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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Note: I am feeling distraught right now so please be gentle on me if you are commenting. Also this might be upsetting to read so keep that in mind. Thank you a bunch in advance!! I certainly wasn't expecting to post in the Rainbow Bridge section so soon after getting my rats! :'(

Tonight we had our two boys out to play. I was holding Odin. My fiance was holding Marburg, who was lying still on his little fleece blanket. He often liked to be wrapped and cuddled inside of his blanket, and petted. Usually, if Marburg didn't want to be held anymore, he would simply start to squirm, and was not much of a jumper (and my fiance says he had a good hold on him, with his hand over him). So we did not predict what happened next, and it happened so fast that I didn't see part of what happened. Marburg suddenly jumped far out of my fiance's hands and onto the carpet off to the side from the futon where we were sitting. He got off the futon and went looking for the rat, who had ran off behind the blinds of the sliding glass door next to the futon. He says that when he picked up the rat, he didn't pick him up in any unusual way that would have hurt him, but he was opening his mouth repeatedly. At first he thought he was going to bite him, but then it seemed he was gasping. He pooped. We believed it was fear pooping and he was panicking. We put him back in the cage. He suddenly splayed on his back and then we realized something was seriously wrong. I was about to contact an emergency vet, but it was too late and there would have been no time to get to a vet since this literally happened in about a minute. Marburg started bleeding from his nose, and then he was dead.

We have no idea what happened! Some guesses were seizure (might explain why the rat so suddenly jumped), or a bone broken when he jumped. Another theory was that the hard plastic blinds pinched him and broke a bone when he ran under them. We have only had these rats for about a month. This is more of a life than Marburg would have had than if he was the snake food he was being sold as. He was the sweetest of the rats. I have been in tears over this tonight. I miss him already. It all happened so fast. I can't believe this happened. I do not blame my fiance, who was scared I might think he did something wrong at first, because I can't see how he could have predicted this or done anything differently after the rat suddenly freaked and jumped (and he was being careful in the way he was holding him and everything, so it was that sudden).

Odin is alone in his cage now. He was racing around in the cage, looking kind of panicked, probably wondering what happened to his cagemate. We want to get him a new cagemate soon to make up for it but we are debating whether this is something to sleep on because it still doesn't address the situation of also having a female we got with the boys while being told all were boys (currently separated from the males' cage and been on pregnancy watch--long story, been trying to find someone who will fix her or the males so we can have them back to living together without a lot of luck so far, since vets have been hesitant to fix a rat that young and small).
 

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I'm very sorry that happened. Accidents happen. Most of us feel secure with the rats natural instinct not to jump down if they can't see that far. We keep them on our shoulders, play with them on a table. It may of been something all together different and something medical with poor Marburg to cause him to jump in the first place. Accidents are very hard, cause we blame ourselves. I would not judge such a thing, it could so easily happen to any of us. I carry mine on my shoulders all the time. I've had my own accident of Goose falling off the bed and now a litter of 1/2 wilds due to us not being able to catch her fast enough and not rat proofing our bedroom prior to it happening.

Hopefully you can find a vet to do a spay or neuter so your two can be together.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm very sorry that happened. Accidents happen. Most of us feel secure with the rats natural instinct not to jump down if they can't see that far. We keep them on our shoulders, play with them on a table. It may of been something all together different and something medical with poor Marburg to cause him to jump in the first place. Accidents are very hard, cause we blame ourselves. I would not judge such a thing, it could so easily happen to any of us. I carry mine on my shoulders all the time. I've had my own accident of Goose falling off the bed and now a litter of 1/2 wilds due to us not being able to catch her fast enough and not rat proofing our bedroom prior to it happening.

Hopefully you can find a vet to do a spay or neuter so your two can be together.
Thank you for your condolences, and for not judging, since you have also had an accident happen. Because these rats are new and are/were not fully trained yet, we weren't even letting them crawl on our shoulders and were carefully keeping them held and supervised during out-of-cage time to keep things like this from happening. Yet with Marburg, the jump was so sudden, and must have been extreme since he was being carefully held at the time. I think you raise a good point that it could have been something medical, perhaps a psychological problem we didn't see before.

If we can't find a vet to spay or neuter in a reasonable time, I think we're going to need to get a new cage and a new companion for each of them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Because Marburg's cagemate became depressed and listless after the panic of realizing he was dead (and this was normally a super-hyper rat), we were getting worried about him slipping into depression and decided to get him two new young cagemates. I hope this helps him by keeping his mind occupied, and wasn't too soon.

We also ordered a new cage and will plan on getting a friend for the girl when it arrives. This will mean more rats and cages than we originally intended, but oh well, we have an extra bedroom in our apartment that no one uses.

I keep thinking about one of my last memories of Marburg alive. We were cuddling him in that little fleece blanket he liked, and he seemed very relaxed and not squirmy at all, which is part of what makes the freak accident that followed so bizarre. I noticed that he seemed to be developing a light spot on his head. My fiance said, "That spot seems to be saying, 'Pet me here.'" That memory just makes me miss him more. :'( I think we're going to bury him with that blanket, since he took well to it being used as a sort of bonding pouch.
 

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From your description, it sounds like a heart attack. The sudden inability to draw breath, and the panicked movements. In a sense, the suddenness of the death is a good thing; many of us have to watch our rats slowly decline over weeks, wrestling with the decision to PTS or not. Doesn't sound like you did anything to precipitate this sad event. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
From your description, it sounds like a heart attack. The sudden inability to draw breath, and the panicked movements. In a sense, the suddenness of the death is a good thing; many of us have to watch our rats slowly decline over weeks, wrestling with the decision to PTS or not. Doesn't sound like you did anything to precipitate this sad event. ;)
I wonder if he was starting to have a heart attack while he was still being held, and that caused the panicked movements/sudden jump, and he wasn't injured in the fall after all? We had thought injuries from the jump or somehow getting pinched in the blinds he ran under, possibly a punctured lung because he was bleeding from the nose. This rat was only a couple of months old, but that doesn't rule out health issues. Since it happened I've actually been scared to handle other rats too much in case they jump down and break a bone or I accidentally hurt them and they suddenly keel over like he did. Thank you for your reassurance.
 
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