- Jan 25, 2016
Benji belonged to a member of this forum, who made the very difficult, but selfless decision, to hand Benji over to TEAS in May last year. Benji had severe dental disease caused by a very large and aggressive abscess, that had damaged his jaw bone significantly and therefore his teeth were badly affected. Benji arrived with his little wife, Becca, who he had been with since he was a baby. I was absolutely delighted that they hadn't been split up, and that the previous owner had put Benji's needs above his own.
Initially Benji needed a lot of very regular treatment but eventually things settled down and Benji was able to eat very finely chopped veggies and small nuggets. He always enjoyed a plate of softened nuggets every night and life was good for him. He still needed two weekly dentals, but as long as he had the treatment regularly he coped very well.
Towards the end of October, he started to struggle to eat and became much more reliant on syringe food. Whilst I wouldn't normally advocate keeping a piggy alive by syringe feed alone, Benji didn't show any signs of being an ill piggy. He was cheeky, full of life and as long as he had regular syringe feeds and weekly dentals, life was still good. Then over Christmas it became apparent that Benji's abscess was recurring. It had obviously been brewing for a while, which was why he had started to struggle with eating. Benji had surgery on 29th December, and in true Benji style, he bounced right back. The abscess was very nasty and it needed lots of flushing on a twice daily basis, but Benji took it all in his stride. However, there was another big worry, not about Benji this time, but his little wife, Becca. Becca had needed to visit uncle Simon just a week before Christmas. She had developed grunty breathing. On examination it was found that she had a very displaced tooth, and something very sinister had pushed the tooth forward in the jaw. Histology revealed a very rare and aggressive tooth origin tumour. The tumour was causing some obstruction to one nasal passage. Surgery wasn't an option as it would involve removing a huge part of her jaw bone, so palliative care was all that was possible. Just four weeks from the date she first needed to visit Simon, she made her final visit to him, with Benji at her side. After she had gone, Benji spent time with her to say his goodbyes. We were so worried about him, as we feared that this might just tip him over the edge, especially as his health was still very fragile. Benji was introduced to two girls who had recently arrived at TEAS. They had dental disease caused by severe Vitamin C deficiency that had resulted in their joints, including their jaw, to become stiff. Whilst this stiffness was reversible with good diet and extra Vitamin C, the teeth were poor quality and they were likely to need regular dental treatment for a while. Benji was a happy boy again.
The girls were both doing well, although Nutkin didn't appear to be growing at the same rate as Tiggy, despite having the better teeth. Then on Sunday (29th January) Nutkin suffered a sudden seizure and passed away shortly after. Within two weeks Benji had lost two wives and was clearly heartbroken. He and Tiggy just cuddled together and both appeared to have given up. Tiggy wasn't eating and Benji didn't want syringe food. However, Benji's strong will to survive kicked in and by Tuesday he was back to being his cheeky self and encouraging Tiggy to enjoy life again.
Benji is still pretty much reliant on syringe food, but is managing to eat grated carrot, has a good go at broccoli and even managed a bit of kale that I cut into tiny pieces with scissors. Benji will never be able to eat properly as his jaw is too badly damaged and he needs weekly dentals.
Waiting to see Uncle Simon
Having a guinea pig who will need syringe feeding for the rest of his life is very draining, but Emma and I share this responsibility, and as long as Benji enjoys life, then we will provide what he needs.
We have a very strict ethos at TEAS, which is 'to extend good quality life, but never to prolong suffering or death'.
We take life on a day by day basis, and as long as everyone is happy and enjoying life, then there is lots to smile about.
For more information on TEAS - Our Facebook page link The Excellent Adventure Sanctuary (for guinea pigs with extra needs) | Facebook