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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 09:05 PM Thread Starter
 
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Advice on a sick rattie

Hi,
I have a little rat, Fiver, who's pretty ill. I've been hand feeding and medicating her (baytril, doxy) for around two weeks. She's around 2.5 years old now. Ever since she was young she'd make burbling/squeaking sounds most of the time but especially when she was excited. About two weeks ago I noticed her breathing was pretty labored and the noises had grown higher pitched and she was sneezing often. Since she started on the meds, the noises have subsided alot, the sneezing is almost gone, but her breathing is still very labored and she's pretty tired alot of the time. She'll eat if I hand feed her yummy things but not very much at one time. She still grooms herself and her sister, who's on the same meds and has recovered nicely. The vet wants to try amoxicillin which I'm starting today but said to consider euthanasia if that her breathing doesn't improve. She's losing some weight but it's fairly slow.
Does anyone have any experience with a slow progression respiratory infection like this and whether it's better to put her to sleep before she gets really miserable or can these things turn around after two-three weeks on meds? The vet doesn't have much hope, given her lack of response in the breathing department. I adore her but I don't want her to suffer needlessly.
Thanks,
Patrick
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 10:51 PM
 
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... I'm so sorry to hear all this, Patrick. I wish I could help you, but I've not had any of this happen yet. I just want to send my condolences your way and bump it up for you.

There ARE people who can gladly help though. I hope all goes well and Fiver gets better. (I love that name for a ratty )
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-25-2009, 10:52 PM
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My first rat died at home. He had respiratory issues and a mass in his abdomen. I waited too long and by the time I knew he was on his way out the vet couldn't fit me in right away to have him euthanized. I just sat with him and cried as he passed, in obvious pain. I won't go into detail. I have always regretted not taking action sooner.

In my opinion, when you know the end is coming it's best to think seriously about just letting go. You have to evaluate her quality of life. Is she still mostly happy? Is she still mostly comfortable? When the answers to those questions become "no" I believe that it's time. You know your rat and only you can answer those questions. It's obvious that you care deeply about her. Good luck.

Maureen


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 03:42 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks and I think I know what you mean. She's not there yet but I think this will help give me the resolve to let go of my own needs and not let her suffer. Btw, we didn't have a name for Fiver for the first week we had her and then it dawned on me that she was just like Fiver from Watership Down and it fit perfectly.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-26-2009, 09:35 PM
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As mtmaughan said, you need to judge her QOL (quality of life) but it has to be for an old girl not a healthy active adult. If she's relatively comfortable and happy you are in the palliative portion of her life. At this stage of a respiratory illness in an older rt I often use baytril and a steroid. The steroid reduces the inflammation of the lungs so they are more comfortable breathing. Comfort is the main aim now, not a cure.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-27-2009, 12:33 PM
 
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Hey, I'm like really new to this message-ing thing. To a computer also, so tell me if this even gets anywhere? I have 5 males and let them run the house! Sorry to hear bout your sick freind. i'll be here? i think...........................................je ff
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-28-2009, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the advice and I agree, she's an old girl now. It just seems like she made the transition from little rat to old girl so fast. I'll ask the vet about a steroid although she's pretty much learned all the tricks I use to get her to take her meds so it's getting harder and harder to keep getting her full doses of antibiotics. That said, she's pepped up quite a bit in the last couple of days and sometimes doesn't even seem slowed down. She's even showing interest in solid food again. Hopefully it's a real trend. A humidifer in the room seems to reduce the noise from her breathing too and seems to make her more comfortable.
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