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Advice Needed

bee1101

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Unfortunately today, one of our Guinea Pigs died. Pablina was only just over one year old, she was slightly overweight, though nothing major and had had a litter of three when she was about five months give or take. Anyway, this morning she was grasping for air, I got her out of the cage and she paniced running around on the bed, we were very worried so put her back in the cage, she still moved around panicing and eventually lay down on one side, it was as though she couldn't move the other. I called the vet and she said it sounded like a respiritory problem/infection and I should bring her in straight away. I got her from the cage and put her in the transportation box thing, anyway, she died within minutes. The whole thing happened within only ten minutes this morning. What we can't work out is why this happened. She was only just over a year and had seemed fine yesterday, I was with her in the garden for a while and I didn't notice any respiritory problems. As I said, she was a little overweight and had snuffled or wheezed a bit when she was out of breath before, but she wasn't by any means grossly overweight. Now the problem we have is conflicting advice, we use woodshavings as bedding with hay also around the cage and in a rack. We've been told though you shouldn't use woodshavings because of the dust, even though they say they are dust extracted, we've also been told we shouldn't have hay laying around the cage floor, because it has plenty of dust mites in too. We were told this by someone who owns horses and says that the hay can affect their breathing if they are sniffling around in it. I was wondering what people here think, obviously we want to do whatever we can to prevent this happening again, and if anything we did could have unwittingly caused this or aided it in any way we want to cut it out. So is it a good idea to have woodshavings as bedding ? or should we just have hay ? Any advice would be really really appreciated.
 

mrs_eads80

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I have never herd of it being a problem useing hay all over the bottom of the cage. In fact some people on this form only use hay as bedding. As long as the woodshavings are kiln dreid and without the woodzy smell they should be fine also. So I really don't think that, that could have caused her death. But this is just my opion..

Sorry for your loss 8(
 
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bee1101

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Thanks for your replies. At the moment we are finding it very hard. We feel cheated on Pablinas behalf that she only lived to about one and has missed out on a lot of life. She was a proper mummy, in charge, but fair, and oh so cuddly, she really is irreplacable. I know its not normal for Guineas to die this young, so we can't help thinking there must have been something else, some cause. She is very missed.
 

supertramp

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Sorry to hear about your loss, it must be very aggravating that she was so young. Personally I use woodshavings for the main cage and hay for bedding. I have done the same with all the small animals I've had (except hamsters which obviously don't have hay) and there's been no problem. It must have been something internal. Perhaps she was a premature pig and had under-developed lungs or something.
 

Treen

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I'm very sorry about your pigger. It's hard to know what caused a guinea pig's death without having an autopsy done. This can give you and your vet so much information which you can both learn from and help other guinea pigs with, but understandably some people don't want it done. The symptoms you describe could be indicative of a number of things from a URI (upper respiratory infection) to organ failure - it's impossible to guess accurately.

It makes sense that a guinea pig with long-term respiratory problems or heart problems (which can often manifest in URI type symptoms) will be more affected by dust levels in beddings. But unless you've tried different beddings (including things like towels) it's hard to know if it may have contributed to her condition or if it was completely irrelevant.

If you know the shavings you are using are good quality, and none of your pigs are suffering any symptoms, then I wouldn't worry about it. But if you have an occasional wheezer then try them on just hay, or on towels and see if it makes it better.

The only possible thing I can think of is that she may have had heart problems judging from her occasional wheezing and tendency to be a little overweight. Some people who have pigs with similar symptoms try small doses of heart meds and find the symptoms ease. But it's usually trial and error - it's quite difficult to diagnose heart problems in a living guinea pig, most diagnoses are from autopsies. Have a look at the forums at Guinea Lynx for more information on heart problems and treatments https://www.guinealynx.info/forums.
 

cornhill

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sory

Treen said:
I'm very sorry about your pigger. It's hard to know what caused a guinea pig's death without having an autopsy done. This can give you and your vet so much information which you can both learn from and help other guinea pigs with, but understandably some people don't want it done. The symptoms you describe could be indicative of a number of things from a URI (upper respiratory infection) to organ failure - it's impossible to guess accurately.

It makes sense that a guinea pig with long-term respiratory problems or heart problems (which can often manifest in URI type symptoms) will be more affected by dust levels in beddings. But unless you've tried different beddings (including things like towels) it's hard to know if it may have contributed to her condition or if it was completely irrelevant.

If you know the shavings you are using are good quality, and none of your pigs are suffering any symptoms, then I wouldn't worry about it. But if you have an occasional wheezer then try them on just hay, or on towels and see if it makes it better.

The only possible thing I can think of is that she may have had heart problems judging from her occasional wheezing and tendency to be a little overweight. Some people who have pigs with similar symptoms try small doses of heart meds and find the symptoms ease. But it's usually trial and error - it's quite difficult to diagnose heart problems in a living guinea pig, most diagnoses are from autopsies. Have a look at the forums at Guinea Lynx for more information on heart problems and treatments https://www.guinealynx.info/forums.
I'm very sorry for your loss. I'm dreading the day something happens to my pigs.
 
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