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Author Topic: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic  (Read 10637 times)

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hypernova

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Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« on: February 25, 2012, 07:24:40 pm »
About two hours ago, I had to kill her pet rat.  I would like to say euthanize, but I'm not sure that's the best term, because of the way I had to do it.

Sophie (though I nicknamed her Giblet) was a great pet.  As far as I know, she only truly bit each of my daughters once each.  Never bit my wife or me.  She had developed a tumor in the last two or so months.  When we noticed it, it was already about the size of a quarter.  It'd grown to about the size of a very oversized golf ball.  (I suppose about the volume of two golf balls combined.)  It was a common mammary tumor, affecting anywhere from 20-75% of rats (females most often).  Some vets will remove it for about $30-40 dollars, plus exam fee.  However, rats only live from 1.5 to 2.5 years.  She's already been alive for about the 1.5.  About half a year ago, we spent quite a bit of money on surgery for her tail.  Over $150 I believe.  It degloved.  Didn't know rats don't live that long at the time, nor were we ready to let her go anyway.  We couldn't see spending any more money on her, considering two points:  1.  She was already around her life expectancy, and 2.  Removing a mammary tumor doesn't mean it won't grow back.

I decided to get her out today, because I hadn't done it myself the last few days and I wanted to check her condition.  We've been monitoring it, looking for signs that she wasn't enjoying life anymore.  I put her on the recliner chair, and she ate a cereal piece.  When she went to get down, she flopped onto the carpet, then laid on her side few a few seconds, and finally started exerting effort to get up, though it was minimal.  I had to help.  It was like her arm was broken (where the tumor is), but it wasn't.  She started using it again, though her movement is sluggish.  Her eyes weren't wide open like always.  Definitely not her normal self.  I decided it was time.  


Warning:  The following content could be considered graphic.

We've been looking at the most humane way to do it.  The best way to do it is to have a rapport with a vet, and just get your hands on some halothane or isofluorane (anesthetics) and let them overdose on inhaling it.  Well, we don't have a good vet friend, so that wasn't really an option.  You might ask why not just let the vet euthanize them.  I found that they don't do much more than just stick a big fat needle straight into their heart for small animals like rats, leaving them to suffer...and sometimes they miss on the first and even subsequent attempts.  You aren't allowed to be present for it, for obvious reasons.  So I looked elsewhere.  Dry ice from CO2 poisoning was suggested, but one guy actually tried that himself, and his eyes were burning after just a couple of seconds.  Not exactly pleasant.  I wanted to do CO poisoning in the garage, but since it's attached, found that this could be extremely dangerous for everyone in the house, even with doors closed.

I decided to just pull out the shovel, and use blunt force trauma, because it is free, and I was hoping that it would be pain-free for her.  Although I'm not quite a believer, I made a few prayers to make this easy and quick for her.  I didn't want her to suffer.  I would deal with the personal emotions myself afterwards, because I knew I would shed at least a few tears.  One quick, hard to the head left its body twitching.  I assume this was due to misfiring neurons and such, but I couldn't help but think she was in serious pain.  Two more quick hits, and the twitching stopped.  I could still feel the heart beating, which made me feel worse, but there was no movement.  A few more quick, hard hits to the body, and it was silent...no heartbeat.  Picked her up, rubbed her head and sides gave her a small nose nuzzle on the back of her head, and prayed a little more for her.  Dug one large scoop of earth, and gently placed her down there.  Thought a few final prayers, rubbed her head and sides one last time, and covered her up.  I have to assume that after the first hit, she was out like a light.  Every creature is unconscious when suffering a major blow to the head.  I'm only hoping I'm right, and the rest of the hits were to cease the functions of the rest of her organs.  

This whole experience left me shaken.  I have no issue dispatching something that deserves it.  (Though to be honest I haven't been faced with the situation, but I imagine it will be markedly easier.)  Having to take out a beloved pet that didn't do anything bad to anyone, regardless of how much pain it's in...It's just difficult.  Now I'll have images (because there was a little blood) that are now etched into my memory.  Hopefully I can remove those eventually.  I have a hard time believing in God, but it's times like these I hope he does exist, because I wasn't praying for me.  I was praying for her.
« Last Edit: February 25, 2012, 07:26:20 pm by hypernova »
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hypernova

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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2012, 07:32:59 pm »
Found a pic, shortly after we got her.  She was actually all white.  Shadowing just made her look gray in the picture.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2012, 07:44:39 pm »
Eh, always hard to make those decisions concerning a pet, especially when there is a child involved. I think you did the right thing, and I appreciate the fact it wasn't easy.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #3 on: February 25, 2012, 10:26:19 pm »
"I wanted to do CO poisoning in the garage"

Got any paintball stuff?  I had to kill a mouse that was stuck in a trap.  Put it in a box and flooded the box with CO2.  Took 30 seconds.  Surprisingly little reaction from the mouse.  Still felt kind of gruesome.

I hear a chunk of dry ice in a styrofoam cooler will work, too.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2012, 10:55:00 pm »
Sorry you had to let a pet go.  Always tough. 

I've had to put down a few in my time and it's never fun and rarely as fast as one would prefer.  If the need ever arises again come up for suggestions beforehand and we'll try and find something that is easier on all involved parties.  I thought about making suggestions but it's rather moot. 

