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Guinea Pig loss

Ruby2020

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I just recently lost my guinea pig a week ago and am really struggling with so much guilt daily. She was barely 2 years old.

For about a week, her appetite decreased, she was drinking a lot more water than usual, urinating more frequently, and chewing sometimes obsessively at the towels underneath her anti-pill fleece bedding. She seemed to sulk too. She usually loves Timothy hay, bell pepper, romaine, and occasional hay pellets for a treat. During this time she would only eat bits of Timothy hay, supplemented liquid vitamin c (given orally with a syringe), and any romaine I would give her. I kept hand feeding her and coaxing her to eat Timothy hay. I noticed her excrements were getting smaller and dry, so I finally took her to the vet because I suspected she had a UTI and was terrified of her going into GI stasis.

Because of COVID, I could not take her to her usual vet and had to go to a different one to get the soonest appointment possible. I didn't get to go into the vet office with her because people are not allowed in the vet office during this time. The vet called me after examining and said my Guinea Pig was very vivacious and happily eating the romaine I left in her carrier. The vet suggested urine and blood collection and an x-ray. I had collected a urine sample for her, but she said it was too old to be viable. I told her the color of the urine was clear upon collection. The vet said that was good and doubted it was a UTI. She also said it would be very difficult to take her urine and blood without sedating her because she was so active. I was afraid the sedative could harm my Guinea Pig so I decided to pass on them. The vet also suggested an x-ray. I asked the vet if my Guinea Pig possibly had reproductive disease because I noticed her hair was thinning symmetrically on the sides of her flanks, but the vet said she doubted it because my Guinea Pig let her palpate her abdomen without squealing. She said my Guinea Pig could possibly have a blockage or something else going on, or even a vitamin C deficiency since she also noticed my Guinea Pig was shedding hair (even though her coat appeared very healthy). She said I could give antibiotics just in case it was a UTI and I could give ivermectin if the hair thinning was possibly mites. I decided to pass on the x-ray for now and purchased some emergency critical care just in case and decided to first try for a week or so to see if it was a vitamin C deficiency that was causing the hair loss.

The vet recommended 100mg of vitamin C. That seemed like an excessive amount, so I started with 50mg daily. Her body accepted this amount for about a week. My Guinea Pig continued to improve. I was amazed the hair shedding definitely stopped, and it seemed almost like the thinning of hair on her flanks was slightly going away (but was still present). She was happy and eating a lot again.

Week 2 she started to get diarrhea. I tried dropping the dose to 25mg once a day. Still diarrhea so I didn't give her vitamin C for a day. Her excrements improved after that day, so I gave her 25mg the next day. Diarrhea again, so I skipped 2 days without vitamin C. Her excrements improved again, so then I split he vitamin c into a 12mg dose in the morning and a 12mg dose in the evening -- diarrhea again, so I went to one 12mg dose a day. So after a week of trying to find the right dose, her body seemed good with the 12mg/day dose for 4 days (no diarrhea). Throughout this time of figuring out the correct vitamin C dose, she was happy, active, and eating normally.

Monday morning (Labor Day), I woke up to feed her and she would not make a sound, was hunched, her eyes looked bright still, but recessed. I last saw her eat at 11pm the previous night (very normal eating), and it was now 10:00AM the next day and I was terrified. I don't know how long it had been since she last ate. I tried to put her favorite romaine in front of her, and she would not eat. I carefully picked her up and she felt limp. I tried carefully syringing water into her mouth. She fought me, but I gently got a little into her. I had suspicions this was GI stasis, but then started to think this must be cystic ovarian disease. I thought I should start feeding her critical care, but I also didn't know if this would make it worse or if I would choke her. I started calling vet after vet; places were either closed for the holiday or not accepting Guinea Pig patients. We finally found an emergency vet that would accept Guinea Pigs 45 minutes away. They had a 4 hour way, but when we got there and they saw her, they moved it up to 15 min wait. They put her in an oxygen tank so she was comfortable. I asked if they could start giving her fluids and critical care, but the vet was concerned it would make things worse and wanted to do an x-ray first. It was near 1:30pm by now. My Guinea Pig passed before getting the x-ray. They tried CPR, but it did not work.

I feel like I cannot forgive myself. Looking back, I should have stopped giving the vitamin C sooner. I should have given her critical care that morning... so many things I should have done differently. Does anyone have any opinions on my Guinea Pig's passing, or know how to forgive yourself for something like this? I think she died because the vitamin C disrupted her GI balance and put her into GI stasis.
 

artcasper

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So sorry for your loss.. please dont second guess yourself, sounds like you did all you could.. my girl Pip deteriorated over just 3 days and we saw the vet every day.. x
 

Ruby2020

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So sorry for your loss.. please dont second guess yourself, sounds like you did all you could.. my girl Pip deteriorated over just 3 days and we saw the vet every day.. x
Thank you so much, and I'm so sorry about Pip.
 

munchmonster

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I am very sorry for your loss . I cannot comment on medications or treatment of illness as I do not know enough, but please be kind to yourself as you grieve. We all have many 'what ifs 'One of my piggies passed 2 weeks ago and I went over many things in my mind, should I have spotted signs earlier, did I miss out details when I took her 3 times to the vet? All I can add is that she would have known how much you cared for her and she had a good, but short life with you, bringing happy times to the both of you. Sleep well little one, RIp x
 

Merab's Slave

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So sorry for your loss.
What if.....’ is a normal part of grief but hold on to the fact that you did everything possible for her.
Be gentle with yourself as you grieve.
 

Ruby2020

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So sorry for your loss.
What if.....’ is a normal part of grief but hold on to the fact that you did everything possible for her.
Be gentle with yourself as you grieve.
Thank you. It helps knowing that "what if..." is what others people feel. It's so hard because I miss my Guinea Pig so much, but then having the guilt on top of it is making it even harder to deal with.
 

Ruby2020

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I am very sorry for your loss . I cannot comment on medications or treatment of illness as I do not know enough, but please be kind to yourself as you grieve. We all have many 'what ifs 'One of my piggies passed 2 weeks ago and I went over many things in my mind, should I have spotted signs earlier, did I miss out details when I took her 3 times to the vet? All I can add is that she would have known how much you cared for her and she had a good, but short life with you, bringing happy times to the both of you. Sleep well little one, RIp x
Thank you so much for your words. I am so sorry one of your piggies recently passed too!
 

Merab's Slave

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I know it’s hard to believe now but the rawness and the initial feelings of guilt do pass.
Your girl will always have a special place in your heart.
Grief is hard, but it is a process - it can’t be rushed, just lived through a day at a time.
 

Freela

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's normal to feel guilt and question 'what if,' especially when we don't know for sure what went wrong. I know I've been there myself. Try to be kind to yourself... you did the very best you could, and I really doubt that anything you did (like giving vitamin C) causes her death. ((HUGS.))
 

Ruby2020

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I'm so sorry for your loss. I think it's normal to feel guilt and question 'what if,' especially when we don't know for sure what went wrong. I know I've been there myself. Try to be kind to yourself... you did the very best you could, and I really doubt that anything you did (like giving vitamin C) causes her death. ((HUGS.))
Thank you for your kind words and your understanding.
 
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