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R.I.P., Mr. Ratterson.

Johnny Walker Jagermeister Wild Turkey Hood-Rat [Burgette] was euthanized this morning at approximately 10:30.

He began to become lethargic a couple of days ago, not doing his usual song and dance for treats.  By 6:30pm yesterday, he hadn’t eaten any food for a day, and he was gasping for air.  Forrest and I spent the next 14 hours coddling him and trying to figure out what to do aside from feeding him Pedialyte and baby food to keep his energy levels consistent.

We took him to the emergency vet this morning, who x-rayed my little man and found this:


Yes, those labels are correct.

The tumor messed up his back, too.

I’d felt the mass, but had no idea it was so large.  JW had only 40% lung capacity, was suffering pleural effusion, and his diaphragm was being impeded by what has been decided was a liver tumor.

The treatment options were either to drain his lungs every other week for the rest of his life, or euthanize him.

I decided on the more humane option – I wouldn’t wish chronic pneumonia on my worst enemy, let alone one of my pets.

Forrest and I went to see him in the oxygen tank where he was being held while we were talking to the doctor.

He WAS breathing a little easier, but not by much.

They allowed me to take him out and cuddle him while first holding oxygen to his face via mask, then, when I was ready, they switched it to the gas to put him to sleep for his injection.  I held him the whole time.  The vet came in for the injection, and I had to set him on the table, but my hands never left him.

He was about a year and a half old – middle-aged, for a rat.  He had a great personality, and I’m afraid to ever own another rat because I don’t think it could ever live up to the standards of intelligence and personality that I’ve become accustomed to in just one year with JW.

I’m glad he’s not suffering, any more.

I love you, Ratterson, and I’ll miss you dearly.


February 2010 – June 26, 2011

2 comments to R.I.P., Mr. Ratterson.