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PTS? Is it time?

Christy053

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Hello everyone
I have a 6 year old sow called Bessie. Has been unwell past month or so started with a rattly chest, very noisy breathing, treated with antibiotics and cleared up. Next noticed her eyes and nose were crusty and also had a swelling under her chin that grew quite large within two day. Went back to the vets on New Year’s Eve and said without doing a X-ray/biopsy they can’t tell what the lump is (drained clear fluid not puss so said not to be a abscess). Agreed that biopsy etc wouldn’t be the best idea due to age so vet prescribed different antibiotics and furosemide. Vet said the swelling could be a number of things, could feel two small lumps either side of neck so could be tonsils/lymph nodes. During all of this she isn’t drinking from usual bottle so I have been giving water with a syringe and also giving cucumber/celery etc to get fluids into her. She continues to eat normally if not more than normal and pooing LOTS, sometimes very large soft pops, her cage isn’t wet but she must be weeing. She has also lost a lot of weight can feel all her ribs/spine/pelvis yet also looks very puffy. She isn’t as mobile due to this large swelling and even got stuck in her food bowl yesterday!
I am taking her back to the vets tomorrow because the course of medication is finished but sadly hasn’t made a difference, do you think it would be kinder for Bessie to be PTS?
Thank you for any advice
 

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Wiebke

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Hello everyone
I have a 6 year old sow called Bessie. Has been unwell past month or so started with a rattly chest, very noisy breathing, treated with antibiotics and cleared up. Next noticed her eyes and nose were crusty and also had a swelling under her chin that grew quite large within two day. Went back to the vets on New Year’s Eve and said without doing a X-ray/biopsy they can’t tell what the lump is (drained clear fluid not puss so said not to be a abscess). Agreed that biopsy etc wouldn’t be the best idea due to age so vet prescribed different antibiotics and furosemide. Vet said the swelling could be a number of things, could feel two small lumps either side of neck so could be tonsils/lymph nodes. During all of this she isn’t drinking from usual bottle so I have been giving water with a syringe and also giving cucumber/celery etc to get fluids into her. She continues to eat normally if not more than normal and pooing LOTS, sometimes very large soft pops, her cage isn’t wet but she must be weeing. She has also lost a lot of weight can feel all her ribs/spine/pelvis yet also looks very puffy. She isn’t as mobile due to this large swelling and even got stuck in her food bowl yesterday!
I am taking her back to the vets tomorrow because the course of medication is finished but sadly hasn’t made a difference, do you think it would be kinder for Bessie to be PTS?
Thank you for any advice

Hi and welcome

I am very sorry for your dilemma. it is always hardest when you realise that you are coming close to the time but are not quite there yet, and the when the decision when to call it shots is not taken out of your hands by clear circumstances. As a loving owner you can't but worry about getting it right.
There is however a grey zone in which there is no right or wrong as long as you make any decision with Bessie's interests and quality of life upmost in mind, whether that means sparing her any unnecessary suffering or trying to keep her going for as long as she has some modicum of quality of life left - as individuals we all have our own feelings where we stand on these aspects, and they have all their own right as long as don't make any decisions that cater to our own fears or desires.

You may find the guide link below helpful; it contains a chapter on guinea pigs with terminal illness and discusses the ethics and considerations around when to call it shots and how they impact on your grieving process. I hope that it will settle your mind somewhat and will give you something in hand that helps you with making your own decision. Your grieving process starts the moment you realise that your piggy won't get better again, and it is an emotionally very tough moment as you have just found out. When you have never faced a loss before, it can feel overwhelming!
Human Bereavement: Grieving, Coping and Support Links for Guinea Pig Owners and Their Children

Please ask your vet to feel whether other lymph nodes in the body are also swollen. It could be lymphoma; the puffiness and weight loss are pointing to her being in pain. If you ask your vet about their personal and honest opinion, they will usually give it; as well as talking you through the pros and cons of your various options that are based on their assessment. Ultimately, any decision is always yours; nobody can make it for you, but nobody can also take it away from you.

