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Is it time?

Nicinoo

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hello all,
I came here to get some advice on my very ill 5 year old piggie Luigi. He was diagnosed as having cancer only 4 days ago. Although I was not told what kind the symptoms point towards Basel cell tumours. He has one Burst tumour on his back (which prompted the vet trip) one small one under his front leg and a huge mass over his back leg that appeared literally overnight. I have accepted it is terminal but I am not sure when to make the pts decision, he is my first guinea pig. He is still eating although it is a little less than he used to, he walks around during floor time but has reduced mobility due to the mass on his leg. He sleeps a lot and no longer wheeks. Still loves a cuddle and still rumbles when my girl pig is close by. I am obviously upset and not sure if this would cloud my judgement in holding on longer than I should. I should also mention that the vet gave me no pain relief only a 10 day course of Baytril to see if the tumours would shrink enough to operate.
 

piggieminder

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I am so sorry you are faced with this decision, it's never an easy one to make. I always think you know when it is time, it's an instinct that comes with knowing your animal. If he is in pain obviously he needs pain relief and you should talk to your vet, maybe your vet thought he was dealing with it okay. I had a very elderly cat who had multiple problems due to old age, I had an agreement with my vet that he would tell me when it was time to let her go as he was seeing her weekly at the end. Could have a frank conversation with your vet about not letting you go on longer than you should? I send you my very best wishes at this difficult time and healing vibes to Luigi.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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Poor you and poor Luigi. You will know when the time is to help him pass to the Rainbow Bridge the light will go out of his eyes. It is the last act of love we can give our beloved pets.
I know exactly what you mean, my sky who had cancer, in the end his eyes went dull and squinty thats when i knew it wasnt long. I miss him so much, he was a grumpy pig and hated every pig, but the most loving towards people
 

G&C

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I’m very sorry to hear of your situation, poor Luigi. I guess your looking at his quality of life and from this you mention 2 things: he is still eating and moving around albeit less than he was before. If these factors were to reduce anymore then he would need more care (syringe feeding and cleaning his fur if he can’t do it himself). It sounds like he is sleeping more and he may just pass in his sleep. The fact he is eating/moving less may indicate he is in discomfort so I would speak to the vets re pain relief.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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It sounds like hes not quite ready to go yet. When he quits eating then i think it would be time to think about pts. I was told to look out for weight loss with the eating part but with cancer its not really possible. My thoughts are with you
 

Nicinoo

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Thank you for your kind words. I’d like to think he has some life left in him yet but wasn’t sure if it was me refusing to accept the inevitable. I read that Baytril can cause lack of appetite so not sure if this is a factor so will keep an eye on that. He is a little dehydrated but been keeping him topped up via syringe, he has never been a big drinker.
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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Thank you for your kind words. I’d like to think he has some life left in him yet but wasn’t sure if it was me refusing to accept the inevitable. I read that Baytril can cause lack of appetite so not sure if this is a factor so will keep an eye on that. He is a little dehydrated but been keeping him topped up via syringe, he has never been a big drinker.
You can give slices of cucumber for hydration. I spread critical care on top too
 

Wiebke

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hello all,
I came here to get some advice on my very ill 5 year old piggie Luigi. He was diagnosed as having cancer only 4 days ago. Although I was not told what kind the symptoms point towards Basel cell tumours. He has one Burst tumour on his back (which prompted the vet trip) one small one under his front leg and a huge mass over his back leg that appeared literally overnight. I have accepted it is terminal but I am not sure when to make the pts decision, he is my first guinea pig. He is still eating although it is a little less than he used to, he walks around during floor time but has reduced mobility due to the mass on his leg. He sleeps a lot and no longer wheeks. Still loves a cuddle and still rumbles when my girl pig is close by. I am obviously upset and not sure if this would cloud my judgement in holding on longer than I should. I should also mention that the vet gave me no pain relief only a 10 day course of Baytril to see if the tumours would shrink enough to operate.
I am very sorry - poor boy and poor you! Sadly some problems can blow up out of nowhere and hit with devastating speed. I've not come across basal cell cancer (i.e. skin cancer) in guinea pigs yet, I must admit. That is a new one on us.
Guinea pigs are small animals with a fast metabolism, though. :(

As to your question: The time for pts is usually when your piggy is no longer able to do piggy things, is not eating and is turning the head to wall or when it is clearly in a lot of pain and discomfort. It is always so much easier when this decision is taken out of your hands than when you have to judge when the time has come. In most cases you'll when the time has come and when your girl is just not right and not interested in life anymore.

