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Partners in Crime

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:55 pm

It's taken me a few days to be able to log on here, but I felt I needed everyone to benefit from the excruciating lesson I just learned about heat and guinea pigs. (I didn't find much about it on this website.)

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.

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Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:29 pm

I am so sorry for your loss. I hope your other guinea pigs make it. It is a very very hard lesson to learn.

It sounds like they were outside? Were they in the sun at all? Or was it just the heat?

So sorry.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:31 pm

This come up every year. Last Summer I posted about two little girls I was supposed to be pig-sitting but when they got here they had heat stroke and died. The owners left the pigloos in the cage in the heat.

It's a terrible thing to watch them die while you're trying to get them to the vet wrapped in cool towels.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 1:33 pm

I'm very sorry. That's so painful.

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Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 2:02 pm

I'm sorry.

There is a thread in chat now about keeping them cool.

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:51 pm

I'm very sorry for your hearbreaking loss of Bucky.

I'm keeping Boo, Bandit and Bonsai in my thoughts, and hoping for a speedy recovery.

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Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 3:59 pm

I'm so sorry. Please keep us posted on your pigs. How heartbreaking.

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Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:10 pm

This is so terrible. I'm sorry. :*(

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Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 5:32 pm

I'm so sorry. I hope your others make a total recovery.

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Remembering Nemo

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:02 pm

I am very sorry for your loss. I hope the other 3 will make a full recovery.


Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:32 pm

I am so sorry! I hope the others recover fully.

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2020

Post   » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:27 pm

I'm so sorry for the loss of Bucky. Thank you for posting in your time of sorrow to warn others

Cram Cavies

Post   » Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:41 am

Guinea Pigs are very heat sensitive. I loss one due to the heat before too. The 3 critical ones make sure you keep them cool and give them lots of water and lettuce.


Post   » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:24 am

I am so sorry for your loss. :( I hope your remaining pigs pull through.

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Post   » Sat Apr 25, 2009 4:58 pm

How are your other 3 pigs doing?

I am sorry you lost Bucky.
Please let us know if you need any advice or just want to share.

(Cram Cavies you are new and you might want to wait a while before posting medical advice.)

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Partners in Crime

Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 12:24 pm

Thank you all so much for your kind words. This has been such a heartbreaking time for me & my pigs. I almost couldn't even write that post, but I knew I had to.

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?

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Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:46 pm

Thanks for the explanation. I am with you in not understanding how this happened. I had been trying to figure out if it was something preventable but your description of a fan and in a shaded area -- I also would not have thought they were at risk.

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.

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Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:04 pm

We discussed fleece/ heat and I think we decided it wasn't any warmer than traditional bedding. I'd take out cozies though, if there are any.

Hope your other three continue to do well. I think only a necropsy would reveal if there were other factors?

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GL is Just Peachy

Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:09 pm

I think fat pigs, and dark-colored pigs, suffer more than more slender, light colored pigs. Jackie is mostly black and used to be miserable whenever it got over 80 degrees (he's lost weight since then due to his arthritis, but he still is sacked out right now and it's 83 in here).

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Partners in Crime

Post   » Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:50 pm

I don't know what the humidity was, but I'll find out. I know it rarely gets humid out in the desert here in San Diego. It's mostly very dry heat, but that day was a complete fluke. It was 106 in the sun with a lot of wind. If all 4 didn't get so sick, I would honestly think Bucky died of something else, but the vet said all their temperatures were 103 when I arrived & that was after I drove them in the car w/the air blasting & wrapped in cold washclothes. I can't imagine how hot they were when I got home from work. It is horrifying to even think about.

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.

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