QUICK! Guineapig is dying - advice please!

(20 Posts)
issynoko Mon 03-Jun-13 11:19:47

Hi my daughter's guinea pig, Raisin, is lying on her side. We thought she was dead but is taking occasional gasps - like huge yawns but only very infrequent. Eyes are open, feet twitch but only every few minutes. The other two guinea pigs are nuzzling her from time to time but mostly staying away and both seem fine. I have Raisin is cosy and has her hay and straw around her and have tried hand feeding water but she can't swallow and it is just pooling in her mouth so think it might be kinder not to - ? She is not in the sun and is in her familiar place - seems peaceful- not having jerks or seizures. I don't think a vet will be able to do anything at this stage - but have only seen human deaths so far and never had to look after a guinea pig who is dying. One friend with guinea pigs says go and get the vet to finish it quickly, another says she thinks that's more upsetting for the guinea pig and making them comfortable in a familiar place with the guinea pig companions around is much kinder. Having cared for my Dad and soothed him while he died at home my instinct is to let nature take its course here at home.

Also the guinea pig is only 3, which I think is quite young. Yesterday morning was as lively as usual - no sign at all of this. Eating normally, jostling for the water bottle etc BUT friends with a terrier came to see us yesterday afternoon and lost control of the dog which hurled itself against the hutch going mental. We were angry and the friend was ridiculous - she treats the dog like a pampered baby - and said it wasn't the dog's fault (no - her fault I'd say) because 'guinea pigs were teasing it' !!!!!! SO I wonder if an otherwise apparently healthy/youngish guinea pig would be sufficiently shocked/stressed by that to have a heart attack? Anyway - daughter is at school and will be very upset. Any advice about what you do for the guinea pig today. Really am sure it is beyond recovery so just need to manage the dying. Poor little thing. Any ideas?

Take it to the vet surely?

I would take to vet. Yes she will probably die en route but you have other guinea pigs and a vet might be able to examine or swab to check she's not infectious.

guineapiglet Mon 03-Jun-13 11:26:46

Poor you and your poor guinea. It doesnt sound very positive really, everything you have described sounds familiar, guineas go down hill so quickly and often we don't get to know why - could be some congenital condition, after what you have described with the dog ( I am appalled at your friend's attitude to her dog! - it is always the owners' fault if a dog cannot be controlled) it may be some kind of shock or seizure, so do keep your eye on the other ones, I had one who literally died of shock, it was so upsetting. You have two choices, either go to the vet for advice, who will probably put her to sleep if there is no other option. Or you can keep her warm, comfortable and peaceful, and hope that she goes quickly. Do try and hydrate her if you can, she will appreciate moisture from your finger tips. Don't let the other ones stress her, but in my experience the other ones 'know' and are there to comfort and reassure. Thinking of you, smile

issynoko Mon 03-Jun-13 11:49:51

Thanks very much. My feeling is to keep her warm and comfortable, as guineapiglet says. But the point about swabbing for infection is good so will see what to do.

issynoko Mon 03-Jun-13 11:53:36

Ah. Have just been to check on her and she's died. No breath, mouth shut and can't open it for water, eyes almost closed. The other two are sitting together eating a bit of carrot but definitely aware of what's going on. Will move Raisin into an old shoe box for DD to attend to when she gets home. Should I still take her for a swab? My feeling is the dog attack might be the cause of death but of course can't be sure. Is it expensive to get a swab done?

I hope it's quick for her sad poor little thing. They are high stress animals so I can understand not wanting to stress her to death in a car when she could be home amongst her friends.

I would however at least call the vets. S/he may well be able to tell you what to look out for , for infections guinea pig illnesses. There may well be one or two big clues as to what it could be, or you could be aware of first signs for the others do u can catch it early. May well be worth taking the others for a check up. If they are litter mates they may have simila heart defects that r audible.

X posts sorry she's died sad

I'd give her body a good look check for bites or bald patches, any discharge around the back end. Check her mouth if you can open it , see if there's any ulceration or blockages. If she feels skinny and bony then obviously it's been something that's happened over time as opposed to the shock incident.

