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Died while we were watching her

Sajak

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Ok, a little confused and sad here. We’ve been watching our neighbors guinea pigs for a couple of days and went back to feed them today. My 5 year old daughter wanted to hold one of the two guinea pigs so I took one out. I noticed it was slower than the other, but didn’t think much of it. I put the guinea pig on her lap and she gently pet it - it didn’t move much. We hung out for a few minutes while she was petting it. I left the room for about 30 seconds and came back and said ok time to put her back in the cage so we can go. When I picked the piggy up it was lethargic and I noticed it’s hind legs were not moving. I don’t know if this was the case when I took it out of the cage. I put the piggy on the carpet to see if it would move. It moved a bit but eventually slowed down and laid on its side breathing, opening it’s mouth occasionally and twitching once in a while. Within 20 minutes it was dead.

WHAT HAPPENED?

Could my daughter have done something to cause it to die in this way or was this a bad coincidence? Could it be a URI?
 

Piggies&buns

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I’m so sorry to hear this,
Your daughter did not cause anything. Piggies are prey animals and hide their illnesses which means they can be very poorly before showing signs or can have sudden heart attacks or strokes.
It’s a sad event but it’s not anybody’s fault
 

Foxo

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*I am no sort of veterinarian*
If I took a guess on it though I would say it was squeezed too tight (very common with children), or dropped from even a low height that to most animals would be no big deal (also very common with children). The back legs not moving (being dragged behind as it tries to walk) is the sign of a spinal injury and/or broken legs. Unfortunately they are very fragile creatures. In my case I never allow my nieces and nephews to handle my own piggies unless they are sitting on the floor, I set the guinea pig on their lap, and then I sit right next to them. I would also never put any of my friends or family with no guinea pig experience in the situation you were in watching them. I feel for you, the piggies, and the owner of the piggies.
 

PigglePuggle

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@Sajak I am very sorry for your loss, there is no way of knowing what happened here but from what you say it sounds like perhaps the piggy was already unwell and you just didnt have enough experience to spot the signs.
@Foxo please do not jump in second guessing and accusing the child of hurting the piggy, that isnt helpful- and as you say yourself you are not a vet and only a post mortem by a vet can say for sure what happened. Please be aware that the health and illness section is monitored by a team who can offer reliable advice but this is usually to see a vet.
 

KathT

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As the piggie was very lethargic when you initially picked her up, I would say that it was very poorly and it’s body was already shutting down. I have recently watched one of my own pigs die unexpectedly and his back legs stopped moving and he died about 20 minutes later. I have no idea why mine died - he was being treated for sore eyes but it was obviously something more sinister. Please don’t blame your daughter - as Piggies&buns said, they are so good at hiding illness, it’s usually too late to do anything once they start shutting down.
 

VickiA

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I do not for one moment think that either you or your daughter did anything that hastened this piggy’s passing on the day it died. Lethargy is a sign of illness, so I would suspect that the piggy was hiding a nasty illness or condition. Please don’t blame yourself or your daughter.
 

Hath

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One of my pets (gerbil) died whilst my family member was looking after them. He was as devastated as I was and blamed himself and was as shocked as I was. He even said that during the panic he considered buying gerbil that looked like the one that died! You're in a shock and the burden of responsibility makes you come up with all the scenarios possible. Please don't blame your daughter. Unfortunately, pets don't live as long as we would hope for and there is no timer to tell us when it's time for them to go. Hope the owners didn't blame you and you shouldn't blame yourself or your daughter.
I've lost 4 piggies so far and was with all of them during the heartbreaking process. Neither of them moved their legs (never due to injury, all succumbed to an illness) and were lethargic as their body started shutting down (that's when the twitching comes) and vet then gave them injection to let them go peacefully.
Like they mentioned, only vets post mortem can give you idea to what happened, but it sounds like the piggie was already crossing the bridge before you picked it up.
 

Siikibam

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I’m so sorry that you and your daughter had to witness the piggy’s passing. But whatever the case, neither of you were to blame. Unfortunately, as said previously, guinea pigs being prey animals will oftentimes hide their illnesses, and can go downhill very quickly.

Take care of your daughter and yourself, and know it wasn’t anything you did or didn’t do. Unfortunately it was just his time. And have a read of the guide below, hopefully it will help you work through it. Hugs.
Human Bereavement - Grieving, coping tips and support links for guinea pig owners and their children


@Foxo that’s a lot of assumptions you’re making there. This isn’t the place to be doing that.
 

alpacasqueak

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I’m so sorry that you lost him while in your care, please don’t think it was you or your daughter at all like said above. Big hugs.
 

Freya1234

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I’m so sorry for your loss - like everyone else has said the piggy was probably poorly and hiding its illness, neither you or your daughter did anything wrong.
Sending lots of hugs❤
 
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