Originally Posted by cheekywhiskers
If you can find a vet to do it, get them spayed. Like dogs and cats, they are less likely to get tumors if they are fixed.
I second this, all three of my girls have had some sort of problem that might have been prevented by a spay. I had talked to the vet about it, and since the spay surgery is more invasive than a tumor removal and is not 100% effective we decided against it. But then Norbert had two tumors removed before she was 1 1/2 years old, and then died from tumors spreading to her internal organs. Sherman had an ovarian cyst that caused her entire reproductive tract to swell and had to get a hysterectomy, and she still has blood in her urine because from the cervix down is engorged, and there isn't anything we can do about it. Herbert has two tumors right now, that I have to decide if we're taking off this Friday, it would have been much easier to get her spayed young when she was less of a surgical risk. Also, one of the best drugs to slow the growth of bigne tumors can cause infections of the womb, so my vet won't use it in unspayed rats (it hadn't become well known yet when we decided not to spay).
Even with all of that, I still wouldn't spay if I didn't have a wonderful vet, who is very knowledgeable about treating rats. Hes done about a million rabbit spays, which are pretty much the exact same thing as a rat spay, except bigger so he knows what hes doing. Make sure to ask about heating during the surgery, and for post op pain relievers (my vet gives a shot of antibiotics and heavy duty pain drugs right after the surgery, and is on call 24 hours if you need additional pain relievers). Sorry thats so long, but its definitely something thats been on my mind lately.
ETA: I forgot to mention how much less expensive it would have been for me to just spay, a tumor removal is between 200 and 300 here, while a spay is only 115. For sherman's ovarian cyst, I had to pay for several hundred dollars in diagnostic work (urine tests, x-rays, blood work, etc.) because her only symptome was blood in the urine.