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Discussion Starter #1
The only health problems I've ever had with rats are tumors, however there IS an exception--one of my old female rats, Thor (RIP), got sick, went into a coma-like state and died. Her symptoms were lethargy and red discharge from the nose and eyes. We put her in quarentine, which meant a shallow bowl filled with rags--we knew she was going to pass on, but we wanted to make sure she was comfortable.

That's the only real health problem I've ever had with a rat till now.

Yuki is my older rat. I've had him for about a year, and I have NO CLUE how old he was when we got him. Right now he's not doing too hot though. He's been very lethargic over the past couple of days, he doesn't eat much anymore and he's gotten WAY thinner (this rattie is notorious for being rather large). I'm very worried about him. He sits in his favorite spot on the wires all the time, so I put a rag there so he wouldn't get TOO uncomfortable and moved the water bottle to that level. He sleeps all the time...he doesn't really move much. I reach in there to scratch him behind the ears and stroke his back, and he really enjoys that, but it breaks my heart because I can distinctly feel his bones. His breathing is very labored.

Choco, my other rat (whom is still just growing up) seems to be fine. He's a chipper little rat who thinks any finger that goes in the cage is his personal chew toy, and that Yuki is a jungle gym. He's really cute...

Anyway, Yuki's sick and I'm really worried about him. If things don't get better within the next couple of days I'll put him in quarentine, but other than that, I don't kow what to do except keep him comfortable. Any advice or suggestions or knowledge of what may be going on with him would be very much so appreciated.

Love,
Redd
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

Take him to the vet, he can then get fluids and she can diagnose what is wrong with him. She/he might even be able to cure him. With the sound of what is going on I would do this A.S.A.P as he could die within a day at his current condition.
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

My dad just checked him out, actually. I've been checking on Yuki every ten minutes today just to see how he was doing and I saw him lying in a wierd position, so I asked my dad to check him out. He has a tumor.

I've had several rats that've had tumors before, it's not anything new to me, but it never stops hurting. At least I know what's wrong know though...and at least tumor's aren't contagious, so Choco can keep him company. Choco's gonna miss him too...Yuki was like an older brother to him.
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

Where is this tumour? He sounds like an older rat with a URI, especially with the laboured breathing, possibly pneumonia, but I can't hear him.

My older males developed tumours but for only one was it the reason he died. His was an abdominal tumour that took over his abdominal cavity, and I eventually had him pts when he lost that spark and happiness. He developed the tumour just before 3 years old but lived to 37 months. Tumours might not be your boys problem. How long have you had him yourself? Older rats immune systems aren't as good and its harder for them to fight off respiratory infections.

Can you get him to a vet to make sure he's not suffering or his respiratory infection can be treated? That is what I would do.
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

It's on his lower left belly, and it's only a lump at the moment...but a lump is bad enough.

I've had him for about a year, but I have no clue how old he is--he was already full-grown when I bought him. My dad's reluctant about vets. The only two times we've been to one is when one of my first rats, Jack, had some of the same issues Yuki has now and they put him down. The second time was when my dad accidentily broke Thor's tail.

I wouldn't be able to bring myself to take my rat to it's death. Just knowing that he'd die at the hands of a human kills me, even if it's for his own good. I don't want him to suffer, but the guilt of having that done...and poor Choco, what will Choco think when Yuki just disappears and never comes back?

I don't know...Choco, despite how young he is, seems to be taking care of Yuki and keeping him company, and I'm trying to make him comfortable too. I'm so selfish...
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

If he's not sick right now and he doesn't seem like he's suffering then keep him at home. Just rememember that a rat can hide its illness very well being a prey animal, thats why they seem to go downhill so quickly sometimes. Humanely euthanizing is sometimes the last and kindest gift you can give your beloved rat. Humanely means isoflurane gas to put them to sleep then the fatal injection in their heart which they do not feel. I have been with a few of my kiddo's during this, including one of my sweet old boys who had pneumonia, was suffering and having so much trouble breathing. It was a very peaceful and calm thing. I expected more panic but no, he was tired and he had clearly told me he had had enough, and to please help him out a bit.
Rats can linger a long long time and really suffer, and its wonderful when they pass quietly at home, but you really need to be aware of your rat's behaviours to know when the spark is gone, and the happiness has left their eyes. Just keep that in mind for the future. Its not killing, it can be helping them on their journey.
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

Did the vet put him down with your permission? If the didn't DON'T GO TO THAT VET AGAIN! It should be your choice with them strongly adviceing for it and it shoudl be a last resort. I say, take them to another vet and ask that the rat get on some Baytril or some other antibiotic. Talk your dad into it because it could save your rat and tell the vet you don't want euthanasia...

I mean, vets are suppose to be there to help save your animal so I see no reason your dad should be against it, except maybe the bill ><
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

If the vet put your animal down without your permission you need to find a new vet. That's not right under any circumstances :(.

I know you say you don't want him to die at the hands of a human, but consider how hard it's getting on him. Struggling to breath is no fun, ask any person who has ever suffered from tuberculosis (and humans are fortunate enough to have assitance from oxygen machines). I've had two rats put to sleep because of resp. issues that had brought down their quality of life, and both time I waited too long. The guilt I have over waiting to make the decision for Tsume will be with me forever.

I guess I'm just trying to say that the way to show you truly love them is to help them pass when they let you know it's time. Yeah, their passing leaves us feeling as though a part of our heart has been ripped out, but it really isn't goodbye forever :).
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

@ Poppyseed--if you're talking about Jack, then I have no clue. I was very little, barely old enough to know the difference between life and death. I haven't ever talked to my dad about it, but that's a good question.

Sorry I haven't responded--I've spent the entirety of yesterday between work and spending time with BOTH my rats. Yuki's actually doing a lot better. He doesn't move more than he has to and stays near the bottom of the cage, but his breathing's better. I've been giving him soft foods, he can't seem to eat his pellets or anything too hard, which worries me a bit (for obvious reasons). I gave him some mushrooms and a little bit of a tomatoe today, and he seemed to eat that pretty well.

However, I noticed that he's started chewing his wrist. He was doing it when I first got him, probably because he was nervouse, but he grew out of it in a couple of weeks--I made sure he felt at home. He's started doing it again though, I just noticed today.
 

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Re: This is very important, my poor rattie isn't doing

The chewing could be a sign of distress or pain, or possibly his paw is numb or tingly and he's chewing it for that reason.

Because he is having so much trouble breathing, small items of food or soft food that he can clear quickly from his mouth to breathe again is all he will be able to eat. You will have to give him a lot of nutrients because the huge effort to breathe is draining his body of energy. They become very thin on a normal diet and its a running battle to keep the weight from dropping off too fast. Watch sugars in his diet as well since sugar will feed his tumour. :(
 
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