My 6.5 year old girl Dory is definitely showing signs of her "old" age. I know that cavies can live a lot longer, but she was never really healthy to start with, came from the third or fourth litter of brothers and sisters who were not separated in time, and out of all her "family" she's the only one still around, all the others died before 4-5 years old.
A year and half ago Dory had a stroke, and though she recovered then and there, she has very slowly gone downhill since then, and has been left with progressively "worse" neurological symptoms, mostly a head tilt which is slowly but steadily getting worse (not related to inner ear/vitamin deficiency), and wobbly/difficult movement. She still eats heartily, and wheeks in the morning, but she spends a lot of her time sleeping when she's not eating. Her weight is low (she is quite thin), but holding and not dropping, her eyes are bright and alert.
My question to you all is this - I know that they are prey animals and thus are reluctant to show signs of pain or discomfort. So how can I tell if she is suffering and when/if it is time to let her go peacefully? Is just the fact that she happily eats a good sign? Otherwise she sleeps, which I can't tell if that is from old age or discomfort.
I do not believe in keeping animals alive just to keep them alive. If she is suffering, I think it is more humane to release her from her pain. But how do I know when?
I'm sure I'm not the first to ask myself this question, so I'm asking you those of you who have been here before - how did you know it was time?
Thanks in advance -
If this was a question you were answering for someone else, what signs do you think you would look for?
Further weight loss, pain, obvious illness that you could not treat seem to me indicators.
Thanks for the support and advice, as always.