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Thread: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I'm not sure if this should be in the medical forum. This is more of a vent than anything.

    I just lost my 4.5 year old girl, Ruby yesterday due to a possible UTI/ sludge that didn't respond to abs and high doses of Metacam. She was stable with hand-feeding and was better for a few days and then suddenly last night within 3 hours she went downhill rapidly, getting weaker and weaker until she passed in my arms. I don't know what happened. I wonder if it was stones, although 2 exotic vets said it wasn't from x-rays.

    My pig before that, S'more, was 9 years old and developed severe arthritis and became unable to walk overnight. And possibly had something else that turned up in an x-ray. Hand-feeding and meds kept her going for a couple weeks I believe, and she even had some improvements with being able to walk/ stand on her own with my doing physical therapy with her. Eventually she became weak and lethargic passed away in my arms.

    I'm not sure of Snicker's cause of death, but she was middle aged too, around 4, and passed rather suddenly with me, with no symptoms beforehand. I didn't do a necropsy.

    Lastly was Skye, who was very young, under 2 years- she had a URI and I think could've been saved if I had taken her in to the vet sooner and I really blame myself for. She was PTS as she was too poorly to treat.

    I guess I would like to maybe get a poll going on people who have had more than 5 pigs. How old were they when they passed, and what was the cause of death. Maybe I am unlucky, or it's normal (granted I've only had 5 pigs now). But the passing of my last two pigs has been very traumatic and emotionally exhausting for me. I do everything I can for them and they still don't make it, and then I wonder if I could have done more or tried something else, and if the vet was possibly wrong in their decisions/ analysis. I love pigs so much and they bring me so much joy but they are such fragile little creatures. I know it's a matter of them being prey animals so they hide things and many illnesses are common like URI's, UTI's, etc. But 4.5 years is too young to lose a pig, anything before 5 years is too young.

    I am wondering how common is it for a pig to go illness-free throughout their whole life, and live the full average lifespan of 5-8 years? Is it rare? Of course, many times they get sick and manage to pull through as well.

    Hopefully my current pig does well. I want to get her another friend eventually, but not for a while. I'm just feeling kind of put off by pigs right now because of the traumatic losses; I'm feeling sad and frustrated. I dread any time they are acting off at all because I worry if it's something serious and I'm about to lose them, despite the best treatment in the world. I would like some reassurance I suppose, and maybe some more positive information on other people's experiences with their pigs.

    Ideally I'm sure we would love them to all live to be 9+ years and pass peacefully in their sleep but that hasn't been the case so far with me. Maybe it just takes someone special to be a great guinea pig owner to go through the stress and emotional turmoil of taking care of a sickly pig, whereas a dog or cat can usually recover very easily when they're sick and it's not such an ordeal. They can go days without eating and be fine, and they don't decline in a matter of hours. It's almost too much for me emotionally. But I do love them and always want to have them. Hopefully other people agree with how I'm feeling.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I have had a total of 5 pigs in my life. I have 3 of those 5 now, one I lost when I was a child and I really don't know what I lost her to. Pooper passed away last October, of apparent heart failure at the age of 6 1/2.

    I'm hoping @wigglemish responds to this post. She's had a rough, rough year and has lost 6 pigs in the last 12 months, and I'm sure she can tell you all about their illnesses and ages, although I believe all were around 6+.

    I also have a senior boar with malocclusion issues right now, and although his surgeries generally go off well, I know our time with him is growing short. He will also be 6 in November.


    I understand how you feel, emotionally. Losing Poopy has broken me in a way I know I can't fix, but Sly and his newish brothers are helping to heal. Most of us here who lose pigs know how truly devastating it is to lose a furry friend like these. The hurt just doesn't go away.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner ThePigAlchemist's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I had three pigs as a minor, and then five more as an adult. My memory of the childhood pigs is fuzzy, but here is how long they lived and their general health to the best of my memory. My childhood pigs lived alone in an aquarium and didn't go to the vet when they probably should have, but I am including their health for knowledge's sake.

    John: I had him as a preschooler. We adopted him from a kid in my preschool class, so I don't know how old he was. I don't remember him ever having health issues until he died, 4 or 5 years after we adopted him.

