Saying Goodbye to A Pet rat-Advice?Any Exotic Vet Techs here? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:16 PM Thread Starter
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Saying Goodbye to A Pet rat-Advice?Any Exotic Vet Techs here?

****Warning, details of euthanasia frankly discussed*********



I never knew how intelligent and...dog like ...rats are until I had them.

Our poor 3 year old Jayden who super affectionate, follows you around the house (when dogs are crated lol) is litterbox trained, and fetches..has a big inoperable mammary tumor. Poor thing.

None of the vets will let my daughter be in the room when she is euthanized. They said they kick and thrash and it is not pretty. So, does that mean that they do not sedate them before hand for some reason? They will let us take the body back, which is imperative for her cage mate. Rats are extremely social and socially organized. It is known that having one merely disappear on the other/others creates angst, chaos, and OCD like seeking behavior. They understand death and need to spend a very short amount of time recognizing what has happened and dealing with it. I say short because then they will consume :/ (instinct as decay can attract predators).

So I was wondering if anyone here has rats, have you had to euthanize, any advice? I do not belong to rat forums or any FB pages. Quite frankly that online community is harsh and go for the juggler. You ask for advice and they want to start with looking for something you might not have done, like sit in a playpen with them everyday, who does not have hammocks..that sort of thing I do not have time for.

I can euthanize them myself. We have Pythons (which is how we came to have pet rats as well). I euthanize them with Co2. I dont buy them frozen because they mass euthanize them and blast the gas out too quickly and it is painful. So I do my own with the most prescribed" as humane as possible" way. They do twitch and kick at the end. So I am wondering if the vet is going to do the same? I asked and they were evasive. If they are going to do that, I can do it at home with my daughter waiting in her room to receive her back and say goodbyes with the cage mate.

Yes, it would be hard to do, but at least I know it would be done with time taken and care. My only reason for scaring Jayden by taking her to the vet would be if they do the same sedation consideration before lethal dosage like they do with dogs and cats.

Anyone? What would you do?

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Last edited by CometDog; 05-22-2018 at 01:18 PM.
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:29 PM
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usually the vet sedates the pet first then euthaniasia is given. it should be discussed before hand. The body still does things like you mentioned regardless of the sedation but I have not seen it and been through the euthanasia process quite a few times with my animals. It can happen -muscle twitching and such -so the vet warns you before hand. I would bring the pet to the vet or have the vet come to the house. It’s very peaceful and there in the best of hands.
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:37 PM
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I think you should PM @voodoolamb , she may have good info for you.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:38 PM Thread Starter
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I have held a few of my dogs at this point in my life, while they went. There were some deep breaths and groans, but never the serious leg kicks you see a lot. That seems to come from ..well..instant death ( I also hunt)...and I did ask and they said they didn't know how it was done for rats, I could ask the vet later..etc. So I am wondering if for some physiological reason they do not sedate rats? They do not operate on them either...so I am thinking maybe they do not have the needed materials to sedate first for an animal that size/species?

Maybe I should try to find an exotic pet vet...none are local.

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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:45 PM
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Yes, I have pet rats. I have had them since I was 4 years old. I have had mine euthanized as well, for mammary tumors, just like you. It is not fun to watch. I have put them to sleep myself at home, but it is tricky to do, and it can cause extreme pain if not done properly. I think it can be hard to sedate such a small creature without just killing them that way. Maybe the cost for sedation is too high for the vet? I am not sure.

How old is your daughter? Depending on how you feel, it might be good for her to watch and learn. I was there with my beloved pets when they were put to sleep starting around age 10 or 11 and you couldn't keep me away. I wanted to be able to say goodbye. I knew what death was, and I knew that death was never pretty. It would be hard, but it may be good for her to be there. She may have to do this herself one day, and it would be great to have you there to support her through it now.

I am sorry, it sucks to lose a pet.

