Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

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amycool
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Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Tue Apr 03, 2018 12:08 pm

My beautiful Angora has a vet appointment on Friday to be put to sleep. Before Christmas she developed a tumour near her bottom (not mammary) and despite our fears she pulled through the operation without complications and seemed to be doing really well. Sadly it has spread and as well as a tumour on her tail the original one has regrown and looks so raw and painful. She is on painkillers and antibiotics, which gave us time to come to terms with the inevitable.

It's so hard because she's so sweet and lovely and she's the peacekeeper of the group. When she's not there the others seem to fight a lot. We did consider keeping her on painkillers for a bit longer but I don't drive and our vet is an hour away so we decided it would be too awful if she suddenly started suffering and we couldn't get her to the vet.

My 7 year old daughter is finding it hard, as is my husband, but I'm trying to prepare as best as we can.

I'm thinking we should take her sisters in the carrier on the way and give them lots of treats. I also read that it's helpful to show the cagemates the body so they accept the loss. We use a very good vet so I'm not worried about it being painful for her and I trust him when he says there isn't a lot more we can do.

My daughter decided she would like to bury Angora in the garden and maybe plant something to mark the spot.

If there's anything else other people have done to help their rat or their family to cope, I'd really appreciate suggestions. No sympathy from extended family as "it's just a rat". :roll:

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[cub]
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by [cub] » Tue Apr 03, 2018 3:30 pm

Do take some companions with her; I always make sure anyone going to the vet has a friend or three along as I find it helps them stay calmer during the journey. You may or may not wish to show them the body afterward: some people do, but some don't after a euthanasia in case the surviving rats can still smell the anaesthetic gas on the body and learn to associate it with death, which could make future treatment (e.g. ops) more stressful for them.

I've found the thing that helps the most after a loss is trying to focus on the care of the rats who are left. Often after a loss I've either got another rat that needs medical care, or I'm planning to add more rats to the group, so there's some convenient distraction to stop me from just fixating on the bereavement.

If you're planning on keeping rats long-term, then this is definitely a recommended time to look for new additions to the group, so that you won't run the risk of ending up with a lone rat down the line. Older rats also benefit from younger companions, and being part of a larger group may help your two girls get along better if they're prone to fighting without Angora's moderating influence. Don't think of it as "replacing" Angora, but rather having something positive for you and your rats to all focus on.

For what it's worth I think you're absolutely making the right decision. Sympathy to all your family. :hearts:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Tue Apr 03, 2018 4:03 pm

Thank you so much for your kind and useful words and thank you for the advice.

We have 3 2year olds and 2 1 year olds at the moment. Unfortunately I've developed a skin allergy that gets worse by the month (a small scratch leaves my whole hand incredibly itchy even with antihistamines) so we won't be adding any more. The plan is once we have just the younger ones to speak to the breeder about rehoming them. It will be very painful as the little ones love human contact and spend much of the evening in/on us but I don't think they'd be happy in such a small group for long.

We had hoped our older guys would live to ripe old ages but they weren't from a breeder and have had health issues from day one. Over £1000 in the last 6 months on vet bills!

I think we'll focus on lots of cuddles for the remaining rats (not for Apple though - she is not a people person!). I can't help but anthropomorphize in this situation and worry about them grieving. I'm sure a new hierarchy will emerge.

Keep thinking of when we got Angora and she was so tiny and fluffy. She's a single Rex with curly whiskers. I'm hoping to be really calm and strong for my family and then have a massive cry later!

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[cub]
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by [cub] » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:13 am

If you're planning on stopping keeping rats, then I'd suggest talking to your breeder now; they'd probably appreciate the heads-up, especially as most breeders ought to be happy to take back any of their animals for whatever reason. Also, they may be willing to foster out some rats to you to keep yours company in their twilight years, and then you can return the fosters once the last of yours have passed. That's a not uncommon option among people who're stopping keeping rats, and it means that you can keep cuddling with your younger ones for longer.

I've got a bit of a skin allergy as well – though not nearly as bad as yours! – and I do a lot of my handling with nitrile gloves on. It's a little sad not being able to give them proper cuddles all the time, but my hands thank me for it.

