The Cage of Three: Peek, Fuzzbutt, and VeBee –
All is well, although Peek is getting quieter and quieter. Still maintains a decent weight but it now averages in the low to mid 1100, rather than the old 1200 grams. He still runs from me unless I have food, but he’s always been that way. He just seems to get slower and slower to move. Picking him up is getting pretty easy as long as I use my “corner-maker”. I’m counting every day with my little man as a blessing. Most of the time he’ll talk to me although it’s in a vocal range I can’t hear; I just see his chin waggling. I think he may have taught the other two the same trick because they will sometimes do it too. Nowhere near as much as Peekaboo does it though. And I must be staring at him and talking to him to get this reaction from him.
Fuzzbutt – Fuzz is my little enigma. I can’t decide (and maybe she can’t either) if she’s affectionate or standoff-ish. I know she copies whatever VeBee does, except drinking from the water bowl. She won’t do that. She wants lots of loves from Peek (who won’t give them to her) and VeBee (who does allow snuggles), none from me. Like Peek, she runs unless I’m offering food or treats. She doesn’t get real pushy all the time, but has on occasion stood on VeBee’s back (Peek won’t allow this) to reach them first. She’s the easiest to pick-up when I’m using my corner-maker – never struggling once she feels my hand curling around and under her. I truly appreciate this as I think this is how Flossie was injured. Fuzz still insists on being the “Mangler” now and then, especially when she’s on my arm and I’m moving too fast. That earns me a good nip or two. Otherwise, she’s the quietest of all the pigs, and by that, I mean she’s like a shy wallflower. Only becoming obnoxious during her days-of-the-month. Then she can bedevil VeBee like you wouldn’t believe. It’s only during these times that either girly moves much, chasing each other up and down the cage. If it’s VeBee’s time, she can make Fuzz squeal like nothing else (except a new pig).
VeBee is my little rose – beautiful and eye-catching with not too many thorns; butterscotch swirls and stripes on her face. I can’t think of a single time she’s ever bitten me. She’s not as cuddly as she was when I first got her, but I think that’s probably my fault for not giving the cuddles out as frequently as she got them in her previous home. However, I’m pretty sure Peek and Fuzz make up for it. I know she was with her mum until she passed over the Rainbow Bridge, and I think that’s why she was put up for adoption: FHS didn’t want any more guinea pigs but knew enough to know VeBee needed cavy companionship. FHS (and daughter) didn’t bother to actually name her though. Didn’t bother to research for good foods other than to give her fresh veggies, crap for pellets, and pet store hay. I have no idea what kind of veggies VeBee got, and I know they gave her weekly baths (or so I was told). That’s about it. Anyway, Ve and Fuzz are the only ones who actively seek out others to snuggle (kind of) with. She prefers to snuggle with Peek, but he will only allow her to barely touch him (he doesn’t allow Fuzz to get even that close), so she does let Fuzz curl up next to her. I don’t know why she prefers Peek to Fuzz, but doesn’t dis-like Fuzz. I think it might be because Fuzz is the smelliest little pig I’ve got (Fuzz being the one most like to have a reaction to food). Back to VeBee-baby… She likes to watch me from the side of her cage, standing on the brick or water bowl to do so. I’m not sure if she’s curious, wants attention, or is hopeful of looking cute enough to garner treats. Probably the latter. She’s cute as heck drinking from the water bowl too. Somehow sucks it up into her mouth then tilts her head back to swallow. I guess I’m just too used to watching the others drink from the bottles and find Ve’s uniqueness sweet. Peek will drink from the bowl occasionally; Fuzz never. Neither did cage of 2. Speaking of which…
The Cage of Two – Scatter and Flossie
All the pigs (except Peek) turned 3 last year. In April Scatter will be 4, second oldest to Peek who must already be around 6 yrs. old. He was my first baby so holds a special place in my heart. Actually, each pig holds a special but different, place in my heart, hahahaha. Scatter has the prettiest eyes: long lashes, perfect eyeliner, and occasionally gets that pale blue color instead of the white in his eyes. Could be those are his most stressed times so he opens his eyes wider, but I’m not sure about that. Anyway, he’s the most playful but dominant pig I’ve ever seen, constantly, and I do mean constantly, mounting Flossie. He stopped for a while after she was first injured and seemed to know she needed gentleness, but apparently, she’s healed enough that he feels he can get away with more playful behavior now. If anyone is going to popcorn or run laps, it is Scatter. I can hear him banging around in there every morning and evening, getting his exercise. Naturally, he stops when I want to watch him. He’s my little sissy whiner, too, even though he's consistently around 1300 grams. Complains about everything, and becomes almost hysterical when I take him out of the cage. Must mean I need to take him out and give him more snuggles and treats without doing the nasty claw thing. He likes to be held in a cuddle sack whereas the rest of them will stay head-in-the-corner and only peek out every few minutes if I don’t move. Scatter will start that way but then his curiosity gets the better of him and he must turn around and watch what’s going on. He actually talks to me when he’s in the cage, possibly a carry-over from being such a whiner outside it. In the cage, it’s a soft almost-grunt squeak, outside it’s a loud “your-killing-me!” wheek. I guess he’s just a very vocal pig. Like me, he talks a lot.