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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2012, 12:11:17 am »
You should've looked up how to wring a chicken's neck, first. Done and over.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2012, 08:29:20 am »
Aww how cute!  Reminds me of my hamster when I was a kid.

I would have just let it go off in the wild (in the neighbors garden) and let the poor guy have some freedom before the inevitable.

Killing animals is now too upsetting for me, after I had to put my dog down at the vet last year (nearly to the day).  My poor little Yorkie looking up at me, as they were putting the needle in.  :'(

It stays with you forever.

I think everyone should be given the opportunity to witness their pet animal's death, so you can appreciate how special they are, and always remember them with love and respect.

You will cherish your next pet even more. 
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2012, 11:04:52 am »
Dispatching an animal is always rough, but you have to realize it's for the better. a moment of suffering is better than long drawn out pain of life.

a while back, me and my uncle did the old tailpipe into a cardboard box to euthenize 2 dogs. (life partners and one was old and the other sick) box occupancy was 1. ducting and some ducttape to seal everything up...

problem? Newer cars don't have much emissions.  :banghead: took half an hour each to fully euthenize the dogs (small to medium in size). not something either of us would want to do again.

had either of us owned a firearm, I'm positive it would have been less traumatic for all those involved.

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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2012, 12:36:06 pm »
Firearms aren't always so great. My friend took a sick cat up into the woods to euthanize it. He shot it in the head with a rifle, but he missed in the sense that instead of killing the cat instantly it was just severely injured and began trying to drag itself away from danger as much as it could with its now only partially functioning body. I wasn't there . . . but my friend was horrified by the ordeal. Not at all how he expected it to go.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2012, 03:06:13 pm »
you don't want to know how I euthenize my very very very sick pet dog when I was just 15 years old, so I won't tell you  :'(





I don't have or want anymore pets of anykind (even tho I had dogs/cats/chickens/ducks/pigs/birds/monkeys/carabao,cows etc....) when I was young, I found it to much time for me to care for it.

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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2012, 03:23:11 pm »
To be honest, this went pretty much how I thought it would...just not quite as I HOPED it would.

Aww how cute!  Reminds me of my hamster when I was a kid.

I would have just let it go off in the wild (in the neighbors garden) and let the poor guy have some freedom before the inevitable.

Killing animals is now too upsetting for me, after I had to put my dog down at the vet last year (nearly to the day).  My poor little Yorkie looking up at me, as they were putting the needle in.  :'(

It stays with you forever.

I think everyone should be given the opportunity to witness their pet animal's death, so you can appreciate how special they are, and always remember them with love and respect.

You will cherish your next pet even more.  

When our daughter kept bothering us for one, we kept resisting, joking how we'd probably end up killing it because, hey, it's a rat.  I'd say it only took about a week for her to grow on us.  Never knew a rat could be so cute!

I couldn't just let it go, because then I'm stuck wondering if it went fast, if some owl or hawk or whatever picked her up and slowly picked her apart.  Seems like most parents feel relieved to find their child has been dead when they have been missing for months or longer.  The unknown is far more torturous.

I've been present for a dog being put down.  It's not too bad.  The needle in them barely hurts, and they do just go to sleep.  It doesn't bother me, because it isn't "sloppy" like taking matters into your own hands.  Unfortunately it's just not an option for small animals, unless the vet agrees to use some inhalant anesthetic prior to the direct-heart injection, which would usually cost you more.

And definitely, it stays with you.  Images are still flashing in my head periodically.  Just hoping that they decrease in frequency.

"I wanted to do CO poisoning in the garage"

Got any paintball stuff?  I had to kill a mouse that was stuck in a trap.  Put it in a box and flooded the box with CO2.  Took 30 seconds.  Surprisingly little reaction from the mouse.  Still felt kind of gruesome.

I hear a chunk of dry ice in a styrofoam cooler will work, too.

That and the dry ice were options that I read, but it's kind of hard to assume that suffocation for animals is any different than it is for humans - Absolutely terrifying.

Your mouse thing reminds me of a situation I had at another house.  Caught a mole with a mole trap.  It was the only friggin' mole I managed to get.  It had become exposed above ground after being speared by the tines, and was basically doing its movements like it was still underground, traversing its tunnels.  This didn't bother me at all.  All I did at the time was take the mole trap and repeatedly stab it with the fat stabilizing spikes that go into the ground (not the tines themselves).  I don't even remember if I actually killed it or not.  I just chucked it down into the woods behind the house.  I had no issues with any of that experience.  That to me was just a pest, no different than a fly or mosquito.  Interesting considering it's about the same weight as little Sophie.

You should've looked up how to wring a chicken's neck, first. Done and over.

Reading and applying:  Two completely different actions.  The first attempt at anything never goes right.  This was also something I found, but no experience in it, so I could totally botch it.

After the first 24 hour period, the images are still with me.  However, I'm a little bit more at peace that I did the right thing, as well as more confident she was out after the first hit.  It just still hurts that I was faced with this decision in the first place.
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Re: Our daughter's pet rat - warning, could be graphic
« Reply #11 on: February 26, 2012, 06:11:50 pm »
Cervical dislocation is pretty much instant for a rat/mouse though many people hate doing it.  


+1 - that's what I always had to use with the feeder rats for the high dollar snakes in various exhibits.