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Thread: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

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    Unhappy Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    Hi there,

    I am unfortunately grieving the loss of a Guinea Pig and I was hoping all of you expereinced owners can help me to understand what could have happened.

    As a bit of backstory, I have 3 rescue cats and had 2 rescue Guinea pigs. This past January a coworked was very upset because the humane society and local rescues were over capacity and could not accept any more guinea pigs. Her grandparents had dementia and unfortunately needed to give away their guinea pigs as they were going into a home. The guinea pigs were very neglected when I received them. Their claws were grown out and they had only been fed pellets for the first 2.5 years of their life and kept in a dark basement woth a blanket over their cage. Their cage had 10 layers of soiled fleece blankets and was way too small.

    I bought them a huge new double cage and began feeding them unlimited oxbow Timothy hay, 1/8 cup oxbow pellets per guinea pig and usually alternated between kale or dark lettuce with the occasional carrots peppers cuc and berries for a total of 1.5 cups per day. They both hated any vitamin c supplments and I tried drops and biscuits.

    Fast forward to Saturday night and my female guinea pig mulder was being very quiet. She was eating but not moving very much. I check on her through the night and she seemed okay. The next night she wasn't as excited about her food but was still eating if I handed it to her and I thought hmm okay I should make an appointment with the vet. The next appointment was Tuesday morning. On Monday morning she was very lethargic and only ate 1 piece of lettuce. She was still pooping and peeing at this point but we rushed her to the emergency vet because she kept falling to her right side and losing her balance.

    Her temperature was 3 degrees below normal. They placed her in an incubator and she warmed up. They send us home with critical care food and pain meds. This emergency did not have xray machines and could not do bloodwork on the guinea pig but we had the vet appointment the next morning.

    She wouldnt move when she came home and just kept almost falling forward but catching her self. So almost like miny hicccups forward. I figured this was because she was dopey from the medication and let her lay on top of me under a small blanket to keep her warm. As the night went on she wouldnt pee or poop and she refused to swallow the critical care formula. It would just fall out of her mouth. As did the water we tried to give her. About hours after we brought her home she started running around in circles and darting and finally fell on her back. We rushed her back to the emergency vet and they put her on oxygen and an iv. We got a call 3 hours later that she had passed away. They said her belly was slightly distended and that she seemed completely out of it.

    I cried for hours and I really truly blame myself. I have no idea what happened or if it was my fault. We spent over 800$ at the emergency vet. I really want any advice as I have another Guinea Pig that was bonded with her and there is such conflicting information out there. Are they allowed to chew on Cardboard and have snap peas? What should I be feeding them differently or has this happened to anyone else out there? Do guinea pigs die unexpectedly despite having proper care?

    My living Guinea Pig Scully is doing well but I want her live a long life.

    I feel so guilty and sad. It was traumatic and I feel like this is my fault. Please advise. Shoud she have been rushed to the vet Saturday night when she seemed less energetic. I would give anything to bring her back
    Last edited by Fred0071; 10-01-19 at 12:14 pm.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    I am so sorry for your loss. You took in a poor guinea pig that was being neglected and gave her a good home and a good life. Sometimes you can do everything right and it simply their time to pass. Give Scully extra attention and love.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    Quote Originally Posted by HunterRose13 View Post
    I am so sorry for your loss. You took in a poor guinea pig that was being neglected and gave her a good home and a good life. Sometimes you can do everything right and it simply their time to pass. Give Scully extra attention and love.
    Thank you so much for your kind words. We are going to redo scullys cage and socialize with her as much as possible. She is a bit aggressive and was with Mulder and doesnt like being handled because of her previous life circumstance but we are going to try. I have no idea if a new piggy should introduced or not.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    I'm sorry you lost her, but don't beat yourself up. You did all you could, and that's all anyone can do. She could have had a neurological problem, or an overwhelming ear infection, or some other unknown cause. They're prey animals, and they mask symptoms as long as possible. Because of that, they can go from first noticeable symptom to dead in 24 hours.

    If you're game for another pig, I'd take her in to a guinea pig rescue and let her pick out her own new cage mate. She might do well with a young pup, or a neutered male.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    Thanks for the advice! I think I will do that as scully already seems a bit more timid of human attention without her pal.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    I'm very sorry for the loss of your piggie. To answer a few of your questions: yes, they can chew on cardboard as long as they don't eat ridiculous amounts of the stuff and yes, they can eat snap peas. And unfortunately, yes, they can die unexpectedly despite the very best care. Guinea pigs are just not robust animals, and as bpatters said, they hide their symptoms very well and can go downhill extremely quickly. Sometimes even the most experienced guinea pig owners won't catch onto symptoms until it is already too late. Rest assured, you did nothing at all wrong and gave a badly neglected animal a chance at a good life. Regret nothing.

    I second @bpatters suggestion to find a rescue who can help you find a new cagemate for Scully. Sometimes pigs will go through a period of adjustment after losing a cagemate, but it sounds as though Scully would feel more comfortable having another of her own kind around.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    I am so sorry for your loss. It's so easy to fall in love and bond with a pig in a short period of time. Losing them is always so hard.

    I have to agree with the other posters. It sounds to me that just from the conditions of her previous home, she was at a tremendous disadvantage from the start. Thank you for saving both of them, and trying to make their lives what they should have been from the beginning. The only regret you should have, is that you weren't given more time with her. You did nothing wrong.

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    Thank you to all who posted. I really cannot believe how much I bonded with these amazing little creatures. I have been doing a lot of research and ageee with all of your statements and pieces of advice. It is just so hard being responsible for something and then it passes. I am so grateful that this forum exists and will definitely being using it as a resource!

    Thanks again,

    Sarah

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    Re: Sudden Guinea Pig Death

    @Fred0071 These little guys work their way into a big part of our heart and when they leave us there is a big hole there. I love my girls and miss them dearly to this day. Now I have a boy that was rescued and I am doing my best to give him a better life than he ever knew before. The forums are a wealth of information and when needed a great source of support. I was a wreck after losing my girl Bella and @Guinea Pig Papa helped me a lot. Both of us are not what you would pictures when someone says guinea pig owner.

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