Returned home from an excellent Pendragon session to discover poor Nomad rat (the guy on the right) was gasping for breath. Went through an emergency checklist to deal with such issues; air humidification (i.e,. small steamy room), decongestant (eucalyptus oil), and even the application of a bronchodilator (salbutamol). None of these worked and, short of putting him in an oxygen tent, there was nothing else that could be feasibly done, except euthanasia; you don't want to keep a rat in this condition, it's extremely distressing. Remembering primary school chemistry, I made up a quick combination of bicarbonate of soda and vinegar to create a CO2-rich environment under a blanket (which is a recommended method). He passed out quickly, and I then suffocated my little friend.
Thus ends the short (1.5 yrs) life of Nomad, perhaps the most misnamed of our rodent collection. He was certainly not prone to wandering or wilderness. There was a point in his life some months ago where he'd seem to have lost a lost of his vim and strength, and instead showed great preference to creature comforts, probably due to a stroke, another affliction that rats are prone to. He was certainly was certainly affected significantly from mycoplasma. Despite this he certainly charmed us, and appreciated the affections given to him taking good care at grooming his human servants - even to the afternoon of his demise.
I adhere to utilitarian situational ethics, bounded by universalistic moral reasoning of reciprocity. On this basis it is not just a pet rat that I do not wish such suffering upon, but all living creatures. Because of this I am a supporter of voluntary euthanasia and, indeed, even non-voluntary euthanasia (e.g., post-birth abortion), under some very specific circumstances (e.g., a near-lethal case of epidermolysis bullosa, anencephaly, etc), where both have verified conditions by medical professions. Call it the Socratic with in me; it is not life, but the good life that should be sought, and sometimes no life is better an undignified and tortured forced existence. After all, we were all born, never asked.