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Hello. My rat, Jerry, two now and has been acting pretty funny lately. His legs started going back in August and has since lost about half his body weight. He does eat, so I think he has just lost a lot of muscle mass, but it still worries me. Before, he was a very loving rat. He loved to cuddle and give kisses, but as of the past couple weeks, he gets absolutely terrified if you put your hand anywhere near him and will sometimes bite (not hard, but still a bite). He has seizures multipe times a day that are often really painful to watch. My dad thinks it may be time to put him down, but I just don't know. He does have 3 cage mates (1 who is his brother, and two that are about 6 months. He gets along swimmingly with all of them and is very tightly bonded with his brother) Euthanizing is ideally a last resort for me, however considering his age it's not in my budget to be spending lots of money on him (I hope that didn't sound harsh:p) I should also add that over the past couple months he has been having myco flare ups here and there and his breathing has become somewhat heavy. He was on an antibiotic, but his brother got his paws on it and ate it. ... I have called a vet and asked if I could bring him in for a second opinion and they said that they would have no part in telling me whether or not putting him down is a good idea.

Sorry I know this is a lot of information. I just really don't know what to do. I would feel bad if he's only living a miserable life and I truly want what's best for him. Please help.:(
 

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Having a vet check him out is a good idea, maybe he's sick and can be helped, only a vet can tell you... As to the right time to put him to sleep, that's not as big a decision as it might seem. Our rats have passed at home, usually in our arms and to be honest, once a rat really starts going down hill, it's a matter of days, at best, before they are gone.

Most of our rats pretty much went from self sufficient to deceased in less than a week. The last girl we lost pretty much dragged herself out when we called her one night looking tired and lethargic, by the next day she couldn't walk, the next she couldn't eat and the next she was gone. One survived congestive heart failure for 6 days until she passed and one just asked to be put to bed and passed away a few minutes later, she was sick for a long time, but she was holding her own, and responding to affection and attention right to the end.

In retrospect, I suppose there might have been a point at which it was clear that our rats were not going to make it and a point where they were suffering more than enjoying their lives... but between that point and the time of their natural demise only a few minutes to a few days passed. Unlike humans and perhaps larger animals rats don't suffer very long, they cross the tipping point and down-slide fast. Usually you can watch them fade by the hour or even minute. There are accounts here of rats dying in the waiting room of the vets office while waiting to be put to sleep.

So, when you know it's time you won't be taking much time away from your rat and if you wait too long, nature will bring him peace before he suffers too long... it's your call, but either way, in the end, it doesn't make much difference.

I am sorry to hear Jerry is feeling poorly, and I do hope he recovers.

Best wishes.
 
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