If you see anything then let the vets know over the phone they can advise you then. A check up on the others would be a good idea!

issynoko Mon 03-Jun-13 12:10:42

Thanks very much for your help and advice. Yes I will call the vet to check what I should look out for in case. I have tucked her into a shoebox on a bed of hay and fleecy stuff so DD can see her if she wants to and we can bury her this evening and have a little ceremony. The other two 'belong' to the older two children so our 5 year old is the one most bereft. Will suggest getting a new guinea pig the beginning of the summer holidays perhaps. Will it be able to go in with the others if they are well? One is quite pushy - aptly named Pirate Pete even though she's a girl. Very sad since only yesterday she was designing a new run she and her Dad were going to make together.

Obviously you can only really check for external symptoms which won't rule out infection or ingestion of something toxic. Just have a feel/look for any lumps and bumps. Check in ears and mouth. If her teeth were overgrown it would have stopped her being able to eat properly (not something you notice with others as all food will be gone anyway) check her vulva and anus, if there's any bloody or pus-y discharge. It's likely that she was just nervous or had a heart problem you couldn't have known about , sadly it happens. But a once over could give some clues.

Would definitely get others checked over!!!!

issynoko Mon 03-Jun-13 12:25:20

Have checked her - no bald/sore patches or discharge anywhere. Maybe her teeth are a bit long - not sure - but was sitting watching her eat as usual yesterday so don't think that was it. Coat glossy and healthy looking and can't find any obvious lumps. Not particularly bony - not more than her usual feeling. Will get the others checked or at least call the vet to discuss. Already gone stiff but looks peaceful in her little box so now to move on to taking care of the children when they come home to the news...

Good luck issy
sad

When my dd's guinea pig died we got her to draw a little picture for him and we put it in the shoe box with him. She was tearful but I think it helped. Maybe uour dd could so somethimg simila if she wanted to? It's not nice at all having to tell them sad

Mintyy Mon 03-Jun-13 12:33:32

So sad, rest in peace little Raisin.

plum100 Mon 03-Jun-13 12:34:40

Sorry your guinea has died xx

ClaimedByMe Mon 03-Jun-13 12:40:45

Poor Raisin, we have lost 3 guinea pigs in the last year, 2 have just not woke up in the morning but one was visibly ill one night when I fed them at bedtime and I thought she would die in the night but she was still alive (just) in the morning, dp took her to the vet and she died in the vets hands, the vet told him that by the time you notice a guinea pig is ill its usually too late to do anything, they have probably been under the weather for about a week and by the time they show symptoms its too late, its because they are wild animals and cant show weakness in the wild, there was probably nothing you could have done sad

guineapiglet Mon 03-Jun-13 12:53:15

Sorry to hear she passed on, it sounds like it was a peaceful end and she wasn't suffering - you may never know the cause, but if she seemed healthy, eating well and drinking until the end, she had a good life and was well loved - I do wonder whether it may have been the shock of yesterday's 'attack', they are such sensitive little souls.

It may be possible to integrate a slightly older girl into your existing 'herd' but it will take a bit of time and effort, separate cages and runs to start with etc, so may be something you want to think about - maybe get a pair to keep separate and integrate over time.

Hope all goes well with 'the funeral' - we used to write poems and kids would draw pictures, and mark the place with a special stone - it is tough for children, but an important step in learning about love and loss, hope the remaining two are doing OK as they will be missing her as well.

TheFutureMrsB Mon 03-Jun-13 13:00:53

So sad, sorry little Raisin has died sad

We went to bed one night to two guineas running around in their cage and the next morning one had died, was a shock as she didn't seem ill at all, the other one lived for another two/three years after that, but they were both around 2ish when we got them.

sad to read this, these little critters are quite fragile deep down.
They are always, always prey animals no matter how laid back and not bovvered some of them seem.

I've had GP go downhill in a matter of hours usually they got a 'cold' developed little lumps behind their ears (where the bald bit is) and sad gone.

Quite possibly was shock or heart attack that finished her off. A terrier has the instinct to hunt rats, so guineas are 'fair game'

angry @ it " being the guineas fault for teasing the dog ". What by being small and furry? I wouldn't be letting that dog in my house anytime soon.

sad rest in peace little raisin.

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