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Can't shake off the guilt!

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Hi I'm new to this forum so be gentle with me.

My son was given an unwanted guinea pig from a friend at school, which we were very excited about. It soon became clear she was pregnant and a few weeks later she gave birth to 4. We'd read up about caring for her and her babies and I used this forum from afar.

I noticed that one of the babies was a runt and very shakey and kept a close eye on him (I dont know if he was male). Mum seemed to care for it at first but soon rejected him, nursing the other 3 and turning/running away from the little one (we called him Goblin). Sooo back to the forum and internet on caring for a rejected runt. On the third evening we tried to spoon feed him some mashed up pellets, he was very keen and kept pushing his face into the mash, when i moved the spoon away he would move towards it. I could hear a grating noise from his jaw though.

I put him back with mum and returned early the next morning to find him gasping in the hay away from the rest of his family so decided to remove him altogether and try to feed him up, get him strong and return him to his mum.

I did get my son to hold mum while I put him to her to drink, but he wasnt interested.

I contacted the vet who was going to call me straight back with advice, I contacted local pet centres who were unable to help me and recommended i contact the vet, I bought a syringe from the chemist (they seemed to be the only people that actually cared about the poor little mite). I gave him a hot water bottle (not too hot) wrapped in fur - warmed him up and tried to feed him every 2 hours. Initially he was interested in his food but seemed to give up very quickly. I made a very watery pellet mix with the tiniest amount of pureed carrot. Gently rubbed his lower regions with warm damp cotton wall to stimulate his bladder and bowels. Kept hearing the grinding noise in his mouth. Tried vet, no response. During the course of the day his eyes turned misty. All I could do was keep him warm. When I stroked his head he would lift it up slightly.

I didnt know whether to feed him or not, I was concerned if I didnt try and feed him he would get weaker. Eventually I scooped him up, he felt cold so i put him against my skin and as I held him there he passed away.

Id only been looking after him a day but felt absolutely devestated!

After he died I tried to open his mouth as I couldnt get my head around the grinding noise. His mouth would not open. This means Id been spoon feeding him pellets and he wanted them but was unable to eat them. What should I have done?

I feel so guilty that I didnt save him.
 
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Although I have never had to wean a baby pig, or even know how I would go about it, I just want to say, please don't feel guilty. You did your very best to get him started off in life.

We all do this to ourselves, making ourselves feel guilty over a death, no matter how old our piggies are. I have been keeping them for nearly fourteen years, and I still do it! We always wonder if we could have done more, but the fact is, if we love and care for our pigs, we do the very best for them at the time anyway. Please just know you did all you could, and he went warm and comfortable in your arms.

I am so sorry that there wasn't a vet available for you to go and see, or even just talk to. Even with adult piggies, when they are ill time is of the essence, and we often need advice very quickly. Perhaps someone one here could tell you what might have been happening with the little fella.

Try to concentrate now on mum and her babies - you've done a wonderful thing by giving an unwanted piggy a loving home :) xx
 

CandyFloss

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I agree with the above post - please dont beat yourself up about it - you should be pleased you've taken in an unwanted piggy and concentrate on her and her other babies - you really did your best for the little one.
RIP little baby piggy
x
 

mikulinek

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Awwww no please don't feel guilty. I think you did more than any pet shop and some breeders would have done and with little or no support from the vet.

I'm sorry for your loss and I'm sure you are devastated and guilt is also a natural part of grief. It probably won't stop you feeling guilty but you have absolutely no reason to be. Sometimes nature seems cruel like that.

You can also look at it this way, his mum rejected him because of an instinct - he was weak and would have needed much more care, nourishment and nuturing than her other three babies. This could have endangered her and her babies so she made an instinctive decision for hernhealth and that of her children. It's horrible and unbearable to watch and nothing can make that any easier.

The little guy had a short and difficult life but he was also cared for by a very concerned and loving owner who invested so much into trying to care for him and that she feels guilty now he's gone. I think he was priviledged to have an owner like that no matter how briefly.
 
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please dont blame yourself, mommy pigs now when somethings wrong thats probably why she rejected him :(. You did all you could for baby but sadly he just wasn't meant to be, at least in his short time he was loved and cared for x
 

Suzygpr

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Even if you have loads of experience in handrearing baby piggies you can't save them all - there was probably a genetic problem that caused the mum to reject this baby and nothing would have saved him. I lost a baby in very similar circumstances just a couple of days ago.

