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Rat With Bumps On Shoulder

What causes bumps to form on a pet rat?

By Karen Rosenthal, DVM, DABVP
Posted: May 2, 2008, 6 a.m. EDT

Q: My 7-month-old rat has two bumps on her right shoulder, they almost look like holes that are scabbed over. Is this something she should see a vet for? Or is there something I can do?
A: Whenever you say, “… should see a vet for” that means yes, you should see a veterinarian. It is impossible to know what those bumps are or are not without an exam. They may be no problem at all, possibly healed or healing lesions. But if you guess wrong and they are serious conditions, the longer you wait, the more difficult it might be to treat your rat. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

These shoulder bumps could be old traumatic lesions that are healing. These could be evidence of parasites and only treatment for parasites will improve these lesions. These could be abscesses that need to be drained and removed, and your rat will need to start antibiotic treatment.

Although unusual for a young rat, we always worry about neoplasia when we discuss disease in rats. So, be safe than sorry. Please go see your veterinarian as soon as you can.

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Rat With Bumps On Shoulder

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Reader Comments
Although the shoulder is kind of a high place for them, I immediately thought of mammary tumors. Sadly many of the rats I have had over the years have developed mammary tumors. They are so frustrating because even if they are surgically removed and found to be benign, they tend to come back and eventually cause death by growing so large that the organs are crowded (and breathing becaomes difficult) and/or the skin on the bottom necrotizes when it rubs against the flooring (and a massive open wound results).
Lisa, East Hampton, CT
Posted: 10/2/2012 5:12:17 PM
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