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04 December 2007 @ 10:13 pm
oh no. :(  
Um. Two of my rats, Jadzia and Emony, have developed crazily huge tumors in the last two days. I consulted with a vet over the phone, talking about options, and the options are either biopsy then surgery then hope that it extends their lives, knowing it's almost guaranteed to relapse at some point, or do nothing and bring them in for euthanasia when it makes their lives unbearable, in as little as a few weeks.

Oh, God. What do I do? I'm not in the best financial situation right now with unemployment looming, but these are also my babies and my responsibility and, geez, in Emony's case it's my fault that she's even alive. I held Emy about twenty seconds after she was born. (For real. Her mom, Ezri, was a first-time mom and freaked out unless I was petting her.) I'm the one who has fed them their whole lives (maybe not with enough vitamins?), I made the choice not to spay them because it was too expensive and the anesthesia was risky and because I apparently didn't research the bit where female rats almost certainly get tumors after 18 months old (Emony is younger than that, but only by 4 months or so) if they aren't spayed. Plus -- do you know how hard it is to find a vet who will fix a rat? It's hard. I tried.

So I feel guilty, and a little worried that this is going to become an epidemic soon (not because tumors are contagious, but because I have a lot of rats around the same age), and also overwhelmed by the decision and the cost even of the initial vet visit and the lab reports when they said over the phone that it might not even matter either way.

But would I actually even be able to sit here and watch my babies go through this while doing nothing?

I did some research and found talk of some medication, non-surgical things that might help a bit in the short term so I'll call the vet tomorrow with that. And think about putting them under the knife and getting them spayed at the same time to hopefully prevent future tumors but, man, the vet tech said that rats don't seem too traumatized by surgery but MY BABIES WOULD BE UNDER THE KNIFE! :(

Emony was all "wtf, stop with the holding me still!" when I was checking her out, but Jadzie started chattering away and snuggling against my neck and she feels so much lighter and fluffier than she used to, like she's mostly just fur. :(

Hmm. My holiday season is not going all that well so far.

Shit, what am I going to do?

(That's sort of a rhetorical question. And anyone who says "Sachi, they're just rats" is OFF my Christmas list. I don't care if it's a freaking goldfish, if it's alive and under my roof it's my responsibility to care for it, which is why I brought the Evil Russian Goldfish across the country with me rather than turn them over to strangers. Man. Maybe I should have gotten a pet rock.)
feel: worriedworried
hear: "when i go" - over the rhine - changes come
ornithoptercatornithoptercat on December 5th, 2007 07:48 am (UTC)
poor ratses. but you can't possibly pay for surgery for all those rats. I think you're going to have to just euthanize them as the time comes. rodents don't have very long lifespans, I'm afraid :(
Little Red: peanuts - rats baseballmylittleredgirl on December 5th, 2007 07:52 am (UTC)
Oh, I might have edited the post on you. Oops. The content's the same, I was just rehashing it.

And aughghghghghgh. WOE. I know logically it's impossible to cover all of that, but it makes me feel really irresponsible for having so many rats if I can't pay to take care of them their whole lives.

My poor little buddies! Soon I'm going to have to have like a Mutant Rat cage for when it starts affecting their ability to jump from shelf to shelf.
ornithoptercatornithoptercat on December 5th, 2007 06:17 pm (UTC)
My family's last dog - not the ones we have now, but the collie we had before - had to be put down at only 9 years old because she got stomach cancer. Sometimes it's the kindest thing you can do for them... even if treatment exists, once they hit a certain age they're just going to die from one thing or another. And pets' lifespans are just short compared to ours. The best you can get, outside of parrots, is about 20 years for an indoor cat or small dog.
Little Red: peanuts - oh great pumpkinmylittleredgirl on December 5th, 2007 07:57 am (UTC)
Now I changed it back, because I felt bad for changing it, and I'm fickle.

I need sleep! And to finish my knitting project! And for my rats to stop mutating!
Clydesuzvoy on December 5th, 2007 09:19 am (UTC)
:( :(
what a crazy random happenstancealianne on December 5th, 2007 10:57 am (UTC)
Trialia: BSG - Laura - Do Not Wanttrialia on December 5th, 2007 11:15 am (UTC)
Frak. That's horrible. I am so sorry, Sachi. D:

I don't understand the "female rats always get tumours at a certain age if they haven't been spayed" bit, though. I had three intact girl rats a few years ago, and they never wound up with tumours at all. I don't know what to suggest to you, sweetie. I'm sorry. I hope it doesn't come to the worst, though. :(
Lisa Yaeger: bad day: flotternzlisayaeger on December 5th, 2007 11:44 am (UTC)
My in-laws have 4 rats (girls) and they have spayed them all because of the risk of tumors. Having said that, this is their second set of 4 and all of them (spayed girls) died from cancer before they reached 2. So, I think it's a damned if you do, damned if you don't kind of thing. I think the best thing you can do is to let them live as long as they are pain-free and then put them down as soon as they start to suffer. I know how difficult it is! *Hugs*
Ravennoradannan on December 5th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Oh *hug*! My brother and I had rats when we were kids, and his got a tumor, too. We opted for surgery, which worked fine (except that Indy had to go back and get metal stitches, because she chewed through the plastic ones). Neither of our other two rats had problems other than old age, thankfully.

Good for you for taking care of them and loving them. Even if you can't get surgery for them, you are taking care of them, giving them a wonderful home, lots of love, and you're not going to let them suffer, no matter what else has to happen, so remember that too.

*hug* I'm sending good vibes to you and your rat babies.
Havochavocthecat on December 5th, 2007 02:43 pm (UTC)
And anyone who says "Sachi, they're just rats" is OFF my Christmas list.

