This morning we took our ratty girl, Skye, to the vet. We came home without her.
Her overall health was getting worse: she wasn't as active as she had been, had lost about a third of her body weight (around 100 grams) despite the fact we know she was eating, her fur had lost some of its colouring and she was starting to lose some of it, and her bladder control had become poor. On top of that, she'd damaged her leg recently, and we discovered a lump on her chest over the weekend.
Her lump was a cyst they could have probably removed, which was most likely caused by a hormonal shift; it's a regular thing in female rats of a certain age who haven't been spayed. But her overall poor health and weak state - which mostly seemed to just be age catching up with her - made her chances of surviving the procedure so slim it was decided we'd be better off putting her to sleep. After all, just the stress of the vet taking a small sample of the lump to check out what it was seemed to sap her strength, and I know from personal experience that having to have anasthetic takes a lot out of you when you're at full strength, and is even harder to deal with when you aren't. It hurts to do, but letting her go now saved a lot of stress and suffering for everyone, and was the kindest option. So, that's what we did.
We will miss you, sweet ratty girl.
R.I.P. Skye: August 31st 2014 - January 31st 2017