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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-08-2013, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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My sassy Sullivan

Hey everyone. I know I've been MIA for quite some time with school and everything but I really needed to share this with everyone for my own healing. Some of you may remember my boys Sebastian and Sullivan. Well over winter break (Christmas eve actually) I thought Sully may have sounded a bit different (I listen to their breathing nightly). My dogs were running around barking though and I couldn't hear very well plus he was only a year and a half old so I figured I was just looking for a reason to worry about him. I went to work early Christmas day so I wasn't able to check on them like I usually do. From work I went straight to Christmas dinner. When I returned I immediately went to the cage to check on them. Normally Sully is the first one to the door for snacks and love so when Seb came to the door first my heart sank. When he finally sauntered out he was all fluffed up and his normally bright sassy eyes were squinty and distant. He was huffing and puffing and I could tell he was struggling to breathe. I immediately put him in his carrier and rushed him into work. I knew things weren't looking good when he continued to decline in oxygen. The x-ray only confirmed my fear. His one lung was completely wiped out and the other only had a very small lobe that was functioning. His heart and trachea were pushed completely to one side. My vet believes that he was most likely suffering from congestive heart failure. I of course didn't want to prolong his suffering so I made the very difficult decision to let him go. I've been completely torn up about it since then and getting his ashes back a few days ago kind of made me face that he won't be coming home with me. I thought that maybe if I shared my story with all of you that it would help me heal. It's hard for most people to understand how I could love a rat so much but my boys are my babies and I knew you would all understand. I was also hoping someone would know more about congestive heart failure in rats and would be able to share their knowledge with me.

Thanks,
Britt
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 03:36 AM
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Hi Britt,


I am so sorry for your loss.



Although I am not very educated on congestive heart failure in rats, I know there will be some other people on the forum who are more knowledgeable about it and can give you some good information.


I DO, of course, totally understand how heartbreaking it is to lose a rat. People who have never had a rat and who do not know what a deep, loving bond rats have with us can never know how much it hurts to lose them.



Having to go through the decision of putting a rat to sleep is so heartbreaking, even when we know we are doing it for the rat, to stop their suffering and to give them peace. My husband and I have gone through that before and it just destroyed us emotionally. We had no idea how deep the hurt would be.



For those of us who know how wonderful and beautiful ratties are, they are indeed like our children. My two adorable male rat boys are absolutely my kids. My husband feels the same way.



So, we do understand what you are going through. Again, I am so very sorry and I send you my condolences.

Vlad

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You will always be with me, my sweet boys. I will see you at the Bridge.

Last edited by Vladina; 01-09-2013 at 03:40 AM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Vlad it's been really tough. It made it even worse when I came home from the vet (my work) and Sebastian was searching all of Sully's favorite hiding places for him. I've been giving him extra cuddle time and he seems to be doing fine. I actually got a young rat a few months ago (I named him Sampson to stick with the S theme) in preparation for when Seb goes to keep Sully company :/ . Unfortunately, Sampson appears to be a runt and is so terrified of other rats that even after multiple attempts to introduce him to Seb and Sully it just doesn't seem to be a good match. I know with rats that the general rule is "no blood no foul" but he even attacked Seb during their last interaction and left a pretty good gash. I now have two rats in two separate cages . I'm terrified to get Seb a new buddy because I feel like he's too old to deal with any kind of stress or injury and he's a little more nervous about other rats since his incident with Sampson. I'm also nervous about getting Sam a buddy because he just doesn't seem to get along with anyone (Seb is the biggest squish ever and wouldn't hurt a fly). I feel awful that they're both alone but I was wondering if it is better for the both of them?
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-09-2013, 08:24 PM
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Hi Britt,

Boy, that is a tough question. I know that you are very well educated about how rats should always be kept with at least one buddy for companionship, but once in awhile, an observant rat person will notice that it just seems more stressful with certain rats together and they ultimately decide to keep a particular rat on its own when it seems the rat does better and is less stressed out than when they are with other rats. It does happen on occasion.




A tough call to make! If all attempts at getting a good relationship started do not work out and your boy just seems to be more comfy and happy without other rats then that is a call you need to make, as you know your own rats better than anyone else. It does seem very strange to keep a rat solo, since we have all learned (well hopefully all of us!) that rats need to have a buddy to thrive and not become lonely. But, like I said...if it only ends up stressing him out, then maybe he will do better on his own, as long as he has lots and lots of attention and interaction with you daily.



I feel so bad for Sebastian, looking all over for Sully. I know how heartbreaking that is.


Our previous boys, Klausse (a Russian blue dumbo) and his brother Wolfgang (a brown agouti dumbo) were so close, and when Klausse developed myco and we ended up having to put him to sleep, I remember that my husband and I gave his brother Wolfgang tons and tons of extra special attention every day after his brother was gone, but we did not have enough time to decide on getting him a new companion, because Wolfgang ended up with increasingly worse myco and he was gone only about a month after his brother. Our veterinarian said he (of course) had the exact same thing as his brother...it just hid out a bit longer, then reared its ugly head very quickly.


So, oh my gosh, it is soooo hard. Hard to lose your babies and hard to see the brother that is left without his buddy and wanting to give him a million kisses a day. You of course know exactly what I mean.

Vlad

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You will always be with me, my sweet boys. I will see you at the Bridge.

Last edited by Vladina; 01-09-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Vlad you're always so helpful when I have questions I try to do the best for my boys and it's comforting that you confirmed that some rats can do okay on their own. He really just gets SO stressed when he's around other rats. During the times I tried introducing him to Sully and Seb he would freeze in a corner and run away squeeling if one of them got close to him. He really just seems happier and more relaxed on his own but it's so hard going against what I know is normally the correct way to go. As for Seb, one of the most comforting things about Sully's heart failure was that I knew he didn't die of something that Seb was going to catch. It would be so heart breaking to lose one of your boys and then the other a month later from the same thing.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 01:56 PM
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You are so welcome Britt.

Yes, it is the worst to see both of your kids pass away from the same condition, so at least that is one thing that is a comfort to you, that Sebastian does not have anything that he caught from Sully.

Vlad

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You will always be with me, my sweet boys. I will see you at the Bridge.
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