    Snickers: I had her from elementary to high school. I also don't know exactly how old she was, but she had only minor health issues and recovered from them. She died 5 years after we adopted her.

    Patchy: I had him in high school. We got him as a baby, and he had many health issues, including a URI (which we had the pet store treat him for) and what I suspect was bloat. He lived to be somewhere between 2 and 3.

    Havoc: I got him from a pet store in college as a young pig. I had him a month before he passed from intestinal parasites.

    Fuery: I got him from a pet store in college as a baby. He had many health issues throughout his life, including intestinal parasites, fungus, bladder stones, and tooth issues, which ultimately claimed his life. He lived to be 5.

    Alex: I got him from a pet store in college as a baby. He was generally healthy until he turned 5, when he got minor bumblefoot and bladder stones. He ended up dying after bladder stone surgery at about 6.

    Simon: I adopted him from a shelter at 3 years old. He had a URI that has since been dealt with and is now healthy. I still have him.

    Ymir: I adopted her from a rescue recently at 1 1/2 years old. We are dealing with bladder sludge issues right now but she's doing quite well.

    I understand how you feel. I lost Alex only a couple months ago, and between that and dealing with Ymir's sludge issues, it has been so hard. I loved Alex so much and it's been so stressful having to deal with guinea pig health issues without a break. For the longest time I've wanted pet rats, but I don't think I want to do that now because with their even shorter lives, I don't think I could bear it. But I love having guinea pigs so much that I'm fighting through the stress and sadness. As I've told my family, who sometimes don't understand why I funnel so much money and love into these animals, the only thing worse than dealing with guinea pig health issues is not having them at all.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by gpigluver14 View Post

    I just lost my 4.5 year old girl, Ruby yesterday due to a possible UTI/ sludge that didn't respond to abs and high doses of Metacam. She was stable with hand-feeding and was better for a few days and then suddenly last night within 3 hours she went downhill rapidly, getting weaker and weaker until she passed in my arms. I don't know what happened. I wonder if it was stones, although 2 exotic vets said it wasn't from x-rays.
    I neglected to mention this in my first reply. I meant to, but got caught up in my own reply.

    I wanted to say that I am very, very sorry for the loss of Ruby. I understand how you must be feeling right now, the hurt, the emptiness and the unfairness of it. Most of us here know how you are feeling, and I just wanted to convey my condolences to you.

    Rest in peace, sweet Ruby.

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post


    I understand how you feel, emotionally. Losing Poopy has broken me in a way I know I can't fix, but Sly and his newish brothers are helping to heal. Most of us here who lose pigs know how truly devastating it is to lose a furry friend like these. The hurt just doesn't go away.

    It definitely helps when you there is still one or more left to comfort you. It's much harder going from 1 pig to zero as I've done that before. I can't live without them!

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by gpigluver14 View Post
    It definitely helps when you there is still one or more left to comfort you. It's much harder going from 1 pig to zero as I've done that before. I can't live without them!
    That's very true. After Pooper passed, I still had Sly, and he is the reason why I now have 3 pigs. I got a pair of babies in the hopes that they would bond with Sly and I would have a happy trio. That didn't work out, but I still have 3 happy pigs.

    I can tell just by your stats that you're a long time forum member, MUCH longer than myself. It sounds like you are in the hunt for a new pig(s). I too have found myself realizing that life just isn't the same without piggies!

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by ThePigAlchemist View Post
    I understand how you feel. I lost Alex only a couple months ago, and between that and dealing with Ymir's sludge issues, it has been so hard. I loved Alex so much and it's been so stressful having to deal with guinea pig health issues without a break. For the longest time I've wanted pet rats, but I don't think I want to do that now because with their even shorter lives, I don't think I could bear it. But I love having guinea pigs so much that I'm fighting through the stress and sadness. As I've told my family, who sometimes don't understand why I funnel so much money and love into these animals, the only thing worse than dealing with guinea pig health issues is not having them at all.
    Yeah, like I think hamsters are great but they usually only live a few years so I couldn't do it. I loved the last sentence in your post and it's so very true. Their illnesses are a major con to having them but the pros still outweigh all the stress and emotional and financial burden of it. It's no different than a dog or a cat to someone else so I will gladly spend a ton of money on vet care to get them better.