Flossie – Now Floss holds a big special spot in my heart. She was my first tiny baby, only 6 weeks old when I adopted her. She’s so far had to have a spay at a fairly young age (1.5 yrs. old) due to ovarian cysts. That was a month-long ordeal for her. Not that she had a hard time – she seemed to recover quickly, but I was strict about not letting Scatter have access to her for the full month after the surgery. Instead I took the hospital cage (Ve’s old one) and put it into the big cage so she and Scatter could at least have some small measure of companionship and share her hay. Scatter probably had the harder time, since he’s the most touchy-feely pig. But Flossie was used to having the big cage to move around in, being confined wasn’t a good fit for her. And now we have the spinal injury. Both times I’ve had to syringe feed her so we grew closer due to that. I also have felt so sorry for her (and guilty this time) she must sense and feel me trying to be as gentle as possible. She does seem to be improving, extremely slowly, but improving all the same. She now uses her left rear leg all the time unless she’s in a hurry, although she did run straight back to me at the vet’s office last week. That was when the vet saw she was using all four legs. Those are the times she’s most likely to drag it though; curling her body into a backwards “C”; or carry it, or fall over as she runs trying to use it properly. Poor baby. She hasn’t seemed to let it bother her, though. She still eats as much, if not more than Scatter. She does seem to have some difficulty getting veggies from the big bowls, so I'll dump it out on the floor of the cage if I see her struggling to reach in. She still tells Scatter off when he’s being a pest, and doesn’t have a problem trying to whirl around to give him a nip when he’s really bugging her. She’s sweet and doesn’t mind being held, although these days with her back injury, she’s feeling less secure when being held on my hand and arm. If she’s in my lap or on my chest (or especially, on my desk) she’s ok. She’s just nervous about having all that open space on her weak side (I’m left handed but carry her on my right hand and arm), so I try to keep my left hand/arm firmly around her left side. And she absolutely freezes up when I’m giving her a butt bath. I must admit to dunking her nose under water a couple of times when I was first learning to bathe her. The first time I was plain careless, and the second I was rinsing her butt under running water and she turned her body back as if I’d hurt her (but didn’t’ make a sound) and stuck her nose under the water. Neither time did she sneeze or cough so she didn’t breathe any water in, but still… I’m much more careful now, and she manages to stand on her weak leg a little more. She’s lost about 100 – 150 grams over the last few months but seems to have settled to a new normal of about 1050 grams. She does tend to stay in one spot too long and usually has a blankie over her except when she’s eating her veggies. She’ll even maneuver the blankie so she only needs to stick her head out from under it to get a strand or two of hay. I just change the blanket and/or pad she’s on at least once a day, more often if she manages to mess the blankie up a lot.
So, there you have it. Updates and news on 5 of my babies. I won’t include the cats here, hehehehe. See the cat thread for that. I hope I haven’t managed to bore you. If you made it this far, I guess I didn’t. I don’t take many pictures these days (aren’t you glad!) because my real camera broke and I don’t care for the quality of pictures my phone takes. My hand shivers and jerks too much for good shots.
