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Euthanasia For Rats

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Euthanasia For Rats

Postby Cyneleah » Wed May 03, 2017 5:38 am

I've owned rats for several years.  I currently have 3 pet rats, 2 that are 10 months old and 1 that is 3 years old.  Euthanasia, as I have read this is not a very nice way to have your rat put down. Their bodies are to small to have the injection into any veins the vet must inject either directly into their heart or into their soft little bellies.  You mentioned in an answer to someone else that this is a humane way to put your rat down if he or she is suffering, but I think it's just as horrible.  You also mentioned that a vet would do it for free and I have not found a local vet that will do it for less than $75(because its still a standard fee for the euthanasia not matter the size of your pet).  I just recently had to take one of my younger rats to the emergency for a horrible flairup of a mycoplasma infection. The vet perscribed a round of antibiotics(Baytril and Doxycycline in combination) it cost me $120 just for her meds.  I honestly can't afford to send another of my rats the the vet right now, especially when I know she is on her last few days.  She is 3 years old and has a malignant tumor, she has been peeing blood for 3 days, and her poor ears nose and feet are no longer pink, she is slowly turning white.  Her fur has even started to lose its color.  All of this has happened very rapidly.  I had to put a pet rat down a year ago for old age and tumors. I simply gave her a gel cap sleeping pill(with hydracloride) and she fell asleep peacefully and then stopped breathing all in about 30mins.  However, this time I tried to relieve my poor dying ratty in this same manner, but was not successful.  This time it had a reverse affect and instead of putting her into her peaceful sleep, she stayed awake, eyes half mast and then started eating and drinking late last night(She hadn't ate anything or drank any water on her own for 2 days).  I know it wont be long before it is time for her final rest, but I don't know what to do now,  I just want her to be at peace.
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Euthanasia For Rats

Postby Lyfing » Thu May 04, 2017 10:46 pm

Euthanasia is not a pleasant topic no matter how you look at it, but I do feel you are misunderstanding the proper procedure to putting a rat to sleep.  The vet does not simply stab the rat in the heart with a needle and stop the heart this way and be done with it.

Actually, the law states that the rat is to be put into a deep sleep under anesthesia just like they were going to have surgery. They feel no pain at all, no pin prick from the needle.  It is done gently, the rat knows nothing except to see their owner as they comfort their rat while he or she passes. It is illegal for the Vet to use a cardiac injection without first using anesthesia. Not even heavy sedation is acceptable. IT MUST be anesthesia and the rat must be totally unresponsive to stiumuli.  The rat is not supposed to be given back to the owner until the heart is totally stopped, all organs failed.  

You obviously have read horror stories without the facts given and this has scared you into finding ways to do it yourself. I wish you would reconsider this, however, as there is no real safe way to do it at home and be sure there would be no horrible reverse reaction.   I do believe your other rat would have died on her own and the pill probably did not end her life.

You may not realize this, but the rat has such a fast metabolic rate that even using 3 mgs of valium is not enough to stop a rats breathing or stop the heart from beating.  If valium isnt going to do it, an over the counter drug wont do it, either.  

Please reconsider trying to do it yourself. I fear that you may take the wrong advice from a site that is less than notable as far as proper medical care for rats go and you may make a mistake that instead of putting the rat peacefully to sleep, it could backfire, cause damage to the brain or other organs and the rat may survive but suffer endlessly, forcing you to have to put it to sleep at the vet while the entire time the rat may be suffering.

Have you ever had a rat in severe respiratory distress that was in a panic because they could not breathe? Their feet turn blue, they gasp and go wild with fear due to lack of oxygen. Imagine trying to give a rat like this a pill somehow to put it to sleep? Even 30 minutes is too long, and the rat would die before that on its own in misery.  Instead, the rat can be put out of her misery soon as the vet turns on the anesthesia. The rat falls right to sleep and knows nothing more about pain or suffering.  This type of euthanasia is fast and gentle and inhumane. I would never suggest to people otherwise and of course Vets would never use this method if it were inhumane. You need to trust your vet and be sure they follow proper procedure when it comes to euthanasia and if they dont, they need reported to the Veterinary board as per your state.  

As for prices, not all vets do it for free, but some do so they can ease the rats suffering.  What I did say also is that many vets will do a necropsy for free as it can be a great learning tool and benefit our pet rats in the long run.

I hope you reconsider home euthanasia and find a vet that is gentle and kind enough to help your rat end her suffering when it is time.  I usually let the rat make her own decision when it is time to go, but often they are so happy to be here with us that they fight it and would rather suffer than leave us.  Its up to us to help them end their suffering in a humane and gentle fashion. Again, not a pleasant topic, but one that needs to be addressed and understood by all rat owners so their rat does not run into an unfortunate situation if someone decides to try some home euthanasia that may backfire and end up being very devastating for both rat and his owner.  
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