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Partners in Crime

Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 3:00 pm

From what I can gather online, the section of town I am in reached 100 degrees with very little humidity - about 19%. Dew point was 32.6 degrees F, and pressure was 29.16in. Wind speed was only 3mph, but we broke records that day bigtime.

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Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:04 pm

You said that the cage is next to a window. I know that you said they had fans blowing and air circulating. However, I'm wondering, were they in direct sunlight from that window?

Maybe the sunlight was only there for part of the day and you haven't been able to see that because you are gone at work for that part.

Not trying to lay blame, just help you think.

Did you have frozen water bottles for the pigs to lay next to? Some people do this and wrap them in socks for the pigs.

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Partners in Crime

Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:22 pm

The cage is next to a window, but the sun only hits certain parts of the cage at a time. (The cage is huge.) So, they definitely had shade in different spots throughout the day.

I am absolutely to blame. That's the saddest part of this story - it IS my fault & I have to live with that. I KNEW the heat was going to break records that day - it was all over the radio. I made the decision not to go home to check on them during the day. It was a mistake, but it was absolutely my fault & I will never forgive myself.

No frozen bottles. No cotton to get off the fleece. Nothing! :(

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Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 6:24 pm

I want to tell you that this post certainly has raised my awareness about guinea pigs tolerating heat.

I am in NY state and the last two days we have close to 90 degree temps. That is very atypical for this area at this time of the year. It was a big jump in temperature...we went from the 70s the days before way up to 90.
My guinea pigs were feeling the heat yesterday...they were all sprawled out and drank way more water than is normal. I made up frozen water bottles and put them in the cages.
They did rest near the bottles for some of the day.

Seeing how they reacted to the heat, combined with reading your story, I have decided that I am going to buy air conditioners for their rooms to help them stay cool.

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Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 7:53 pm

So, today, I am home sick. I put the pigs out on my deck, fenced in by grids. It was 80F+ by the thermometer in the house and there were cool breezes on the deck. It was much cooler on the deck.

Maybe 10% of the deck had sun, the rest is in pretty deep shade from the roof built over it.

The pigs spent time pancaked in the sun! Like, they'd go over there and sprawl in it in close proximity to another pig just to stay in the sun. (I have boars, so this is Not Done.)

I also assumed that they were smart enough to get OUT of the sun, but I really dont know now.

Poor CJ (my PEW) had purple ears and a slightly elevated temp when I finally removed him after 20min. He was not pleased to be picked up from his nap and probed with a thermometer.

I re fenced the deck to exclude the sun.

I am wondering if your pigs fell asleep in a sun patch, or wanted to bask in a sun patch and just didn't move. Mine sure as heck weren't about to move today.

Don't beat yourself up too much. There's so much that's out of our control, even when we provide the best care.


Post   » Tue Apr 28, 2009 12:19 am

I am very sorry for your loss. I live in Scripps Ranch so I know how terribly hot that day was. It was ridiculous to get that hot in April here in San Diego.

I'm glad to hear all of your pigs recovered. Sometimes I have to move my boys out of the room they are in because when it gets hot the room is ridiculously warm.

It was an accident.


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Partners in Crime

Post   » Wed Apr 29, 2009 3:17 pm

That brings up a really good question (and reminds me of my original question of what happens to pigs when they overheat)... WOULD pigs know to get out of the sun if it was too hot?

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Partners in Crime

Post   » Fri Jun 26, 2009 8:26 pm

Sus4rabbitsnpigs, can you let me know how to see that chat you referred to in this post that warns about the heat? I couldn't find it. Thank you.

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Post   » Fri Jun 26, 2009 9:00 pm

Well... here's an example. In my office at work today, the air conditioner was broken. The air conditioner on the other side of the SAME FLOOR was working, and keeping that side at 72 degrees. However, even though all that cold air wasn't being blocked from my side of the office, the temperature outside got to the mid 80s and my side of the office got to 80 degrees. Without air conditioning, I cannot imagine a pig surviving in the heat indoors caused by 106 degree heat outdoors. Fans make you FEEL cooler, but they're not going to help much if it's 106 out. As you can see from my example, indoor temperatures can get pretty darn close to outdoor temps very rapidly even when it's not that hot out. Considering 80+ degrees is the "warning" level for guinea pigs, 106 degrees could easily put your home in that range.

