Advice on rehoming "single" pig

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adorolecavie

Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 10:49 am


For the past few months, I've been dealing with my 5 1/2 year old pig Dory who has dropped continually in weight without being able to find the underlying cause. About a month or so ago, our vet recommended separating her from her younger cagemate, Olivia, to ensure that Dory had ample time and access to the fresh veggies and pellets I was feeding, since Olivia is a vacuum cleaner and would quickly devour much more than her share. This hasn't been a miracle cure, but it has seemed to at least stop the slow but constant weight loss that brought Dory from her regular 950 grams to a measly 700gr.

My question is this: Olivia doesn't seem to be majorly depressed or upset about the separation, she's still eating and drinking and doing her thing, though she has stopped vocalising (no wheeking) since the separation. Originally I thought it might be a temporary thing, but I just don't see how I can put the two back together, given their individual needs. We've also decided that these gals will be our last two pigs, so the idea of getting another baby pig to be Olivia's cagemate is not on the table.

The reputable breeder where I got Olivia has very kindly offered to take Olivia in and introduce her to her herd of girls (she will not be bred, but just live with the other retired and breeder ladies) since she has the space and resources available. She says of course the decision is up to me, but that if I feel that Olivia would be better off with companions, that she will be glad to take her back when and if I decide that is what I want to do. She'd quarantine her for a month before doing intros, so Olivia would be on her own at least another month from when I make the decision, but Olivia is only 3 1/2 years old and perhaps she would be better off in the long run with a family of furry buddies to run around with.

But of course I feel horrible, because I've always believed that when you get an animal, it's a life long commitment. But we're just not in the situation where we can continue to get a younger pig, have the older pig pass on, and be stuck in this cycle.

So I guess I'm curious to know if anyone has been in a similar situation, and how you've handled it.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 12:44 pm


It is young to see that kind of weight loss. You've had the teeth thoroughly checked out? You've read www.guinealynx.info/malocclusion.html ?

adorolecavie

Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 1:30 pm


5 and a half is young? My vet has said she's already in the lower range of life expectancy for guineas... but yes, we've checked everything we can think of to check: viewtopic.php?f=2&t=74689

The question is, since I cannot put the two back together, is it better to rehome my 3 year old girl or keep her as a lone pig? Has anyone been in this situation before? What did you do?

WICharlie

Post   » Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:04 pm


The very best thing is to let them live side-by-side in appropriately sized cages. They get the benefit of having the other pig as company but they will each still get everything they need as far as appropriate amount of food. You have the peace of mind of knowing that they are both being taken care of properly (by you) and are not being neglected or abused by a stranger.

I do consider a 5 or 6 year old pig as relatively young, since I've had two of my pigs reach 8 1/2 years old and 9 years old. So your pigs could have many years left of happy living.

It's true that eventually, everyone ends up with one "last" pig. There's really nothing you can do about it, other than giving that pig tons of living space, the best diet he/she can have and plenty of loving attention. Another option would be to contact a nearby rescue and offer to foster a single or pair of females that can live side by side to your girl until she reaches an elderly age. That helps out the rescue AND gives your pig companionship, without the long term responsibility of permanent pets.

adorolecavie

Post   » Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:24 pm


WICharlie wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2017 4:04 pm
The very best thing is to let them live side-by-side in appropriately sized cages. They get the benefit of having the other pig as company but they will each still get everything they need as far as appropriate amount of food. You have the peace of mind of knowing that they are both being taken care of properly (by you) and are not being neglected or abused by a stranger.

I do consider a 5 or 6 year old pig as relatively young, since I've had two of my pigs reach 8 1/2 years old and 9 years old. So your pigs could have many years left of happy living.

It's true that eventually, everyone ends up with one "last" pig. There's really nothing you can do about it, other than giving that pig tons of living space, the best diet he/she can have and plenty of loving attention. Another option would be to contact a nearby rescue and offer to foster a single or pair of females that can live side by side to your girl until she reaches an elderly age. That helps out the rescue AND gives your pig companionship, without the long term responsibility of permanent pets.
Thanks for replying! I totally understand your position, and if my only option would be to give her to someone I don't know or trust, of course she'd stay right where she is, single pig or not. But I have the option of letting her live with a herd of females (if she doesn't integrate into the hierarchy well, then the breeder will put one of her new baby keepers with her in a 120 cage). Especially if, as you say, she might have another 5+ years in her, as she's only 3 now. While Dory may be relatively young by some measures, she is not in good health and we've tried everything we can, and I doubt she'll be around in 6 months (but who knows!). So I feel like it is selfish of me to make Olivia live the rest of her life alone when she could live in guinea pig heaven, and yet I also feel like it's wrong to give her away/back, since she is mine and I am responsible for her. It's not that I want to pawn her off, absolutely the opposite, I would be happy to keep her with me for as long as she lives, take care of her and give her the best I can. But I can't give her another cagemate, and perhaps being responsible for her also means making the right choice for her, not for me... which I just don't, in my heart of hearts, think is keeping her alone for who knows how long.

There are no rescues in Italy that would allow us to foster, as that's really not a concept here, sadly. There are a few guinea pig/rabbit rescues, but they mostly just adopt out singles/pairs, not foster them. It would also be a foster potentially for years, and at that point they would of course expect me to keep them even after Olivia passes on. We are not in the position of continuing to add guinea pigs to our household, so Olivia and Dory will be the last two.

WICharlie

Post   » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:32 am


It sounds like you are trying to make well thought out and compassionate choices for your pigs. I know it's not always easy. Since you don't know how long you will have Dora, why not have them live side by side for now and make a change if/when you actually lose her? Dora might surprise you and live another 2 years. Although I've had some pigs live a very long life, I've had others that go very quickly at a young age. Guinea pigs seem quite resilient on one hand and then also unpredictably fragile. Something might happen that causes you to lose Olivia first.

You should also not underestimate the benefit that Olivia's presence provides for Dora. Taking Olivia away could cause Dora to go into a downward spiral. You'd never know if it was what would have happened anyway, or if it was related to Olivia's absence. I assume that the offer to integrate Olivia into the other herd would still stand later as well as right now?

Prudy was my last pig. She and Izabo lived side by side because they never really got along very well in the cage together but seemed quite happy in their own cages. After Izabo went, Prudy lived about a year more. She developed a mass on her back that was removed with surgery and she seemed to recover well afterwards, despite being 8. But about a month later, I woke up one morning and found her gone. There had been no change in her behavior or eating habits or anything to clue me into that happening, but it just was apparently her time.

adorolecavie

Post   » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:56 am


Thank you! yes I think that is a great idea and what I'll do, keep them side by side as long as Dory is with us and then see where we are at that point. Who knows, she may surprise us afterall!

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