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Rat Euthanasia at Home

Because of the lack of resources and equipment, the only possible way to go about humane rat euthanasia at home is through the use of carbon dioxide or CO2; the "American Veterinary Medical Association" also approved the use of this compound. Since CO2 is a natural depressant, it also has anaesthetic effects when administered to rats. To demonstrate this further, just think of the reason why you yawn when you are tired or sleepy. You get this reaction because this is your body's natural way to get rid of the excess CO2 in your body that causes you to feel down and less energetic. This is precisely the reason why yawning sort of relieves us from sleepiness or boredom (at least in a split of seconds).

The real good thing about CO2 is that it does not suffocate the rat. What will happen is that the rat will slowly fall into a deep "slumber" (while it breathes normally) until it dies. However, when not administered in the right concentration, CO2 may not work right. The known effective CO2 to Air concentration is between 30 and 40 per cent; other ratios will simply not achieve the desired results. For example, a 7.5% concentration will lead to increasing the rat's pain threshold while anything higher than 50% will already cause eye irritations and other respiratory tract problems which can be painful. At 30 to 40 per cent, the rat can become unconscious and the anaesthetic effects of the compound will happen.

There are many ways to get CO2 at home; however some of these ways may not be right at all. For example, compressed CO2 (which can be readily bought) have the severe tendency to have very high concentrations, while the CO2 produced by dry ice may cause burns. According to some experts, the best way to get CO2 is to mix baking soda and vinegar. This method is quite easy and very affordable to make. The simplest way to test whether the concentration of the CO2 is correct or not is to use a lighted candle. If the concentration is correct, it should be enough to put-out the candle.

The Right Recipe

If this is your first time to use vinegar and baking soda to produce CO2, then you better stick to the recipe that I have outlined below.

What You Need:

10-gallon container
Wire and plastic carrier (about 12x8x8 inches on each side)
Bath-sized towel (heavy duty)
4 cups of 240 ml white vinegar
5 tablespoon fresh baking soda

(The ingredients above suit a rat that weighs less than 1.5 lbs., if your rat is heavier, simply add at least 1.5 tablespoon of baking soda and a cup of vinegar).

What You Need to Do:

1. Now that you have everything ready, you can now set the container on a table (just make sure that you can still reach it and put your arm inside it).
2. Next, you will need to place the carrier inside the container, as much as possible put it in the centre.
3. To make your rat comfortable, place a piece of cloth over the carrier so that the rat can rest on it comfortably.
4. Take note that CO2 is heavier than air, thus, you no longer need to cover the container because the compound will definitely not leave its interiors. Cover the bottom of the container with about 5 tablespoons of baking soda and slowly pour-in 3 gallons of the CO2 that you have made. This amount would be enough to make the rat unconscious. Adding 2 or 3 more gallons will cause the rat's death.
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