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Post   » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:05 pm

Check this out too (Tracis links thread):


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Supporter in '11

Post   » Fri Jun 26, 2009 10:09 pm

SoCalCavies - I am so sorry for your loss.

Your post has reminded me to do something I've been doing whenever we have heatwaves in our area. I've been posting on the Pets section of craigslist heat warnings for piggies and telling people what to do to avoid problems - including the frozen water bottles etc. I've had lots of people thank me. Not everyone knows to even look for information on heat problems. It's something other people may want to think about doing for their area. Hopefully a copy of my old post is still around.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:44 am

There are some good ideas put together by tracis here.

Lynx beat me to it!

Also a note to UK owners or others in more temperate climates. Just because the temperatures may not reach those of elsewhere in the world doesn't mean your pigs can die from heat stress. If the temperature and/or humidity rises much over what they are used to, your pigs can still suffer. Heat stroke deaths still happen if housed inside or out and sudden rises in temperature are not something piggies are built to cope with.

Earlier this year Thistle Cavies have already had to help in dealing with 2 piggies with heatstroke rushed in as an emergency. Sadly it was too late for one an the other died shortly after.

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 11:10 am

UKers, you have been warned! Weather alert.

Not that it WILL happen everywhere, but it MIGHT happen where you are. :·)

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Sewing for a Cause

Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:25 pm

I am so sorry SoCalCavies, I'm glad the other 3 are doing well. Events like this hit one's self hard, but do please remember to forgive yourself.

Perhaps this could benifit you and others, something I started doing last year when we first moved here. It would get up to 80-82(F) in the pigs room for 3-4 hours of the day. Since we don't use the other half of the apartment during those times it was senseless turning on the A/C at that time, and I didn't have many of the quart or gallon ziplocks left I usually put under stools.

Instead I frozen sheets of water in cookie pans and rectangle cake pans and put them in huge ziplock bags. The 4 gallon bags are great if you can find them as two cookie sheets of ice will lay in them and it's not all lumpy for the pigs to walk on like ice cubes. Then I slip them under the Cage Blankets so they lay on the coroplast. The bags are insulated by the coro and blankets so they do last a good 8 hours for us and the pigs can sprawl out anywhere on them without getting freeze burned skin.


Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 1:52 pm

Ooo. That's a really good idea, especially as the thinner layer of ice freezes faster. One problem I've had with frozen water bottles is having enough space in the freezer to set up two batches. One set thaws before the next set is ready to go. (I don't have AC.) But with a thinner sheet, I can freeze up a second set pretty quickly.

Thanks for the idea.


Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 2:31 pm

That is such an excellent idea WindeSpirit. I'll have to try it, especially for some of my less cooperative pets. Timothy is usually pretty smart about laying near a frozen water bottle but I think he'd be more inclined to use something that is a flat surface that he can lay down on. Plus, this means I might actually get some of my freezer back for human food space. Like the veggie crisper the freezer does not belong to me in the summer.

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Partners in Crime

Post   » Sat Jun 27, 2009 8:00 pm

Thank you all so much for your posts. They really do mean so much to me. I can't tell you how this experience has changed me. It really shakes your confidence when you think you're doing everything right, yet in 1 instant you make an error in judgement & it kills them. It's just too awful to even put into words. All I know is, every time I look at them, all I see is the 1 that's missing & I re-live that day in my mind. I do wish I could just let it go, but the truth is, none of us are the same.

My heart sank when I saw the post about the heat coming. I am on pins and needles, praying I never see another story like mine.

Thank you all very much.

PS. Cavyhouse: What a wonderful thing you do for them. What does your ad say? Maybe I could post one in San Diego in Bucky's name!

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Cavies 'n Cobwebs

Post   » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:12 pm

SoCalCavies, I meant to say it before, sorry you lost your piggy this way but most of us have learned lessons the hard way in some form of cavy care. You won't make the same assumptions again and your remaining piggies will be all the better for it.

Sounds like a good idea putting a warning up in Bucky's memory. :·)

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Post   » Sun Jun 28, 2009 3:20 pm

FYI, otter pops are a great way to cool off pigs fast when you're in a bind and will be home the whole time to monitor the pigs. Obviously it won't take long before they thaw and the pigs try to eat them or the plastic, but in emergencies I've used them and covered them with a layer of fleece. You can keep rotating them and refreezing. Again, ONLY if you're there to watch and be sure they don't eat them.

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