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Harriet died today after surgery, what happened?

CavyConnoisseur

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Harriet was 4.7 years old and had to be put under GA today unexpectedly due to the discovery of a fractured tooth which had to be removed.

The surgery went well and she came around, when I picked her up this evening she was obviously physically exhausted but seemed pretty normal and alert mentally, she attempted to eat lettuce but struggled due to the dental. The whites of her eyes were bloodshot red though.

As she was exhausted I decided to let her sleep and rest in the carrier for an hour before syringe feeding her. When I went in to do this she was flopped on one side and could not move, I picked her up and she was extremely weak and floppy, she couldnt even hold her head up, let alone eat.

A few minutes after picking her up and just cuddling her, her body started to twitch every few seconds, within a few more minutes she was having a full blown stretching seizure which took her life.

She went from just a bit sleepy to dead within 2 hours of coming home from the vet and I don't understand what happened... she seemed okay and then suddenly had one huge seizure out of nowhere that I've never seen happen before. I've had piggies die after surgery before, but not this quickly... she was healthy otherwise also.

My heart is shattered and I can't stop crying, I feel like its all my fault and I feel like i shouldve let her sleep longer before waking her up to eat (i was worried she would go into gi stasis if she didn't eat soon), i feel like i gave her a heart attack by waking her up even though i was quiet and gentle.

She died so quickly, i didn't expect to lose my baby today and I've had many piggies undergo many surgeries, this one has traumatised me and I feel like it's all my fault😔

I know the anaesthesia caused her death, but what exactly happened here, does anyone have any ideas or could I have prevented this? Is this common? I've had 5 piggies die post op now, i seem to have horrible luck despite trying my best.
 

Zanzan

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I can't offer any medical knowledge but I'm so sorry you have gone through this awful experience. Please be kind to yourself, you did the right thing getting treatment for her tooth. Whatever happened is in no way your fault. 💜
 

Swissgreys

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I am so sorry you had to go through this.
It really does sound like a bad reaction and there was really nothing that you could have done differently.
Be kind to yourself.
Your girl was clearly very loved.
 

Piggylove82

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I'm so sorry this happened to Harriet 😢. So often our piggies are taken from us and leave us questioning why and blaming ourselves. It's not your fault, please don't be hard on yourself at this upsetting time. She was loved and cared for and that's all she needed. She had a life so much better than many guinea pigs in this world, so for that you should feel proud, albeit upset. You did get to bring her home too so she was at least in familiar surroundings and with you.

Sending hugs x
 

Bill & Ted

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I’m so sorry you’ve lost Harriet and you were definitely not to blame. I don’t know why this happened, it’s very sad x
Sleep tight little lady 🌈
 

Merab's Slave

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So sorry that you lost Harriet this way.
I have no answer as to why this happened but hold onto the knowledge that you gave Harriet the best possible love and care.
Be gentle and patient with yourself as you work through the grief
 

Wiebke

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BIG HUGS

I am extremely sorry; it is a lot less common these days with more vets experienced with small animal operations, but like with humans a bad reaction can and sadly does happen even with the best of vets. There is never a 100% success rate as close as you can come to it. What has happened with Harriet is unfortunately the small percentage that is always left over.
I am very sorry that Harriet was one of those it has happened to. You can never predict how a body will react to the operation drugs and in thankfully much rarer cases now there can be an adverse reaction or an unknown underlying issue is suddenly coming into play. That is the gamble part you sadly have to take with every operation - the vast majority will thankfully go well. :(

You have done your best for Harriet; always keep that in mind! You wouldn't have consented to the operation if it wasn't necessary.

What I am even more sorry about is that it has happened in your presence. The physicality of a sudden death in a body that is still going strong can be truly shocking and traumatising. If you are struggling with this aspect, please seek help from free the pet bereavement service Blue Cross (links are in the guides below). The more you can talk it out of your mind early on, the less it can fester and obscure Harriet's wonderful personality and all the precious moments you have shared and spoil all the happy years with her for the sake of a few minutes right at the end when she was likely no longer aware herself.

