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Struggling with death of guinea pig


New Born Pup
Aug 13, 2018
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Hi everyone,

Today was a VERY unexpectedly bad day.

My guinea pig, since her checkup in August, has just kept getting thinner. She LOVED to eat, and always took her veggies, but she just could not keep her weight.

Last night, she was perfectly normal. This morning, I woke up and she showed all signs of a very advanced respiratory illness. Breathing heavy, not moving, wet sneezes, discharge around the nose and eyes, all of it.

Before bringing her to the emergency vet, I tried to give her both critical care and a syringe with just plain water because I wasn’t sure at what point she stopped eating. She chewed it very weakly, but she quickly ended up just refusing the critical care. She’d let it just sit on her mouth and let it drip. She showed very little alertness as well when I would put my hand in front of her or even offer her her favorite snack.

I was expecting pneumonia, but because she was so thin the vet was able to actually feel a mass in her abdominal area. She was so thin and sick at that point, and the vet thinks that whatever this mass was was preventing her from sustaining any nutrients from what she was eating, even if she did constantly eat. Her lungs sounded good in the lower region and it seemed to her that the respiratory illness could’ve been a result of the lack of nutrients she was getting.

At this point it seemed like if I brought her home, she would be dead by the night. It felt cruel to be selfish and bring her home when I knew in my heart that she was suffering and probably would starve to death or experience respiratory failure. They gave me the option to euthanize her and what made me make that decision was when they left me alone with her — she kept trying to roll over on her back and was opening her mouth. I could tell she was suffering and could not breathe. She couldn’t even keep her head up.

I think it was the right decision because I know that now she doesn’t have to suffer. I felt it would have been selfish to force her to fight through this. She had lost so much weight and was SO sick.

I guess I’m just here to ask for some support and reassurance. I feel guilty because I believe I maybe could have prevented this, although I know there’s no way to know for sure. Maybe if I had caught the mass earlier, it would have still caused her to lose weight and become ill due to a compromised immune system. Or maybe if I caught it earlier she would’ve been just fine and none of this would’ve happened…I don’t know. This makes me wonder about her past behavior, too. I brought her back in August for a head tilt that went away the next day, as well as difficulty chewing & a decreased appetite. It feels like she was just never the same since she experienced that. :(
Oh dear, I am so very sorry to hear that you have lost your little one and sorry that you are experiencing feelings of guilt. I know from personal experience that the guilt really does tear you apart and losing our babies is heart shattering.

The thing with our little ones is that they hide their illnesses so well and often we only really pick up on their illnesses when they are so advanced and sadly sometimes when it is too late. Again, I know this because I have battled with the guilt and in all honesty still am.

You obviously really cared and loved your little one and the fact that you made the selfless decision to end her suffering was an heroic one. Please do not blame yourself, sometimes more often than not, life is unfair. You have been a proud and good piggie parent never forget that. Please be gentle with yourself as you heal from this traumatic experience. Sleep tight little one ♥️
I found it really comforting and releasing to pay tribute to my Susie and my Heidi by writing a tribute to them in the Rainbow Bridge section of the forum. It allows you to share your precious memories and say your goodbyes. You may also find this gives you a little comfort during this horrific time x
I'm so sorry for your loss. Many ((HUGS)) to you. If it's any consolation, most of my piggies have gone relatively quickly when their time comes. They went from seemingly fine to passing away within a day or so, sometimes dramatically less. You gave her a wonderful life and let her pass peacefully. Please be kind to yourself as you grieve!
I'm so sorry, it's rough. This is the hard part about having pets. We put ourselves in the position of choosing what's best for another life, and ultimately, that includes deciding when the end has come.

It's a massive decision and there is just no way to avoid the feelings of "what if". You just have to embrace that. When the time came that that decision had to be made, you stepped up and you made it, and the uncertainty and the what-if is part of the burden you took on for the sake of your pet. You can never know for sure what would have happened in all the possible scenarios. You can only know that in the situation you found yourself in, you did your best in the best interests of the little life you were responsible for.

What I'm saying is, you did good. And now it's time to grieve, and these difficult feelings are just part of that. The only way out is through.
It sounds like you did the very kindest thing for your little girl. I had to make the same decision earlier this week. It’s natural to think of all the ‘could I have done this’ and ‘should I have done that’. I think it’s the shock that makes us want to find something when really it’s nature’s course. As others have posted, you made the tough but kind decision for your little one. She’s not suffering. Be kind to yourself and grieve as much as you need. It seems it’s the tiniest creatures that leave the biggest imprint on our hearts 💕
Please be kind to yourself.
At the end of they we are all human and you did everything right - you obviously loved her very much, and took her to the vet to receive proper care when she needed it.

Piggies are complex little creatures and it is perfectly normal to wonder about all of the 'what if's'.
Give yourself time to grieve and realise that is it ok to be very sad. She was a part of your life for a long time and was lucky to have such a caring and devoted owner.
So very sorry for your loss.
You did everything possible and gave her so much love.
Be gentle with yourself as you grieve.