Anyway, his two teeth broke, one at the gum line the other half way up. I managed to find the whole tooth the next day during clean-up but from the way the partial broke, I suspect it shattered into several pieces.
For the first few days he had it rough, pain must have been incredible but he kept trying to eat. I took him to the vet and she gave me some metacam for him (see more on his medical thread), and said to bring him back in 2 or 3 weeks for a re-check. I syringe fed him (carefully!) for the first couple of days but then we discovered that he could eat from a spoon quite easily and was happier doing that from inside the cage. Flossie helped him eat the Critical Care, but I was careful to keep track of how much he ate of it, too. He was eating the soft pieces of hay on his own by then and most of his veggies if I cut them correctly. It took a week or so for him to be able to eat his bell pepper and carrots because he insisted on trying to eat them in the normal way and wouldn't let me push them in from the side. It only took about 10 days for both teeth to grow back to the point that they almost looked to be the proper length. He could certainly eat everything by that point, and did.
Since he didn't need to have his molars ground down (no problems eating) I changed his re-check appointment to "well baby" annual exams for he and Flossie instead. All clear for both at that time. This was when Floss surprised the vet and ran to me across the table using all four legs/feet.
- Supporter 2016-2017
I remember Jessie doing this after being under for over an hour getting a tooth removed. She was still wobbly, I said hello baby and even though her head was heavy she lifted it up and wobbled over to me and laid down by me. The vet and nurse were amazed(here their just dumb animals only guinea pigs) and my husband and I were crying, which I am doing now so will close. Go Scatter!This was when Floss surprised the vet and ran to me across the table using all four legs/feet.
My Flossie passed away on Friday, June 2nd, 2017, shortly after returning from the vet visit. She’d come up lame again on Wednesday, but this time it was much worse, all 4 legs seemed to be involved and she could barely hold her head up. Deep inside I knew I’d probably be saying goodbye before too long. She was just so ill. This time she wouldn’t, or couldn’t eat or drink, so we did the syringe feedings. She did fine except for the pedialyte – she didn’t like that. I tried flavoring it with orange juice, but she still didn’t care for it. Finally, I used cranberry juice and that went over better, but I still had a hard time finding her mouth because she still kept moving her head around when I tried to put the syringe in. I had the Mr. hold her while I looked her straight on and we got more pedialyte down her that way.
On Thursday, she seemed to rally, able to hold her head up a little longer, and could move her body a little more. Not to say she didn’t still drag it around, because she did. It was just that she moved it more. I became cautiously hopeful. That night she ate some wet lettuce and part of a carrot which raised my spirits even more. I hoped my little fighter could pull off another miracle and recover if we got her on the steroids soon enough.
Friday morning she ate quite a lot of wet lettuce but only ate a few bites of the carrot. Good sign and bad sign.
The vet couldn’t get us in until Friday afternoon, so we got there half an hour early. Dr. K was once again gentle but thorough in her exam. That Flossie didn’t fight anything Dr. K did to her was worrisome and the vet acknowledged that this time Floss was worse. She went ahead and prescribed the steroids and asked that I bring Flossie back in a week. I made the appointment and we came home.
The drive is about 1 hour. I knew she’d been without fluids for close to 3 hours, so I immediately mixed up some fresh pedialyte, Mr. held her and I fed her about 1.5 syringes of the mixture (mostly pedialyte with a very small splash of cranberry juice). Halfway through the second syringe she made a sound – a cough, or something indicating she needed to wait for more. I put her in the cage with Scatter, and she just laid where I left her – in the hay. I stepped away to start mixing some Critical Care and came back into the guinea pig room just a minute later. I glanced over and realized something was wrong. Floss was still laying in the same spot but her head was down and her eyes were open. There was just something wrong about her. I stepped up and said her name – no response. I looked for breathing and nothing. I reached out to touch her and still nothing. I picked her up but she was so limp, I knew she was gone. I moaned “Flossie, don’t do this.” I called her name a couple more times and started crying. Mr. came up behind me and suddenly realized something was wrong with ME. He asked and I whispered “I think she’s gone”.
