Author Topic: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision  (Read 2263 times)

Offline RiffRaffRattery

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??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« on: May 31, 2002, 09:34:21 PM »
[/i]My question is how do you know when enough is enough?  How do you know when your rat is in pain or suffering (other than difficulty breathing and puffed-up hair)?  I know this is difficult, but I really need everyones, ok, mostly everyones opinion and experience on this.

??? Here is my situation:  ???

It seems my old male is having great difficulty using his hind legs.  I have him in a Martin 390 with his bed, food and water on the middle floor.  I seem him on the top and bottom sometimes, and my heart aches as I see him use his front legs to pull himself up the ladder and his hind legs as a brace to keep him from falling down the ladder.  I do not have a single floor cage, or the finances to purchase one.  He seems happy.  I see him brux throught the day, and he moves a lot faster when a female in heat comes within his proximity.  I do not want to allow him to suffer, but I do not want to end his life prematurely either.  

Offline Elaken

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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2002, 09:37:54 PM »
I think it is just when he is no longer happy.  It sounds like he is able to cope with his problem and still be happy.  He is your rat, your should be able to tell when he is no longer happy with his situation.k\
I was lucky enough to have been part of Willie's life and I am eternally grateful for the 2.5 years she gave me.


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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2002, 09:47:53 PM »
Can you put his bed, food and water on the bottom floor?

That way, he does not have to go up, but can if he feels like it.

It does not sound like he is suffering. As long as he is eating (rats will not eat if in pain) bruxing and seems to take some interest in his surroundings (and the girls!) I would let him go on.

Good luck to the old sweetie!


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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2002, 10:18:43 PM »
This is the hardest decision. I make the decision to put one of my rats down when he/she can no longer perform basic body functions: grooming (although there are ways around this), eating, drinking, climbing. I have had to put a rat down once for tumors. I started to think about having to make this decision when my rat began to have difficulty grooming herself and climbing around in her cage. When she was no longer able to get to her food and water containers without great difficulty and/or assistance, then I decided that she needed to be put down. It was a good decision because my poor baby no longer suffered. It was a bad decision because it tore me up. I could not take it when, after my vet gave her the final shot, I literally saw the light fade from her eyes. I cried for days.

Offline Joe

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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2002, 11:01:18 PM »
   I've adopted Scout's theory on this...pick what you would say are your rat's three favorite things to do. Things like eating, wrestling, running, grooming, playing, etc. When the rat is no longer able to do two of the three things, it's time to put it down. It's a tough choice, but one you have to be able to make sometimes...

Offline NJratLover

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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2002, 11:46:29 PM »
did you try putting him in a cage next to a females? or do you have him in a cage with another rat or tried this? maybe that'll perk him up. I remember when my PEW, Whisker's 2 buddies died, and she was alone for almost a year. When her 3rd b-day came around, she started not being active, being depressed, not wanting to do anything. I decided to get her a I got Mackenzie, a 3mth old black berkshire. Right away, Whisker's energy level skyrocketted....then I bred Mackenzie, and Whiskers *LOVED* those babies to death and they were the reason she would wake up every morning and have something to live for. Unfortunitly she had to be put down June 2001 because of a burst tumor. RIP little girl  :'(
Here's Whisk a couple weeks before she passed...
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2002, 10:49:18 AM »
I know what you're going through.  I have an older male who's doing this very thing.  It really doesn't seem to bother him, he's just adjusting like it's a normal thing.  I had to put him in an aquarium because he did fall off one of the cage levels, and while it didn't seem to bother him, it certainly bothered me.  

However, he still seems very happy, loves to be held and cuddled, and eats like there's no tomorrow.  It makes it even more difficult that he's got a tooth abcess that's open to the outside air, and all we can do is put him on intermittent baytril to keep it under control.  But I think you can tell when they're tired and ready to go.  They do let you know.  

Offline scout

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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2002, 10:59:42 AM »
It is a difficult thing to decide. The TV show, Emergency Vets, was where I learned to pick 3 things that mean quality of life. (Who says you can't learn anything on tv anymore ;)?). For most of my rats, it's been eating/drinking, grooming and exploring (and that nothing more can be medically done). My most recent rat lost the use of her back legs and couldn't get around much anymore. But she still enjoyed exploring to the limits of her ability. It's when she wasn't interested in doing those 3 things that I knew her time had come. I would use different criteria for my hairless because he has never enjoyed exploring and does not groom much at all ever since he was a baby. I'd probably use eating/drinking, snuggling with another rat and nesting as his quality of life factors.

I hope this is helpful to you. You might also talk with your vet to see if they have any helpful suggestions.


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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2002, 11:05:01 AM »
NJratLover, is that White a PEW or a BEW? i can't really tell but she loox jus bea-u-tee-fall  :)


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Re: ??? Aged rat and THE Decision
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2002, 11:06:25 AM »
o duhhh sorry  ;D it says pew on the reply LOL!! im sorry! she is beauteefal!!  ;)

Offline Rose

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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2002, 03:58:21 PM »
to make those kind of decisions.    You can only do the best you can.

One thing, though.  If he is having weakness in the hind legs, you need to worry about falls and getting his feet caught.  One of my old ratties hung by the foot from the ladder and it was awful.   Thank God I was home.  I'll never put a paraplegic rat in a multi-level cage again.

Maybe you can rig the existing cage to block off access to the climbing areas.   At last offer food & water at ground level.

That said, one of my paraplegics had good quality for quite a bit after she lost the use of her back legs.   You need to be sure that he has food that can be consumed without his having to sit back on his haunches and hold it.   You may have to clean his backside, too, because he can't stand away from his urine.

Good luck.  

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