    From reading through so many medical threads and these posts now I think it's safe to determine that it's very rare for a pig to never have any problems. It's not a question of if, but when, and hoping and praying and trying your best to get them to pull through from it. Such a tough thing to deal with and I wish it wasn't this way.
    Last edited by gpigluver14; 09-14-17 at 06:33 pm.

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    I neglected to mention this in my first reply. I meant to, but got caught up in my own reply.

    I wanted to say that I am very, very sorry for the loss of Ruby. I understand how you must be feeling right now, the hurt, the emptiness and the unfairness of it. Most of us here know how you are feeling, and I just wanted to convey my condolences to you.

    Rest in peace, sweet Ruby.
    Thank you, I appreciate it. It's still very fresh and painful right now but I know it will get easier. I already miss her so much, she was always so vocal so it's very quiet now. I'm going to bury her next to little S'more in a nice wooded area behind my house.

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by Guinea Pig Papa View Post
    That's very true. After Pooper passed, I still had Sly, and he is the reason why I now have 3 pigs. I got a pair of babies in the hopes that they would bond with Sly and I would have a happy trio. That didn't work out, but I still have 3 happy pigs.

    I can tell just by your stats that you're a long time forum member, MUCH longer than myself. It sounds like you are in the hunt for a new pig(s). I too have found myself realizing that life just isn't the same without piggies!

    I've always just had two so I end up with a single pig for some periods of time. I will get my female now a new friend eventually. I would like to have a nice little herd of 3 at some point though.

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    Cavy Star wigglemish's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I'm so so sorry to hear about your Ruby. My deepest sympathies to you *hugs from England*

    Thanks for tagging me, GPP. I'll try to paint the best picture of my experiences that I can. As GPP said, we have lot 6 pigs in the last year, but 9 altogether. I'll give you a run down:

    First was Wibble. She was only about 6 months old when she died of a really terrible URI. I was a very inexperienced pig keeper at the time and really, I don't think I had the skills to save her, despite trying to handfeed etc. I was in over my head.

    Second was Brunhilde. In October 2015 she stopped eating and began to stumble and fall over sideways. We took her tot eh vets and found she had a very bad ear infection, that eventually spread into her skull and jaw. She was very very sick and despite hospitalising at the vets and attempts at aggressive treatments with antibiotics and subq fluids etc while she was hospitalised for 3 days with a wonderful rodentologist in Brighton, ultimately we came to the decision it was kinder to let her go. She was incredibly ill, ravaged by infection. Couldn't even lift her head. Brunhilde was 3.5 years old.

    Next was Mab. Another URI, in January 2016. It developed into pneumonia, she couldn't breathe on her own, was hospitalised for a day in an oxygen chamber. Had to let her go, she started turning blue even in the oxygen chamber. I had to send her over the bridge on January 5th, my birthday. Mab was 4, maybe 4.5. .

    Next was Waffles, October 13th 2016. She simply stopped. I had gone to my grandmother's funeral, came home and found her laying lifeless in her cage. No idea what happened. She was coming up to 5.

    Next was Suvie, also around 5, in October 2016. In 48 hours she went from a normal, joyful piggy to one riddled with cancerous tumours. They popped up almost overnight and swept through her lymphatic system at tremendous speed. She began having seizures and passing out. We sent her over the Bridge.

    And then in October 2016 our herd leader Siggy began bleeding when passing urine. She seemed absolutely fine within herself, but was passing lots of blood. At first thought to be a UTI, we went through cycle after cycle of antibiotics, urinalysis tests, she would stop bleeding and start again about every 14 days. This went on for months and in March 2017 we finally opted to take the surgical route for suspected cysts. She was full of them and right on the edge of pyometra. 5 hours after I brought her home from surgery she had a massive heart attack as a result of the anaesthetic and died in my arms. She was 5.

    5 days later, Pompom, who also had cysts and we had chosen to leave be had to be sent over the Bridge as well. Her cysts began to put pressure on her internal organs, causing difficulty breathing, lack of appetite and horrific diarrhoea. She was also 5.

    Inga went of a sudden suspected heart attack on 18th August this year. She went in my arms. It was dreadful, but her last moments were relatively calm and peaceful and I held her close. She was coming up to 6.

