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Possible Underdeveloped Stillborn

spawngo

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jan 28, 2012
Messages
7
Hey y'all,
I'm a first-time guinea pig owner (my housemate got me a little darling for xmas this past year). I automatically assumed my baby was a boy, but after tons of research and such, I discovered Elliot is a girl.
Anyway, I've noticed an increase in weight in the past month that I've had her, and thought maybe I was feeding her too many vegetables....she's also been squealing loads lately in the past few days, so I've been giving her lots of attention.

I have an odd sleeping pattern, so I was up from 2am til now (nearly noon) in the living room, where we keep Elliot's cage. Not 20 minutes ago, I heard her making these soft whirrs, almost like her "happy" noises, but really, really soft. I went to pick her up and there was this big mound of red/orange lying in the cage, so I looked closer and thought maybe she had just taken a really, REALLY large poo, then realized how ridiculous that was, so I picked it up.
It's definitely a dead baby, but it is pretty much just a skull and some developing body parts. I was able to distinguish a back leg, but it didn't have claws, and the toes weren't individual yet. This poor little thing hardly had any fur on it, either.


I just don't know what to do. I can't believe I was in the same room, literally 5ft from her cage and didn't notice. She didn't make any strange noises. I inspected Elliot very carefully, she's got the red/orange around her girl parts, as well as all over her mouth/down her chest. Before I realized it was indeed a dead pup, I was holding her and she just sat there, not moving.

Do guineas suffer from post-partum? I've removed the carcass, but don't know what else to do.

Sorry ahead of time for my ignorance - as I said, I'm VERY new to guinea pigs, but I do a ton of research to make sure everything is right. I just don't know what to do about my Elliot now. She's just started purring... how do I know if there are more babies on the way? She definitely isn't as fat anymore...

Suggestions? (in general, on how to deal with ALL of this)

also - I have a photo of the pup, but not sure if it's too graphic to post here. it's so sad, it doesn't even have eyes. :(


EDIT:
It just occurred to me that I handle her every day, at least 5 times a day (she's VERY loving and cuddly). I had no idea she was pregnant, and as I said, didn't realize she was a girl til recently. Did I contribute to this still/underdeveloped birth somehow? Can I hold her and love her now?
I feel so lost.
 
Last edited:
I doubt that you had anything to do with the stillbirth. ;)

However, I do not know what the cause of it could have been. Stillbirths are not common...... You should probably take the pig to a vet for a professional's opinion in my opinion. I wouldn't fool around with this.

I can understand how bad this may make you feel. Don't worry. I am nearly positive that holding a preggers guinea pig wouldn't cause a stillbirth unless, of course, you are far too rough or whatever.

Also, considering you have only had the Guinea Pig for a month and about 3 days, you should not have to worry that you may have caused the stillbirth. I don;t think you did. The piggie was probably pregnant wherever your hubby got her from and they were most likely unable to tell that she was pregnant and in fact THEY were the ones who did not take care of her when she was, which could've resulted in the stillbirth. I would consult with your boyfriend. Ask him where he got the piggie from, and ask him if they said anything regarding a pregnancy/other health problems. That would be the first step I would take, but DEFINITELY get the piggie to an exotics vet ASAP for the outright 100% correct opinion and whatnot.

:)

Sorry for your piggie's loss and whatever mixed feelings you must be having right now.

;)
 
Thank you for that, I will definitely look into everything. As far as I know, my housemate got her from this tiny pet store run by this old man - I don't like going in the pet store because his animals never look happy or well taken care of, so in my opinion, Elliot is a bit of a rescue pig.

I'll definitely get her to a vet.

I think the thing that bothers me most about this is that the pup was severely underdeveloped. I keep going back and looking at it, and it is literally just a spine, skull, and pelvis, with tiny, tiny legs. It's as if it wasn't ready to come out at ALL, but did.
I suppose it's best that it came out now, rather than later, as I read that most stillbirths/miscarriages occur because otherwise the birth would be bad for the sow.

Elliot is currently nuzzling me and chutting away, so I think she's okay. I've felt her stomach and don't feel any other babies in there, but that's not saying much, as I never felt the first one to begin with. :confused:

Again, thank you.
 
Thank you for that, I will definitely look into everything. As far as I know, my housemate got her from this tiny pet store run by this old man - I don't like going in the pet store because his animals never look happy or well taken care of, so in my opinion, Elliot is a bit of a rescue pig.

I'll definitely get her to a vet.

I think the thing that bothers me most about this is that the pup was severely underdeveloped. I keep going back and looking at it, and it is literally just a spine, skull, and pelvis, with tiny, tiny legs. It's as if it wasn't ready to come out at ALL, but did.
I suppose it's best that it came out now, rather than later, as I read that most stillbirths/miscarriages occur because otherwise the birth would be bad for the sow.

Elliot is currently nuzzling me and chutting away, so I think she's okay. I've felt her stomach and don't feel any other babies in there, but that's not saying much, as I never felt the first one to begin with. :confused:

Again, thank you.

Of course! Any time!

Again, sorry for your losses.
 
I'm sorry for the lost baby. Your holding and cuddling Elliot had nothing to do with the stillbirth. She either wasn't far enough along in the pregnancy for handling to be dangerous, or the baby wasn't developed properly.

It's recommended not to hold sows in the late stages of pregnancy because of the danger of rupturing the uterus, causing problems to the spine, etc., but that's because the sows' bellies are so huge. You can see a picture of a massively pregnant sow at (broken link removed).

Since you don't know what her life was like before you got her, but the conditions didn't appear to be very good, it's possible that her diet early in her pregnancy was too poor to support normal development of the baby, or to support her body in carrying the pup.

However, if Elliot isn't eating/pooping/acting normally today, you may need to get her to the vet. There may be yet another pup inside, or she may not have delivered the afterbirth. Either is a medical emergency, and she'll need care from an exotic vet.

Good luck with her, and let us know how she gets along.
 
Update:
Elliot is doing well, running about as usual and eating like a little pig :) (though, admittedly, not as much as when I didn't realize she was pregnant)

She does, however, make her "lonely" sounds any time I'm not holding her (and if she's not eating haha), which has led to me cuddling and mollycoddling her lots. But literally, every time I place her back in her cage, the squeals start up again (right now, for instance), and she's so loud and it's so sad that I just have to pick her up again.
I'm starting to consider getting another pig so she will have some company, but I'm a final year law student and fear I won't have enough time to dedicate to TWO pigs. Having just Elliot alone is fine, as I can study and work while she sits in my lap, but imagine having two darlings begging for attention while trying to write a dissertation!
I don't know...that's very selfish of me.
What I will do, though, is get her more toys and more diversity in her every day life.

How do y'all handle very needy piggies?
 
Well it might actually be easier if she has a friend because then she won't be begging for your attention. I know how college is as I'm a full time student and I work. I think the friend would be beneficial to both of you.
 
Ditto Kirsty. A piggy friend would give Elliott someone to interact with, and she would be less demanding of you.

Guinea pigs are herd animals, and most prefer life with another pig. Occasionally you'll run across a loner pig who'd rather be by themselves, but that's very rare.
 
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