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 Post subject: HLD and Euthanasia - Some advice on when it is time.
 Post Posted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 11:19 pm
Posts: 13
Hi all,

Our little boy, Kong, is nearly 3 years old and for the last year or so has been experiencing HLD. For the last 6 months, this has gradually been getting worse, with him now only able to drag himself around using his front legs, with his rear legs out to the side, dragging behind him and constantly twitching when he is still/sleeping. Despite his affliction, he's always been a happy chap, bruxing and boggling whenever we give him some love.

Unfortunately, for the last year, he's also been losing his sight - with one eye starting off with a white dot in it, and is now more or less completely white. I'm also convinced he is losing/has lost the sight in the other eye, as well as potentially being now hard of hearing, as he very rarely sees and hears me coming when I go to see him.

In addition to this (I know...Poor little guy!), I think he has become incontinent to a certain degree, as he poops and pees anywhere he happens to be (including on my lap), which I'm suspecting is related to the HLD. Also, for the last few days (and hence why I've been prompted to post here), I've noticed that when holding him, the muscle spasms/shaking appears to be throughout a fair amount of his body, not just in the hind end. I initially put this down to stress, as the first time I noticed it was when I was grooming him and cleaning his ears, and he just so happens to not be fond of either! However, I noticed it again yesterday when there was no stressful situation.

On a more positive note, he does still seem fully in possession of his mind... and happiness, still dishing out the bruxing and boggling when he gets fuss and attention, as well as eating and drinking seemingly normally.

Anyway, that's the long history bit out of the way, so down to the reason for posting...

I'm looking for some advice from others who have been through the same with their ratties. With the twitching throughout the body, the incontinence and the more frequent requirement to cut his rear claws free from errant threads in his blanket (something I have fixed by buying him some new, thread-free blankets), his HLD is beginning to worry me that perhaps it's time to let him go. There is such a conflict going on in my head right now about this, as on the one hand, when he isn't sleeping, he seems to be pretty happy, but on the other hand, he has so many ailments that I put myself in his position and wonder how happy he really is, and whether he is suffering or not.

I'm likely going to be getting him an appointment with our vet this week to get him checked over and make sure there is nothing worse going on with his poor failing body than is immediately obvious, but wanted to check with you guys to see what experiences you've had with this sort of thing and see what your advice might be, based on your own situations with having rats with HLD and having to decide on their future.

Thanks all,

Stoo


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 Post subject: Re: HLD and Euthanasia - Some advice on when it is time.
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:22 am 
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Joined: Wed Jul 11, 2012 8:02 pm
Posts: 2702
Location: warrington, cheshire
It sounds like you have made the step towards making the decision. Unfortunately nobody else can. Hld isn't always the reason for pts, it's more of their quality of life that needs to be considered. I think that you always know when it is time but if you're like me you like to talk it through with someone to make sure it is right, And usually it is. :luck:

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 Post subject: Re: HLD and Euthanasia - Some advice on when it is time.
 Post Posted: Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:06 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:04 pm
Posts: 595
Honestly it's such a difficult decision when it's just simple mechanical deterioration. With organ failure or tumours, you sort of know where you are, because at some point it starts to cause suffering and you just need to euthanise slightly before or at that point. But with HLD it's so much harder because there's no obvious line.

I'd say if you can manage his various infirmities such that he's comfortable, and he seems positive and enjoying things, then he's probably good to stick around for a while longer. That does depend a lot on the individual though: if he needs frequent grooming help and absolutely hates it (say), then that's something to weigh carefully. I note that bruxing and boggling is not necessarily a sign of happiness: it's something rats do to self-soothe so it can also be a sign of stress, so you have to look at it in context (particularly combined with body language) to work out what it means.

I'm just guessing here, but I reckon the hind leg tremors and incontinence are related to the HLD. I've seen it myself in one of my ancient HLD girls. Not sure about full-body tremors though.

Good luck at the vets, and scritches to the old man. :luck: :hearts:

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