    Finally, Crumbs, I'm sure you know, went 29th August, after several months illness starting with scurvy in May. It was finally found that her molars were overgrown. She was dreadfully underweight. We opted for the surgery to have her teeth planed, 72 hours after surgery she had not recover after the anaesthetic, her heart and lungs depressed very quickly, by the time I got her to the vets she was beyond help and had to be sent over the Bridge. She was coming up to 6.

    All I can say is these animals are fragile. They are tiny, their metabolic rates are high, and they get sick. It's agonising. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. Pompom had bloat about 2 years ago and we won with that. We pulled her through it and were blessed with another 18 months with her. But you can't win them all.

    All you can do is try. And love them. Love them with everything you have because you never know when a day will be their last.

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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I have 19 piggies currently, my oldest pig at the moment is Clementine, who is 7 (apart from mild arthritis she is actually a very plump, healthy pig and does not look her age at all). I've had a rough 18 months and lost... way too many pigs (eight little ones I believe). Mostly older (ranging from 5 to 8, but one as young as 18 months). In my experience, it's not uncommon to get piggies to "older age" but they are far, far, far more likely to die of age-related illnesses (cancer, kidney failure... I have a sad, sorry list I'm afraid) than old age itself. I can safely say I've never had a piggy die of old age. (Though that said I am very pathology focused and will pay for post-mortem investigations, etc. so I know exactly what most of my pigs have died from, so I don't just lump things into the "old age" basket.)
    I've had some younger pigs die of some very strange things (spontaneous rupturing of a blood vessel that caused internal bleeding and subsequent death, acute bronchial distress... almost like a piggy asthma attack, complications due to Addison's Disease, etc.) and it's rough, whether the piggy is older or younger it's hard.

    Every single death takes another little chip out of my heart, but there are so many homeless pigs out there, and I know I am a good home, so I beat on against the current I guess.

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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I'm very sorry for all of your losses.

    Whitey - died of a fall because of an unsupervised child, age 1.5. Back broken, he wasn't in pain for quite awhile, just paralyzed, so he lived another month before beginning to really deteriorate and being put to sleep.

    Tibbsey - died of some sort of gastrointestinal problem, he was having horrible diarrhea for several days beforehand and my father wouldn't let me take him to the vet. Likely a result of said father feeding him spoiled lettuce. He was 5.

    Candle- not technically my pig, she was my cousins', but I took care of her for a great deal of her life. Died of suspected cysts rupturing at age 5.5

    Also not my pig, but I recently was involved in my friend's family's sow, Butterscotch, being put to sleep at age 5 because of a combination of tooth problems, bumblefoot, and cysts, though her teeth were I believe the deciding factor. However had the family been less busy and more observant this might've been avoided, we'll never know.

    Current pigs:

    Odeta - will be 5 in November. Has had some gastrointestinal problems before mostly related to her not engaging in coprophagy often enough. Recently had a small bladder stone and a UTI, seems to have passed it and recovered fine, though she is a lot more tired than usual. I'm keeping a close eye on her.

    Theo- about two months younger than Odeta (so ~4.5). My sickliest pig. Had a URI when I first got her as a tiny baby, had another at about 9 months old. Still very sensitive to airborne particles, sneezes and coughs easily/can't use wood shavings. Probably has secreting cysts or some other hormonal problem, as she acts in heat and is very musky stinky about 2/3 of the time.

    Bitters- Also has very sensitive respiratory system, vet says it's likely an allergy to something unknown as it never does more than stuff up her nose. Otherwise healthy. Age 3.


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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Throughout my life I have had 10 pigs and so far have lost 4 of them. Two of them were childhood pigs.

    Brownie - I inherited him from my friend in middle school, he was given to me with a URI. My family had him at the vets for antibiotics but he ended up passing away. He was about 5.

    Benny - He was a very hardy pig and never really had health issues until the end. At around 5 and half he needed his molars trimmed, we did that a few times and he ended up passing away is his cage when he was nearly 6.

