My son was the driving force behind getting and adopting 2 guinea pigs 3 years ago. He was 14 at the time, and did everything right - created an amazing and huge 2-story cage, got the best hay, the best pellets, researched on-line, talked to vets, activities and enrichment, etc., etc. He has loved them well, with backup and support from his dad and I.
This weekend one of the pigs started having blood in her urine. We took her to the vet, who gave us an antibiotic for a UTI - this was Saturday. On Monday, when we all got home from work/school she didn't look good, didn't seem to be eating, was lethargic. We gave her some Critical Care (which she had a couple of years ago from a bout with GI stasis) and water in a syringe, but pretty quickly decided to take her to the emergency vet. This vet did an X-ray and said she had stones - either she needed surgery, or to be euthanized. She also gave some meds for the pain.
It was 10:30 by the time we got home from the vet, so we decided to make her comfortable and decide what to do in the morning - we were too tired and upset to make any decision. As we were giving her Critical Care, she suddenly stopped swallowing it, shuddered gently a few times, and then slowly and peacefully lay her head down and died. She was 3 years and 10 months old.
It's been an emotional day. I have a few questions for all of you.
I think probably this could have been not a horrible outcome, considering. The vet had said that the surgery would cost $400-700, which is pretty pricey for us...plus she would have needed quite a bit of care for several days, which would be hard when we work and go to school full-time and it was only Tuesday; and my son is leaving Saturday for a week-long trip. She also said it's not THAT uncommon for the stones to return after a couple of weeks or months. (first question - have you all heard that before??)
My son got to be there petting and loving her as she died, and to hold her and cry for a while after she died, then our family of 4 was together this morning to bury her in the yard. He knows that she has had a very happy life. We thought she'd live a little longer, but she nearly got to 4 years which isn't bad. (right??)
Here is one of my fears. I was the one giving her Critical Care when she died. I've always been best at this in my family. Well, she was doing well with it, not loving it (as usual) and wiggling a little but eating it, when suddenly it seemed like she got very passive, and I couldn't tell if she was swallowing. I stopped pretty quickly, but I did put a few ml in before I stopped. One of my concerns is that I hastened her death by choking her with the CC!!
Here's another big question. What about her cage-mate? We DID let her sniff the passed guinea pig. So far this morning she seemed ok - eating and acting regularly. My son will go to college next year, and we'd prefer not to adopt another guinea pig at this time, since I'm waiting to see what the next few years bring. Any thoughts/suggestions on keeping her healthy and happy without a cage mate? My only idea right now is that maybe I get a 2nd smaller cage that we can put her in and move her around the house with us, so she has more activity. We have cats, also, so need to be careful about that, but I think we could make that work. Any other ideas?
My son is very, very sad. However, he also feels good that he did everything he possibly could to give her a good life. It's hard.....
- And got the T-shirt
But don't think you caused her death. Death by choking does not happen peacefully. It sounds like it was a good way for her to go.
Guinea pigs really do much better with a buddy. Is there a rescue near you that would let you foster a pig for them until your current pig passes?
You probably don't need to worry about your cats. Dogs, yes. Cats not so much. Especially if you have adult pigs, because they are too large for the average house cat to consider prey. Our cat, for example, is scared of our pigs. When they are in their cage, she's fine. But when we have them out, she doesn't want to be anywhere near them.
When we first got our pigs she was interested in watching them in their cages, but not when they were out. She tried to sniff one once, but when it moved, it scared her to death and she wants nothing to do with them. (You've seen the videos of cats scared by cucumbers? That's how she reacted to our guinea pig when it moved.)
Cats are not usually a problem for guinea pigs unless they are used to catching rats, and that is not your typical housecat.
And I really appreciate the comment that hopefully my feeding didn't hasten death.... she did pass very peacefully, which I'm grateful for.
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2019
I see you are in Ohio. If you do decide to foster, there are no rescues in Ohio that I know of. The closest would be in the Pittsburgh area, southern Indiana, and near Indianapolis.
- Supporter 2016-2018