Fact was, in my opinion - he was a good 3 & half years old & his brother Reznor had died (suddenly) almost a year prior to this, so I genuinely felt he was getting old & maybe it was just his time. When i suggested this at the other place, they jumped down my throat & said i should take him to a vet rather than 'watch him die'. But when friends of mine (some of whom are keen rat lovers themselves) actually saw little Draven, they all said 'You might just have to accept that it's his time.'
I didn't want to take him to the vet just to be told he'd have to be put down. & as he was still so chirpy in himself (yeah - he fell over, like a doddlering little ol' man, but he was still happy. Old people find it difficult to get around, but they're still often the ones cracking the jokes & being satisfied, refusing to see a doctor). So i made the descision that if he seemed to be in real pain, i'd take him to be put down. But not till then - i really didnt want him to go :( He only lasted about a week after I posted about him. He died peacefully, in his sleep, when his time was right.
But when I told that community what happened - I got really malicious responses saying that i killed him, watched him die & should never have a pet rat again.
I was in tears as i read these most horrific of comments. Fact was - I just loved my little one & didnt want him to go before his time. He seemed happy - he truely did. The only possible way any one could understand my choice would be to actually see him, which NONE of the people on that community had.
My point is - the only advice any of them offerred was to take him to a vet. This always SEEMS the way forward, but i was tryin to explain that i was lookin for a vet that specialised in small animals (which was very true - i'd found one through a friend & she was gonna take me next available time - but that was a couple of days too late). They said i should take him to any vet, as they're all trained. My thoughts are - there's alot of animals in the world. It doesnt matter how good a vet is - if they hardly ever see a rat, how can they be expected to know what to do with a sick one?
A few months later i got 2 new babies - Totoro & Pompoko. Pompoko got sick within a couple of wks, so i thought 'right! This time, i'm gonna take their advice, cos he's only a baby & there should be somethin that can be done!' So i toddled to the vet, who said 'erm, i dont get rats very often, so i can't really be certain, but i'll do my best to find out what's wrong.'
Pompoko had been walkin with his head tilted & falling over - so I suggested maybe it was an ear infection. She agreed, gave me the appropriate medicine, took my money (which i thought was cheeky anyway, considering she'd just agreed with what i said rather than checkin anywhere) & I was off.
I gave Pompoko his medication, his symptoms became more ellaborate, he died a few days later.
I checked on the internet - describing all of his symptoms & quickly found what my little one had, complete with instructions of the exact medication that he should've been given. Needless to say - it wasn't an ear infection. If she had been a specialist in small animals - she probably would've known. As a vet - she should've at least checked in the books or on the net. If I can find it - why couldn't she!?!!
My other thoughts on vets, is that you have to be sensible. If your cat or dog is ill - take them. They live a long time & most vets know what they're doing with them. But small animals dont often live much longer than 3 yrs (average) & I've heard that operations are often more likely to kill them than save them, simply because they're so small. So I believe, horrible though it seems, it's sometimes more sensible to just accept that there's little that can be done - which is what i decided with Draven & I would do the same if it happened again. I took pompoko, because he had an actual virus & he was so young that he could've been saved.
In a nutshell - not every case will be solved by a vet. They ARE expensive and they DO open silly hours (if you work full time) & if you dont have a car - they CAN be difficult to get to. & half the time they can't help.
If your pet IS sick & you feel they could be saved - i strongly recomend you check in books or on the net to try & establish all possible causes of the illness, then take what you have found and show it to your vet. I now know what killed Pompoko. & I also know that if the vet had given him the medication he needed (which i managed to find out within minutes)- he would still be alive today.