    Gretchen - Made it to 5 with no issues. She started losing weight and ended up needing her molars trimmed. However she had something else going on internally, I'm sure. It was never found on X-ray, ultrasound, urinalysis or bloodwork , but this pig was so active and always was eating (would also gulp down critical care multiple times a day) but was constantly losing weight. She ended up passing away at 5 and half after multiple molar trims. Not sure what exactly caused her death, she passed very quickly in the morning in her cage despite being completely normal 8 hours before.

    Olive - I just lost Olive a week ago. She was only 3 and a half. She went downhill very quickly in a couple days. Skull and jaw X-rays determined she had very elogated roots, especially in the top which could soon affect her eyes and nasal passages. I decided to have her euthanized. She was in a lot of pain and there's no cure for elonhated roots. Also had a necropsy as the vet said she didn't feel right inside. Turns out she had multiple masses on her kidneys and liver.

    Still alive pigs:

    Penelope - Nearing 4 years old. Never had a health issue so far.

    Georgia - 2.5 year old, has not had a health issue in my care. I've only had her a month though.

    Daisy - 2.5 years. Had a mild URI in the spring, treated early and she has been fine other than that.

    Alice - 1.5 years old. Also had a URI. Her's required 6 weeks of antibiotics before it was gone, then it reoccured 6 months later. Another round of antibiotics and she is all good!

    Mavis - 5 years old. Overall she had been pretty healthy. She had a tumor earlier this year which was surgically removed, she recovered nicely from it. She's prone to bloat though. I have to be careful about which veggies I feed her and in what amounts. Usually she needs a few doses of motility meds and some hand feeding to get her back on her feet.

    Margaret - Saved the best for last! I don't know how she is still alive in all honesty. This pig has had so many health problems but she is still bopping about. She's about 7 years old now. Throughout her life she has had stones (6 times) which she always has passed on her own (I don't know how I have avoided surgery so many times!), multiple instances of sludge and UTI's, she had one very scary instance of complete GI stasis and severe bloat, several cases of more minor bloat and she now has arthritis and an enlarged heart, both of which she is on daily medication for life. She is so resilient and always remains in such great spirits. I don't know for how much longer I'll have her so we just enjoy every day together.

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Thank you all for the feedback. So sorry to hear about all your losses and piggy's ailments. I wonder how much of it is related to bad breeding over the years. Or if they all really are just very prone to so many illnesses and it's unavoidable. I agree it's so important to spend as much time with them as you can, since you just never know with them.

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    Cavy Star wigglemish's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by gpigluver14 View Post
    Thank you all for the feedback. So sorry to hear about all your losses and piggy's ailments. I wonder how much of it is related to bad breeding over the years. Or if they really are just very prone to so many illnesses and it's unavoidable. I agree it's so important to spend as much time with them as you can, since you just never know with them.
    I wonder about that too. i wonder how much of this is because piggies are bred to be pretty, as opposed to healthy.

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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Reading through this thread has me curious: is there a definitive guide of guinea pig maladies with symptoms and stuff?

    I know that they're prey animals and that the best way to monitor their health is with spot checks and regular weigh-ins, but there's got to be something of a reference where certain behaviors can be used as clues for illnesses. I have a dog and generally if something's wrong with her it becomes clear fairly quickly. Same with cats and even when I had hamsters. But I lost a guinea pig about two months after I got him and it felt like it was out of nowhere.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    See Guinea Lynx.

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    Cavy Slave gpigluver14's Avatar
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Quote Originally Posted by wigglemish View Post
    I wonder about that too. i wonder how much of this is because piggies are bred to be pretty, as opposed to healthy.
    Perhaps certain breeds are more prone too. I've had four Abbys and one Rex.

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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    I am so sorry to hear about what happened to your Ruby and all of your other piggies. I've had 19 pigs (all females) since 2010 with various health issues and so far I've had seven of them die:

    1. Fuzzcake: She was a shorthair and I don't know her exact age, but I'm suspecting she was just under a year when she died. She passed in my arms suddenly 24 hours after I got her, and I was new to pigs back then, so I don't know really what happened to her. She was lying down on her side for most of the afternoon before she died, though.

    2. Linnea: She was a shorthair/silkie mix who died at two years and nine months of a bad URI. We were still new to pigs back then and our vet that we were using really wasn't the best, so if we had a better vet she may have lived. She had had two other "episodes" of URIs that she got over on her own in a weekend throughout her life, but this third one lasted for 2.5 months before she eventually passed overnight.

