Mourning my piggie

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Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 12:39 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the right board to post this on, but here we are I guess. This morning I had to put down my guinea pig (F, 4ish years old), Pancake, at the vet. She had been ill for a couple months, but this morning she was urinating blood and in pain. They found out that she had large bladder stones and, due to her age and weight loss, determined that it would be crueler to go through with a surgery than to put her down. I'm honestly so heartbroken and miss her so SO much already.

I'm worried about her cage mate, who is also a 4 y/o female (Philly) and has been with her since they were born. I don't think she understands that Pancake is not coming back yet, but I know in time she will come to her own understanding. I know guinea pigs tend to mourn each other and I was wondering if anyone has any advice on how I can help her through or what to expect. She is a nervous pig and doesn't really like to be touched (that's what happens after being stuck in Petco for a year, :( ), so I don't know if cuddles would be helpful or stressful. I also don't know if I should get her a new companion in a month or so. I don't want her to be lonely, but I also don't want her to reject a new cage mate.

Finally, I just have a quick note of what I learned (and I'm sure many of you already know) from this awful experience. I went into my vet (after doing some research on them) a few months ago to ask them to look at Pancake's butt, which was swollen and had an ulcer at the time. I thought it might be bladder stones, but since it was so infected at that point, the vet's did not think so. We put her on antibiotics and that cleared up the infection and ulcer really well! We went back a few times because the swelling didnt completely go down and the vet told me to keep her on the antibiotics. Up until this morning, that was the treatment (along with washing her butt since it was pretty urine covered). Had I followed my gut and asked for the X-Rays at that first visit *just in case* it was bladder stones, maybe they wouldn't have been so bad and she could have had a little longer to live (though, probably not). I just want to say, that if you think that your guinea pig MIGHT have bladder stones, it doesn't hurt to insist on the xray (if you can afford it).

Anyway, any advice, words of comfort, etc would be appreciated. I really miss my little Pancake...

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Post   » Thu Jul 19, 2018 10:35 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. Considering getting a companion for your remaining guinea pig is certainly a good idea. There might even be a rescue nearby where you could find a companion or foster an older guinea pig.

Meanwhile, read over

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Post   » Fri Jul 20, 2018 12:40 pm

I'm very sorry you lost Pancake. It's so tough. As for the x-ray, if she couldn't have lived through it now, she probably wouldn't have lived through it then. The x-ray MIGHT have saved her some pain, but that is only a "MIGHT". I have no experience with stones so I can't really help you there.

At any rate, don't beat yourself up. You gave her an excellent home, I'm sure, and will provide Philly with one for the rest of her days. As Lynx said, you might consider finding her another companion.

Hang in there. Warm hugs coming to you.

Rest in peace, little Pancake. There are lots of other guinea pigs (4 of my own - watch out for Scatter. He's a big guy and loves to play leap frog. If he lands on you, he'll squash you flatter than a - well, a pancake, hahaha) waiting to play at the Rainbow Bridge with you and share the bountiful food.

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Post   » Fri Jul 20, 2018 2:46 pm

I am so sorry you have to go through this. I know how difficult it is to say goodbye. From your post it sounds like you did everything you could and more than many would. If it were me I would take a little time, then look for a companion for Philly. The best advice I ever received was a vet who diagnosed cancer in a sweet old dog I had. He said, “Let’s not tell him.” It reminded me that pets aren’t reasoning out what happens, they just know something changed. We’re the ones who mourn and ask, “what if?” Take care of yourself and Philly.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:50 am

I'm so sorry about Pancake. ItsaZoo makes a good point - "Let's not tell him."


Post   » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:54 pm

Thanks for all the advice and comfort! It's been about a week and a half since we lost Pancake and, since Philly was starting to get lonely (...I think?) I decided to find her a new companion. We found a beautiful 1 y/o female at a local shelter and just brought her home yesterday. Currently, the two are in side by side cages, but no direct contact yet. I am planning on taking them both to get check ups at the vet hopefully this week (though both seem pretty healthy overall) and then once I get the all clear will be setting up the official meeting! Our new pig, Nugget, seems eager to meet Philly. Both pigs are definitely curious about each other at least!

