Dying Pet Rat
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Thread: Dying Pet Rat

  1. #1

    Default Dying Pet Rat

    My dear Persephone (Persy for short) is on her way out, and I'm heartbroken. She's experienced a number of health problems... uterine bleeding, partial paralysis, blindness, and of course, tumors. The most recent tumor was inoperable due to her age (almost 3 years old) and neurological issues, so unfortunately the only option was to keep her comfy for as long as possible. She's been doing great, eating and drinking and still maintaining some level of energy even with all her issues, but last night I found that she no longer had any interest in her food or water and only lies still with watery-looking eyes. I accept that my poor rat probably only has days or maybe hours left, but because I can't reach her vet right now, I was wondering if anyone had any advice on keeping her comfortable? Should I attempt to give her water through a dropper? Or does dehydration create a kind of euphoric state the way it does with dying humans (at least that's what I've learned) ? She's refusing all food, even peanut butter (her favorite!) and I just want to do the right thing for her. Euthanasia is a big-time last resort as her vet is 40 minutes away, and besides the fact that my heart might not be able to take it, I'd much prefer that she die in the comfort of her own cage without having to deal with a long drive to a strange place, ya know? Any advice as to what to do for a dying rat would be much appreciated!

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  3. #2

    Default Re: Dying Pet Rat

    If she seems comfortable enough, I would say to just let her die peacefully at home. taking her to the vet would probably cause stress and unless she is suffering, I would let her go in the comfort of her home.

    If she does show signs of discomfort and suffering, the vet should be contacted.

    When my two females died of tumors they died without pain, even though they were in the early stages of ulceration. They just stayed curled up in their nests very content but had stopped eating and drinking. THey were not breathing heavy, squirming or showing any other signs of discomfort. They even bruxed a little when I sat down to pet and talk to them.

    I am not sure about the dehydration, my guess is that she would refuse the water anyway, but I really do not know.

    As for keeping her comfortable: she should be fine with a nice cozy bed and a loving hand to look after her. As long as no sudden physical pain flares up, she should pass peacefully and feeling very loved.

    I am so sorry for your loss. It is soooooooo hard loosing a beloved pet/friend. 3 Years is a good age though, you did well, she is in good hands.

  4. #3

    Default Re: Dying Pet Rat

    Thank you for the answer- I'm glad I'm not alone here. I'm wondering how long a rat can go without food and water before suffering sets in? They're such stoic little creatures that it's always been hard for me to guage pain for my rats. She hasn't been eating or drinking anything for almost 2 days now.

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  6. #4

    Default Re: Dying Pet Rat

    If its been 2 days she IS suffering. Dehydration is not pleasant at all. Can you hand feed at all? If not and she's not comatose yet, then you need to find a way to have her humanely pts.

  7. #5

    Default Re: Dying Pet Rat

    She won't take any food by hand, but she did take a little bit of water last night. As for dehydration being unpleasant, that would certainly be the assumption but I've heard that it's a natural part of the dying process for humans, although I'm not sure it works the same way for rats. Either way, she's now getting small amounts of water and she has food offered to her 'round the clock so it's really up to her what she refuses. As I explained, having her euthanized is a major last resort due to her vet being so far away, and the long journey probably would only make her suffer more. There is a vet closer by but he's an absolute disgrace and doesn't view rats as real pets. I'll be damned if I'll hand over my ratty girl to him.

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