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Do we persevere, or decide it's time to let her go?

Mhairi

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Hi. Our gorgeous piggy Honey has not been well for approximately 6 weeks now. She is 4 years old. We have been back and forward to the vet several times to get her checked out, and to have investigations done. The vet thinks she has bacterial pneumonia. This was found whilst she was under a GA to try to determine the cause of her weight loss - her breathing became really rattly, and quite a lot of fluid came out of her nose. Over the past 6 weeks or so she's gone from 950g to 585g.

We bought her as a baby from Pets At Home, and was ill from the moment we got her home, being diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia back then too. (I'm so angry with PAH for selling us a sick piggy and the pain and discomfort that she's been caused as a result, but that's a rant for another day!). The vet is now wondering whether the bacterial pneumonia has lain dormant in her system and has recently been triggered again by something.

She will eat very small amounts of hay, nuggets, lettuce, strawberries, grapes and fresh grass but had mostly lost her interest in food. She's constantly trying to eat her companions poo (nosing around her bum constantly). She has had 3 lots of antibiotics, and we're trying to syringe feed her Oxbow Criticsl Care Fine Grind (although probably not as often as we should be to be honest). Sometimes she sits quietly on her own, and acts quite different from her usual, but we have seen her on several occasions jumping up on the cage to say hello or to ask for her veggies, and has even wheeked on a few occasions. She has always been an incredibly quiet piggy and has never really wheeked or squeaked much, unlike her sister who is SO loud! I often wonder if there was some damage to her lungs from the first lot of bacterial pneumonia when she was a baby.

My question to all you experienced piggy owners is is it worth persevering with nursing her? Or it's it kinder to put her to sleep?

My 12yo daughter has an incredibly strong bond with them both. I have spoken to her about the possibility that we may have to say goodbye to Honey, but she's taking it really badly. It's breaking my heart to see her so upset. I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing by Honey, and not letting her suffer unnecessarily. Any advice would be much appreciated. x
 

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Chickenpies

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Hi. Our gorgeous piggy Honey has not been well for approximately 6 weeks now. She is 4 years old. We have been back and forward to the vet several times to get her checked out, and to have investigations done. The vet thinks she has bacterial pneumonia. This was found whilst she was under a GA to try to determine the cause of her weight loss - her breathing became really rattly, and quite a lot of fluid came out of her nose. Over the past 6 weeks or so she's gone from 950g to 585g.

We bought her as a baby from Pets At Home, and was ill from the moment we got her home, being diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia back then too. (I'm so angry with PAH for selling us a sick piggy and the pain and discomfort that she's been caused as a result, but that's a rant for another day!). The vet is now wondering whether the bacterial pneumonia has lain dormant in her system and has recently been triggered again by something.

She will eat very small amounts of hay, nuggets, lettuce, strawberries, grapes and fresh grass but had mostly lost her interest in food. She's constantly trying to eat her companions poo (nosing around her bum constantly). She has had 3 lots of antibiotics, and we're trying to syringe feed her Oxbow Criticsl Care Fine Grind (although probably not as often as we should be to be honest). Sometimes she sits quietly on her own, and acts quite different from her usual, but we have seen her on several occasions jumping up on the cage to say hello or to ask for her veggies, and has even wheeked on a few occasions. She has always been an incredibly quiet piggy and has never really wheeked or squeaked much, unlike her sister who is SO loud! I often wonder if there was some damage to her lungs from the first lot of bacterial pneumonia when she was a baby.

My question to all you experienced piggy owners is is it worth persevering with nursing her? Or it's it kinder to put her to sleep?

My 12yo daughter has an incredibly strong bond with them both. I have spoken to her about the possibility that we may have to say goodbye to Honey, but she's taking it really badly. It's breaking my heart to see her so upset. I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing by Honey, and not letting her suffer unnecessarily. Any advice would be much appreciated. x
Hi, She is so adorable, I’m really sorry about how she has been feeling. The symptoms you described (runny nose and breathing problems) sounds a lot like a URI, although I could be wrong. I really don’t know what to say, I think it is really up to you. But I hope things get better :)
 
D

DMS260820

Are you taking her to a vet who knows Guinea pigs aswell? Not just a normal cat and dog vets.

I found a vet on the locator that said its in Edinburgh but I'm not sure it is. Il post the pic for you anyway View attachment 148691
 

David Piggie Lover

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Hello. My heart goes out to you.
i wish as you do we had a magic wand to cast a get well piggie pls for Honey
 

Claire W

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I really don’t know the answer. You know Honey the best so unfortunately the decision has to be your own. But whatever decision you make will be the right one.

What antibiotics has she already had?
 

Mhairi

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I really don’t know the answer. You know Honey the best so unfortunately the decision has to be your own. But whatever decision you make will be the right one.

