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One Of My (very Young) Guinea Pigs Passed Unexpectedly, Could My Other Pig Sick?

timbit12

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On Sunday I heard one of my two piggies cough, which can be a symptom of a URI but it could also be from eating too fast or a dusty cage. We changed the bedding to be sure and haven't noticed coughing since so we were not concerned.
Today is Tuesday and my other pig passed in the night. He was only seven months old and showed no symptoms. There was no discharge or crusts around the eyes or nose. We suspect he may have been separated from him mother too early on if that could be a factor.
Now it is just my older one, who is still only a year old, Timbit.
The emergency animal hospital in my city does not have an exotic vet. They said they would look at him but weren't sure they could help much. I have booked an appointment for the morning to bring him to our regular vet in case it was any sickness that could have been passed on.
Until then, however, I am highly concerned for his wellbeing. I didn't notice any symptoms on my other guy before he passed so I am frightened I would miss it again. Every time he flops down or is a little still my heart races.
He is still eating, but seems pickier about his veggies than normal. He usually chows them right away and he is just taking a few bites here and there. He is still chirping and purring as well.
The bedding in the cage where they have urinated seems a little brown, but that sometimes happens just when their feces get wet and could be leftover from my passed guy.
I am worried his breathing is laboured but am not sure if I am being paranoid.
Can anyone tell me what normal breathing should look like? What should I be looking for to ensure his health? Or if it is these kind of illnesses and infections are even viral/able to be passed from pig to pig?
 

timbit12

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Update: he still isn't showing any symptoms but is laying with his head resting not he bottom of the cage. It is not unlike him to lay down but I have never noticed him resting his head in that way. He lifts it if I reach in or pet him or he eats. I don't know if this is a symptom for anything, it could be because he is sad he doesn't know where his friend is. They have been together since September, but I didn't think they were really bonded, more so just cage mates. Could the head resting mean anything?
 

Merab's Slave

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I am so sorry for your loss.
It’s hard at any time but when death comes out the blue to young an animal it’s a real shock.
Guinea pigs are very good at hiding illness so there may have been something wrong that the baby was hiding.
You are doing the right thing getting Timbit to a vet - it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry.
Let us know how things go and don’t forget to allow yourself to grieve
 

Freela

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I'm really sorry for your loss. It can be hard to tell grieving from illness in some cases, as he is very likely missing his friend (they did share a bond- even bonded pigs aren't inseparable and aren't always cuddly. Bonded pigs look like two pigs living alongside each other without fighting in a lot of cases.) It would be worth having a vet give him a good going over to ensure that his lungs are clear, etc. Unfortunately as prey animals guinea pigs are accustomed to hiding illness so it can be difficult sometimes to see an illness until it is far advanced.
 

timbit12

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Thanks for the well wishes, Roe was very young but he had a happy life.
I got in early with the vet this evening instead of tomorrow morning by pure luck!
Just got back and he said Timbit seems healthy.
The best conclusion we could form for Roe is that he had an upper respiratory infection (URI). Tim should be in the clear because a URI itself is not contagious as it is a bacterial infection. What is contagious however is the cold or flu the infection could have stemmed from. Although Tim didn't seem sick, because we heard him coughing he could have a very light flu so we should keep a close eye on him for the next few weeks.
He seems very mopey and sad while missing his buddy so we plan to eventually introduce him to a new friend. The vet recommended we wait a few weeks in the case he didn't understand he died, he may believe Roe will return and could become territorial over Roe's space on his behalf in his absence, and to also get a baby because adults are more likely to take to them).
For anyone else who stumbles on the this thread I would like to further clarify something up that I was unable to figure out for sure on forums. URI is not contagious! While it can develop without a flu or illness for various reasons, it is a BACTERIAL infection. They can however pass an illness along to their pals, which may lead to an infection. It is very similar as to how humans will develop a non-contagious (bacterial) sinus infection from a contagious (viral) flu.
 
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