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Latte the pet rat had a large tumour removed in a complicated procedure.

Latte the pet rat had a large tumour removed in a complicated procedure.

'Better Latte Than Never' In Case Of Tumour Surgically Removed From Pet Rat

3 months ago

22nd November, 2023 10h59

IVC Evidensia UK & IE

A vet operated to remove a tumour that was a third of the pre-surgical weight of a pet rat.

Dr Ashton Hollwarth, from IVC Evidensia Referral hospital Great Western Exotics in Swindon, was stunned to discover the tumour weighed a staggering 140g.

The tumour on two-year-old Latte was by far the biggest Dr Hollwarth had seen, and she faced several technical challenges during the hour-long procedure.

Although mammary tumours are common in rats and the majority are benign fibroadenomas, the tumour was so large it was severely restricting Latte's movement.

She was struggling to use her right hind leg and the tumour was starting to ulcerate.

“This tumour was absolutely massive and at least twice the size of anything I’ve operated on,” said Dr Hollwarth, an Exotic Veterinary Surgeon and Advanced Practitioner in Zoological Medicine.

“But otherwise, Latte’s general health was good, and she was obviously much-loved.

“We would normally have had her on her side, but the tumour was so big it was pressing on her chest, and we had to cut from the top to try and relieve the pressure.

“Once it was peeled back from the underlying body wall and the vessels had been ligated, we had to counteract a potentially catastrophic drop in blood pressure as we were removing up to a third of her blood volume. 

“My nurse managed that really nicely and I was then able to close the dead space.”

Dr Hollwarth used intradermal stitches to try and minimise the possibility of Latte picking at the stitches once she was awake, and a local anaesthetic block was administered.

However, a few hours later she did try to chew the sutures.

“Our on-call vet, Lucia Gomez, quickly saw she was opening the surgical wound, re-anaesthetised her and stitched it back up again,” said Dr Hollwarth.

“She then made a ‘shark fin’ bandage to stop Latte from flexing around to groom the wound, which worked very nicely.”

The incision healed well, and two weeks later Latte was given the all-clear to return to normal activity. 

Find out more about IVC Evidensia Referrals here.

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