There is a certain grey zone where it depends on the illness, your relationship with your piggy, how good you are at letting go and - not necessary least - the size of your vet bill budget for any expensive tests and further treatments that may or not buy a little more extra time. The letting go aspect is generally a bit easier (but never less painful) when it is not your first, second or third piggy...

Here is our syringe feeding guide. You can add dioralyte (UK)/ Pedialyte (US) from a pharmacy to the water you offer during syringe feed top up, as much as your piggy will take. If you want to keep the line between eating willingly and not, I have found it useful to feed recovery formula or mushed pellets from a spoon.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 

Nicinoo

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Thank you Wiebke that’s really helpful, I have been out to pick up the diuralyte and have got critical care on order. I am not sure on the exact diagnosis other than cancer as they did not offer a biopsy and I was too distracted to ask questions. It was based on my own research of the symptoms. The vet just said the prognosis was not good and there was not enough skin for the removal of all the tumours. All the advice here has made me a lot more confident and I just want to give him the best life I can until it’s time.
 

VickiA

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Whenever the time is, it will be the toughest decision for you. Holding you in my thoughts.
 

Nicinoo

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The end came yesterday. Took him out his cage to feed him his critical care which he wolfed down, he was showing affection and looked alert. I noticed that his back legs were dragging when I put him down and just knew there was no going back. Within the hour he was pts and brought back home with us for a final goodbye cuddle.
Feeling very raw still and so guilty that I waited too long or not long enough and maybe it would get better. I wasn’t ready to let go but it was time.
 

Claire W

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The end came yesterday. Took him out his cage to feed him his critical care which he wolfed down, he was showing affection and looked alert. I noticed that his back legs were dragging when I put him down and just knew there was no going back. Within the hour he was pts and brought back home with us for a final goodbye cuddle.
Feeling very raw still and so guilty that I waited too long or not long enough and maybe it would get better. I wasn’t ready to let go but it was time.
I'm sorry for your loss :( but however hard it is, helping them to cross the rainbow bridge is the last act of love that we can give them xx
 

SkyPipDotBernie

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The end came yesterday. Took him out his cage to feed him his critical care which he wolfed down, he was showing affection and looked alert. I noticed that his back legs were dragging when I put him down and just knew there was no going back. Within the hour he was pts and brought back home with us for a final goodbye cuddle.
Feeling very raw still and so guilty that I waited too long or not long enough and maybe it would get better. I wasn’t ready to let go but it was time.
sounds like you got the timing bang on to me. Same thing happened with my old boar sky except he completely collapsed on his side and kept trying to get up and couldnt. I knew it was time too, and it was.because he died on the car journey to the vet. I'm very sorry for your loss. You are a great owner and what a lucky pig to have hsd such a good life.
 

Wiebke

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The end came yesterday. Took him out his cage to feed him his critical care which he wolfed down, he was showing affection and looked alert. I noticed that his back legs were dragging when I put him down and just knew there was no going back. Within the hour he was pts and brought back home with us for a final goodbye cuddle.
Feeling very raw still and so guilty that I waited too long or not long enough and maybe it would get better. I wasn’t ready to let go but it was time.
BIG HUGS

Even when you know it is coming, you are never prepared for the end, whether that is with a piggy or a human you love.
There is nothing wrong with your instincts but feelings of guilt or failure and major soul searching are part and parcel for the onset of the grieving process. All they tell us that you are a caring and loving owner and have not failed Luigi in anyway where it counts. He hasn't suffered in any way and been loved right to the end.

Guinea pigs haven't got a concept for longevity, they measure their life in happy and healthy todays - and you have definitely given Luigi as many of those as was in your power.

If you feel that you continue to struggle, talking is the best you can do. The Blue Cross is running a free and confidential pet bereavement line. All forum members that have made use of it have found that it has really helped them with their own grief.
SupportLine - Problems: Pet Bereavement: Advice, support and information
 

Bill & Ted

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Oh so sorry for your loss, sleep tight little Luigi x
 

Betsy

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I'm so sorry for your loss. Luigi is now in his prime and popcorning and playing zoomies at the Rainbow Bridge. He is making friends, has all the hay and grass he can stuff into his gob and has as much of his fave food as he could wish for. And he also still loves you very much.
 

Nicinoo

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Thank you everyone, it’s been a real comfort to hear support from people who have been through this before and know how sad it can be. I got a lot of ‘just a guinea pig’ comments from friends while he was ill.
My other piggy is now being spoilt rotten and hope to get her a new friend when I’m ready to take in another.
 

Bill & Ted

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Some people can be so unintentionally hurtful with their “only a guinea pig” comments or “it’s a £15 pet, what are you doing spending all that money on vets bills” we have all had it. Take no notice of ‘them, we know better! Give your other piggie a good cuddle from me x
 
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