with her story.
have not seen Eloise, so I will need to make an
assumption here while addressing Paula’s inquiry. The
assumption is that, other than the obvious burden of
providing life support for a great big tumor, Eloise is
in good health. If this is the case, I would definitely
give Paula hope that Eloise’s tumor could be
removable. Having worked with rats, I can share that
they are excellent surgical patients as long as a few
parameters are closely monitored during the surgery.
Also, Eloise’s predicament is not unique.
is necessary to pay close attention to vital signs
during anesthesia in rats and it is extremely important
to control the pain associated with the surgical
procedure. In Eloise’s case, it will probably take a
significant amount of time, maybe 40 or 50 minutes, to
remove such a large tumor, and this procedure does carry
a high pain potential. With proper pain prevention, it
can be well-managed, increasing the chances of a
interesting point about tumors in rats is that, contrary
to popular belief, most of their tumors are not
cancerous. I would venture that Eloise’s tumor is not
cancerous as well. Her tumor is likely a benign tumor of
mammary tissue origin. These tumors are fairly common in
rats, interestingly in females and males. If the surgeon
is successful in removing this tumor and the biopsy
confirms I am right about my assumption as to its
origin, Eloise could indeed be cured.
needs to find a veterinarian with expertise working with
exotic companions such as rats. Hopefully this will be
possible for her and Eloise can have a surgery that can
cure her enormous tumor burden and restore her quality
last point is the importance of addressing a
"lump" as soon as it is recognized in all our
companions. Like virtually every disease process, when
caught early, the chances for a good outcome are greatly