really need some thoughts... bad thing

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chrissienrose
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really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by chrissienrose » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:39 pm

My Dixie is 26 months old and has a tumour. A number of months ago i took her to the vet and on her advice, made the decision to leave the tumour (which was then quite sizeable) alone, on the basis that (a) Dixie was already in late middle age (and none of my rats until that point had lived beyond 23 months - I had no reason to think she would be different and (b) on the grounds that recovery from surgery can be problematic in terms of rats pulling out stitches / gnawing etc.

My feeling being then that before the tumour really made life difficult for her, she would have passed away anyway.

Well, it hasn't happened.

My problem is this. The tumour is now really big - to the extent where it interferes with her mobility. That said, all she wants to do is move from food bowl to litter tray to igloo and is clearly happiest and feels safest when in her nest. She has no inclination to free range. She loves her bed and wants to be there as much as possible. If I clean the cage she sits in her hammock til it is done, then scrambles back inside asap. She struggles to get into the cage because the tumour drags behind her.

She seems reasonably happy in herself in that she eats and drinks and looks bright. But I can't believe her quality of life is great. She is also alone. Not by design - her much younger companion (who I bought to avoid precisely this scenario) died unexpectedly a couple of months ago. Her litter mate Ruby died at the end of the summer. She seems to be coping with solitude but I am painfully aware it is not ideal. That said, I am not sure whether she would cope with new youngsters now, being elderly and disabled as she is.

I am thinking that having Dixie pts might be becoming necessary and the kindest solution. She is an absolute delight but I do not want her to reach the point where life is intolerable for her despite her continuing to live it. I now feel the time has passed beyond which she could have an op and even so, if I am brutally honest, the cost of the op precludes it. This is not because I take my responsibilities as a rat owner lightly but because it is one more factor to consider when her age and the likely outcome in view of her age is considered. My local vets have quoted me in the region of £200 for the op and aftercare.

I would be really grateful for anyone's thoughts on this. I am thinking of taking her this week before things get worse for her. It is a really really tough one and I wish I had had the tumour done when it was maneageable and she was younger but that said, i took the advice of the vet. maybe I shouldn't have done; maybe I will do differently in future. But I did, and this is the issue I am left to resolve to the best of my ability and conscience.

Help, please. Thank you.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by petrify » Tue Dec 08, 2009 8:55 pm

I dont know what to suggest honey. It is a really difficult situation.

all i can really offer is *hugs*, sorry
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by Yuubi » Tue Dec 08, 2009 9:38 pm

First off, I'm really sorry you're in this difficult situation. It's never easy *hugs* You have done you best for her at all times and you come across as a very caring owner, Dixie is lucky to have you as her Mummy ;)

If I were in your shoes, surgery wouldn't be a consideration for the reasons you have already given. If the tumour was beginning to interfere with her mobility, then I would make the best decision for her I could make which would be to have her put down while she was still a happy girl and before any real suffering starts. We all know what independant little characters rats are and I think Dixie would be very grateful to you for releasing her before she started to suffer.

I had a vaguely similar situation with my boy Magua when he passed away earlier this year. He spent weeks getting slowly older and more doddery and though we were happy he was still a happy rat and believed he would exit when he was ready, I spent those weeks agonising over when the right time to help him along was. Magua was the most tenacious little fighter and after one night I'd gone to bed convinced I'd wake up to find him gone, I was horrified to find him still clinging to life the next morning in a real state. He never did know when to give up. We took him to the vets a.s.a.p that day and had him put down, but I really wished I'd had it done sooner and prevented his suffering. I learnt a very important lesson that day.

Ultimately you know your rat best. You must go with what you feel is right, and what Dixie is telling you. I hope you find what you feel is the right decision.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by yoshimi » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:26 am

If it were me I would take a two pronged apporach. I would speak to my vet about the possibility of putting her under to have the tumour removed, with the proviso that if the p didn't go well, or there were issues, that she would be pts. For me, If I was at the point where PTS was an option, I would want to make the attempt to give her a few more months before the final step.
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by KateR » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:37 am

I'm sorry you're in this situaiton. What the others have said makes sense, but it might also be worth getting other quotes as £200 seems very steep - we've paid £60-120 when we've had them removed.
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by not_ginger » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:42 am

I can only add my commiserations to the others you've already recieved - I'm very sorry that you're in this situation.

I agree with the other posters - she's your rat and you know her best, so whatever you decide will be right. I had a boy with a very large tumour and until his last week he coped very well with it. However he made it very clear to me when he could no longer cope and was ready to go....

Scritches to you and Dixie, and I hope you find strength for whatever decision you choose to make.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by pb4 » Wed Dec 09, 2009 12:58 pm

I would agree with Kate...£200 sounds loads. Where are you based? The vets I use are great and very reasonable. About £5 for seeing a vet and free if they want to see them again. Would it change your options if it was more around £60?

I can understand your difficult situation and I don't know what I would do. If he's still pottering around and enjoying food I think I would just hang on as it sounds like he still has a quality of life?? Each situation is different though. I am sure you have done and will do the right thing. Let us know how you get on.
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by rat_mummy » Wed Dec 09, 2009 6:12 pm

It is a personal decision but from what you've said I would think pts soon is the best option. Having said that I'm rubbish at having to make that decision. I prefer not to pts until there is a clear indication that the animal is actually suffering but obviously that can be hard to assess. It may be worth trying her on some calpol to see if she becomes more active with pain relief, it may give her a new lease of life and it gives you a better idea of whether she is actually in pain or just content to laze around.

Hope this helps and sorry you're in this position.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by louisealex » Wed Dec 09, 2009 8:23 pm

My girl Oriel is in the same boat,her lump is nearly as big as she is,removal is not an option.She is one month shy of 3,and I also thought she would"go" before the lump became an issue.
However she still eats like a horse,is bright ,alert and often free ranges.
we have laminate floors which she can pull herself around.
Our Vet is quite happy to let her carry on.Personally I don't feel she is ready to go yet.
so,cutting out my waffling,what I'm trying to say,is go with your gut feeling,only you know how she is.Whatever you decide ,hugs to you.xxx

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by chrissienrose » Sun Dec 13, 2009 8:58 pm

i would just like to say a big thank you to all who have responded, and with so much detail and care. You have all been very helpful and i appreciate your time and thoughts.

I am taking Dixie to the vet this week - I don;t know what the outcome will be but I will keep everyone posted.

Thanks again.

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chrissienrose
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by chrissienrose » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:04 am

Update.

Dixie is going to the vets this afternoon. I don't know what the outcome will be but I fear the worst.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by faye1988 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 11:13 am

Hugs to you. Thinking of you and Dixie, these things are never easy.

I dont know if you saw but i think this thread is on here twice and i replied in the other.
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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by chrissienrose » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:41 pm

Thank you for your thoughts.

Dixie was pts this evening at 6pm. It seemed the most humane thing to do. The vet said to subject her to surgery would be the equivalent of putting a 98 year old through surgery and because of the size and position of the tumour it would be complicated and possibly impossible.

So for the first time in 4 years I am rat-less.

I have brought Dixie home, she will be laid to rest with her buddies Ruby and Lily when the weather permits.

RIP Dix, loved you lots, thanks for everything.

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by louisealex » Mon Dec 21, 2009 8:59 pm

Thinking of you.xxx

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Re: really need some thoughts... bad thing

Post by ratfan70 » Mon Dec 21, 2009 10:14 pm

So sorry to hear about Dixie, she did brilliant to get to nearly 3. Sending you hugs... and play hard at the bridge little Dixie :halo:
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