Age: 1yr 8mths
Felix presented to the clinic when his owners noticed a lump on the Felix’s left shoulder. The lump developed a few days prior to examination and had continued to grow in size. Felix had been less active than normal, however was still bright and had a good appetite.
Dr Amisha performed an examination on Felix. A firm lump about 3.5- 4cm in diameter was found over the left shoulder. The rest of Felix’s examination was normal including his heart rate, temperature, eyes, ears and abdomen. He had lost a little fur around the lump and his coat was a little rough. Apart from the large lump, he appeared to be in good health.
An FNA (Fine Needle Aspirate) sample was taken from the lump. Dr Amisha then examined the lump sample under the microscope. The sample had some cells that indicated infection which was likely secondary to the growth. Although no cancer cells were seen, most growths in rats are cancerous and have generally spread to other organs by the time of diagnosis so often the surgery is more to improve their quality of life than offer a total cure. However, Dr Amisha was hopeful that there was a chance surgery could offer a cure. Submission of the mass following surgery would identify exactly what the mass was and give more information on the likely long term outcome for Felix.
Surgery to remove the lump was scheduled. This would improve Felix’s activity level and his quality of life. Felix was given a premedication that contained a pain relief and an anti anxiety drug to help him relax. Oxygen was given for 5 minutes prior to his anaesthetic. This pre-oxygenation therapy is administered to help breathing during surgery by opening the lungs fields and bronchioles prior to anaesthesia. Felix was then placed in to an induction box while the anaesthetic of isoflurane gas and oxygen was administered. Once asleep, Felix was removed from the induction box and his anaesthetic administered via a mask.
Dr Amisha carefully made an incision encircling the lump. All blood vessels were ligated (tied off) using 3-0 PDS dissolvable suture material. This part of the surgery was most crucial, as any large amount of blood loss would be life threatening.
Finally external stitches were placed and the surgery site was cleaned in preparation for bandaging.
Felix was then bandaged. Applying a bandage to a rat is NOT easy! The vets and nurses had to design and apply a comfortable bandage to protect the surgical site from self trauma (chewing/scratching) and post operative infection.
Felix was closely monitored during the recovery process. He was placed onto warm bedding and his heart rate, respiratory rate and temperature were monitored to prevent hypothermia or shock. Felix made a quick recovery.
Post operatively Felix received oral pain relief and antibiotic medication for a further 3 days. Both these medications would provide pain relief and combat infection. This was critical for the healing process.
A recheck examination 3 days after surgery found Felix was recovering well. His owners reported he was not bothered by the bandage or in any pain. His activity and personality were back to normal and he had a great appetite.
10 days after surgery his bandage and stitches were removed. The surgical site was healing and his fur growing back, with no evidence of infection. His owners commented that since the lump removal, his quality of life had improved dramatically.
Felix is now back to his happy mischievous self and feeling a lot lighter since parting with his large lump!