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Thread: Lost guinea pig this morning – unknown cause, concerned about other piggies

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    Lost guinea pig this morning – unknown cause, concerned about other piggies

    Hi everyone, this is my first post to Guinea Pig Cages and unfortunately it is in response of the recent loss of one of my piggies, Loma. I'll try to give as much detail as possible to explain what is going on so I can hopefully get some answers... I adopted Loma 12/23/2015 when she was one month old along with her cage mate Prieta who was a few months older. A month after getting those two, we got one more tiny pig named Cali from another shelter and have owned the three total for the past year. Cali and Loma share a big two story cage, while Prieta lives by herself because she was constantly getting bullied by Cali.

    I went to work yesterday morning around 8am after feeding them their normal timothy hay, pellets, a Vitamin C chewable and their veggie salad of kale, cucumber, a baby carrots and green peppers. All three were energetic and wheeking happily for their food, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. I came home after work at about 7pm and noticed immediately something was wrong with Loma (we have a triangle for potty training that was filled with bedding and hay, and she was just laying in the tray facing the corner). Her eyes were a little glassy, but her nose was clear and I didn't see any discharge. I picked her up and tried to hand feed her while she laid in my lap in a cuddle cup, but she would not eat at all. She could barely stand and was extremely unbalanced. Her droppings were normal, no diarrhea and from what I could see there was no spots in the cage indicating blood in the urine. Her breathing was normal and she did not seem in any pain to be handled, but something was definitely wrong. I checked her cage mate, Cali and our other piggie Prieta and they seemed fine – eating and drinking normally with tons of energy. As soon as my fiancι got home at 8pm, we ran to the local vet to get help. We had been to this vet once before for Loma, as she had an Upper Respiratory Infection in February of last year but has been completely healthy since.

    The vet examined her, asked us questions about diet, environment, etc. and advised that the only thing she noticed while examining was a slight heart murmur. She questioned a bladder stone, but at this time we had no indicators that really pointed to that either. Her teeth were also in great shape, so we ruled that out as a reason to cause lack of appetite. Seeing the lethargy Loma was clearly displaying, the vet took her aside and gave her fluids to help with her condition.
    She also started us on a round of medications to be administered twice a day, each of which was distributed there. These included:
    0.2ML Metacam Oral Suspension
    0.5ML Tribrissen Oral Suspension (also known as Bactrim)
    0.45ML Metoclopramide Syrup

    We bundled Loma back up and headed home, glad we had decided to bring her in and confident that she would start to make a recovery. The veterinarian also sent us home with a packet of Critical Care which I mixed up and attempted to feed her through a syringe when I got home, though she was so tired I was only able to get a few MLs in. She was a little more aware of her surroundings but still not herself, so I held her for a little longer until returning her to her cage where she again faced the cage corner and cuddled in her fleece. Her cage mate Cali also came over to keep her company, and I went to bed around 12:30am thinking everything would be okay.

    I woke up at 5:30am, worried about Loma and unable to sleep. I went over to her cage and broke down immediately when I found her lifeless body in the middle of the cage. I woke my fiancι and we removed her from the cage, her body still warm as she must have passed within the hour or so prior. The first thing that I thought and I still can't get out of my head is that I hope she did not suffer. Loma was truly such a sweet little pig, the idea of her feeling any discomfort breaks my heart (we always joked she was our therapy pig... whenever you were in a bad mood or upset you held Loma and immediately you felt like nothing else mattered).

    I wish I could say that was the worst of my morning, but when i went to check on my other pigs I noticed Prieta was having diarrhea. Not only was this strange because none of my pigs had ever once had diarrhea, but we still did not know what killed Loma and I am now scared Prieta could be getting sick too, even though this is a completely new symptom. I have not given Cali and Prieta any more veggies since I got home from work yesterday, so seeing diarrhea after her not eating veggies for almost 10 hours is really concerning. Prieta's energy also seems lower, while Cali is still her normal spunky self.

    I also changed the bedding this morning to rule out any environmental contamination, and am going to give them both fresh hay and pellets for now to monitor their behavior. I always wash their veggies before giving them anything and everything was fresh, just purchased earlier that day from the same shop I always go to... so i really have no idea what is going on. ANY advise would be extremely appreciated... I have no idea if Prieta's symptom is linked at all to why we lost Loma but if there are any measures I can take please let me know, as this is the first I have ever dealt with a pig having diarrhea too. They are all so young, and with no pre-existing condition to be contributing to what is going on... I am at a loss of what to do. I will bring Pri to the vet if she's any worse when I get home today, but if anyone has gone through something similar to what happened to Loma it would bring me some peace to have an idea of what happened and if there was anything I could have done to prevent it.

    Note: The only explanation the vet had when I called to let them know what happened this morning was that Loma could have suffered heart failure, the heart murmur we heard could have been a type of heart disease she developed but without having done further diagnostics there is no way to know.


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  2. #2
    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Lost guinea pig this morning – unknown cause, concerned about other piggies

    I'm so sorry you lost her.

    The only way to know what happened would have been to have a necropsy done, but it sounds as though she probably had some sort of overwhelming infection. Or, as you suggested, a heart problem. They're pretty fragile little creatures, and it's not always possible to determine a cause of death.

    For Prieta, they could examine a fecal sample to see if there's any bacterial or parasitic infection. If she were mine, I'd ask for trial of flagyl rather than any of the other antibiotics. It's usually effective against GI organisms, and isn't nearly as hard on the pig as things like baytril. It might not work, but the baytril might be too harsh. But definitely don't feed any more veggies until you know what's going on.

    Good luck, and keep us posted.

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    Re: Lost guinea pig this morning – unknown cause, concerned about other piggies

    I am so sorry about little Loma. Your story about taking her home from the vet and unable to sleep really touched a nerve with me, as that's precisely what happened with my sweet boy a couple of months ago. I got home late, checked on him again when I went to bed at 12:30 and I usually got up around 6:30. I woke up and 7:30 and found him exactly the same way you found Loma, and I lost my mind.

    I don't really have any advice on diarrhea, although I know that's what you're looking for. I just read you story and had chills reading it, knowing just how you felt and I wanted to offer my condolences. Loma was a beautiful little girl. Rest in peace little one.

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