PS: Here is our link with lots of information and advice on how to care for a very ill guinea pig if you decide to give Bessie a bit more time. Please be aware that you can never judge the food intake by watching a piggy eat their veg; hay makes over 80% of the daily food intake, and it cannot be controlled by eye, but only by daily weighing.
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment

I feel for you and wish you all the best for tomorrow. I hope that this and the links I have included will help you through this very difficult night and the appointment.
 

Christy053

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I am so sorry you are going through this. I am going to tag in our health illness advisors for ideas on the lump @Wiebke @Siikibam @Freela @Piggies&buns @PigglePuggle @furryfriends (TEAS) @Abi_nurse

how happy is little Bessie in herself?

where about a are you located?

I live in Leeds. She is still squeaking for attention when I go in the room and still loving her food which make she think she isn’t suffering but then to feel how thin she is I doubt myself
 

Wiebke

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I live in Leeds. She is still squeaking for attention when I go in the room and still loving her food which make she think she isn’t suffering but then to feel how thin she is I doubt myself

As long as she is still active and shows clearly that she is interested in food and her able to live her normal daily routine, then she is still hanging in there and still has got enough quality of life to go on. ;)

PS: Please do not force any water into her. She is obviously still fit to drink - the more you overwater, the less she will drink on her own. Rather make sure that you monitor her hay intake by weighing daily at the same time and stepping in with additional recovery syringe feed to help slow down the weight loss. A painkiller from your vet should also help.
 

Siikibam

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All the best with your appointment today. I think you are the one best placed to decide when/whether it’s time to let her go. Keeping you both in my thoughts.
 

Freela

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It's such a hard choice to have to make. :( I think if she is doing normal guinea pig things (eating, wheeking, puttering around) that she is still having quality of life. When she won't or can't do those things anymore, that's her telling you she's not enjoying herself anymore. ((HUGS)) and so sorry you are dealing with this!
 

Betsy

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It's a difficult time. I went through the same with my Velvet back in September so can sympathise with you. In the end she was refusing to eat everything except for the odd dandelion leaf. She even refused Metacam which she used to go mad for. She just stayed in the hutch not doing anything and looked very sorry for herself and she wouldn't talk or play with the other 2 piggies either. I knew it was time to say goodbye. I still miss her every day but it is getting easier slowly.
 

dannif_piggies

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This may sound like the most un-useful piece of advice you've ever got. I was told the same when I really didn't know if it was time to put Honey to sleep.

But...

When the time is right, you will just know, you won't be second guessing. I promise, you'll just get it right.

When I read it in your situation, I felt like "but what if I don't, what if this and that". But Bessie will let you know when she's ready. Only you can make that decision for her when it's time, and it will just seem right. If you're still doubting the decision, then it's not time.

The night I had Honey put to sleep, she had been in the vets all day, I got told she had been eating and doing really well. Got her home, and she clearly felt so relaxed she could show how she really felt, within an hour, I was on my way to emergency vets. I knew she'd had enough, after all she was 7!

Trust your instinct and you'll be right. ❤️
 

Black piggies

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Good luck getting some guidance from the vet. I had one of mine PTS last month and equally wasn't sure in the days beforehand but the day I decided I was sure and I've had no regrets that it was time to end his suffering.
My friend had an elderly hamster with cancer and the vet said as she still wanted to eat keep her going, like your piggy still wheeking for food. But even if they want food, there's a time where life seems a huge struggle for them and then it's time.
 

Wiebke

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I found Bessie RIP in her cage this morning, I am glad she went naturally :( thank you for all your advice

BIG HUGS

I am so sorry, but glad that the decision has been taken out of your hands and that she hasn't suffered badly for long.

Popcorn free and whole again at the Rainbow Bridge, Bessie!
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry for your loss but also (in a way) glad she chose for herself rather than you having to make that difficult decision. Take good care of yourself. The rainbow bridge section is ready for your ‘eulogy’ when you are ❣️

Run free Bessie
 

Ritika

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Popcorn free Bessie god bless u and stay strong lots of hugs❤❤
 

Bill & Ted

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So sorry you have lost little Bessie x
Sleep tight little lady x
 
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