Please take the time to read our grieving guide. I am talking in it about the specific challenges and my own grieving experience with losing a piggy in a operation - I have lost about 3 over the years, most to the heart giving out on the operating table. Your inevitable strong feelings of guilt and the trauma of having her die so harshly in your arms can lead to you emotionally losing the connection to the true Harriet. Please don't let that happen if possible and please take any help you can - not just for your own sake but also for the sake of Harriet and not least for the sake of any other piggies needing a life-saving operation in the future.

The next operation will require a very deep breath but you will have to take that particular fence when you get there, like I have had to do; even more so when it is about the same health issue. Odds are very high that it will go without a hitch.
Your vet wouldn't have let her come home if Harriet's recovery wasn't within normal parameters until something suddenly blew in her body; fitting can happen when the still healthy organs are putting up an almighty fight against the body closing down - perhaps after a stroke, a heart attack or a neurological event?

Here is the grieving guide: Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children

Here is our guide about dying if you a very strong need to make sense of it; otherwise stay away from it, and definitely as soon as you find that it upsets you even more! A Practical and Sensitive Guide to Dying, Terminal Illness and Euthanasia in Guinea Pigs

Be kind to yourself, take care of both yourself and Harriet's friends and please don't make the mistake of locking your misery down in yourself! There is trained confidential help available.
 

VickiA

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What a shock for you. I am so sorry for your loss. Sometimes there are no answers we can give. But please know that you have our support as you grieve your lovely Harriet.
 

MidFray

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Hi there,
I lost my piggie to what I believe he had liquid bloat/diarrhoea which was heart breaking. One week later I decided to neuter my lonely boar in view to rescuing girlfriends for him. I work at the vets and my previous piggie had gone under ga several times so I was fine to put my boy under. I'd spoken to exotic vets previously on their drug protocol so we did the same. Everything for the anaesthetic went smooth. He was later eating and moving around, a little sluggish but normal post ga. I got him home and continued with some syringe feeds. Within hours later he suddenly went lethargic. Exactly how yours went. I don't know if yours had a seizure as before animals pass away they do quite violent movement that look like a seizure which mine did too. We cried so much, it's hard as i was there with him from the beginning and I'd checked the protocol. And knowing my other piggie went other the same. I think ours piggies are that small percentage that react. I feel your pain.💔 I do keep thinking if I hadn't of put him under to be neutered, he'd still be here... 😭
 

CavyConnoisseur

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Hi there,
I lost my piggie to what I believe he had liquid bloat/diarrhoea which was heart breaking. One week later I decided to neuter my lonely boar in view to rescuing girlfriends for him. I work at the vets and my previous piggie had gone under ga several times so I was fine to put my boy under. I'd spoken to exotic vets previously on their drug protocol so we did the same. Everything for the anaesthetic went smooth. He was later eating and moving around, a little sluggish but normal post ga. I got him home and continued with some syringe feeds. Within hours later he suddenly went lethargic. Exactly how yours went. I don't know if yours had a seizure as before animals pass away they do quite violent movement that look like a seizure which mine did too. We cried so much, it's hard as i was there with him from the beginning and I'd checked the protocol. And knowing my other piggie went other the same. I think ours piggies are that small percentage that react. I feel your pain.💔 I do keep thinking if I hadn't of put him under to be neutered, he'd still be here... 😭
Hiya, I'm so sorry you went through the same thing as me, I also have the same guilty feeling, I'm sure everyone that loses a piggy through surgery feels it, its horrible.

Yeah Harriet did have a very violent seizure at the end, it was horrible to watch but i know this is common to happen. All I could do was cuddle and comfort her, but she died very quickly which I am thankful she didn't suffer long.

I think Harriet was under GA too long this time and that's what did it, she has had multiple surgeries in the past and always recovered well. 😔

Rest in peace to both our babies❤
 
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