- Partners in Crime
On Monday, April 20th, 2009, the temperature reached 106 degrees in Escondido, California. I was at work all day and when I came home, I found one of my 4 pigs, Bucky, dead - and the 3 others in critical condition.
I have no idea if the other 3 (Boo, Bandit and Bonsai) will make it. I assume they will, as they have been cared for by multiple vets, but nothing can cure a broken heart. Boo is the one who is clearly suffering the most. He was Bucky's brother, cagemate, and best friend. I have heard that animals know when something dies, but what I have witnessed in the last 3 days positively verifies that for me. He just lays in the cage now, staring at nothing.
I want everyone out there to know that if you even THINK it might be too hot (or cold) for your pigs, PLEASE PLEASE do something about it!!! I never even heard of freezing water bottles to put in their cage until now - and now it's too late.
I thought I was the most attentive pig owner out there. I have been teased for years about how they are my whole world. I was so meticulous I even weighed all their veggies every time I fed them. I also weighed them every day. I constructed an insane cage made out of the best materials. They have beds with pillows that are changed twice a day. Cuddle cups, muliple water bottles, hay bins, a window view, separate play pens - you name it! But none of that matters if you don't think about their care 24/7. Looking back now, considering what's happened, I realize just how quickly something bad can happen. PLEASE don't make the mistake that I made. THINK before you decide not to check on them, or to go home for lunch, or to realize that it's too hot outside, because believe me when I tell you - you don't want to be responsible for killing your beloved pet. I cut Bucky's life short by probably 5 years. I took him away from all of us. And I can honestly say, I will never be the same again.
Thank you for your time.
It's a terrible thing to watch them die while you're trying to get them to the vet wrapped in cool towels.
- Partners in Crime
Sus4rabbitsnpigs: That's ALL I really wanted was to have a thread about this. Thank you so much for making my post count.
Cram Cavies: I'm so sorry to hear that you lost one, too, but thank you for sharing that. It's comforting to know I'm not the only one out there who made such a big mistake.
UPDATE: My 3 other pigs are doing fine. They all recovered. I had to supplement with Critical Care for a couple days to gain back the 200+ grams two of them lost, but they are much better now. In fact, as of yesterday, they are all squeeking again. (They were silent for almost a week.)
Lynx: No, they would never be put outside. They were inside, w/a huge fan blowing & open windows.
I'm still so confused as to how this could've happened? Did they not drink enough water? Did they do so poorly, because their entire cage is lined with fleece? Did Bucky die, because he weighed 1350 grams? Did he have a heart condition?
The emergency vet told me that guinea pigs are NOT built to withstand heat. He said that they don't sweat or pant & their lungs are very small in relation to their body size. He also said that they get arrhythmia when they overheat & it scares them, so they probably huddled together, making them more hot. I don't know. I just pray they didn't suffer long. I'm tortured by thoughts that they did, especially Bucky. I still don't have much information about exactly what happens to them when they overheat.
Does anyone know?
I guess this means I should put up a page describing in more detail the precautions people should take in warm weather. Do you know what the humidity was? Here in Virginia, it is the humidity that determines how unbearable the heat is.
I am so sad for you.
- GL is Just Peachy
- Partners in Crime
If there is ANY way we could post a bunch of information about this, that would be my ultimate goal. I did searches somewhat quickly, but I found such limited information. I just think the more information we can get about this, the better.
By the way, about the fleece, that seems to be the consensus, but when it got hot again the next day, I physically laid myself down on it & couldn't believe how hot I was. I really think 100% fleece all over the cage is a bad idea. My guys all have spots of just plain cotton now.
Salana: Bucky was white & light brown and Boo, his cagemate who lived, is solid dark brown. Therefore, don't be too sure about how their color effects their heat sensitivity, but I understand why you would come to that conclusion.