    3. Fuzzy: A shorthair/abby mix who was put to sleep at 3.5 years. No idea what was wrong with her except that she lost all of her hair except around her face and was just generally very crabby. She was my only pig who bit people. She was always very overweight except as a young pig.

    4. Pearl: She was shorthair/abby mix like Fuzzy and died in my arms when she was one and a half. Her death was sudden and the only symptoms were occasional coughs the week before. When she died, she had about thirty seconds of coughing and spazzing before becoming still.

    5. Prinnie: She was a shorthair who lived to be five and a half, the longest of any of my pigs (who have died). Of all my deaths, hers was the most complicated and dramatic with Linnea's making a close second. I now know that she had a benign tumor (adenoma) back in 2014, but it took until early this year that she started to lose weight. At this point, we had an amazing vet who knew what she was doing and diagnosed Prinnie with ovarian cysts and a tumor. Given her age, we were skeptical about doing surgery and would have preferred to do hormone treatments for her cysts, but with the possibility that the tumor might be cancer and the fact that she was a fairly spunky little pig, we decided to go in with the surgery. She survived the surgery okay - the vet said she took a little longer than she would have liked to recover after the anesthesia - and made it through the night, even eating some of her veggies. The next day she was slightly worse - I believe she was just hunched over in the corner and not moving. We took her into the vet and they gave her fluids and some steroids for the pain. That evening, Prin got significantly worse - I don't know how to describe it, but she was shifting around a lot and even fell over onto her side once. On the way to the vet (it's over an hour away) I thought for sure she was going to die. She didn't die then, but she wasn't doing well. We left her at the vet's overnight and they called to say she died around midnight. The vet did an autopsy on her and suspected that Prinnie had a severe case of bloat from the surgery.

    6. Lilac: She was a crested shorthair and was only a few days short of four years when we put her to sleep. She had blood in her urine and squeaked when she urinated a week before she died, and over the week she just deteriorated. She was separated from her cagemates (they were always overwhelming for her) and by Tuesday (she died Friday) I don't think she was eating much. We were suspecting stones, but we still don't know. She was just in a lot of pain.

    7. Cup: She was a shorthair who died just this August at a little over two years. No idea what happened to her except that I found her one morning collapsed on top of the hay rack that was on the floor of the cage. I'm still trying to picture what in the world she was doing that would have led her to be in that position. She and her sister Cake also were quite overweight.

    Current pigs:

    1. Sugar: Almost five and a half. Silkie. No health issues save for a piece of hay getting stuck in her eye a couple years ago.

    2. Snowy: Almost five and a half. Peruvian. Has some chronic soft poop issue and was extremely depressed after losing Prinnie, but we switched her over to a different kind of hay and put her in with Sugar and she seems to be doing just fine now.

    3. Misty Grace: Will be six months in October. Abyssinian. Had a severe URI when we first got her (around three weeks we think) that did not respond to doxycycline or baytril. We had to nebulize her and put her on zithromax which cleared her right up. I also think she's going to be abnormally small - possibly due to the URI at such a young age.

    4. Spice: Almost five and a half. Silkie (Sugar's sister). Had scabies a few years ago and lost all of her hair. Currently has a tumor that we're suspecting is not cancerous. Bactrim seemed to help it a little bit. She's currently on metacam for the pain and has had a session of acupuncture for the pain as well. She's never been all that lively, but living with Misty seems to have perked her up.

    5. Buttercup: Four and a half. Shorthair. No health issues.

    6. Blackie: Four and a half. Abyssinian with some shorthair. No health issues.

    7. Cake: Two and a half. Shorthair (Cup's sister). No health issues except being far too overweight.

    8. Pinkieshy: Four and a half. Shorthair. No health issues.

    9. Magic: Four and a half. Shorthair. Usually quite active until about a year ago she started having these occasional "episodes" where she'll breathe heavily (no noise though) and just lie down in the middle of the cage. We just started nebulizing her this week and she seems a little more lively. The vets have no idea what's wrong with her.

