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Iris is about three, maybe three and a half. She has bad arthritis, but an xray showed normal healthy organs. She is old though. She has two mammary lumps despite being spayed to get rid of uterine tumors.

Today, she was acting weird. Halfway through free range she made a nest under the wheel and laid down but not sleeping. She normally is nowhere near that part of the cage except for treats and normally prefers hammocks and comfy things, of which many are low hanging enough to allow her to step into. She was acting super lethargic and didn't do much during free range despite the opportunity to steal treats.

I'm trying to determine if she is sick, if she is dying or what. I can probably take her to the vet if necessary but if she is just old and there's nothing to be done I would prefer not to except in the case of euthanasia - she doesn't appear bad enough to necessitate that.

No one really talks about the rats behaviors when they pass from old age. I know it isn't really old age killing her but the deterioration or ceasing of function of her organs.
 

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When I lost my 3.5 year old male, he deteriorated of a period of months. He was thin and arthritic and got special mash food and such.

He did not act different the day before. He just went to sleep.
 

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Passing from organ failure is generally very peaceful from my experience. Ive noticed that about 1-2 weeks before they tend to get more solid abdomem and register a weight gain rather than loss. I typically find them passed in there sleep after that. In those cases i leave them, its kinder for a rat who is not suffering to go at home, the vets is a very scary place after all. I think your making the right choice here
 

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My boy slept a lot, I made a bed next to mine. He didn't move around very much and would eat off my finger. I didn't take him to the vet as he wasn't sick. I wiped him down daily with a warm cloth. If they wet themselves and they can't clean anymore it can burn, strangely when he wet in the middle of the night he would sneeze. So I'd get up and wipe him down, change his blanket and he'd go back to sleep. This lasted about two weeks. One day I just had a sense to hold him, as I lay with him on my chest I took a photo of him. Literally about a minute later he kicked his legs out once of twice and then he was gone. I felt so privileged almost that I was holding him at the time soothing him and telling him if was okay to let go. Seem weird? Well he was my gentle giant, Wotnot. ImageUploadedByPG Free1412860695.966758.jpg a minute or two before he went. Still miss my boy:(
 

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My boy slept a lot, I made a bed next to mine. He didn't move around very much and would eat off my finger. I didn't take him to the vet as he wasn't sick. I wiped him down daily with a warm cloth. If they wet themselves and they can't clean anymore it can burn, strangely when he wet in the middle of the night he would sneeze. So I'd get up and wipe him down, change his blanket and he'd go back to sleep. This lasted about two weeks. One day I just had a sense to hold him, as I lay with him on my chest I took a photo of him. Literally about a minute later he kicked his legs out once of twice and then he was gone. I felt so privileged almost that I was holding him at the time soothing him and telling him if was okay to let go. Seem weird? Well he was my gentle giant, Wotnot. View attachment 178177 a minute or two before he went. Still miss my boy:(
This actually just made me cry in work :( God that melted my heart.
 

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I'm sorry! :(

Here's a link on what to expect as your art gets old <a href='http://sunshinerats.com/caring-for-old-rats.php' title='Sunshine Rats - Elderly Rats'>Sunshine Rats - Elderly Rats</a>
 

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I'm sorry! :(
No no don't be sorry. It was sad but so heartwarming at the same time and I cry over a LOT (I cried over my cat eating a spider yesterday, I'm a sensitive soul haha!). Nevertheless, I am so sorry for the loss of your boy. He seemed like an angel.
 

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Sorry Nanashi the link didn't work, just type in to google. They just kind of slow down in every area. My Wotnot wasn't in pain, no heavy breathing. He couldn't walk in the end, think just weakness. But he was content. I just gave lots of love, he was with me almost all the time not in the cage but the bed I made for him. I was going to warn you about penis plugs but that's in boys! Iris is not a boy! Just love her, they stop being able to eat hard food, think you know that. Everything was just gradual with Wotnot and like I say he wasn't sick, he just slowed down. I nursed him for two weeks. There were no weird noises or squeaks, just the occasional sneeze when he was wet and getting cold. I gave him a couple of baths in the first week with baby shampoo, he even let me use the hair dryer to dry him after that I would wipe him down and use a soft microfiber cloth so he'd not stay wet. Gave him clean blanket everyday. Made sure he was comfortable really.

Hope it helps. The article gives advice on what to do with an aging rat, how to adapt their cage etc, but not on actual dying. I just spoke from personal experience. All my other ratties had tumors or were sick, Wotnot was my only boy to go of old age.

Strength to you xx
 

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No no don't be sorry. It was sad but so heartwarming at the same time and I cry over a LOT (I cried over my cat eating a spider yesterday, I'm a sensitive soul haha!). Nevertheless, I am so sorry for the loss of your boy. He seemed like an angel.
Thanks, ugh I've been told by so many I'm overly sensitive. I've come to love that side of myself though. It was sad, but also heartwarming and if my sharing helps in the teensiest way, then it's worth sharing. Thanks CatsRatsVeggies :)
 

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Thanks, ugh I've been told by so many I'm overly sensitive. I've come to love that side of myself though. It was sad, but also heartwarming and my sharing helps in the teensiest way, then it's worth sharing. Thanks CatsRatsVeggies :)
You should. Sensitive is a good thing, thats what I grew up being told anyways. Hope you can heal over your boy and hoping your mischief are all well! :) Sending ratty love over from the UK :)
 

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It's worth adding here to reinforce what nanashi had already said that rats don't die of old age. They die from conditions that occur more often in older rats, essentially illnesses. The most common is organ failure. You can do things to slow the progression of these, especially if you catch it early. Drugs like fortekor and frusomide help relieve hearty failure and frusomide along with a well thought out diet helps massively woth kidney failure. In both these cases if you treat early on you can have many happy healthy months left with your rat.

Hld which is gradual weakening of the rear end is also manageable with appropriate cage set up (but not to easy) diet and extra care.

I didn't mention this before ass i know nanashi knows this and it's come up in other posts but thought it might be useful to others with old rats that they want to give the best possible quality of life to. Don't give up when you see your rat starting to slow down, Start investigating why and you could give them a new lease of life.
 
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