They do have teeth and can use them from birth so this was the noise you could hear, new born babies should be given kitten formula or goat's milk - sucked from the end of a spoon or a piece of dry bread soaked in it. Only use a syringe if you are very experienced.

As I said above there was a more than likely a very good reason why he didn't make it - nothing at all do with your actions - you did far more many would have in the same position so please don't beat yourself up about it. Without your help he had no chance of survival, at least you gave him a chance and loved him.

Suzy
 

doglovinpiggylover

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awww the poor thing, sounds to me like you did your absolute best, please dont beat yourself up anymore.

We all feel guilt when we lose a beloved pet, but if you think about it in reason you shouldnt because we always do our best.

Poor little mite didnt stand a chance by the sound of it, it was just its time for passing to the bridge.

Hope the others are well x
 
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They do have teeth and can use them from birth so this was the noise you could hear, new born babies should be given kitten formula or goat's milk - sucked from the end of a spoon or a piece of dry bread soaked in it. Only use a syringe if you are very experienced.

Suzy

Do you think it was me using the syringe that caused the problem? About an hour before he died he started gasping.

I'm really upset that maybe i drowned him.

I knew from the start that he wasnt likely to survive, maybe if I had intervened earlier?

I started with the syringe as initially he appeared to be eating from a spoon but after a few mouthfuls he didnt bother to try anymore. A few hours after I removed him from his mum and siblings he appeared to go blind, his pupils appeared white. I guessed that perhaps that was a sign his little body was shutting down and did wonder if it was worth trying to save a guinea pig that was blind. I decided to keep trying as my heart wouldnt allow me to leave him cold and hungry and I thought that at the very worst he would die warm and with a full belly.

Now that i know the grinding noise is normal I wont dwell on that anymore, but it still chokes me up to think syringe feeding him may have killed him. I guess it's crazy to feel such emotion over a little guy I looked after for less than a day!

The other three are fit and healthy, which is good to see. But losing the little one has totally destroyed what should have been a really exciting time.
 
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Don't feel bad about this, easier said than done right?! You really did everything you could do to try and save him, but it sounds like there was a real problem and that's probaby why his mum rejected him.

It's so easy to assume you've done something wrong, but you also need to give yourself a break! I lost my little rabbit last week due to an absys behind his eye, and like you I've been beating myself up over it wondering what I did wrong! Thankfully I have a fantastic vet who told me it was probably genetic and it's nothing I could have seen coming so to go easy on myself.

Take his advice from me, this poor little piggle may not have made it but he knew absolutely how much you tried and loved him, and he was warm and comfortable. I think you're going to be a fabulous piggle owner, you obviously care deeply for animals. x
 

Suzygpr

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Do you think it was me using the syringe that caused the problem? About an hour before he died he started gasping.
...
The other three are fit and healthy, which is good to see. But losing the little one has totally destroyed what should have been a really exciting time.

This little one was in real trouble right from the start - you've got to trust mum's instinct and I believe she knew that he wasn't right. No matter what you did or didn't do, nothing would've saved this little one. 20% of all births have something happen, whether it's still birth, weak and fading little ones or worst of all, death of the mum. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I lost a little one myself recently - just not strong enough to feed from mum and wouldn't take any from me, 2 of his siblings were still born - mum had 6 babies altogether but as they were very inbred there was always to danger of a poor outcome.

It's natural to ask yourself "What if?" but try to take joy in the healthy babies mum has with her - aren't they wonderful!

Suzy x
 

Gems

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As others have said you really did try your best for this little fella but sometimes, despite your best efforts, you can't do anything to help them. There's no point in thinking "what if I done this" as it won't change anything so please don't beat yourself up about it, just take comfort in the knowledge you tried your very best for him.

RIP little one x
 

MrsM

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i remember watching a pet program about this baby wallabie that had been rejected by mum. He did well for a while but in the end he died. They did a PM on him and found out his bladder wasn't wired up properly and that's why mum rejected him. I know this is a bit simplistic.

It's possible your sow could feel he wasn't suckling right. Animals don'thave our sentimentality and follow their survival instinct.
 
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