I’ve read up on hairless rats.  They do have some characteristics that are unique. They can get sunburned, for example. They also have a tendency to develop fatty tumors called ‘lipoma.’ These are generally harmless, but unsightly.

Let’s face it. Hairless rats are already unsightly. Lumps and bumps do not enhance the hairless rat experience.

I was surprised last Friday to find a large lump on Scurvy Bill’s smooth pink tummy. It came out of nowhere overnight.  It was an inch long and at least a half inch high.  I kept an eye on it, but it didn’t grow any bigger over the weekend. Unfortunately, it didn’t grow any smaller, either. Smooth and oval in shape, it seemed to be under the skin but on top of the belly muscles. It could be moved a little when wiggled.

I kept an eye on this lump, because I did not want to pay weekend veterinarian rates. There’s a veterinary office very close to my house, so I planned to take him in on Monday morning.

On Monday morning, I took Bill out and checked his stomach. The lump was gone! In its place was a neatly trimmed, oval shaped wound. It was very clean. Apparently, Bill got tired of the lump and did a little home surgery on himself. I was shocked, but glad I didn’t have to take him to the vet after all. Wound care is easy.

I washed the wound and put antibiotic ointment on it for the first two days. Bill kept it very clean, and prevented it from developing a thick scab. The second day, the wound seemed very deep as the tissue around it was swollen. By Thursday, the swelling had subsided and the wound was measurably smaller in diameter.  Today, three days later, it’s smaller than my little fingernail.  By next Sunday it should be completely healed.

Like most animals, rats will hide any symptoms of illness as long as they can. The lump must have caused some distress for him to be driven to chew it off. I have no idea what the lump was; it could have been a lipoma, or possibly an abscess, but those generally are caused by an injury, and Bill had no boo-boos.

It sure is handy to have a veterinarian in the family!