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This is my first post, though i can guarantee more. <3 Rattus.

I've got a very sick rat here, though her symptoms are unusual. Her sister (Io) died 3 weeks ago.. extremely suddenly. She was disonant and refused all food/water (other than what I forcefed her.. antibiotics/nutrical water) and died within 24 hours of falling ill. Ea is sick now.. and has been for the last 5 days. Her symptoms are laboured breathing and little to no appetite. She has lost alot of weight as she used to be a hearty eater. She isn't sneezing, doesn't sound clucking/clicky, and doesn't have runny eyes or nose. My brother is a vet, and got me some tetracycline for her, which she has been very good about taking in her water. Water is the only thing she hasn't lost interest in.

After her sister died, i got two new rats.. I also started using the white cellulose carefresh instead of the brown carefresh stuff. I've isolated her from the new rats, but have let them have play time together (untill Ea became even more sick). Ea didn't fall sick untill she had been around them... so i'm wondering if that was the cause... if her sister was? If it was the new rats... then screw pet smart.

The questions i have.. are what to do the next time i have a sick rat in the house as far as isolation/play time/etc? What to do about Ea now that she is suffering? I've read that the vet euthanization for them is stressful and not very affective at a humane death. (it's hard to hit a little rat heart with the needle) It seems that if ea has not improved at all in 5 days.. her suffering will continue. I happened upon a website describing methods to euthanize them yourself.. and was curious what other people thought about this. I have mixed feelings about euthanization at all, but if i were Ea, i would ask for it i would think. Unfortunately, i'm not Ea. :(

Of everything on the list.. the co2 chamber seemed the easiest for both me and the rat... though the recommended method was (please look away if you don't want to be upset) was to put them in a pillowcase and smash them against something hard at speed... killing them instantly.. no death throes. Apparantly almost all other forms of euthanization cause the violent death throes i'm sure many people have experienced before as i have.

Perhaps I should just let her whither away on her own.. perhaps i should take her to the vet. I don't think i can put her through the car ride/vet office, though... she's terrified of anything outside of our little family unit here. Perhaps i'm premature.. and she could improve?

Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated.. i'm torn apart about all this.

I do not want to blame myself about the choice I make for her... she's my best friend.

Thanks,

Spencer.
 

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Edit: I just talked to my brother again, and he's going to get me some baytril, and recommended i give her more time if she's not getting worse.. which she hasn't really.

I'm sure this is common knowledge to some of you, but for the sake of the forum... he told me that baytril is not a very effective way to treat mycoplasma flares.. and that broadrange antibiotics like tetracycline are much better. Baytril is best for secondary infections.

He also said that the CO2 chamber is a very effective and humane way to euthanize them.. especially since they don't have to go through the stress of the vet's office and journey there.
 

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The best thing to do is take your baby to a vet that specializes in rats. When my babies had gotten sick from a similar illness they were giving a little antibiotics and Baytril that I had to give them everyday orally. After a few days they had shown a big improvement. But the best thing is to just go to a vet who knows about rats! From what I know, I don’t know why normal euthanasia would be stressful for a rat, there is no different then putting any other animal asleep. Personally I wouldn’t try to put a rat to sleep myself; I would just take them to a professional. I hope your babies feel better and get through this.
 

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Poor Ea!!!

If she isn't getting any worse, I wouldn't even think about euthenasia personally. As for doing myself, I just couldn't bring myself to do it.
I can't believe people would put a rat in a pillowcase and smack it against a wall!!! 8O That has got to be the worst idea I've ever heard of.

