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Discussion Starter #1
I have posted many times about my little rattie who has had extreme breathing issues for more than a year, since I brought her home.

She constantly sounds like a pigeon, you can always hear her breathing. She has very terrifying "panic attacks" in which she is gasping for air. They last about 20 minutes and they break both of our hearts. She is so scared.

When she's "normal", you can hear her breathing but she has no runny eyes, no runny nose, minimal sneezing. She just always sounds congested. I've had her to the vet almost monthly, and have spent nearly $1000 trying to help her.
We have done puffers, steam, humidifier, baytril, antibiotic, medicine to help relax her breathing, medicine to help open her respiratory, steroids, etc. Nothing works for her.

It's gotten to the point antibiotics don't work.

I'm sitting here with her now, while she is calming down after having an attack. My vet says that although this is scary, she won't die from them. But I just don't know. I would hate to put her down because she's a noisy breather.... but the scariness of her breathing attacks.... I feel so helpless. They don't happen too often anymore; they used to happen weekly, sometimes daily.

Can anyone offer any advice? I am so lost :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I just spent the last hour and 15 minutes with her while she had the worst attack to date. Gasping, trying to get up high, jolting around in a complete panic, leaping at lightning speed, and then laying there flat, limp.... making horrible noises..... a look of pure terror on her face :(

She still has an appetite, no weight loss the vet says. Still active, loves exploring..... it's just, these attacks....they are so incredibly horrible. Besides being able to hear her breathe, and the attacks, she is a perfect, amazing, lovable little girl. A normal rat.
My vet assures me she won't die from these episodes, but I know she is completely terrified when they do happen, whether frequent or not. I just don't know what to do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I always thought I would KNOW when it was time...... lethargic, not eating..... if only it were that easy :(
 

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It's never easy. Believe me, though, gasping attacks/not being able to breathe, and the ensuing panic, is about the worst thing out there for a pet to go through. Animals don't understand the concept of death or time. They do, however, understand suffering. She's basically suffocating slowly each time she has those attacks, and as you said they are utterly terrifying for her and for you. No one can make the decision for you, but I do urge you to consider letting her go quietly and in peace without having to undergo any more of those ordeals. Quality of live over quantity. Rats are often too stoic for their own good; they aren't always the best at letting us know when it's time, they're so hard-wired not to show illness or pain.
 

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Also... I hate to say this, but your vet is wrong. She will eventually die of respiratory failure or injury during her panic as she is suffocating. Chances are very, very high that one of these fits will precede her death unless she is humanely pts before then. For all intents and purposes she's already dying, slowly, of respiratory failure. If all you have listed has been tried without success, you can let her go knowing you did your best by your rattie. When you've done all you can, the last, greatest gift you can give her is a peaceful, painless end.

I am very sorry you are going through this and having to face this decision. I know it is very hard to say goodbye.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
She is sleeping now but I can hear her breathing from another room. I`m going to make the appointment today. Heartbroken.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
she seems completely normal today :( except i can hear her breathing. her appointment is in 2 hours..... i just don't know if i'm doing the right thing :(
 

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From what you have posted, her quality of life is in the toilet. If it were me, I would do the deed :(
 

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Unfortunately, her life is surrounded by waiting for her next breathing attack. Euthanasia is an escape to an incurable, disgusting ailment. You are ending her pain; if the only reason you want to keep her alive longer is because YOU want to spend more time with her, despite her pain, than keeping her alive longer is selfish. I feel for you, I really do. There's no way to feel true peace when you're putting an animal to sleep. Just focus on making your other rat happy: adopt some more rats, save more lives, in honor of your girl. If her breathing is this labored, and even at her best she is still far from "good," then euthanasia is the peace you can give her.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
She's gone now, I just got back from burying her in my parent's yard. It was so hard because she was completely normal at the vet's office.... but I said to the doctor, "if there is ANY WAY we can prevent her from having another attack, I will do it right now", but, there isn't. We tried so many things.

I miss my little girl so much. We had a good hour and a half long nap together on my bed before we went. She wasn't afraid until they put the mask over her, but within seconds she was asleep and then received the needle.

it's such a strange feeling. I thought I had life and death all figured out...
 

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It is hard when they perk up at the vet's. It's more of that prey animal instinct coming out in unfamiliar surroundings, usually... sigh. I am so sorry for your loss of such a wonderful girl. I believe you did the right thing for her, and she would thank you for sparing her any more of those attacks if she could. *hugs*
 

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So Tori the vet lets you be present during the procedure? They do not permit it here in Halifax. Strange. But I think you did the right thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Yes! She's an amazing vet. She let me go right back in to the surgical room, gave me a few moments alone with her, asked me to talk to her while she gave her anesthetic, and then gave me a few more moments alone with her until she was gone. She's wonderful.
 
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