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Dead piggie

susisu

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Hello,

We have 4 guinea pigs (1 boar, 3 sows), however when I came home from work today, I found one of the sows dead. She was around 18 months old and had shown no signs of ill health recently (however I can't say if she had been eating the past few days).

The other 3 appear fine. They are happily eating their greens. I put the dead piggie in a box and put the box in the cage so they can see her. Although she was cold when I found her, so it must be clear to them that she has died.

My concern now is the remaining piggies. I'm a little shocked the pig appears to have died so suddenly, but if the others are all eating happily and showing no signs of ill-health, I don't think there is much I can do.
 

Wiebke

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Hello,

We have 4 guinea pigs (1 boar, 3 sows), however when I came home from work today, I found one of the sows dead. She was around 18 months old and had shown no signs of ill health recently (however I can't say if she had been eating the past few days).

The other 3 appear fine. They are happily eating their greens. I put the dead piggie in a box and put the box in the cage so they can see her. Although she was cold when I found her, so it must be clear to them that she has died.

My concern now is the remaining piggies. I'm a little shocked the pig appears to have died so suddenly, but if the others are all eating happily and showing no signs of ill-health, I don't think there is much I can do.
Hi and welcome

I am very sorry.

Guinea pigs can sadly suffer heart attacks. acute heart failure or strokes at any age without any previous warning. it is always a massive shock.

Please take the time to read the two links below; you may find them very helpful to help you over this difficult time.
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
Human Bereavement - Grieving, coping tips and support links for guinea pig owners and their children
 

susisu

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Actually just weighed her, and she was 917, down from around 1200 normal weight. So it seems perhaps she hasn't been eating for a while and I just hadn't realised.

The others weights are all as expected.
 

susisu

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Also, my wife, who really loves her piggies is currently on holiday until Sunday, and I am unsure whether to tell her now, or when she returns.
 

KathT

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I recently lost one of my boars suddenly while I was on holiday last week - they were at guinea pig boarding. I would let your wife know so that she can be prepared when she gets home. I was shocked when the boarder told me as he was only two and a half, not expected al all. I was with family so they helped me come to terms with his loss and I could then think about how to move forward with his cage mate.
 

Bill & Ted

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So sorry you have lost one of your piggies x I would let her know the sad news before she comes back
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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So sorry to hear that, it might be worth weighing your other pigs to check their weight. Perhaps a vet check to make sure they’re all okay as you don’t know what illness your late piggy had.

I’d definitely recommend weighing pigs once a week to keep an eye on their health. They hide illness very well so weight loss is often the only sign before it’s too late.

Hope your other piggies are alright, also yourself and your wife. It’s the hardest thing to lose a beloved piggy.
 

Wiebke

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Actually just weighed her, and she was 917, down from around 1200 normal weight. So it seems perhaps she hasn't been eating for a while and I just hadn't realised.

The others weights are all as expected.
HUGS

It has obviously been going on for a few days but guinea pigs are really good at hiding illness, so please do not feel guilty.
Spotting the very subtle signs is a matter of experience. You learn this only gradually over the years. As a new owner you often struggle. It doesn't mean that you are careless or bad owner; experience is something that you learn as much or even more from things going wrong than them going right, especially when a problem comes right out of a blind angle.

With all my experience, this has happened to me by a younger guinea pig that lost the ability to swallow but was still there begging for food and running off with it and sitting in the hay tray. As she was a very fluffy piggy, her massive weight loss since the last health check didn't show until the day she ran suddenly out of oomph and had to be put to sleep as any syringe feed was coming straight out again. There is nothing I or a vet could have done to save her, but it is still haunting me... :(

The once weekly weigh-in and body onceover is pretty good at catching many gradually developing problems early on, but it is not perfect. But it is the best balance between a reasonable supervision and obsessive health checking:
Weight - Monitoring and Management
Guinea pig body quirks - What is normal and what not?
Early Signs Of Illness

How Soon Should My Guinea Pig See A Vet? - A Quick Guide
 
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artcasper

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Sorry for your loss - such a shock. If I was your wife I would like to know asap so not so much as a shock when she gets home x
 

susisu

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I told the wife. She is happy I told her about it. She said it isn't a shock for her. She was fat and wasn’t walking around a lot anymore and didn’t always come when I gave them treats.

I've wrapped her in a bag with a fleece blanket and sealed it with duct tape and put her in the basement for now. Tomorrow morning I'll head to the forest with the dog and bury her with our other late piggie.

My wife also agrees we should weigh them weekly. We've done this in the past but stopped for some reason.

Thanks for all your advice & kind words.
 

susisu

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Buried her in the forest next to our other piggie. The dog helped dig the hole, and after I put the guinea pig in the hole and let the dog sniff her, the dog started pushing earth in to the hole with her nose. This was quite a surprise. She didn't know why we were digging initially, but it's pretty clear that she made a conscious decision to help fill the hole in after. Really interesting.
 
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