If Ea was mine, I'd be taking her to a rattie specialist for a diagnosis. It sounds like an respitory infection to me, but it could also be a problem with her heart (they can have similar symptoms, ie laboured breathing etc)

One of our boys had the same thing a few weeks ago and we had him on Baytril for about a week and a half, our regular vet just told us to carry on giving to him but he was getting worse (he didn't want to eat, drink or move, plus his breathing was laboured and he stated boggling. He was also hiding from any lights) so we took him to a exotic animal specialist who prescribed Baytril & Ronoxin for 3 weeks. He has another week to go and is already back to his usual self with the exception that he is now much more into cuddles (we gave him loads when he was ill)

As for introducing new rats, I would keep them seperate. I know you want to integrate them all together asap but you don't want your new ratties getting ill too, especially if it is a respitory problem.

You haven't had a sore throat recently have you? Rats can catch strep throat from humans, and aparently that can make them very ill!
 

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without seeing the rat myself i can't tell you for sure what the rat has. though i'm not a vet myself i have had nearly 4 years of experience with rats. if there is no sounds of conjestion (and normally the first sign of respiratory problems with rats is congestion) it could be one of three other things.

it is possbile its heart problems and there are a few drugs you can try to manage it if that is the case (speak to a vet knowledgable in the area for advice on testing and treatment) or it could be a pituary tumor. females are prone to such tumors even more then males and all rats are prone to cancers. a pituary tumor is a tumor in or near the pituary gland. symtoms can vary but a common syptom is sudden lack of interest in food or stroke like symptoms. unfortunately there is no cure for this and the only option is lessening the suffering through ethunaza. fortunately, however, is that its easily diagnosed, hold her in front and below you so you can get a good look at the size of both eyes, if one is larger then the other this is likely what she has.

the other likely culprit is depression (and this is the one i'm betting on if there's no other symptoms). if you can't hear congestion, the anitbiotics don't seem to be improving her and her eyes are the same size then its very likely that she is merely missing her sister. this can be cured (hopefully) with extra attention from you and introductions to new rats. but depression can be serious, rats are known to attempt and commit suicide. i friend of mine had brother rats, when one died suddenly of an anerism the other went off his food and was lethagic for a few days then started though himself against the wall of the cage until he broke his neck. after the autopsy (he was training to become a medical examiner) i, myself, have experienced a depressed rat. when i first started keeping rats i only got the one. at first my situation was such that my rat and i were able to spend nearly the entirity of the day together. when my situation changed and i was no longer able to speed so much time with her she went off her food and lost weight rapidly. she had no other signs illness. i talked to my friend with the brothers then brought home another rat. after the introduction grooming was over my first rat planted herself at the bowl and filled up. bu it was almost a complete week before i had figured it out. the only thing she was interested in that time was water. your rat, mourning the lost of her sister may not be as readily responsive but keep at it and with any luck she'll be ok.

having said all that though, make sure that she doesn't have an illness before introducing her with other rats. if it is an illness you don't want to have to treat an extra 2 rats when you could have avoided it. thankfully you can test for all three and treat them before having to introduce new rats. spend more time cudddling and offering inticing foods (even if its junk food like smarties or pudding) her in case of depression, looks at the eyes in case of tumor and monitor her progress and respitory sounds in case of infection or heart complications. doing all this does not guarantee success but it should give her the best chance. if you can find a vet that specailizes or has experience in rat care taking her to see him would not be bad idea either.

and if it comes to it euthnazise. if they aren't interested in life (interacting with you, food, or it becomes to difficult to eat on their own and they have no chance of survival without your extreme (force feeding) assitance in that area), then they are telling you they want to go. there are many different ways that it can be done and they do not have to insert the needle in the heart. a small overdose of pain medication injected into a fatty area or the abdomen is simple, quick and, if done properly, painless. and there are no death throes. they just fall asleep. i have had to put down a few rats in my time keeping them and i've found this way to be the most humane out of the options available to me. i have not had an opprotunity to try a CO2 chamber but i'm unsure if i would try it if i did. it takes longer and you aren't able to hold and comfort them as they pass which seems to make a difference both to the rat and myself.

but ultimately, what you do with your rat is your own choice. this is only my opinion on the matter. with whatever choice you make i wish you and Ea the best of luck and warm ratty kisses from all my rats here.
 
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