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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 07:19 PM Thread Starter
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Question To Spay or Not to Spay?

I have four rats: Gwen, an 18 month old hooded; Leeloo, an 18 month old blue; Shea, a nine month old Himalayan; and Elphaba, a nine month old Himalayan/caramel mix.

My big worry with having all females is mammary tumors. I have heard that spaying your female rats will help prevent mammary tumors, though not necessarily completely prevent them. I am wondering how dangerous it is to spay a female rat and if this is really at all preventative.

If it is recommended then can anyone give me any estimates as to how long recovery usually takes, and how much an average spay costs? I would like to do the best by my girls, but not without any information first.

I do not plan on ever breeding them, I'm not a back-yard breeder, but if the dangers outwiegh the benefits, then I don't want to spay. I could use any information out there, so if you know anything about this please speak up. Thanks!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-28-2009, 07:37 PM
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if there's no males, then there isn't really any need to spay them. if you wanted to put a male in the group then it would be easier to neuter the male. spaying is an invasive surgery which means that it will be a longer operation and it would be more risky.

spaying may reduce the risk of mammary tumors later in life, but some of your girls might be too old to cope with surgery. i think it's really up to you if you want to risk surgery to reduce the risk of cancer.

personally, and i think i might speak for a few people here, when i would choose not to spay and not risk death during surgery and just accept that female rats are more than likely to get mammary tumors.

if you want to bring the risk of cancer down as much as possible i'd give them blueberries as treats, like one every day. i give mine dried blueberries because they love fresh ones too much and they end up with blue faces and everything they touch gets little blue foot and face prints on it. i found a list of healthy foods for rats somewhere. i'll try and find it and pm it to you. don't worry guys, if i fins it i'll put it on here also.


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Babies:
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-29-2009, 06:50 AM
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A spay is just another surgery with a good vet. It is more invasive because it goes into the body cavity, but its a standard procedure unlike a tumor removal which often occurs when a rat is older and less likely to deal well with surgery, plus the vet has no clue what they will find until they go in.

I would spay all my girls if I could, and did have a control group of 10 spayed girls. Only 1 died of a tumor, and it was cancerous not a benign mammary tumor.

A friend of mine (jorats) actually spays ALL rescue girls that come through her door, and has spayed rats over 2 years old, its all to do with health really. There is a study of hers that was posted here...
Its fascinating and shows the results in a pet rat community rather than lab conditions.

http://www.ratbehavior.org/SpayTumor...ncePetRat.html

But she has an excellent vet, I have a wonderful vet, etc...you have to find a good vet for spays.

For yourself I would say I wouldn't spay your 2 older girls but would get the younger rats done as it can benefit them much more. You can spay the 18 month'ers, I have done it, but the actual benefit may be less.

As for the spay itself...Today am taking in a 10 month girl for a tumour removal and a spay to prevent more.

My vet does pain meds prior to, during and after surgery (anesthetic is isoflurane), and I take home metacam (pain meds are a must, since they can cramp up afterwards, for a day or so...mine usually only get metacam for a day). I also prefer to use oral abs (baytril) for 7 days to prevent any infection.

My vet and I have discovered that I and my girls prefer internal dissolvable stitches, and external glue...they don't bother it like they would with external stitches or staples. It heals fast and there's no recheck on our part

I pay about $170-200 for a spay (Canadian prices are always higher), but sometimes she gives me rescue prices as well.

Rennie's spay incision

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 07:22 AM
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Pocky had a very successful tumor removal and spay yesterday.

I woke up at 3 am, and gave Pocky a small dose of metacam (.08cc) since I could tell she was a bit tense and possibly starting to cramp. It was over 12 hours after surgery and I often evaluate my surgical patients at this time. Most don't need it but I always prefer to stay on top of pain rather than chase it.

This morning she was crashed out but I woke her up, got her some baby cereal, and baytril and took pics...she's snoozing again, and healing which is what I want.

Teeny tiny tumour removed very easily


Chubby little belly, small spay incision


Bright eyes

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-30-2009, 09:14 PM
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she has beautiful eyes!

i think i was probably speaking for myself when i spoke then


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Babies:
rats: girls:belle, beauty and sweetness Boys: ronnie and oscar
Dogs: Cassie, Jazzmin and Buddy
Cat: Pebbles
Hamster: Skye
gerbils: Tremor and Sparkle
quails
chickens
9 ducks
3 guinea fowl

R.I.P. Cheryl & Kim
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-31-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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Honestly I don't regret getting not my girls spayed when they were younger. Fredi did get a mammary tumor recently and after getting it removed I still haven't spayed her. She's healthy and active and I didn't want to put her through more surgery than necessary.

Spaying your rats is really your personal choice and getting them spayed can't guarantee they won't get a tumor anyway.
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