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Lethargic Guinea Pigs & Death..

Taylor S

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Hello,

I've tried browsing the forums but I couldn't find what I needed so here goes..

So in the summer this year (August) I rescued some guinea pigs, 5 months of age, supposedly 3 females..

Well, my two sow guinea pigs recently had pups (over a month ago in October). The boar is now obviously separated

The pups are (were) now 5 weeks of age, however most of them have died in rapid succession despite being fully weaned (I noticed they stopped suckling at 3 weeks)

The latest casualty was this morning, I went and fed my cavies as usual, all fine, checked back 2 hours later and one young boar (5 weeks) was very lethargic, sluggish, then could barely stand -- lays flat and sort of "fits about" (kicks legs. move head backwards).. it's the same symptoms as the other pups that died previously.

I don't know if this is a genetic issue as they obviously have the same father (unrelated from the sows) -- (different mothers, but mothers are sisters).

It is only the young pups which have been affected and i've lost the vast majority of them now, it's really quite heart breaking.

The mothers express co-operative parental care (suckling each others pups) so there wasn't much strain on one particular sow at all.

I don't know what it could be, i've contemplated: cold weather, URI (straw dust?), gut stasis.. but i'm really unsure as to why they all died.

They're housed in hutches away from the cold weather, lots of hay, fed harringtons guinea pig optimum mix and have a big variety of fresh food.. they're also fed throughout the day when i'm home (like grazing on kale, unlimited hay, the pellets etc, little & often)..

As the pups have now rapidly died I want clarity as to avoid this ever again, i've owned cavies for 17 years and never experienced this at all..
 

Janice C

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So sorry that you are going through this but I suggest taking the remaining young to see your Vet ASAP.
Can’t really make assumptions via your heartbreaking post so please see the Vet.
Let us know please The result of Vet visit.
 

Wiebke

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Hello,

I've tried browsing the forums but I couldn't find what I needed so here goes..

So in the summer this year (August) I rescued some guinea pigs, 5 months of age, supposedly 3 females..

Well, my two sow guinea pigs recently had pups (over a month ago in October). The boar is now obviously separated

The pups are (were) now 5 weeks of age, however most of them have died in rapid succession despite being fully weaned (I noticed they stopped suckling at 3 weeks)

The latest casualty was this morning, I went and fed my cavies as usual, all fine, checked back 2 hours later and one young boar (5 weeks) was very lethargic, sluggish, then could barely stand -- lays flat and sort of "fits about" (kicks legs. move head backwards).. it's the same symptoms as the other pups that died previously.

I don't know if this is a genetic issue as they obviously have the same father (unrelated from the sows) -- (different mothers, but mothers are sisters).

It is only the young pups which have been affected and i've lost the vast majority of them now, it's really quite heart breaking.

The mothers express co-operative parental care (suckling each others pups) so there wasn't much strain on one particular sow at all.

I don't know what it could be, i've contemplated: cold weather, URI (straw dust?), gut stasis.. but i'm really unsure as to why they all died.

They're housed in hutches away from the cold weather, lots of hay, fed harringtons guinea pig optimum mix and have a big variety of fresh food.. they're also fed throughout the day when i'm home (like grazing on kale, unlimited hay, the pellets etc, little & often)..

As the pups have now rapidly died I want clarity as to avoid this ever again, i've owned cavies for 17 years and never experienced this at all..
Hiand welcome!

I am very sorry for your nightmare!

if your piggies are indoors, have you considered a gas leak or environmental poisoning that causes heart failure/fitting? You may want to consider having a post mortem done to see what is going on if several piggies die from the same symptoms in short order. As the pups are so much smaller and frailer they would be the first to react to anything.
We just had a case from a new member who lost newly adopted piggies of hers due to odourless monoxide poisoning. Lethargy was one of the symptoms as well.

It is definitely not GI stasis - a piggy just goes flat from that, but it does not experience fitting or any major pain like yours.
 

Taylor S

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Hiand welcome!

I am very sorry for your nightmare!

if your piggies are indoors, have you considered a gas leak or environmental poisoning that causes heart failure/fitting? You may want to consider having a post mortem done to see what is going on if several piggies die from the same symptoms in short order. As the pups are so much smaller and frailer they would be the first to react to anything.
We just had a case from a new member who lost newly adopted piggies of hers due to odourless monoxide poisoning. Lethargy was one of the symptoms as well.

It is definitely not GI stasis - a piggy just goes flat from that, but it does not experience fitting or any major pain like yours.

I've been trying to find a good vet that knows their stuff about guinea pigs, my local vet assumed guinea pigs are fertile at 6 months (well...)
I'll look for environmental reasons, I know it wasn't a gas leak, can rule that out.. I don't know if it's cold weather? But they'd all died during the day and not at night (when its been coldest) aside from that, they have each other/hides/hay etc.