For the next little while, I couldn’t believe it. We lined a shoe box with fleece and I laid her down in it, but worried that if she woke, she could fall out of it very easily. After half an hour of no movement, I told myself I was being foolish, and closed the box. I called the vet’s office to find out if they would do the necropsy or could help me find someone who could. I wanted to know why she died. I NEEDED to know why. Was it something I did? Did I force the pedialyte down into her lungs? Did I wait too long to give her fluids? Why had I forgotten the wet lettuce this trip?!
The receptionist spoke with a different vet who was still in the office and he told her the procedure for me. The cost would be about $70 (I didn’t care about the cost) and I needed to put her body in the fridge, not the freezer.
When I got off the phone, I cleared a place in the fridge for the shoe box, but was reluctant to put her in. What if she wasn’t really dead, she’d get cold and wouldn’t be able to get out of the box. Mr. had me get my stethoscope out and check for a heartbeat. All I could hear was my own.
We made the trip back to the vet’s office the next morning. Naturally, I didn’t have a Kleenex when I started crying again. We filled out the paperwork, I gave Flossie to the young woman and we left.
Hours later, Dr. K called with the results from the necropsy. Flossie had had tumours on her adrenals and that and/or the resulting liver damage is what killed her. Dr. K said everything was normal except for a few small things. Dr. K couldn’t tell what had caused Flossie to go lame without a much more detailed exam and we had the cause of death, so she didn’t do any more. She did say that Flossie wouldn’t have lasted as long as she had if I hadn’t taken such good care of her. That only made me wonder, later, if Floss had been in any pain. Was prolonging her life making any pain last longer? I had a few more questions, but none of them would bring her back, and I didn’t want to bother the Dr. K. with them.
I had them send her out for cremation after the autopsy. I will receive her ashes by mail, probably next week. Meanwhile I’ll prepare a spot for her under one of the hydrangea bushes.
Tonight while I was fixing dinner for the other four, I heard one quiet wheek then all were silent. I guess Flossie was the lead wheeker. I knew she was the loudest. It was just upsetting that no one really called for their dinner.
Thank you for listening.
- Supporter 2016-2017
Hold onto your wonderful memories of her and know she will always be with you both watching over you both wheeking for food in paradise! Sending you both and the four piglets big hugs!
Well, intros between Scatter and Fuzzbutt (still ongoing but now in smaller cage) went so much better than I expected. Not a single screech out of Fuzzbutt and Scatter has only chased her in circles about 4 times now. Fuzz did feel it necessary to lunge at him a couple of times, but that was as far as it went. I don't know if it's too soon, but I've given them a step stool hidey. Fuzz was absolutely lost without something to get under. I can see them deciding who gets which side, and there is lots of chatter out of Fuzz, but I think she has him sufficiently cowed that she gets the bigger side (its square). :o) I think we'll all be happy campers, with Mr. G being happiest.
I think one of the reasons it's gone so well is the fact that they all have shared the big floor cage every day. Not together, but by cage. Fuzz, VeBee, and Peek first, then Flossie and Scatter after. So scents are very familiar. I believe it's helped that neither is a new pig.
Now for clean up of neutral cage. (Groan!)
Fuzzbutt and Scatter were so happy, finally having someone who could/would play with them. Looking back, I realize now that Flossie probably couldn’t run because of her spinal problems. I just didn’t realize it because the 3 in the other cage don’t run much either. I thought Scatter was the anomaly. Watching Scatter & Fuzz play chase through their tunnels was a lot of fun for ME. It was as if Fuzz was able to ignore the pain of the arthritis now that she had a real playmate.
On August 14th, we had to say goodbye to our youngest cat (14 yrs old) due to some kind of cancer that involved her mouth and probably lymph nodes by this time. She’d lost 3 lbs. in the prior 2.5 months apparently because the tumor under her tongue made it too painful to eat. It just took that long to realize she was REALLY getting skinny (long hair). Anyway the vet said due to the location and type of cancer, he didn’t think surgery could help; the surgeon would not be able to get clean edges, but we could go that route and follow with chemo and/or radiation. Given her age, I didn’t think it would be fair to put her through that if we couldn’t be guaranteed a better quality of life. So we said goodbye. That was very hard, Xena was MY kitty-baby.
