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Thread: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

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    Cavy Slave
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    Unhappy Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    My 12 month old female Guinea Pig has always been a very bouncy, happy little thing yet last Friday night (1st November 2013) she started acting a little bit out of characters, with being quiet and not responsive.

    Saturday morning it became apparent that she had diarrhea that only lasted a matter of perhaps 24 hours, yet she stopped eating all her food and hay (and there are no vets on a weekend that don't charge anything below 400 by the looks of it - for University students at least!)

    Monday she seemed like she was being a bit more responsive and wanting to explore again yet still hadn't ate a thing. And after the diarrhea she didn't go to the toilet at all, not to wee or poo.

    Then Tuesday (5/11/2013) I got her an emergency appointment in the Vets who handled her rather viciously, making her squeak in pain and considering she hadn't made a real noise since Saturday night, it was rather off putting for me to experience. She pressed her tummy rather hard and then forced her way into her mouth and injected her twice with these:
    1) Carprieve (0.04)
    2) Metoclopramide (0.05)

    I could tell she was stressed out so I told the vet to be more careful with her. Yet within half an hour of getting her back into the warm, she passed away peacefully in her cage.

    However, I am struggling to understand what killed her. Her food was fine, her cage was always kept clean, her water was regularly changed and always boiled and allowed to cool before serving to make sure no bacteria was present.

    Could it possibly be the stress of the illness to be taking outside to the vets who hurt her a lot? Or could it be what she was given (as the vet was too quick to bother to explain anything to me, yet that vet is now apparently known to just do things to animals for the sake of getting money from the owners which is rather worrying )(Value Vets, Hawthorn Road, Kingstanding, Birmingham, England, UK - if anybody else knows this place).

    It all happened to fast within a matter of days yet I can't explain it.

    Could somebody else have fed her something she shouldn't have had behind my back and caused the problems she had with her tummy?

    I need some sort of justification for what happened to her because it's still a big shock and I can't seem to find any explanation whatsoever. She was literally fine up until that Friday night and nothing had been different.
    Last edited by foggycreekcavy; 11-07-13 at 06:46 pm. Reason: added breaks for ease of reading

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    I'm really sorry for your loss. Without a necropsy, you won't know for sure but the fact she had diarrhea makes it appear that she might have had parasites, could have had a bacterial infection or that it could have been diet related. Flagyl is usually prescribed for loose droppings and if she had bloat, baby simethicone usually helps break up gas bubbles and a probiotic helps restore good gut flora. Is your vet an experienced exotic vet? I'm not familiar with the meds you've mentioned but someone else might know about them.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    I'm sorry you lost your piggy.

    My first response is that probably the only way to have saved her was to have gotten her to a good exotic vet on Saturday. At the very least, she needed to be hand-fed during the weekend. Guinea pigs can't go without food in their stomachs -- they'll go into GI stasis (their guts stop moving), and/or develop bloat (excessive gas in the intestines), either of which can be fatal. They're prey animals that hide any sign of weakness, and by the time you notice symptoms, they can be very ill, even beyond the point of help.

    Second, emergency vets often don't have much experience in treating guinea pigs. They see far more dogs and cats than anything else, and they're not usually the first choice for a sick guinea pig. The Carprieve appears to be a treatment for pain while the Metoclopramide is a motility drug to get the intestines moving. However, if she hadn't had anything to eat since Friday, that was probably a lost cause.

    Guinea pigs are fragile critters. She undoubtedly picked up some viral or bacterial infection in her intestinal tract, but who knows from where. Nothing in her enviroment would have caused that unless she got some tainted food, but that's very unlikely. You'd know better than we if anyone could have fed her something behind your back, but you'll probably not be able to find out.

    Sometimes these things just happen. You can make yourself ill looking back and worrying about what you might have done differently, but that's non-productive. Just keep telling yourself that you did the best you knew to do for her, and I'm sure she had a good life with you. Who knows, there's probably another furry little pig or two out there needing a good home. So when you're ready, get a couple more (they really do better in pairs or groups rather than as singles) in her honor.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    I agree with @bpatters that it's easy to wish you've done something differently but you sought medical which shows your really cared and you did everything you could. I wouldn't give up on owning guinea pigs. There are so many homeless guinea pigs out there, I'm sure if you contacted your local rescue or visited a nearby shelter, there'd be another special guinea pig or two that would love you to take them home.