I would never! *hugs* They're your babies! (And I've always found rats to be adorable and affectionate. Not that I've ever had any as pets, but I've had friends with rats. So cute omg!)

I have no good advice to offer. I really wish I did.
Opal: hopelessoparu on December 5th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
My dad says we have pets to remind us life is short and to live it up while we can.

My mum works at university and she says half the rats in the biology lab (they use them for hearing tests) die of cancer. Rats are bred to get cancer so we can study them. And mum and the students love the rat babies, but they put them down a lot.

It's content, not quantity. Rats are happy living in your doghouse, so, they lead a good life. Personally, I expect my humans to put me down if I get cancer.

*huggles you*
rogue equestrian: SGA:: Rodney quiet sadelvinborn on December 5th, 2007 04:37 pm (UTC)
no advice. just *hugs*
it really sucks when the pets get sick. :( :(
Sarah (aka Smish): {musical} [Wicked] Kendra rainbowsmishpixie on December 5th, 2007 05:29 pm (UTC)
Awww! Poor rats! :-(
Andy: 2046 reflectionankareeda on December 5th, 2007 05:53 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry! *hugs* Poor little rats.
miekecmiekec on December 5th, 2007 06:13 pm (UTC)

Sick pets are a sad thing. It's impossible to explain to them what's going on, and to protect them from themselves you sometimes have to make difficult decisions. I felt horrible, dreadful, for having to put our poor always-active cat into a CAGE for 6 WEEKS. Just so his bone would heal. Because he wouldn't understand that he couldn't jump with the external fixator. And that if he just lay low for a few weeks it would all heal.
Other times it really hurts when you have to put one down. Our old cat was happy and purring up until she dislocated her hip as a last straw, and we had to put her down. Basically, surgery would have been too risky, low chance of survival, little benefit, not much lifetime gained, etc. But it's like you stomp on your own heart when you have to make that decision. And I felt like a terrible, awful cat-mother. It was the best option for her though, which is ultimately what matters.
Jainabrightcupenny on December 5th, 2007 06:44 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry. :( And you are a wonderful, wonderful pet mom, so don't beat yourself up about this.
a universal sighnaushika on December 5th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
*big hugs* Sorry about your ratties. :(

Unfortunately, it's very common for rats (particular girls) to get tumors like that, even if you do get them spayed. Three of my rats (Juju and two of her babies) had big tumors like that. I couldn't afford to take any of them to the vet for surgery, especially when I knew it wouldn't help very much. So, I just tried to make them as comfy as I could, pet them and give them as many treats and snuggles as I could, before they died. Two of them died on their own (somewhat unexpectedly as they had been eating/walking around just fine, even though they were ghastly thin), and the third I had to euthanize. My boyfriend and I did the euthanasia by ourselves; it was actually quick and easy (so I know there was no suffering for my rattie), and I was happier to know we were there with her rather than some random person in a vet's office. It doesn't sound like your girls are nearly that far along, though. My rats lived several months with the tumors. Juju's got ridiculously huge, but she just worked around it and it never bothered her until like a week before she died.

*more hugs* I know it sucks and you feel guilty and responsible. Especially when we are the ones who brought the life into the world, we feel especially bad when they are hurting or sick. But it's also important to remember that nature has to follow a specific course, and it's pretty hard to change that. So try not to put all the blame on yourself. :)
MegTDJ: House Chase Cry - awakencordymeg_tdj on December 5th, 2007 10:08 pm (UTC)
*huggles* I know exactly how you feel, but it's totally not your fault! Owning rodents is a hard business... :(

*more hugs*
mikasteelelell: Prayingoxbastetxo on December 5th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)

I understand. We just had to put one of our dogs down a few months ago because of an intestial problem she had. It was a genetic problem that caused her to bleed from her bowels and she couldn't put on weight unless we put her on massive steriods. We took her to the vet several times, but he said there wasn't anything we could do other than keep her comfortable. It was a hard choice, but it was an issue of putting her down so she didn't suffer.

I'm not saying you should put them down right now, but some time in the future you may have to. Your babies know you love them and they love you back. That's all animals want.

stellar_dust: SG1 - nobody knows orbitsstellar_dust on December 6th, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
Oh dear. Poor ratsies! D:
Allie O'N: SJ Comfort by Venomalliesings on December 6th, 2007 04:18 am (UTC)

Just this afternoon, we were having a discussion at work about how short the lifespan of a rodent is and how hard it is to keep them as pets because of the attachments and crying and trying to decide if it's worth taking them to a vet. One of my coworkers kept on saying that she felt like she shouldn't cry over a dead pet, but we all agreed that when you love something, you miss it when it's gone. *hugs*
(Deleted comment)
~mommy monster~: Roman & Maggiemomm2five on December 6th, 2007 05:09 pm (UTC)
Hey, I tried to post this yesterday, but the darn neighbor's internet wasn't working right for me yesterday!

Awww!! (((hugz)))

I had a rat named Lucy after I graduated from high school. She was so sweet. She'd curl up in my lap while I was doing homework. My Mom didn't like animals, so she was the only thing besides a goldfish I could have while I lived at home. She developed a tumor as well, I don't know if it was from the testing or because she wasn't spayed. I finally had to euthanize her because she couldn't walk easily anymore. It's hard. I cried for days.

We just had to euthanize our 9.5 year old German Shepherd in September. It sucks. The renewal form for his license came Monday and I cried as I had to fill out the part that says *deceased*. I miss him.

Any animal you share your home with is special, and part of your family. I'd smack anyone who said otherwise. We have a guinea pig, snapping turtle, 2 cats, and now one dog. They are all treated like family.

I don't really know what to say except I'm so sorry.