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Lethargy Strange behavior on journey home


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 23, 2012
I drove 5 hrs to pick up 3 rescue guinea pig girls, and because it's cold here-around 20 deg, damp and windy, I wrapped the big (meant for a 30lb dog) carrier in fleece, then put a vinyl tablecloth over that to block wind when I took the carrier out to the car. Let me be clear-I draped the fleece like a tablecloth over the top of the carrier, and draped the vinyl tablecloth the same way-I was worried they piggies would get a cold draft, but I know better than to make everything too tight because they still need fresh air to breath. I left the crate like this on the backseat of the car, becuase I was very tired, had to drive 5 hrs to get home, and I always drive with my window cracked about an inch, and I was still worried about drafts. I pulled over after an hour to check on the girls, and Daphne was laying on her back, legs down by her sides, and her feet were twitching a little. The other 2 girls were in their tube, and seemed fine. I touched Daphne's feet, and she twitched faster, then I panicked (even more) and picked her up an d put her on her feet. She woke up and looked very surprised. She's fine today, eating her salad, pellets, and hay, moving around just fine. Did something happen? Was she just sleeping? Did the motion of the car lull her into a deep sleep?
Second question, same animal-She was a rescue, and has been treated for terrible mite infestation, she had lost a lot of hair, but appears very healthy now-the rescue lady took very good care of all of them, but Daphne has a little dry skin. Is there something I should give her to help with that? I've never bathed the guinea pig I've had for about 8 months-she's very clean, and I never had to, but maybe Daphne needs a moisturizing shampoo? I hate to bathe animals in the winter, I'm afraid they will get sick.
Thanks for any thought you can give...
I can't speak to the 2nd question, but when we got one of our pigs, Triton, we actually thought he was dead when we got him home after a 2-hour ride. He was kind of frozen and non-responsive. The other three are never like this. After just a couple of minutes out of the crate he was back to himself, and he was eating and drinking just fine when we got him inside. I'd chalked it up to him being afraid but I hadn't thought of him maybe falling asleep deeply.
I don't know why she would act like that. So weird! I would just keep an eye on her.

I don't think I would bathe her. It may dry her out more. Perhaps try rubbing a little extra virgin coconut oil on the area.
Just something for you both to keep a watch for -- one sign of deafness in guinea pigs is sleeping very deeply. As you know, they're very skittish animals, and run at the slightest sound. But if they're not hearing those sounds, they can sleep like the dead.
All of you have been great at answering my questions-and I've had many. She seems to hear just fine, and she's all black, not a lethal, and it's been 3 days and she's still fine. Weird....I'll be happy if that never happens again! Whewwww!
Thanks bpatters -- the good news is that the only time Triton has ever done that is with a car ride. We've had him for about 7 months now and he always does the "30 second sleep" (as we joke about it) that the others do. He bolts and does the usual skittish piggy reactions. It was just surreal when we got him home and he was like that the first time. I think my heart stopped!

When we realized he was alive and he perked up just fine and seemed none the worse, I thought maybe he was really, really afraid of a longish car ride. He snapped back quickly. We took him to the vet a couple of days later and he got a clean bill of health.

But it's making me wonder a bit about Picckalo. That boy will fall asleep on my husband's chest and not wake up for 30 minutes. I don't think he'd be totally deaf based on other behavior, but given his other disabilities, maybe he's hard of hearing?

Sorry if I've hijacked this thread! It's really got me thinking on the deaf issue, though.
Actually, I was wondering how best to test piggie hearing. If I take Daphne away from the others-so she doesn't respond to them when they respond to noise, I think she'll freeze up. I have seen my bunny in a deep sleep-I thought he was dead the first time I saw him like that, too. Scared me to death! I just thought it was an odd time and place for a deep snooze-in a strange carrier, with strange noise, in a strange car. Maybe Daphne thought she would just sleep until the scary part was over? LOL
I have a sad update. I noticed Daphne was walking funny, and whenI picked her up, she looks like she's (broken link removed)the right front leg. The foot is closed, with the toes held under, and she kind of hugs it close to her chest. I checked her foot and leg, and the muscle tone is poor. I took her to the vet, of course, and he delivered the same diagnosis I had in my mind-it's neurological in nature, there doesn't seem to be any injury, and she can use it if she has to. (He held her back end up off the table, and had her walk on her 2 front legs). He just said to watch for abrasions on the top of her paw. I feel really bad for her, but she seems fine otherwise. I guess something did happen in the car on the way home. :-(
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