    10. Leafie: Four and a half. Crested shorthair. No health issues.

    11. Daphne: She'll be six months this December. I have no clue what breed she is, but she's got some combination of Abyssinian or Peruvian or possibly Silkie in her. She had a URI when we got her at around six weeks as well, and she needed the baytril-doxycycline combo in order to get rid of it. At the moment, she loves popcorning and begging for treats, so I think she's doing just fine.

    12. Cinnamon: Abyssinian. She will be six years on the 21st of this month, and I have no idea how she's made it this far. Her first issue was when her eye was punctured with a piece of hay back in December 2013, and the vet was convinced she'd either need surgery for it or would die for some reason. She's not dead and she never needed surgery. She can no longer see out of that eye, though. Around that time she also got a slight head tilt. She was fine until June 2015, when she started becoming lethargic and generally slow. She didn't come over for food. We took her into a holistic vet who diagnosed her with ketosis, which I later learned that most pigs never survive. This vet gave her some pulsatilla (I think it was that) and told us to essentially restructure our entire veggie menu because we were giving too many of them. Cinny was on Critical Care for a couple weeks and still didn't really perk up. I have no other way to explain it other than one night, I picked her up and started talking to her. I put her back in the cage and all of a sudden she starts running around and doing more things in five minutes than she'd done in the past month. She's been doing that ever since, and I'm just taking every day with her as a gift.


    I love these pigs as if they were my children, and I know exactly what you mean. We want to think we're doing the best we can and when something goes wrong, we blame it on ourselves and think it was something we did. Usually, whatever happens is not our fault, and we have to accept that. Things will happen that are beyond our control. When things happen that we regret, we learn for the future and improve our care even more. Lilac's death caused me to look over their diets again and make them lower in calcium to prevent the others from getting bladder stones like she did.

    About being overwhelmed, I get that too. This year has been the hardest on me, what with three pigs dying, two new babies having URIs, and various other pigs needing veterinary assistance. There was even a point a few months ago that I was considering giving some of them away to a shelter so I wouldn't have to deal with them. But I came to terms with the fact that even though the stress and emotional turbulence I go through with them when they're not well is a lot, the amount of good times I have with these creatures is so much greater than that.

    There's nothing wrong with taking a break from getting new pigs and enjoying the one you still have. You've been through a lot. Just know that even though a lot of your pigs have had issues doesn't mean every pig will have some deadly illness. Back when I first had my pigs, I thought I'd never have one even live to be four years old due to all of the issues my other pigs had. But here I am now, with over half of my pigs much older than that and some of them don't even have any health issues to speak of.

    Every single day with these creatures is a gift. When you spend those days worrying about how good your care is or if you're doing the right thing or not, I've learned that you tend to miss out on all the amazing moments you have with them. You never know when something will happen, and when it does, you don't want to be someone who has a lot of second thoughts on how much quality time you spent with them.

  24. "Thank you, goldens1234, for this useful post," says:


  25. #20
    Cavy Slave
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    Re: Curious about statistics on pigs illness/ longevity

    Chiming in late on this thread, but it's something I've been thinking a lot about. I have three elderly females--they will be six in December. None have had any veterinary care. They are the last of my heard of 8--from accidental breeding.

    Alive (all coming 6 years old):

    Sparkle Jr.--recently started snoring when sleeping and sleeps very deeply. Otherwise seems healthy and well.

    Peanutbutter--bled once from rectum and/or vaginal area about 3 years ago. The issue resolved and never came back. The only intervention I did was wipe her with a baby wipe several times while searching for a vet. Has some arthritis/stiffness in front shoulders.

    Bella--still going strong. No signs of aging.

    (Deceased)

    Indigo--maybe had a stroke or heart attack around age 5. Was fine and healthy and then suddenly very lethargic during a cage cleaning. Died before the cage was finished. The above females were his litter mates or half litter mates.

    New Moon--died around age 5 of a tumor on his jaw.

    Midnight (father to all of the above) Died around age 8 while being treated for malocclusion. Developed a URI during treatment, but had intermittent URI's all of his life.

    Ginger (mother to some of the above and litter mate sister to Sparkle)--found her dead around age 7. She had been slowly losing weight and slowing down


    Sparkle (sister to Ginger and mother to some of the above)--Found her dead within days of Ginger's passing--also around age 7.

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