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Discussion Starter #1
First time rat owner here. This is going to be a bit of a novel, so sorry in advance. I adopted a rat who I instantly fell in love with at Petco last summer, was on the "Adopt Me" table and was going to be put down that weekend if we didn't grab him, so I did.

I use Careresh pet bedding, Kaytee fortifood diet (not like that matters, he isn't eating any of that that I can tell), I clean his cage every four days, disinfect everything every other cage clean with a bleach cleaner, and very very thoroughly scrub. Fresh fruit every morning and evening, especially now since it seems to be the only thing he wants to eat. He has a barred cage with plenty of ventilation.

Getting to the point, he got sick last December, wasn't breathing very well and was very very lethargic, stopped drinking. I put him on baytril tablets, which I split into quarters and gave to him mixed in a random sweet (apple sauce is his favorite). After I was out of the medicine, it lasted about a week, he was fine for a week, but then went into a relapse in early January. Got two weeks of medicine, and he was fine for another two weeks. Then in February he started to feel bad again, this time worse outta all, he was breathing so hard he had to put his all of his muscles into it, and squeaking as if it hurt each breath. took him to a different vet, he was diagnosed with strep throat, so he was on amoxy-drops. That worked for a week but then he got sick a week later, took him back to that vet, got diagnosed with lobar pneumonia, and put on three months of doxycycline--which he responded to for a week, but has just recently relapsed again. Took him to a different vet, finally one that loves rats, and she put him on .25 cc of doxycycline and .06cc of baytril together. I also am giving him one drop of Beano a day to deal with the excess gas he is getting from his "breathing" bouts, where he seems to be gasping for breath (this doesn't happen a whole lot anymore, just when he gets too stressed). Also a humidifier stabalizing at about 65% humidity in his cage.

He seems to be in limbo at the moment, he doesn't really want to do anything but sit inside his igloo and stare out at me, but he isn't making a lot of noises while he breaths and is...kind of eating, but very sparingly. He likes his fresh fruit and apple sauce. which is both keeping him sustained and hydrated, to a point. I take him out and he wanders around a little bit before nuzzling into my neck and making this lil' grinding noise with his teef. Breaks my heart to see him like this, and I am considering putting him down because he apparently has a very nasty gene pool, but I don't want to if I don't have to--he seems to be functioning.

So really my question is, at what point of functionality should I consider euthanasia? I really don't want to if I don't have to, the thought nearly brings me to tears, but I know I need to put his feelings into priority.
 

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My of my old rats had something sort of like that. She didn't respond to any meds though, however she was always eating fine. She just sounded like she had.... water in her lungs. My vet told me that one of her other rattie clients had the same problem. Turns out her rat lived with this breathing for 2 years and everything about her was fine. The same happend with my girl. She passed on a little before she was two. I did notice she was on the skinny side a lot. So i feed her a lot and gave her more food that had more fatty acids in it. I'm sure that breathing like that can't been to fun but if they eat, drink, and play i would say keep them alive. I'm not sure if i've helped any but maybe this could be what your little one has? (I'll look up what she had again) only diff i read about is my little girl never wanted to sray still where as your little one doesn't want to move.... :( once again sorry if i didn't help much.
 

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Hi Ryan, welcome to the forums.

I haven't been in the position of losing a rat, yet, but I would say that as long as he is eating and drinking, then keep him going. If he is bruxing when he snuggles with you, then he is somewhat happy. If he is showing some signs of improvement with the latest drugs, I would probably wait until those drugs are finished to see whether he takes a turn again a week after they are finished. The best way I have seen it put is by somebody here called Twitch... she says that the rat will tell you when it is time for them to go.

Does he try to play at all? I would encourage as much play (without exhausting him, obviously) and cuddles and loving as is humanly possible, and wait for him to say when he's had enough. He's obviously a fighter to have made it this long.

I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the little guy.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the welcome =)

Fritz never really plays very much, he's always very much just off doing his own thing. Normally he found a nice corner he liked, cleaned himself, and really only wanted to explore when the lights were dim. So he doesn't really want to play, which isn't too different, but he does like exploring when I take him out. Not as far as he used to, he comes back to me after I move a little bit. Hides under my blankets too.

He is a very stubborn rat, though, and a **** of a fighter, when he doesn't wanna do something he won't do it period. So I guess I'll just have to see, but I just read a lot of forums that said after they start gasping for breath, putting them down is the most humane thing. Glad that people feel different here.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I forgot that I had one more question.

He's not eating a lot of solid foods, so I'm really worried about his teeth overgrowing.

Is it something I don't really need to worry about at the moment?
 

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I would worry about his health first. The teeth are the last thing to worry about.

Maybe you should get him x-rayed so they can find out if there is a lump or anything like that blocking his lungs. Also a diuretic like lasix might help if there is fluid? Donno, just know that my Joshu had a similar problem and he had a mass in his chest that couldn't be removed or shrunk by any ways and ended up dying the morning I was going to take him to be euthanised. I hope it wasn't that, it was horrible but do what you can for him. Also pay attention to him and if he is uncurable and suffering you may want to consider euthanasia.

Hope things go well.
 

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Like Poppyseed says, I would worry about his health, first. Worst case, teeth can be trimmed. You could try giving him something like a nut in a shell (pecan, hazelnut, walnut etc) and see if he chews on that a bit, but I wouldn't worry too much about that atm.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I have gotten an x-ray, 3/4's of one of his lungs was infected with lobar pneumonia (not sure on the spelling on that). Vet said that the medicine will be a lifelong thing, prognosis isn't good.

I'm kinda going day by day now, I don't expect him to live for much more than a month now, but the medicines are keeping him stable at least--he ain't feeling 100% but he isn't bad enough to be put down yet. Just spent about an hour and a half just snuggling him on my bed and he's still wandering around sniffing things out. He gave me a kiss, too.

anyway, I appreciate your input, guys. Makes me sad that such a sweetheart had to be spawned from a place like Petco.
 

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I'm so sorry. :(

At least the rest of his life will be filled with love, and not stuck in a tank at Petco. Spoil him rotten! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
hehe, just today I bought him some mango and peach sauce, some graham crackers, some cinnamon apple sauce (one of his favorites) and some carrots.

He dun' know how spoiled he is really is. :p
 
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