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Introducing..... Rupert!


Cavy Slave
Mar 23, 2012
Hi everyone :)

I’m here to officially introduce my piggy. I’m a first-time pig owner who’s learning a lot…. And fast. I posted a week or so ago in the Medical section of this forum to discuss options for him. You see, when I adopted him, he was very sick. I didn’t know this until it was almost too late. I’d like to thank you guys for being there. I had no idea his condition was as serious as it was until you guys convinced me to see an exotics specialist…. He almost didn’t make it, but he’s here now and he’s doing well.
I’d like to introduce….

[GuineaPigCages.com] Introducing..... Rupert!

Rupert Archibald Fitzpatrick Higglesbottom III. He’s about four-five months old.

(Rupert for short)

My husband and I adopted him from the local Petsmart. Since they don’t include male animals in their small animals inventory, when a boy piggy was accidentally shipped to them, they couldn’t sell him. I adopted him and signed a waiver saying I understood that he was free and that his vet care was up to me from that point on. I didn’t know what I was in for.

Within 24 hours, he had a serious upper respiratory infection. His vet bill was $106. They put him on two different medications. A few days into his care, I noticed he had a lump forming under his chin. I assumed it was a wound from possibly fighting with the female piggies he came in with… maybe he tried to mate with them. I wasn’t sure. He didn’t seem to be in pain and he was eating and drinking well. I let it go a few more days and then I noticed it had gotten much larger…. And then a smaller lump appeared next to it. I posted on this forum for advice and I was advised to get him to an exotics vet immediately.

I made an appointment with a local vet who came highly recommended from a friend of mine with Sugar Gliders. The vet was booked solid, so I had to wait another 48 hours until he could see him. Within those 48 hours, the bigger lump doubled in size and the smaller one grew as well. Once the vet was able to see him, he told me the situation was very serious and that I should have brought him in sooner. I was so upset with myself for ignoring it as long as I did. I told him I didn’t know what to do. He said that it was an abscess and that it was too large to simply lance and stitch… he would have to drain it and pack it. He wrote me up a bill for $368, which included the surgery, a biopsy of the lump’s contents and the after-care medication. I nearly choked. I work full-time and I don’t even make that in a week. I started to cry. We discussed payment options…. Although I knew in my heart that the vet cared, I also knew that he couldn’t do it for free. I told him I had never owned a credit card and I had no one I could borrow money from. I asked him how much euthanizing him would cost because I didn’t want Rupert to suffer because I messed up. He seemed distraught and said, “Well, that would only be around $40, but I really think we can save this little guy. I mean, he has a fair chance of making it, but I think we can do it.” He then went in the back and discussed it with his colleagues. He came back out and asked if I could pay part of it that day and then write a held check for a future date for the remaining balance. We worked it out and I was so happy. He said he never does that for people, so I was glad he could work with me.

I came and picked Rupert up a few hours later. The poor little guy was coming off his anesthesia and seemed weak. The surgery had gone better than expected. He had four stitches on his side where the smaller lump had been and a big, open hole where the large lump had been. The vet told me that he wasn’t sure what the smaller lump was until he got in there… it turns out, it was an infected lymph node and it needed to be removed completely. Yikes. He gave me detailed instructions on cleaning out Rupert’s wound and dressing it. He also put him on stronger respiratory medications and even gave him pain pills. The instructions were overwhelming, but we figured it out at home. My husband was very helpful and supportive of the whole situation.

So that’s Rupert’s story. We had him in a smaller cage until he started to feel better. We moved him into his bigger cage today and he started to do what you guinea pig folks call “popcorn” around. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. He squeaked loudly and seemed very happy. He’s been on the mend for about a week now and his wound is healing up nicely. He’s eating and drinking like crazy and seems to have a great sense of adventure. We have a 15-year-old cat who Is quite jealous of the attention Rupert has been getting. We had him on the couch last night and when she jumped up next to him, he charged at her and wheaked loudly…. Such a brave little guy. LOL! She huffed off. Poor kitty, haha.

So now our awesome little “free” piggy has turned into an awesome little “$500” guinea pig. The vet’s office told us not many people would go this far to help a guinea pig. I figured, hey, I took him on as responsibility… and I’m aggravated by the amount of money his care has cost me, but not because of him. It’s not his fault. I’m mad at Petsmart for willingly giving me a sick animal….

He has an appointment in a few days to get the stitches removed. He’s still sneezing a little…. I’m hoping he’s okay in that aspect. Any advice or words of wisdom would be great… thanks for reading :]

***Also - I'd like some advice on possibly getting him a male friend. I've read that guinea pigs can get very lonely. The new cage he's in is suitable for him for right now until he gets bigger. A man I work with has had many piggies in the past and now he's stuck with a bunch of large cages. He said he'd give me one if I decided to get Rupert a friend. So I ask you guys.... if I do this, how should I go about it? I honestly had to scrape together the money for Rupert's vet bills and I'm trying to avoid a fiasco like that again. How and where can I find a boy piggie his age who is likely healthy? And is it safe to get him a friend while he's still this young or is there a cut-off point? I've had rats in the past, so I have small animal experience. I know that female rats tend to do well together but putting two boys together often leads to death. I had two boy rats, brothers, raised in the same cage since birth (I adopted their mother when she was pregnant and I separated the sexes at 5 weeks), and around 3 months of age, one of the boys turned on his brother and tried to kill him. Are male piggies similar?

Thanks for your time.​
Hi and welcome! I'm very sorry you had to go through that ordeal! But good for you for taking care of that piggy. That's why you don't get pets from petsmart, they're anything but smart about pets. Despite what rumors you may have heard, guinea pigs are herd animals and need a friend to play with. You can find one on pet finder, or the adoption listings on this site. Push come to shove, you probably could find one on craigslist. I hope you don't have to go through something like that again.
What an adorable little guy! I'm glad to hear that he came through his surgery and is on the mend. I have 4 boys ranging from about 1 to 4 1/2 years old and they live in pairs. None of the boys came to me together so to answer your question it doesn't matter the age of the piggy it's all about personality. Boys do need a lot of room to ensure they get along better. They may fight when they hit puberty and challenge each other for dominance. I had to divide the cage when my first 2 boys went through puberty but then they were able to live together.
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