What antibiotics has she already had?
She's had 2 lots of Co-trimoxazole and one lot of Enrobactin. She also had an anti inflammatory when she first became unwell (Loxicam) but hadn't had that for a few weeks now. Both antibiotics gave her really bad diarrhoea, and because she has mostly stopped drinking (apart from when we hold tbe water bottle for her), we didn't want her losing so much fluid, so we've given up on the antibiotics. She does seem a bit happier off them. Her poos are small and thin (but formed) but that's probably a reflection of tbe small amount of food she's eating. We're watering down her veggies too.

We did get referred to a specialist animal hospital, but have had second thoughts about it. She's already been through so many investigations and appointments that I don't want her to be any more stressed than she needs to be. She's losing weight every day, and I don't think she would be resilient enough to go through any more invasive procedures or investigations. We've decided to nurse her at home in tbe hope that she'll get better, but if she doesn't that she'll have had a nice last few days on this earth. Just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing by her.
 

Piggies&buns

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Did the vet advise you to stop the antibiotics when they upset her tummy? Antibiotics can upset their tummies but as long as it is an upset and not a bad reaction to them (veterinary diagnosed) with probiotics (or better still, poop soup from a healthy piggy (and this could be what she is trying to do herself by eating her companions poop), then it can help replace the good bacteria in the gut and help settle things down.

If she is losing weight due to not eating enough hay (eating veg doesn’t count) then she isn’t being syringe fed enough.
 

Mhairi

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Are you taking her to a vet who knows Guinea pigs aswell? Not just a normal cat and dog vets.

I found a vet on the locator that said its in Edinburgh but I'm not sure it is. Il post the pic for you anyway View attachment 148691
We were referred to a specialist animal hospital, but have made tbe really hard decision not to go through with it, as don't think she is strong enough to go through any more invasive investigations or procedures. Such a hard choice though.
 

Mhairi

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Did the vet advise you to stop the antibiotics when they upset her tummy? Antibiotics can upset their tummies but as long as it is an upset and not a bad reaction to them (veterinary diagnosed) with probiotics (or better still, poop soup from a healthy piggy (and this could be what she is trying to do herself by eating her companions poop), then it can help replace the good bacteria in the gut and help settle things down.

If she is losing weight due to not eating enough hay (eating veg doesn’t count) then she isn’t being syringe fed enough.
Just read about poop soup. Going to try that today. Also going to buy probiotics.
 

Wiebke

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She's had 2 lots of Co-trimoxazole and one lot of Enrobactin. She also had an anti inflammatory when she first became unwell (Loxicam) but hadn't had that for a few weeks now. Both antibiotics gave her really bad diarrhoea, and because she has mostly stopped drinking (apart from when we hold tbe water bottle for her), we didn't want her losing so much fluid, so we've given up on the antibiotics. She does seem a bit happier off them. Her poos are small and thin (but formed) but that's probably a reflection of tbe small amount of food she's eating. We're watering down her veggies too.

We did get referred to a specialist animal hospital, but have had second thoughts about it. She's already been through so many investigations and appointments that I don't want her to be any more stressed than she needs to be. She's losing weight every day, and I don't think she would be resilient enough to go through any more invasive procedures or investigations. We've decided to nurse her at home in tbe hope that she'll get better, but if she doesn't that she'll have had a nice last few days on this earth. Just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing by her.
Enrobactin is another brand name for baytril and co-trimoxazole is better known as sulfatrim (or septrin before it became officially licensed for guinea pigs).

Has your vet considered a swab and lab test to see which antibiotics the bacteria actually respond to? There are several stronger (safe if unlicensed) antibiotics that can be used safely but at this stage it would be better to aim for a targeted approach instead of trial and error. We have seen an increasing number of cases with especially respiratory infections/pneumonia with resistance issues in very recent years and where lab tests have been helpful in finding out which antibiotics a guinea pig would actually respond to.

Anitibiotics, especially baytril, cannot just affect the bacteria they are aimed at but also the digestive bacteria in the gut microbiome which are crucial for the digestive process. This can lead to soft poos, partial or full loss of appetite. If your piggy has already got breathing problems, then that becomes more prominent as the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat so your piggy is dealing with a double whammy.
If you have a healthy companion, try 'poo soup' (i.e. live healthy gut microbiome transfer if done correctly) which is more effective than any of the commercial probiotics even if it is a bit gross. It mimics natural behaviour. otherwise I would recommend fibreplex, which I have also found more effective than the standard probiotic powder.

