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Something I am really struggling with is knowing when to say goodbye.

My two year old rattie, Ruby, has deteriorated very quickly. Seemingly overnight, she is very slow and having trouble getting around. Very wobbly and toppling over. Her eyes are very dull. She's skin and bones, I can feel her ribs :( Although she still has a mega appetite!

I posted asking if this was normal for an aging rat and got a lot of comforting responses that it is.So, as heartbreaking as this is, I'm so happy she's living to old age, considering I found her in a feeding tank when she was 3 weeks old.

She can't really hold her lab blocks anymore so I've been feeding her baby food, and I am very impressed with how much she packs away.

No sneezing or any other sign of illness.

She's sleeping a lot.

Would you guys help her over the bridge? Or let her pass on her own? I'm just not sure if he's unhappy or in pain, if only they could tell us.We've been cuddling with her a lot but she just seems so tired.
 

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You should take her to the vet and ask for their opinion, or just wait it out. Those are my best guesses, I'm a new owner but if I knew it was happening I'd take them to the vet and keep them comfortable while it happens, so sorry about your baby. I never want any of my girls to go
 

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is it possible she had a stroke? if she got so bad so quick?

in my experience, my rats always kind of let me know, :(.
personally, id say if she's just slow, id let her pass on her own. if its clear that shes not suffering but rather just slowed down due to old age, i don't find anything wrong with making sure she's as comfortable as can be and letting her pass at home. rats can adapt very well.

i had a boy with advanced HED and i was contemplating on putting him to sleep, but decided against it because he was still enthusiastic about treats and being held and cuddled and overall seemed to be getting along all right. he ended up living another 3 months. if he had stopped eating and moving completely and it was evident his quality of life was basically nonexistent, then i would have put him to sleep.

its a judgement call that only you can make for your baby, as you probably know your pet better than anyone else. in my experience, my little ones always had a way of "showing" me that they were ready through their body language and overall demeanor, and its just the kind of thing that you will know it when you see it.
 

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I have gone through this in October last year....sounds like a stroke or seizure. Believe me you will know if you need to PTS when the time is right. Apparently there are plenty of rats that can live another year + and make a full recovery.
I could not make "that" decision as I felt bad, guilty and just plain heartbroken. My problem was that I felt I had no right to "kill" him.
We did everything thing we could to save him, went to the vet plenty times with round the clock care - even days off work to care for him and he really improved so much. Then one day I got home from work and he must have had another seizure and I just knew it was time, just could not have him suffer anymore. My hubby and I cried like babies at vets. They were so sweet they even sent us a card a few days later.
Point is you will know if it is ever that time.
 

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Max took a turn for the worse the day her medication arrived, she managed to get down two doses more or less, but she is currently too weak to eat or drink or take her meds... she squeaked for me when I came in this morning and I'm taking a break from holding her right now... letting her sleep a little. I'll be holding her and keeping her nearby. For now she still perks up her ears when she hears my voice... I'll try to get her to eat and drink, but it's pretty much out of my hands now...

She might be leaving us soon, she will be near the people she loves and who love her... and near her friend Cloud and she will be in the home she knows. I intend to keep reminding her of what a good rat she is and how much we love her, we nursed her from an eyedropper as a baby, she survived terrible injuries, she became a true shoulder rat and is our first rat to live completely free range in our home. I'm very proud of her.

I had to stop typing to hold her for a while... She's sleeping and dreaming and waking a little off and on, her breathing is a bit labored sometimes, then she makes a mournful noise and I hold or skritch her and she stops then she bruxes a little... This is an intimate time and it's likely to end sadly. I was there when she first opened her eyes and I suppose I'll be there when she closes them for the last time... Until then, she's my big girl... and no one is going to scare or hurt her...

She'll let go when she's ready.... She looks very peaceful now and I suppose I should post this reply before I have to re-type it into the past tense...

No advise offered or implied... do what you feel is right for Ruby.

Max:

Gerbil Hamster Muridae Rodent Rat
Sky Tree Wilderness Cloud Sunlight
Long hair
People Fun Friendship Smile Child
 

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Max mustered the energy to open one eye last night and ate some jello with fruit, shes still not drinking... and still alive this morning... Her situation remains critical and unstable, but her breathing is quiet again, so her lungs seem to have cleared a bit.... I took her to bed with me for a nap yesterday under the down covers and my daughter spent the evening with her, which seems to have helped raise her spirits....

It's actually a small miracle she's still alive... and I know that this is actually someone else's thread I might be trampling on, but I figured I'd share this experience real time... in reply to the original question...

There is no doubt this is hard on Max and it's hard on my daughter and on me... Poor Cloud doesn't understand why she isn't the center of attention and is being aggressively affectionate trying to get some attention... It would have been much easier to put Max to sleep three days ago as I wouldn't even guess what her chances of a recovery are... if we make it through the crisis she's still over 1/3 tumors and the drug we have to treat her might be doing more immediate harm than good... But this is also a very intimate time with a loved and cherished family friend, we're doing everything to help her and make her more comfortable...

Some folks might focus on the futility of all of the work and effort going in to keeping Max alive hour by hour, minute by minute, on the other hand there's the time we are sharing being there for the family member that needs us more now than since she was a tiny pup... one more hour is one more hour she's loved and cherished... I suppose it's part of sharing such a close and intimate bond with such a dear friend... It's a special time for hope and farewells, words can't explain...

Working with a very sick rat is a very difficult and challenging choice, rats are durable animals, but they are also frail when it comes to their health... I know that if Max recovers I'll feel really proud of her and myself and if she doesn't I'll be terribly sad... My choices will be colored in retrospect by their results... for now, not knowing the outcome, I actually can't give any advise on what's right or wrong... just saying that I still feel better about what we're doing than the alternative.
 
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