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Put To Sleep?

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emma82

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Hi,

New to this forum so hope this is the correct place to post.

I have an elderly male guinea pig who's been impacted for the past few months. I'm cleaning him out every day but he hates it. Some background might help - I've had him 4 years and the lady I got him from had never picked him (or his mate who died a couple of yrs ago) so they were totally unhandled when I took them on. I worked to get them use to handling in case I ever needed to pick them up......neither ever liked been picked up but would tolerate so I could check them, brush, clip nails etc.

Anyhow since he's been impacted I've been cleaning him out which as I said above he hates....firstly he doesn't like been picked up and secondly he hates me cleaning him. I've managed so far but like night he fitted and curled up onto his side. I thought I'd lost him but after a couple of seconds massaging him he came round........I've just about finished cleaning him at this point so was able to put him back in his cage and feed shortly after. Checked on him many times last night and this morning and he seems himself (He's quite happy in his cage)

I'm now wondering whether its fair to keep him alive.....I've not got a problem cleaning him but he obviously hates it and seems to get very stressed. Last night was the first time he 'fitted' but I'm worried about this happened again.

Has anyone been in this situation? What did you do? Any advice would be appreciated.....please no judgemental responses.....even thinking about it is upsetting.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

I am very sorry for the situation you are finding yourself in. It is always a difficult time, and you are a caring piggy mummy!

Please have him checked by a vet. The fitting is worrying. It is possible that your boy may have another or more and worse episodes in the coming days or weeks. it could be a tiny stroke, epilepsy or something else. Let him guide you on how far you are prepared to take him. Personally I would call it shots anytime he is in obvious pain/discomfort, facing a corner and/or refusing to eat. As long as he is still going about his life as normal, I would continue as you have.

For myself, I have always drawn the line by whether a piggy was still having an interest and will to live whenever I had to consider pts, but I have had my piggies put to sleep or was prepared to if the pain/discomfort was getting too great or the chance of a good recovery with further very expensive treatment was less than 50%.

Where you draw the line exactly differs for everybody as you have to weigh up your own desires and your piggy's wellbeing and interests. As long as you are basing your decision on your love for your boy and doing your best for him, there is no right or wrong.

Once you are coming close to the line, it is good to think these things through and to decide where you are prepared to call it shots, so you can make any decision with a clear conscience and less of the inevitable doubts/soul searching/feelings of guilt that are characteristic for the onset of the grieving process.

Any good vet will be prepared to dicuss the various aspects with you based on the medical condition he is in, but the ultimate decision always has to be yours, and yours only.
 

Abi_nurse

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This is a very hard decision for you to have to make and I would rather it you make that decision rather than others. We often discuss the 5 freedoms with owners when the time comes to discussing euthanasia. These are.
- freedom from hunger and thirst
- freedom from discomfort
- freedom from pain, injury or disease
- freedom to behave normally
- freedom from fear and distress

These are things to consider. And if perhaps you think he is painful etc then starting some pain relief may be worth it.

With regards to the 'fitting' without really seeing it or knowing exactly what he did I can't comment much. I wouldn't make much of a one off event right now unless it lasted a long or was perhaps a violent full on seizure. If he ever had another episode then you may be looking at a number of things from heart disease through to just plain epilepsy.

I'm afraid only you know your pet and what you feel is best for them. You know his usual traits and behaviours and if you think his quality of life is no longer there then it isn't bad to consider the put to sleep route, that said also, if he's still eating well etc and seems his usual self then you could look at it the other way.

I hope you can come to a decision.

Thinking of you both.
x
 

Freela

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It's a very hard decision, and unfortunately one that only you can make based on your assessment of his quality of life. I know for myself having to make that decision has always come down to quality of life. If the animal was able to carry out their normal behaviors without distress or undue pain, I was happy to help them carry on. Sometimes this included some treatment that animal in question didn't like (Sundae had a huge facial abscess that I had to squeeze the pus out of twice daily for months... it was about as pleasant as it sounds, and she enjoyed the process about as much as you would expect!) However, she ate, drank and ran around throughout the duration of the illness, and although she didn't enjoy the wound care, it was intermittent discomfort/stress and she had a reasonable chance of recovering and leading a normal life with treatment. On the other hand, I've had pets that were obviously not going to pull through even with treatment, or who had chronic disease that so impaired them that they were no longer able to carry out the normal animal behaviors, and in those cases I thought it was better to have them put to sleep peacefully rather than suffer longer and die or live a life that was stressful and unhappy due to loss of mobility or pain. In your case, I would likely consult a vet about the fitting you witnessed and have a frank discussion about the options and if there's anything that may help his situation, like pain relief.

If having to care for his impaction is a new process, I might set a time period or a month or so after which to reevaluate. He may become more comfortable with the process with time and exposure. I had a hedgehog who I rescued as an adult who HATED to be handled... absolutely loathed it, so we largely let her be. However, in her old age she developed UTIs that needed antibiotics and skin issues that needed bathing and dressing. I did find that she tolerated the care better as it went on... she passed away naturally of old age within six months or so of developing increased care needs, but she grew to tolerate the handling over that time, and we actually probably liked each other better at that point than we had in the six years leading up to it. So you may find his tolerance increases with time.

((HUGS)) and so sorry you are having to face difficult decisions. It's never easy.
 

Sara412

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I'm with everyone else here - you know your piggy and you in your heart will know what is the best descision to make - all I can add is that my oldest Brodie, has slight impaction and needs treating on a 2/3 day basis - at first he hated it and struggled, - now a month later, he is quite happy on his back in my arms (as long as he can snuggle his face in my arm) and for me to clean him out and barely makes a noise- though it may be that he knows he's going to get a bayleaf treat after that helps.
 

Stewybus

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I have a male piggy, Mitch who goes through a fitting type of thing everytime I pick him up to do his nails or check his bits. It gets that bad that quite often I just have to leave him with half his nails done & make a note & do the rest next time. It's like a spasm including loud clicking his teeth together but not the same as when they're showing aggression to other piggies. Of all the piggies I have handled including dozens at Bunny Burrows where I help out & now in my own rescue, he's the only one who does this. I am wondering if you piggy is doing the same as Mitch x
 

emma82

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Thank you for all your replies......its comforting to know there's support out there :)

He's been impacted for about 3 months now and weirdly tolerated been cleaned at first, its just the last few times he was a little more vocal and then the fitting incident happened. I'm going to see how it goes over the next week or so and if this fitting happens again or he seems to be in pain take him back to the vet.

Otherwise he's quite a happy little pig..........wheeking when i go into the kitchen, eating fine and falling alseep in his hay :)
 

Wiebke

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Thank you for all your replies......its comforting to know there's support out there :)

He's been impacted for about 3 months now and weirdly tolerated been cleaned at first, its just the last few times he was a little more vocal and then the fitting incident happened. I'm going to see how it goes over the next week or so and if this fitting happens again or he seems to be in pain take him back to the vet.

Otherwise he's quite a happy little pig..........wheeking when i go into the kitchen, eating fine and falling alseep in his hay :)
You may have accidentally caused him a bit discomfort. But it sounds like he has still got the quality and the interest in leading a normal life at the moment.
 
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