As soon as Xena was gone, we realized that it had actually been Sassy, the 19 yr old cat peeing on the floor in front of the litter boxes. Suspecting a UTI, 4 days after saying goodbye to Zee, Sas was examined. While examining her, the vet found she did have a UTI, but worse yet, he’d found a thickening of her bladder walls, which could only mean cancer. He did an ultra-sound, and while he wasn’t super experienced with reading it, he knew enough to confirm his suspicion. We went ahead and treated the UTI, hoping it would at least stop some of her pain, if not all. It didn’t. So on September 2nd, we said goodbye to Sas and sent her to join Xena across the Rainbow Bridge. This was especially hard on my husband since he and she had snuggled so much since Sas was first diagnosed with renal failure 5 years before. I miss her like crazy, but I’d really been preparing for this since that diagnosis. Still wasn’t ready, but I knew it was her time.
It was quite strange to not have cats after having done so for almost 30 years, but the pigs were going strong, although Peek had been diagnosed with kidney disease, too, just days after Sassy left us. I tried to do the Sub-q fluids as his vet had recommended. The first day was ok; the second Peek struggled a bit more, and on the third, he was running (or trying to) and crying as soon as I touched his back. I knew I had to find another solution and with your help and suggestions, he’s taking Pedialyte quite well, as long as I don’t take him out of his cage. I syringe feed it to him 15-20 mls three or four times a day. He drinks it down like a champ. I don’t know how much time I have left with him, but every day is a treasure.
Then on September 12th, I woke to a very sick Scatter. He was trying to cough; wouldn’t eat or drink anything and his tummy felt hard. I put him on the vibrating pad in case he was getting bloated. At first he tried to get off, but when I kept readjusting him on it, he finally gave up and just stayed there. Next I mixed up some Critical Care since I didn’t know when he’d quit eating. He ate dinner fine the night before; I’d not noticed any change in his behavior. I called the vet and the soonest they could get him in was Thursday, since Dr. K didn’t work Tuesday afternoons or Wednesdays. I watched him for little longer, then called them back and said I didn’t think he’d last that long. Dr. K agreed to come back in that afternoon to check him out. We went over a little before the appointment (an hour’s drive) time. All this time he just laid there, coughing or gagging on something. We went into the exam room and I took him out of the carrier. I saw immediately that he was much worse. He just laid on the fleece and coughed/gagged. I was still hopeful the vet could save him, but seconds before she walked into the room, I realized he was gone. I was crushed. Really devastated. First Flossie, then Xena and Sassy, and now Scatter. My little “Bug”.
I asked the vet to do a necropsy because I had to know what had happened. Like Flossie, he was healthy until he wasn’t. Then he was gone.
Scatter was my chatterbox. Unless he was sleeping, he was talking, even if it was only a low mutter. When I took him out of the cage to transport him to the big floor cage, he went nuts wheeking with excitement. Every morning, I could hear him running and banging into the side of cage because he couldn’t stop in time. He’s whip around and run in the opposite direction and the same thing would happen. When Fuzz joined him, he finally had someone he could play with. They’d train in and out of the tunnels, almost running over each other, off and on all day. It was quite fun to watch, especially since Fuzz had never had anyone willing to actually play with her. I wish I’d gotten video. Peek and VeBee were essentially “ol’ fuddy duddies” even though Peek was the only one who was in the “elder” age range.
When Scatter’s necropsy report came back I was horrified by the findings. Basically he was healthy, except something happened to cause his body to bleed into his lungs. The vet found only 10% of his lung tissue to be normal. She said this is something usually found in electrocutions, but that wasn’t possible with Scatter. None of my pigs have ever been free-range. The only other conclusion was a possible congenital abnormality that finally caused a major blood vessel in or near the lungs to burst. It makes me sick to think of it.
