If you decide to get a female rat as a pet in the future, it is very important to have it spayed when it is around 3 to 4 months of age. This eliminates the chance of ovarian disease and greatly reduces the chance of other reproductive diseases. This also greatly reduces the chance of a rat developing a mammary tumor develop as she ages. It is one of the most important things you can do to extend her life.
Below are some pictures from spay surgeries on rats, some of which were performed due to a medical problem.
A rat being prepared for surgery. Its belly has been shaved. It will have this area disinfected before a sterile clear plastic surgical drape is used to cover the rat and provide a sterile surgical field. Some rats may need catheters and monitoring devices will be used to check heart rate and oxygen levels.
Intra-operative photograph of a spay surgery performed to remove a large ovarian growth (above). The picture below shows both ovaries and the uterine horns that were moved. The abnormal ovary is indicated by the black arrows. The normal ovary is indicated by the blue arrows. This rat was 18 months old at the time of the spay surgery.
This 24 month old rat was presented for vaginal bleeding (above). A large uterine tumor was diagnosed on ultrasound. A spay surgery was performed. The tumor is indicated by a green arrow in the picture below.
A normal sized ovary is visible in the upper right corner of the picture.
Some rats will chew at their incisions and will have collars placed around their neck or a body wrap to prevent this from happening.