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View Full Version : Lethargy I think my old guinea pig might be dying.. how long does he have?



speedyhobbit
12-08-12, 09:39 pm
I think the older of the 2 guinea pigs my mom and I have, Timmy, might be dying. ]= Firstly, he's over 6 years old, and I know guinea pigs usually only live 5-7 years... and 7 is like living to 100 for humans. Over summer vaca he went blind all of a sudden one night. He was healthy aside from that then but now he sleeps all the time, eats less (he used to gobble all his food up instantly but now hes just having a little at a time) and he's lying all the way down on one side, usually his right. And when I went to pet his left side he reacted in pain. And his breathing's kinda healthy.

My mom says Timmy's fine, or maybe she's in denial, idk. Or she's trying to avoid telling me she doesn't think Timmy has much time left, cuz she does sound like she's been looking at other guinea pigs in pet stores, and she even made a comment like "imagine if we end up with a female?" (Timmy and the fam's other guinea pig, Pippin are, boys) which could mean she thinks she'll be getting a new one soon? Could it mean she decided to let Timmy go in peace without the vet since he's so old? Should I beg my mom to take him to the vet? Or give him lots of love and let him go?

Also, Pippin, who is 3, is acting a bit off. Perfectly healthy, his eyes are bright and he's eating and drinking and cleaning himself, but he's usually really hyper and is definitely less hyper... we put him down to exercise yesterday and for a couple of minutes he just sat there before running when he usually bolts right off ... maybe I'm imagining things, but he's starting to look sad? I suspect Timmy will probably communicate to Pippin when the time has come?

I don't think he'll be alive at the end of the winter, and i'm starting to wonder if he'll live to see 2013. Poor Timmy :,( He still cleans himself and grazes his food (though he used to gobble it all up at once) and takes the occasional water, though Pippin drinks noticeably more. He's not skinny but his stomach looks big and his breathing looks kind of hard. Is he dying or am I worrying too much about an old guinea pig?

~Cher

CavyMama
12-08-12, 10:21 pm
Hmmm you could be right. He might be getting close to that time but it's possible that he's just an older pig. Some start to slow down, sleep deeper, eat less - simply because they are aging. I haven't heard of spontaneous blindness but if he is blind, he might not move around as much either.

It's not unusual for cage mates to start acting differently if one might be starting to go.

If Timmy doesn't have much time left and you want to get another pig, it's up to you to decide when you are ready for another one. Some people will adopt another pig right away and some feel like they need to wait and give themselves time to mourn their loss.

You mentioned that your mom was looking at the petstore. I encourage you to show her petfinder.com. If you use the search option, pick "small & furry" in the pull down menu, then type "guinea pig" for breed then enter your zip code, it will show you shelters and rescues in your area that have guinea pigs for adoption.

CourtArtanis
12-08-12, 10:21 pm
If you're really worried about it, you should speak to a cavysavvy vet.

My opinion: It sounds to me like Timmy is just an old man. The same thing happens to them as it does us, we get weaker and lose energy. That doesn't mean he's dying, but if you suspect he's in any pain you should take him to a guinea-vet to make sure there are no other issues causing him to suffer un-necessarily.


Some start to slow down, sleep deeper, eat less - simply because they are aging. I haven't heard of spontaneous blindness but if he is blind, he might not move around as much either.


+1 to this.

Onetwo
12-08-12, 11:14 pm
The general guideline is that they live 7-9 years. He still could have a year or two in him, or not! Personally I would take him to a vet to ensure that he is not suffering from something painful. It sounds like it might be a heart issue and that can be treated with a daily med, but its hard to tell really. If he's been like this for longer than 12 hours I would definitely get him to a guinea pig knowledgeable vet by Monday!

Also do NOT let your mom breed guinea pigs if you get a female its very dangerous. Please adopt and don't buy guinea pigs at pet stores. Their animals tend not to live very long and could bring home an illness to the widowed piggy!

madelineelaine
12-09-12, 08:01 am
Ditto to breeding and all that, pet stores aren't a good choice either etc.

It's hard to judge on this. If he's just slowing down, that happens with old age.