I still miss Pancake horribly and will always have her in my heart. I hope she is in a better place and am at least glad that she's not in any more pain...I still tear up when I think about what my Dad said to her before we let her go. He told her she would finally get to see her mom again and her family...I really hope she did.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Jul 29, 2018 9:58 pm

If you've got them in side by side cages, you've already broken quarantine and might as well go ahead and introduce them.

Here's the bible on pig introductions:


Post   » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:05 pm

They are far enough apart that I haven't broken quarantine yet. I *technically* could have introduced them earlier, but I have a checkup for them both at the vet tomorrow anyway so I'm just going to wait until then (jic mites). I got the new piggie from a shelter I trust very much and have someone I have worked with in an animal care setting who works there, so I am just being overcautious at this point. I'll be very VERY surprised if the vet says anything other than "Yep they're good" tomorrow, but jic...

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jul 30, 2018 4:29 pm

If they're in the same room, they're not quarantined.


Post   » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:35 pm

So, I decided to take bpatters advice and give it a shot (and thank you for that link it is very helpful!). Unfortunately, I think the space I chose was a little bit too small and ended up having to abort mission part way through (fighting pigs, haunches reared and all). No blood, but the tunnels were getting blocked by the wall, and I decided I really need to rethink the setup before trying again. I have a bigger space that I think might be better, so I will most likely be trying again on Thursday (they have a vet appt tomorrow night which doesnt leave enough time to try again tomorrow.) (Also, I know repeated introductions makes things more stressful. I definitely made some mistakes this time around, but I am going to do my best to make sure the second introduction attempt is the last. Fingers crossed for happy piggies...)

Also, I'm still hopeful that things will pan out without it, but has anyone tried the "buddy baths" thing? Is it worth a shot if they end up really going at it on Thursday? I feel like this is already so stressful for both of them, I'd feel kinda bad bringing a bath into the mix. :/

This is (a bit obviously) my first time introducing two pigs to each other, so I definitely appreciate any more advice... and thank you for the help so far!!!

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Jul 30, 2018 11:13 pm

Buddy baths can definitely work. Bathe them together, not one after the other. The idea is that the shared terror of the bath makes them forget that they hate each other.

Also, before you put them in the cage, you can put a tiny, tiny drop of vanilla on each nose. It'll take a little while to wear off, and in the meantime, they'll both smell exactly the same.

Don't rush the introductions. Do it in a large neutral area at a time when you've got hours to give to it. The last time I introduced pigs, it was 11 hours before I felt comfortable leaving them. However, that was an introduction of a pair to a single, and two of them were very dominant pigs. It doesn't usually take that long, but I always plan intros for a day when I've got nothing else I've got to do.


Post   » Tue Jul 31, 2018 7:17 am

Hoo boy 11 hours. Ok then I might have to wait until Saturday. I think being in the same room was stressing out my new pig ( Philly didn’t care at all LOL) so I moved her cage elsewhere. Think that’s ok or is that worse? She seemed a little More calm on her own.

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Post   » Tue Jul 31, 2018 10:32 am

I gave them most of my (large) bathroom with only hay piles (3 very large piles) to hide behind, and lettuce and carrots everywhere. Mine were a pair and a single (who had been bonded with her mother until mom passed). One of the pair spent most of her time in corners, screaming if the new pig came near. I think her having another familiar pig made things a little easier for her, but she did tend to try to hide behind him. I also gave them the whole day in the big pen with myself watching over them. Only when things calmed down a bit did I leave to clean the cage for the 3 of them, and I'd come back frequently to watch. I finally went to bed at 11:00 that night, still very concerned because the cage is at one end of the house and my bedroom is at the other end. I got up early to get back to watching them, but all was calm. Fuzzbutt still wanted to hide behind Peek, but VB (new pig) just ignored her. Peek wasn't crazy about having her with them, but as long as he could get to the hay he didn't care too much.

Something I think made all the difference for all 5, was they shared the floor-time space so had everyone's scent everywhere. Even after I adopted VB, she was allowed to run in the big cage so she was also used to their scents. I still had the problems with Fuzz when putting all 3 into the big cage together at the same time.

No real fights or arguments. The all agreed Peek was top pig (neutered male no less!).

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