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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 1 year old rat Devi has been fighting a URI for a while. At first, I thought she'd get over it (she was getting better on her own), but then she took a turn for the worse. I got some doxy for her and she stabilized for a bit, but then she got worse as soon as the round was over. Took her to the vet and she got on Baytril and another antibiotic, which she got better on. The new round is about to finish and now it's been 3 months of fighting this URI. However, Devi is still in pretty bad shape. Her abdominal breathing has gotten noticeably better, but it's still pretty bad, and she still has crackly breathing and makes honking noises. I don't know if I should get a new round of antibiotics or euthanize her since she's miserable. She's also stopped eating unless I give her the food from my hand, and I have only seen her drink a couple times in the last week (and she drinks for a while and I did the pinch test, she's a bit dehydrated most of the time). I have her on Nutri-Cal now, so hopefully that helps with how thin she is. She takes some Pedialyte, but not much. She still rarely moves from her bed and just lays there with her head hanging out of it.
Sorry about the rambling post, but I don't really know what to do. I don't want to give up on her, but I don't want to prolong her suffering either.
 

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If you feel that she's unhappy and doesn't want to fight anymore maybe it's time to let her go the easy way for her. You are the one that knows her best and I'm sure you know if she's ok with being like this at the moment or if she can't give anything else...

I would talk to the vet to make sure that you can't try any other medicine to make her better and if it wasn't possible to make her improve, then I would let her sleep.
Of course that some animals are happy with living with disabilities and health issues, but it's different for every soul and you are the one to chose what's in her interest. Animals have a way of saying things that doesn't involve voice and it's our job to pay attention.
Best of luck for you and your ratty and I hope you can make the right decision.
 

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I always ask myself if the condition is likely to improve, stay the same, or get worse. When you treat a sick rat and they're still going downhill, I prefer to euthanize to prevent the rat from suffering.

A note regarding Nutrical - this supplement is mostly corn syrup and oil, which is not good for rats. Sugar in high doses can cause tumors to grow. For nutritious high calorie supplements I prefer pureed soups, avocado, oatmeal with some peanut butter mixed in. Real food is always a better option than those sugar/oil supplements for both rats and people. Good luck with Devi x
 

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I went through this exact same thing with Loki several months ago. At first he'd respond to the treatments but when they were done he'd go down hill again and he responded less and less to subsequent treatments. When he started refusing his medicine (which I put into blueberry syrup so it's basically a treat) and wouldn't even eat anything off a spoon for me, I knew it was time. He was still moving around his cage but I think that was more him trying to find a spot that was comfortable rather than him being active. It was still a hard decision, but I know it was the right one for him.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, I finished this round of antibiotics and Devi still has abdominal breathing. But she's still bright eyed and responsive. I think I'm going to try one more round of antibiotics, maybe doxycycline since that seemed to help the most and because Devi will actually swallow that, and then I'll start considering other... more unhappy... options. *sigh*
 

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Have you tried amoxicillin with her? I know it's something that your vet probably won't prescribe, but you can buy it online. Amoxi and baytril are a safe combination and would probably work better together.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I've tried doxy, amoxicillin, and baytril... so far, the doxycycline helped the most... though that's probably because Devi will actually swallow it rather than spit it out as soon as I loosen my grip on her.
 

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She is quite young and I'm very sorry you need to even consider it this choice. Have you gotten a second opinion by another vet? It sounds like it might be a lower respiratory in which case it may be too late. But I'm not a vet and can only speculate. If after the second opinion she is noticeably suffering, not going to the bathroom, drinking, grooming or eating and just looks plain miserable I would opt for putting her down. There's no use in letting her suffer for the sake of her companionship.
 

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Actually there are other antibiotics that might help, but I'm not a vet and I haven't seen Devi, so I'm going to avoid making any suggestions... You can do some research on line or talk to another vet...

A friend of mine is the former dean of a veterinary college, he had some really amazing things in his bag of tricks that vets don't usually use, mostly because they don't want germs to become resistant to them in case some germ crosses over to the human population.

I'm not saying that knowing this is going to be of much help to you, but if you really insist nicely you may find a vet that will go outside the box for you...

Best luck.
 

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I've tried doxy, amoxicillin, and baytril... so far, the doxycycline helped the most... though that's probably because Devi will actually swallow it rather than spit it out as soon as I loosen my grip on her.
What do you mix the meds with? If they aren't lapping it up like it's a treat then you probably haven't masked the bad flavor (baytril is very bitter). I do mine in watered down blueberry syrup and have never had to force meds down anyone since they willingly take it. Even if you meds are already mixed, it doesn't hurt to add something to it to make it taste better, just keep track of the concentration.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I've tried masking the baytril with Nutrical, baby food, juice, anything I could find really... As soon as she hits a spot where she can taste even a little of the antibiotics, she spits everything out. What's hard is that she struggles with breathing so much, but she's still bright-eyed and responsive. Then she's really bad for a day. Then it's back to my bright eyed girl who looks at me for treats, but is breathing hard.
 

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What form of baytril do you have? As in, is it already mixed with a flavor or is it the plain clear liquid? If it's the clear liquid, you might try putting it in her water. It's not the best way to administer a medication, but I've also never had any problems with it either; you just have to start it on a day when you can monitor to make sure she's not avoiding the water altogether (I typically mark the water level with a sharpie and make sure it's going down even if I'm home all day). I've got a page of dosages sent to me from a vet that I can dig out of my email inbox if you want to try that.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It was a clear liquid... I already finished that round. Right now, she's on fibromycin. At least she'll actually swallow that one. I rarely see her eat or drink. She'll sometimes drink on her own when I force her out of her hiding places to check on her. I've never seen her get food on her own. I usually hand her a pellet and she'll either eat it or drop it.
She started gasping yesterday. Then she was fine this morning. Then she was gasping again this evening. I started her on the fibromycin (which is apparently the same as doxycycline) this night. We'll see how it goes. The dosage was increased too.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Well, Devi is now on the fibromycin and she'll swallow it. But now she's clicking and looks like she's gasping. This might be it. :/
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Well, she's taking her medicine... I'm not surprised. Whatever it's compounded with smells like sugar. She was actually walking around today, and ate a pellet and a bit of dried apple. The clicking is gone for now, but the abdominal breathing is still pretty bad. It was good seeing her walk around looking for the dried fruits and veggies. Hopefully these antibiotics are enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So Devi seems to be doing better. She's gone from noiselessly gasping to clicking with no gasping to honking with no gasping. Plus, she's taking her meds like a good little rat... not that I'm surprised considering the new meds smell like sugar. We may make it yet...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Abdominal breathing is still pretty bad, but not as severe as before. She was gasping for a day, now she's just breathing hard. We'll see how it goes.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, Devi was fine this morning. She looked better even. The abdominal breathing even started to look better even though I was weaning her off the antibiotics (the regimen had her on 0.3mL for a week and then 0.2 for 2 weeks). I came back home today to find that she had passed a few hours before I had arrived. Part of me regrets that I stayed out a bit late to avoid traffic, but the other says that it wouldn't have made a difference since she was already in rigor mortis when I arrived. I regret decreasing the dosage now, but I'm also glad that she's not struggling to breathe or suffering anymore. I'm going to go erase the answers that were written in my rented textbook to busy myself until I can be mature enough to handle this like a sane adult.
 
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