But if he's in pain, that would be a vet trip.

Even if he is passing, pain is not something I would want my animals to go thorough if I could prevent it.

CourtArtanis
12-09-12, 09:07 am
We may be guinea savvy, but we are no substitute for someone that can give your piggy immediate medical care.

Get him checked.

pinky
12-09-12, 09:43 am
One of my guinea pigs lived to be 9.5 years. She slowed down, too, but so do most old folks. I agree that a well check with an exotic vet would be a wise thing to do. The vet could tell you if there are any special needs and get a good look at his eyes. Even if he is blind, guinea pigs can adapt and live a full life that way.

CourtArtanis
12-09-12, 09:46 am
One of my guinea pigs lived to be 9.5 years. She slowed down, too, but so do most old folks. I agree that a well check with an exotic vet would be a wise thing to do. The vet could tell you if there are any special needs and get a good look at his eyes. Even if he is blind, guinea pigs can adapt and live a full life that way.

Most importantly, they'll check if he's in any pain.

Mishkapop
12-09-12, 10:03 am
I agree with everything gone before tbh. A vet trip is important first and foremost to ensure he isn't suffering. If he is poorly early treatment is often essential for piggles. At least after a trip to the vets you will have a clearer picture of what's going on.

Inle_Rabbit
12-09-12, 11:08 am
Guinea pigs tend to slow down. My oldest guinea pig ever was Buddy, he was 10 years old. When his last year came he gradually started to slow down. He started to get skinny, he ate less, he moved less but he was always happy to see us. He started to loose his sight but it was not instantaneous it too was gradual. When he really started to show his age we took him to a vet who confirmed everything we noticed was just old age. I would take your guinea pig to the vet. The fact that he has labored breathing and the other one isn't acting his usual self concerns me a bit and to be on the safe side I would want to get them checked out. The vet may be able to tell you how Timmy is and if there is anything you can give to him to make his final days more comfortable.

mufasa
12-09-12, 11:14 am
I'll chime in with everyone who says take him to the vet just to see where he's at. It could just be old age, but I think it's important to know that your pet is comfortable and not in pain. I had my very elderly cat assessed earlier this year because he's failing, and it helped me to know that he's still relatively comfortable despite some issues. Hopefully that's the case with your old man, too, and a competent vet can let you know for sure.

I also agree very strongly about NOT buying from a pet store, and definitely NOT getting a female. Guinea pig sows have a very high death rate when giving birth. As many as 1 in 5 sows dies that way. You've already been advised to check Petfinder, which is a great adoption spot, and Craigslist is a great spot to find piggies needing homes, too. I've gotten guinea pigs from both of those sources myself.

Good luck with Timmy, and hopefully he's still got some time left.

Helena29
12-12-12, 03:50 pm
Sounds like you are dealing with a similar issue to mine since my piggie is six years old and not doing well either. My response is that whether or not you take your piggie to the vet is a personal choice. I agree with another post, your piggie isn't exactly "dying" - just old. Like old people, old piggies don't have energy and sleep more. My other (younger) piggie had a tumor, and a runny nose for a long time. Yet, he still asked for orange until his last day. I knew it was time, because he tried to wheek/scream and he couldn't. The sound was airy. So, I just kept him comfortable untill his final moment. I did know, because he was so sick. I imagine it is different for piggies who just die of old age. I'm not sure what that is like. My two cents is try and remember that there is a significant difference between old and dying. Your piggie just sounds old to me. Taking him to the vet could "buy" you more time, but would that prolong Timmy's pain? I've also read that piggies who are "dying" end up moving their back legs very quickly, like they are running in one spot or something ... I hope Timmy has good quality time left!! You are lucky to have a piggie who has lived such a long life!!

wheeek
12-12-12, 04:19 pm
My six year old guinea pig ( his name was Timmy too) just passed away. He seemed to be doing everything you described; when you take your guinea pig out for floor time, does he run around like normal or does he stop every few minutes and just stare? that is what mine did.

wheeek
12-12-12, 04:21 pm
He could be acting strange because he can't see