Forrest - GSD 9/1/2016 - 5/14/2017 RIP
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:47 PM
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I've had a lot of mice growing up and I could never find a vet, not to mention their short life spans it just wasn't realistic. With my mice I just tried to make sure they were as comfortable as possible and extra spoiled towards the end.. the last one I had really loved popcorn and the pet store had these mini corns you could put in the microwave.. he lived to be 4 years old and his last year he got popcorn every day lol. I'm sorry your rat isn't doing well, hopefully you can find what works best for you and your daughter..
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 01:57 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pytheis View Post
Yes, I have pet rats. I have had them since I was 4 years old. I have had mine euthanized as well, for mammary tumors, just like you. It is not fun to watch. I have put them to sleep myself at home, but it is tricky to do, and it can cause extreme pain if not done properly. I think it can be hard to sedate such a small creature without just killing them that way. Maybe the cost for sedation is too high for the vet? I am not sure.

How old is your daughter? Depending on how you feel, it might be good for her to watch and learn. I was there with my beloved pets when they were put to sleep starting around age 10 or 11 and you couldn't keep me away. I wanted to be able to say goodbye. I knew what death was, and I knew that death was never pretty. It would be hard, but it may be good for her to be there. She may have to do this herself one day, and it would be great to have you there to support her through it now.

I am sorry, it sucks to lose a pet.
Thank you. She is almost 12 and rather mature. The reason she has rats is because she has shown she can take care of them soup to nuts. The vet said no for her being there. She wants to be there. If I do it at home, it would be in a box and she would not be able to hold her. So it is a tough one.

When I euthanize feeders at home I am very careful about it. I let the gas out at the right pace that minimizes (but does not eliminate) distress. Too fast is just as inhumane as too slow unfortunately. I have it down though, and now that I have pet rats I am looking to sell my python collection because I just don't want to anymore

It has increased in size exponentially and she can no longer get around but does not seem to be in pain? My concern there is if it happens, if she passes, while I am out to work and she is at school we could come home to the remaining rat Smokey doing what nature tells her to do. I have a critter nation set up..maybe if I put her in a smaller cage within the cage so they are still together but not accessible to each other?

Thanks again for the input.

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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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Also I know I have to replace her sooner than later, like in a day or two. I had entertained introducing 2 more female cage mates now, so that the remaining rat is not alone when Jayden goes...not sure if that is the right thing to do. I see conflicting info. One thought says it isn't fair to introduce the new one/ones to a dying companion and to give Smokey a day or two to grieve, then clean the cage and do the carrier or bathtub intro technique.. We had 3, the naked rat we had died of old age about 5 months ago. Kicking myself for not getting another then, I will always have 3 now so I don't get stuck with a grieving singleton again.

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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 02:09 PM
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I have a Critter Nation. How has that worked for you? I found that my rats chewed the pans at the bottom way too much. Silly rats.

Another concern with the mammary tumor is if it pops/breaks/splits/explodes, I can't remember the right word, it is also unbelievably painful. You definitely want to end her suffering before that happens. Is it possible to find another vet? I know it can be really hard to find any vet willing to work with rats, but I wouldn't be happy if my vet told me that I could not have my daughter along when it is my choice and not theirs.

Putting her in a smaller cage within the cage would probably work well. I just hope it doesn't have to end up like that. If I were you, I would opt to put her to sleep in my home where my daughter could be present. Even if the rat is in a box, she's still there, and to me that is better than having to wait at home or in a waiting room by yourself.

Forrest - GSD 9/1/2016 - 5/14/2017 RIP
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 05-22-2018, 02:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CometDog View Post
Also I know I have to replace her sooner than later, like in a day or two. I had entertained introducing 2 more female cage mates now, so that the remaining rat is not alone when Jayden goes...not sure if that is the right thing to do. I see conflicting info. One thought says it isn't fair to introduce the new one/ones to a dying companion and to give Smokey a day or two to grieve, then clean the cage and do the carrier or bathtub intro technique.. We had 3, the naked rat we had died of old age about 5 months ago. Kicking myself for not getting another then, I will always have 3 now so I don't get stuck with a grieving singleton again.
I would be worried about introducing 2 to 1. That can be dangerous for the one if the other two ganged up. It can lead to bullying behavior and violence pretty quickly. It would be safer if the two were babies, but then you risk the adult harming the babies... It's hard to know.

I would wait until the sick one is gone, give the current rat a few days to settle back down while you acquire two new rats, then slowly introduce them and expect them to not live together for a good week at least. You really don't want to rush introductions.

Forrest - GSD 9/1/2016 - 5/14/2017 RIP
Brooklyn - Golden retriever 1/30/11

Last edited by Pytheis; 05-22-2018 at 02:13 PM.
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