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    Well for 1, she stopped eating. Once pigs stop eating they go downhill so fast. The moment she stopped eating, I would of been force feeding her pellet smoothies or Critical Care.

    Emergency vets act fast to effectively help the animals that are brought into them. It looks painful and scary, but it is almost always necessary to the animal's survival. Many times pigs will squeal when they don't like something. My girl Sweetie squeals when I 1st capture her from the cage. She never gets hurt, her bum is supported with one hand and the other holds her front end while she is quickly brought to my chest.

    It is very possible that she had something initially that you did not catch onto. Which is not your fault, pigs hide illness very well. Even those who have experience with pig illnesses can sometimes miss them if not careful.
    Mr. Whistles - Adopted Dec 21 2008 - Passed August 2012, unknown causes
    Little Lady - Adopted August 2012
    Brave Korra - Adopted August 2012 - Passed March 2013, Post-op surgery complications to remove a bladder stone
    Sweet Pea AKA Sweetie - Adopted October 2013 - Passed September 2014, Vitamin C absorption disorder.
    Sugar - Adopted January 2014

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    I did try and hand feed her but she would either spit it out or store it in her mouth without swallowing and I had no way of getting any liquid food for her because nowhere in my area decided to be open, I did all I could and I know she had a very happy life, I just wish she had eaten a little something in the end. But if she was uncomfortable in her tummy, I can't blame her for not wanting to eat a thing. She had a happy life and a peaceful death, I guess I couldn't ask for much. I'll be getting her a sister soon, never will replace her but I want to look after another baby Piggy, afterall I will be getting Marzia's ashes back soon and we are making a little box for her to keep her ashes in. I will never bury a pet of mine, always cremate and have them staying at home where they belong in the warm with their Mama.
    The sister will be in her honour, definitely!

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner MrWhistles's Avatar
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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    Did you use a CC syringe? If so, you could of put it in her mouth far enough so she had to swallow it.

    But, I am very sorry you lost your piggy. Was she alone? or had a friend?
    Mr. Whistles - Adopted Dec 21 2008 - Passed August 2012, unknown causes
    Little Lady - Adopted August 2012
    Brave Korra - Adopted August 2012 - Passed March 2013, Post-op surgery complications to remove a bladder stone
    Sweet Pea AKA Sweetie - Adopted October 2013 - Passed September 2014, Vitamin C absorption disorder.
    Sugar - Adopted January 2014

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    When we had her she was only 8 weeks old so we bought her on her own as they never suggested buying a friend for her at the time, and we were both new to having a pet such as a Guinea Pig (she was a bit of an impulse buy because I just fell in love with her when I saw her) but over the months she has never shown any signs of loneliness as she would always have our warmth and company, she had a lot of toys to keep her happy and we were going to buy her a little sister for her 12 months with us but sadly, of course, she hasn't been able to make it that far.

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    If you ever need to hand feed a pig again, read http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html. It's called "force feeding" for a reason -- you'll have to force the pig to eat, but it's a matter of life and death.

    And please don't buy another pig. Pet store pigs almost always come from breeding mills, where the sows are kept continually pregnant until they're no long of use and are then killed, and the pups are usually inbred and have illnesses or parasites. Every pig purchased from a pet store contributes to that operation. There are plenty of pigs in rescues and shelters who need good homes, and we'll be glad to help you find one.

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    I did force feed her, but as said, without a syringe available, I couldn't make her swallow or even chew anything, she just kept them in her mouth as I found out at the vets. She was my first Guinea Pig, I was never going to be a master at understanding how to deal with her illness but now I have learnt and will look out for similar signs with my future Piggys.

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    Do pick up some syringes along the way. You can't force feed a pig without one. Several small ones, with the tips cut off, and a large one to reload the small ones, make it much easier to do.

    The syringe is necessary to get the food back to molars. Once there, the pig will chew and swallow. But if you just get in the front of the mouth, they'll either just leave it there or spit it out.

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    Re: Sudden death of 12 month old Guinea Pig, can anybody help explain what happened?

    Yes, I have a few now ready for when I get my next one, probably not until my last year on University next year - need the next few months to just focus on studying and allow myself to grieve before jumping into getting another baby Guinea Pig.

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