So Fuzz had lost a beloved playmate, after only about 4 months of having one. I let her mourn and miss him for a few days, but since she’d never been alone before, and she HAD been housed with Peek and Ve before, I set about re-introducing them all. Once again, it went well. I let them mark up the fleece in the big cage for a few days, then put them all in it together. It was as if they’d never been separated, although Fuzz almost immediately attached herself to VeBee’s side. Peek was as stand-offish as ever. Fuzz and Ve did do slow motion trains, but not as fast as I’m sure Fuzz would have liked. I started noticing that she would hunch up and shake in pain again. At those times, I would draw up the bare minimum amount of metacam and give it to her. It seemed to help.
Around the first of October, I noticed VeBee had mostly stopped eating hay. I started watching her closely. She ate the vegetables and some pellets, so I thought she’d go back to the hay in a few days. She didn’t. On October 4th, she refused her dinner vegetables. I’d made an appointment for her with the vet, but that wasn’t scheduled until Thursday. On Tuesday morning she didn’t eat anything and kept her head to the side of the cage. I called the vet first thing that morning and they squeezed us in. Dr. K gave her an examination and thought she felt an enlarged kidney. She took x-rays and they did indeed show a very enlarged kidney or a very large ovarian cyst. She leaned toward kidney disease. She gave me some Bupenorphrine to give to Ve for pain since Metacam is hard on kidneys, and sent us home. When we got here, I tried to give some to Ve but she wasn’t happy to take it. I thought I’d give her a little while to get over the stress of the travel and exam, then I’d force some Critical Care into her.
Two hours later we found her in the cage, dead. I couldn’t believe it. Not another one! Once again I faced another devastating loss. I picked her little body up and stroked that soft white fur again, this time not having to worry about going with the direction of hair growth. I just petted her and cried. She was so beautiful with the caramel markings on her face and the rest of her pure white. Swirls and whirls of long-ish hair growing all over. VeBee. My little vet bill was gone.
When I could, I boxed her up and Mike took another hour-long trip to the vet to drop her off for a necropsy and cremation.
With each loss I found myself sitting more and more in front of the television. It kept me from thinking. Flossie, Xena, Sassy, Scatter, and now VeBee.
I have a huge cage (the 2X5 grid now connected to the 2X6 grid) and only 2 fur babies in it. At first Fuzz spent most of her time in the half she’d been in with Scatter, and Peek kept to the side that had always been his. Fuzzbutt seems lost even more now. Occasionally I'll find her snuggled up to the hidey Peek was in. Sometimes I’d hear her wheek as if calling to either (or maybe both) Scatter or VeBee. I’m pretty sure she’d seen VeBee’s body, but I’m not sure if Peek did, since Ve had died in the smaller section, and I’d seen Fuzz over near her.
I’m still not sure what to do – adopt another female for Fuzz, since Peek is dying, or simply let Fuzzbutt live out her life a lone but so spoiled guinea pig. I’m not crazy about getting another guinea pig since their lifespans are so short and these losses are killing me emotionally. But Fuzz could conceivably live another 2 or 3 years, since she’s not quite 4. She can be so playful and is apparently very needy for a companion – she’s always tried to bond with VeBee but it wasn’t until after Scatter died and she went back into the cage with her that she HAD to bond with one of them and Peek was having no part of her. The last 2 weeks of VeBee’s life, I’d often find Fuzz lying next to Ve with her nose tucked into Ve’s fur as if VeBee had the most wonderful perfume on. I just don’t think I can leave Fuzz alone. I’ve started looking for another female to adopt. So far, I’ve only found a pair of adults who are already bonded. I may get them but I don’t want to disrupt that bond or have Fuzz be rejected again. I’ll just put myself on a waiting list at the “shelters” for a single female of any age.
With my own pet losses, I so appreciated hugs from the humans in my life who knew how much I cared about them. It takes a while to replace the pain with fond memories. You have all my sympathy for the losses you have had.
I hope you can find a guinea pig companion for Fuzz that captures both your hearts and proves a long time companion.
- Supporter 2016-2017
I still miss pets I had as a child, but each pet I get helps me to love again and teaches me a little more. Hang in there both of you, sending big hugs across the ocean/s and know I wish I could give you that hug in person! I feel your pain just a little after losing Jupiter and Jasmine 3 weeks apart. You DO learn to live with the pain and think of the wonderful memories! Go give Fuzz and Peek a cuddle and your Other Half it will help! Take care and know they knew you loved them!