More information on how to make poo soup and support products in this guide here:
Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre

Here is our recommended vets locator: Vet Locator

Information and support for the kind of dilemma you are facing when you are confronted with the possibility that your piggy may not make or has died can be found via this link here; there are also resources for children included.
Death, Dying/Terminal Illness and Grieving: Information and Support for Owners
 

Mhairi

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Enrobactin is another brand name for baytril and co-trimoxazole is better known as sulfatrim (or septrin before it became officially licensed for guinea pigs).

Has your vet considered a swab and lab test to see which antibiotics the bacteria actually respond to? There are several stronger (safe if unlicensed) antibiotics that can be used safely but this stage it would be better to aim for a targeted approach instead of trial and error. We have seen an increasing number of cases with especially respiratory infections/pneumonia with resistance issues in very recent years.

Anitibiotics, especially baytril, cannot just affect the bacteria they are aimed at but also the digestive bacteria in the gut microbiome which are crucial for the digestive process. This can lead to soft poos, partial or full loss of appetite. If your piggy has already got breathing problems, then that becomes more prominent as the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat so your piggy is dealing with a double whammy.
If you have a healthy companion, try 'poo soup' (i.e. live healthy gut microbiome transfer if done correctly) which is more effective than any of the commercial probiotics even if it is a bit gross. It mimics natural behaviour. otherwise I would recommend fibreplex, which I have also found more effective than the standard probiotic powder.

More information on how to make poo soup and support products in this guide here:
Probiotics, Recovery Foods And Vitamin C: Overview With Product Links
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre

Here is our recommended vets locator: Vet Locator

Information and support for the kind of dilemma you are facing when you are confronted with the possibility that your piggy may not make or has died can be found via this link here; there are also resources for children included.
Death, Dying/Terminal Illness and Grieving: Information and Support for Owners
Thanks for your advice. That's really helpful. Would I give her the Fibreplex as well as the Oxbow Critical care?
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for your advice. That's really helpful. Would I give her the Fibreplex as well as the Oxbow Critical care?
Yes, you can give both; many piggies don't like to have fibreplex squirted into the mouth which is why I mix into my piggies syringe feed.
 

Mhairi

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Yes, you can five both; many piggies don't like to have fibreplex squirted into the mouth which is why I mix into my piggies syringe feed.
Thank you. I'll try that too.

I find her weight loss quite alarming. Have you ever experienced a piggy who has come back from weight loss like that? Do you think I'm being cruel trying to keep her going? In your experience should I consider euthanasia? Can't bare the thought of it, but want what's best for her.
 

Wiebke

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I have been able to pull several piggies through life threatening crisis and major weight loss due to antibiotics but I have lost the battle in other cases. There is never a clear cut line as there are always a number of factors in play. And it is a decision that nobody can make for you.

How much are you syringe feeding in a day? You may need to up the frequency if that is possible. Your first aim is always to stabilise the weight during a crises as much as possible.

Have you contacted your vet since you posted last?
 

Mhairi

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I have been able to pull several piggies through life threatening crisis and major weight loss due to antibiotics but I have lost the battle in other cases. There is never a clear cut line as there are always a number of factors in play. And it is a decision that nobody can make for you.

How much are you syringe feeding in a day? You may need to up the frequency if that is possible. Your first aim is always to stabilise the weight during a crises as much as possible.

Have you contacted your vet since you posted last?
We should be syringe feeding her more often to be honest but my daughter gets really upset when we have to hold her tightly to get her to take the syringe feed and refuses to do more than a few mls at a time. Because she's so wriggly I can't do it on my own, and my husband doesn't feel comfortable handling or feeding her. I'm finding it really difficult to be honest. .
Haven't spoken to vet since I posted but was planning on phoning her tomorrow.
 

Tori11247

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I know exactly how you feel. Today I had to say goodbye to my gorgeous Gus. He was in the same situation. He was losing weight and not eating. We syringe fed him for 3 days but we just knew he wanted to be at the rainbow bridge with his brothers. It felt like we were forcing him to live. I read a thread on here which said along the lines of “it’s instinct for a guinea to eat so when it stops it’s a sign that it wants to make its way to the rainbow” It was such a heartbreaking decision to make but I’m glad he’s not suffering now. Take care and I hope you feel at ease with which ever choice you make :hug:xx
 

Mhairi

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I know exactly how you feel. Today I had to say goodbye to my gorgeous Gus. He was in the same situation. He was losing weight and not eating. We syringe fed him for 3 days but we just knew he wanted to be at the rainbow bridge with his brothers. It felt like we were forcing him to live. I read a thread on here which said along the lines of “it’s instinct for a guinea to eat so when it stops it’s a sign that it wants to make its way to the rainbow” It was such a heartbreaking decision to make but I’m glad he’s not suffering now. Take care and I hope you feel at ease with which ever choice you make :hug:xx
So sorry to hear about Gus. That's heart breaking. Such a difficult choice to make. They become such a close part of your family don't they. Take care. x
 
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