You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!

Bit of a Pet Update

Nothing to be super worried about! No one died!

The past family day weekend, well a bit before, Mama sounded like she was having some issues. She would often have moments where she sounded... pained? When you get to know the sound of your animals you pick up on when something is wrong.

When I was around and started to hear her subdued but higher pitched squeaks/cries I would go over to see what was happening. She looked like she might have been trying to pee or poop. I'd noticed some changes as well.

1) She didn't appear to be drinking from her water bottle. Sometime after I changed out her entire cage the water bottle sat at about the 1/3 mark. I always fill the bottle up when I clean the cage so I can say I've done everything.

2) Her food bowls were still... full? So she wasn't eating her kibble. However, she did eat her hay. I dumped a whole lot in there and she would happily munch on that.

3) As a result of the general lack of food intake she wasn't pooping much. I had a hard time seeing any. I feared that maybe she was constipated or blocked or had a kink in her intestines.

4) I noticed her pee was... darker. And I suspected there was blood in her urine.

I pulled her out of her cage and onto a towel I didn't care for that was light/white. I kept her out for a while and assessed her urine. Normally when a guinea pig pees they flood. It's why having them on your lap can be awkward because you will have a massive patch or pee on your clothes and it soaks through EVERYTHING! But Mama was making... managing a spot about the size of a toonie (Canadian $2 coin). Granted, being on a towel it might have been wider but had she flooded as usual... it was a noticeable difference in size.

The pee did have a pink/red tinge to it. There was blood. It would change in severity between being very light to more obvious and red.

When she would pee she did seem to be in a bit of pain. And she would keep her backside raised like she was trying to get more out but couldn't.

I started syringing water into her and consulted the internet for some idea of what might be going on. The two things I could find was a urinary tract infection (UTI) or bladder stones. Bladder stones also seemed to indicate she would have pain while trying to poop as well. When I was getting her to eat some dampened kibble and she starting passing poop pellets she also seemed to be pained by this.

A UTI didn't seem likely as most note a funky smell. Mama didn't seem to have that. She also obviously wasn't drinking more water. Quite the opposite. In order to rule stones in or out you'd do an x-ray. Well... a vet visit for something like that was just about $500!! I love my piggy! I do! But $500??? Enter a wash of emotions from stage right, please.

Well. I held out over the family day long weekend. I syringed water into her. I looked up what causes stones and if you can do anything about it. It seemed unlikely she could pass them. She was still peeing but it was still a small amount than what I'm used to seeing. Eventually, the bloody hue left so that brought some relief. I bribed Mama with veggies low in calcium and she took to those (Boston lettuce, blueberries, cucumber, asparagus). I also read that unsweetened and diluted cranberry juice can help cleanse the urinary tract so I thawed the cranberries I had, pressed them and diluted it with water. For every syringe of the cranberry mix I probably have her 4 of the water. Maybe this helped with the blood I was seeing? Probably not...

After the family day long weekend, Mama did start to eat and drink on her own! A victory of sorts! I still give her those treats of fruit and veg and she still eats the hay. I've kept her in one half of the cage to make sure she's not hiding in her house and ignoring the food on the other side.

She's still in pain and discomfort when she poops and pees. As much as I would love to get her checked out... I still don't have that money. I get paid soon so we're booked in to see a vet on Thursday. I'm not sure what will happen... The appointment will be $91. They would still need to do any tests I expect to figure out what might be wrong so... I'm not sure how much that all costs. And any medication will cost who knows how much.

So long as it's not bladder stones. I really don't want it to be that. The only way to get those out is surgery. I can't afford that. I know I can't. And Mama has got to be about 4 years old. The surgery could kill her. Or something else might happen after. But at the same time, I can't see putting her down. Her personality is still there. She was out and about with Luna following her. She's still happy and loves cuddles.

13 blog comments below

Wow! Your attention to detail is amazing. You could turn into a vet yourself. Possibly what you're doing is an improvement over the Vet protocols. Do you think you could Google whether there are foods you could feed her that would help with the pain?
deanhills on Tue Feb 27, 2018 12:13 am
There's a forum for Guinea Pigs that has a page about the different medication groups and their dosage. It's a bit of greek to me.

It makes me nervous. I don't understand how pets might react and I don't want to do more harm than good. Thursday can't come soon enough.
TheGremlyn on Tue Feb 27, 2018 2:25 am
Amazing the work you have done with Mama. I am hoping for the best for you and Mama.
standready on Tue Feb 27, 2018 5:08 pm
So I bundled Mama up into her wee carrier I bought (more for if my apartment building was going to burn down I had something to stuff her in). She's the only animal that would willingly crawl into a carrier.

She seemed fine. Calmer than I was! I was so anxious. The vet saw how she was straining more when she was going to the bathroom. She felt around her abdomen and listened to her heart and breathing.

So, while she said maybe they could look at her urine she was thinking it might be stones and so we prepped and did the x-ray. They had to give her some gas so she could be put on her side.

The vet came back in and confirmed what I was very afraid of. Mama had two big bladder stones and one was moving into her urethra. Surgery for something like this would have to be done that same day and it was going to cost $1500-$1800

I knew I couldn't afford this. And with her being 2 1/5 to 3 years old (the average is generally 5 years) I just felt it was going to be too rough on her. She's so small and she might still die during or after the surgery. And I couldn't afford it without going completely broke and then some.

I had to make the choice I didn't want to make. I had to put Mama down.

They woke her up for me and I spent about 15 minutes with her. Then they came back into take her to give her more gas and then inject her. The vet brought her back out in a blanket. She was out of it. And I just pet her and told her I was sorry and I loved her. I told her she'd get to meet Eve and all the other guinea pigs I had before that she'd never met.

I watched her until I saw she had stopped breathing. The vet came back shortly after that and checked and she was gone.