I can definitely sympathise with the vets bills; I've recently dug out my receipts and put together a running total and now I kind of wish I hadn't! :shock: I guess it's still cheaper than some hobbies? :P

They do change so much don't they? And you can cry whenever you jolly well like; I try to be strong at the vets but without fail I turn into a blubbering mess. The vets are used to it, I reckon a good cry helps, and honestly I think it sets a good example for children to see their parents unapologetically expressing their emotions in a healthy way. Just remember to have a cup of tea or something afterwards to rehydrate. :) :hearts:
Poo-shoveller to: Lia and Lita.
Fondly remembering: Zephyr Delanynder the big floofy eejit (NLA28), Falere the contrary (NLA36), Mirala the best and finest (NLA36), Zephyr Opold the serene, and Rila the rodentist.
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sneezy-rat
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by sneezy-rat » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:45 pm

Sorry you're having such a hard time, def sounds like the best thing you could do for her though.

Yep vet bills are nasty, I prefer not to check mine!! 12 years of a cat with flea allergy dermatitis, a chinchilla with teeth problems for five years (pts two months ago, vets miles away so at least £40 a trip along with vets fees!) and five ish years of male rats!! But I like to tell myself it's cheaper than the kids I don't have!! :)

And allergies with rats I think are fairly common. I think the boys I've had are worse than the girls I had years ago. I forget I'm so bad sometimes and will have a good wrestle and a snuggle then stupidly rub my eyes and look like I've had a good punch!! I'm better than I was five years ago but cage clean always a sneezing mess!
People think I'm mad for keeping them but got my first pair of girls at 11 and are my favourite pets to keep! They just break your heart!!

My vet has learnt I'm better to be let out of the back door as I'm always a state when let anyone go! Like (cub) said, a good cry is what you need sometimes :)

Hope it all goes well x

amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:51 pm

sneezy-rat wrote:Sorry you're having such a hard time, def sounds like the best thing you could do for her though.

Yep vet bills are nasty, I prefer not to check mine!! 12 years of a cat with flea allergy dermatitis, a chinchilla with teeth problems for five years (pts two months ago, vets miles away so at least £40 a trip along with vets fees!) and five ish years of male rats!! But I like to tell myself it's cheaper than the kids I don't have!! :)

And allergies with rats I think are fairly common. I think the boys I've had are worse than the girls I had years ago. I forget I'm so bad sometimes and will have a good wrestle and a snuggle then stupidly rub my eyes and look like I've had a good punch!! I'm better than I was five years ago but cage clean always a sneezing mess!
People think I'm mad for keeping them but got my first pair of girls at 11 and are my favourite pets to keep! They just break your heart!!

My vet has learnt I'm better to be let out of the back door as I'm always a state when let anyone go! Like (cub) said, a good cry is what you need sometimes :)

Hope it all goes well x
Thank you. Glad we're not the only ones blubbing!

Definitely best not to look at the receipts! We had a bad patch of all 3 older ones needing lump removals and getting respy. Thankfully our youngsters have cost virtually nothing so far. They're so healthy!

amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Wed Apr 04, 2018 2:53 pm

I wrote a long message to cub but it's vanished!

I shall summarise: thank you. :D

amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Fri Apr 06, 2018 3:11 pm

It's done. :cry:

Managed to hold it together until she handed me the box. She was really lovely and explained everything and said we'd made the right decision.

We have buried her in the garden with a shrub on top.

Can't stop crying at the moment. I loved her so so much and she'll always have a special place in my heart.

Thank you for the support. Xxx

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cyber ratty
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by cyber ratty » Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:51 pm

So sorry, it's a sad day, but you did the best you could for her - I hope you're soon able to focus on your happy times together. :love:

amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Fri Apr 06, 2018 5:10 pm

I got lots of photos and video before she had the first surgery (just in case she hadn't made it through). She was such a sweetheart. :)

I'm sure tomorrow will be easier after a sleep. Thank you. Xxx

sneezy-rat
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by sneezy-rat » Sun Apr 08, 2018 11:08 am

I'm so sorry, missed your post.
Glad it all went ok and hope you're feeling a bit better today.

It's always nice to have videos and pics to remind you of all the fun times :)
And a lovely idea to plant a shrub, even more to remind you of what a great ratty she was xxx

amycool
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Re: Preparing for first experience of euthanasia :(

Post by amycool » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:18 pm

Thank you xxx

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