I've emailed a few vets asking about postmortems and have they had experience with cavies etc, so i'll see what they say
 

Wiebke

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I've been trying to find a good vet that knows their stuff about guinea pigs, my local vet assumed guinea pigs are fertile at 6 months (well...)
I'll look for environmental reasons, I know it wasn't a gas leak, can rule that out.. I don't know if it's cold weather? But they'd all died during the day and not at night (when its been coldest) aside from that, they have each other/hides/hay etc.

I've emailed a few vets asking about postmortems and have they had experience with cavies etc, so i'll see what they say
Is your hutch isolated in any way? The cold weather can be a factor in that is has lowered the fragile imune system further.

We may be able to help you better if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details as we have members and enquiries from all over the world. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
Recommended UK vets: Guinea Pig Vet Locator
Recommended vets in some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List
 

Taylor S

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Is your hutch isolated in any way? The cold weather can be a factor in that is has lowered the fragile imune system further.

We may be able to help you better if you please added your country, state/province or UK county to your details as we have members and enquiries from all over the world. Click on your username on the top bar, then go to personal details and scroll down to location. Thank you!
Recommended UK vets: Guinea Pig Vet Locator
Recommended vets in some other countries: Guinea Lynx :: GL's Vet List

Yeah, the hutch is away from the weather so it can't be rained on etc. The symptoms are just, I don't know, not seen it before
 

Tiamolly123

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You must have been heartborken as the babies died one after another. I can only surmise it was the cold. Especially as the babies were so young.
I think piggies should be kept indoors. Unless they have been in a heated shed. I think they are much more responsive indoors, for them & you.
If you can find a vet to do a pm, you will never know..
Hi & Welcome to our friendly forum.
 

Lady Kelly

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Hi and welcome to our forum, so sorry that it is in such sad circumstances. As you are in Northamptonshire you are close to the top piggy vet in the country which is Simon Maddock based at the Cat and Rabbit Clinic. I have driven down the motorway a couple of times to see him before. I would be very surprised if it were the cold as this would not cause the symptoms you have seen on its own, if you have seen some kind of fitting there must be other factors at play. I keep my own piggies outdoors and in this area of the midlands things are still mild though I do use twice as much hay and a couple of snugglesafe pads overnight to keep them warm.
 

Wiebke

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Yeah, the hutch is away from the weather so it can't be rained on etc. The symptoms are just, I don't know, not seen it before
I

Please be aware that newborn babies should not be kept outside and need to be treated like tender plants. Especially with the recent night frosts and the cold weather! Here are lots of cold weather tips. However, I do not think that the cold is the actual cause, just a contributing factor.
I, too would strongly recommend to contact the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic in Northampton. They are the best piggy vets in the whole area. I use them myself and am in fact making a trip there tomorrow.
The Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic
Cold Weather Care For Guinea Pigs
 

Taylor S

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I'l have a look for Simon online now.

The guineas are kept in a hutch, with lots of hay, inside a large brick shed/garage (not used for cars), so i'm guessing it was not the cold at all
 

Wiebke

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I'l have a look for Simon online now.

The guineas are kept in a hutch, with lots of hay, inside a large brick shed/garage (not used for cars), so i'm guessing it was not the cold at all
I have added the link for the clinic where Simon and KIm Maddock practise.
 

Freela

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I'm really sorry for your losses. :( That must be heartbreaking. It's hard sometimes to tell the symptoms of the illness that caused the death from the process of death itself (lethargy, being wobby/unable to stand/intermittent agitation and trying to run/kicking/fitting are phases of dying that I've seen before in my pets regardless of the actual cause of death.) So it's hard to tell if the symptoms that you are observing are a sign of illness or just the process of the body shutting down. I would wonder about something environmental, or else a communicable illness that the adults are able to fight off but the babies are not. Unfortunately, there's probably no way to know for sure without a postmortem, which I see you already are looking into. I wish I had more to offer... I can't even imagine. So sorry, poor little babies!
 

helen105281

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I'm so sorry, what a heartbreaking situation. I second the recommendation for Simon, he and Kim are wonderful vets and will be able to help you. I travel from Hertfordshire to see them.
 

pig in the city

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I have heard of babies dying from toxins and the adult pigs surviving . This was from herbicide or pesticide sprayed onto the grass . Similarly airborne crop spraying if you are near a farm can cause mass casualties. If there was a few days between deaths then an infectious cause is most likely. Here's hoping that you get some answers
 

Taylor S

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I have heard of babies dying from toxins and the adult pigs surviving . This was from herbicide or pesticide sprayed onto the grass . Similarly airborne crop spraying if you are near a farm can cause mass casualties. If there was a few days between deaths then an infectious cause is most likely. Here's hoping that you get some answers
Hmm I don't use anything on my grass, I will look into what infections could cause the symptoms and death..

I did read this: Nuclear accident sends 'harmless' radioactive cloud over Europe

A friend I have who is also into guineas lost two today and he isn't sure why (and these were both 1 years..) I don't know if the above^ could have any impact..

I'm waiting for the vets to email me back about possible postmortems, but at 5 weeks they are very small, it's not like a cat or dog so i'm not sure if it'd be hard to see
 
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