I can't help but feel it's my fault. I didn't know guinea pigs could get stones. I didn't know that I could have done more to ensure she wasn't getting too much calcium in her diet and that she got more fluids from fruit/veggies. I do blame myself for this. Mama didn't have to leave so soon if I'd known more. It's just not fair to her. She seemed like a healthy guinea pig, she might have lived to be old like Eve was (7-8 years).

I'm going to miss her :'(

TheGremlyn on Thu Mar 01, 2018 11:02 pm
Sorry for your loss and don't beat yourself up over it. Its hard to lose a pet I understand but you did what was best for her and you made her comfortable. I'm sure she knows the love you had for her, animals don't blame they only love.
Blaster on Fri Mar 02, 2018 1:13 am
I agree with Blaster, TG. All of us know how well you treat your animal companions.
standready on Fri Mar 02, 2018 4:56 pm
There are a couple things that get me about what happened.

I actually thought we'd got to the vets and they'd check her out and then I was going to bring her home before heading off to work. I think I thought she'd somehow be fine. That it wasn't what I was worried about...

Then there's the fact that this is the first time I've had to make this decision. My other guinea pigs generally died from old age (Eve and Nikita) and the others might have had something like a thyroid issue (Ewok) and... I'm not sure about Squee but she was a lumpy pig. Mama was so young and still in good health. If this hadn't of happened I could have gotten quite a few years out of her. That makes me very sad and very upset.

If I had the money for the surgery... maybe we might have done it. And maybe she'd still be here. And knowing about how those stones formed I could have done more to make sure it never happened again.

It's just twisting me up inside. I've never felt this bad about a guinea pig passing before. And I also don't know how much of that is amplified due to the stress I'm already under (work, money, pets, missing mom, etc).

I've also wanted to somehow hold a little furry critter but I don't have one. And it hits me that this is the first time I've been without a guinea pig since I was a little kid. I've always had two at some point because I was worried about how the other was getting on in age. I wanted that other guinea pig for comfort when the other died. I don't have that.

When I tried to hold Mynx while I cried a bit I got the sense she had some sullen expression on her face and she was grumpy because of how damp she might be getting. There are just some animals out there that also get stressed by your stress. A guinea pig never really did. It just defused it and just was there, quietly chirping.

I want another guinea pig to fill this void but I almost all the stores don't have them or they're boys. Nothing wrong with boys... I'm just not comfortable with them.
TheGremlyn on Fri Mar 02, 2018 7:13 pm
I feel very sorry too. Like we all got attached to her through you. Did the Vet say what could have brought the stones on? Maybe there were other factors unique to Mama's general health as if it were diet only then it probably would have happened before - this was the first time though? You did your best. Hopefully you'll be able to get a new one soon.
deanhills on Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:28 pm
And knowing about how those stones formed I could have done more to make sure it never happened again.

So what did you do different with Mama than all the other guinea pigs you have had to cause the stones? My guess "nothing". Some individuals are just born with a predisposition to certain problems. How would you have known?
standready on Sat Mar 03, 2018 5:51 pm
*insert image of childlike me face down on the floor and wallowing*

I've never put an animal down before. I remember when I held Nikita when she passed but she was like 7.5 years. It was a similar experience except Mama was gassed and already out. One had awareness and the other didn't.

I guess not much was different with her diet... I mean, over the years and more when I moved out I didn't have a yard to set them out on to munch on grass. So the only time the pigs got greens and stuff is whenever I gave it to them. I just... didn't do that as much.

I think the big thing that was different with Mama is that I let her eat Cilantro. My sister emailed me a document with other things guinea pigs could eat. Seems Cilantro is very high in calcium. While I didn't give it to her often... maybe that contributed to the formation of the stones.


Helpful resource...

At least whenever this bloody city gets some female guinea pigs I'M BUYING THEM! I'll get a pair so they have someone to be social with and then I'll have double the love.

No idea what I'll do if I think they'll kick the bucket. Buy a third...

Maybe I should just get one and just spend some time destressing and watching a piggy waddle about.

I miss having a pig. I've never been without one since I was a wee kid. My mind is playing tricks on me and I think I heard the rustle of shavings or maybe a water bottle. But it's maybe the cat tunnel. No idea about the water bottle sounds...

The stress and pain of all this is making my head hurt. Like there's a great pressure and I'm holding it back. Just trying to get through the day so I can go home.

I want a piggy Sad I very badly want to cuddle a little fuzzball. Cats are fine but pigs are the best for cuddles. Except when they pee on you. That's uncomfortable.
TheGremlyn on Tue Mar 06, 2018 3:08 am
Want grass? How about getting one of those large 'under the bed' plastic storage containers and making a little "yard" for your new cuddles? Pop a few holes in the bottom and cover holes with a patch of old clothing, add some soil and grass seed. Keep watered. Leave the container out on your deck (away from the cat) and bring inside for playtime.
standready on Tue Mar 06, 2018 5:28 pm
That's a neat idea. Never thought of using a container like that. I know I need to plant cat grass again. Mynx loved that and I haven't done it in a while.

I'm actually kind of planning to move back into a 1 bedroom unit. Save a little bit of money and I never used the other room for much beyond storage or stuff I'd collected... It'll be one on the top floor and it doesn't have a cover over the balcony. Means more sun but I can't really stay out easily when it rains. I'll need an umbrella! Even though it's up top there's good air flow so it wasn't that hot this past summer. I was dying and have my AC on for a couple months. Has a great view too so I'll have a better view of the lake for fireworks and any lightning. I'll have the whole southern horizon!
TheGremlyn on Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:06 am
I am full of ideas and other stuff that I won't talk about. Laughing
standready on Wed Mar 07, 2018 5:00 pm

© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.