Sudden Loss Of Baby Guinea...need Advice Please

GrandmaGuinea

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NOTE: Apologies for the length of this message. We sincerely thank you in advance for taking the time to read.

As of last week we became the proud grandparents of two baby pigggies (both female, 3 months old) that we bought for my daughter for her birthday. She was so happy and excited to be their mommy. What we weren’t expecting was to fall in love with those little piggy girls just as much as my daughter did. Especially because they are so young and tiny, we have been reading & watching as much material as possible on how to properly care for our new baby guineas.

Everything seemed to be moving in a positive direction as they settled in, they were starting to come towards us when we put our hand in the cage and they were starting to respond when we called their names, they would allow us to pet them without getting annoyed or being frightened, they were eating, drinking, and pooing well, and seemed to really enjoy their social / play time outside of the cage. One piggy in particular is a bit more spunky, she recently started running & jumping around like crazy and would also stretch her entire body out so that she is super long and skinny. We’ve read that these are signs that the piggy is very happy, excited and relaxed (if that doesn’t sound correct, please chime in!), so we thought things were going in a positive direction. Last night we were shocked and saddened to find one of our piggies had suddenly passed away. We were only away from the cage for a few hours. We did notice that over the last 24 hours she didn’t seem to be as active, she seemed to be in the puffed-up position more often than usual and in their play time she really just wanted to be near the other piggy. Our heads are spinning with questions. Against better judgement we did get them from a pet store, but we were told that they had a clean bill of health and they were only there for a few days before coming home to us. We desperately want answers. As heartbroken as we are over this sudden loss, we also really need to look forward and focus on our remaining little guinea. We want to make sure that we do everything right so as not to further traumatize her. She seems to be doing so well but this, no doubt, is very upsetting and unsettling for her. We know that piggies are best when paired and not left alone in the cage, but we also read that introducing a new piggie to an already established home can be very stressful on both piggies and can result in rejection of the new one. Do you have any advice as to what the best thing to do is for our little piggy? Should we get another piggy in there right away or will that be too traumatic for her? We would really appreciate any insight you may have.
Many thanks for your time.
 

Janey

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Hi and welcome!

I'm so sorry to read what's happened. Sadly it is impossible to know what the cause of death was without a post mortem and I don't know if you'd want that to happen. It does sound like everything was moving in a positive direction from what you said, but unfortunately piggies that come from pet shops aren't always bred well and can suffer as a result from various genetic issues.

As far as what to do now goes, I would suggest that you look into getting another little friend for your remaining girl. The best way to do this is by visiting a rescue that offers a dating service. This way your piggy can have a say in which piggy she gets on with, and you'll be able to take them both home, knowing that acceptance has happened and there is a much greater chance of a happy pairing. You could opt for another girl or a neutered boar - maybe a lot of that will depend on what the rescue has available, and if your remaining girl strikes up a friendship with any piggies there. I'm not sure how helpful this will be, but here's a link to a recommended rescues, but I do notice you're in Washington, so there may not be any showing, but worth checking. Here's the link: Guinea Pig Rescue Centre Locator . If nothing shows up, it might be worth asking at your vets if they know of any recommended piggy rescues that are local to you.
 

Meggy50

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Hi, just wanted to say so sorry your piggie passed away. I totally understand how you feel as one of our new piggies passed away on Friday. I hope you find a new friend for your remaining one soon xx
 

Wiebke

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Hi! I am very sorry; young guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly. it is always very upsetting because you are left with a huge shock and lots of unanswerable questions. Only an expensive post-mortem at a vet clinic might answer them. :(

Here is our bereavement guide; you will hopefully find it helpful. Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig

The best guinea pig rescue in your region is Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. They have a strict neutering and spaying policy, so you can opt for either a sow or a 'husboar' as a companion; mutual liking is much more important than age. The rescue will only put guinea pigs up for adoption when they are fully healthy and recovered from the operation, so you do not have to worry about potentially carrying in a new bug. Use the time you should quarantine your survivor (as the cause of death is unknown) to contact the rescue and set up an adoption. US rescues generally require you to fill in an adoption form as the first step.
Website: Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue or facebook: Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue

PS: Our forum welfare recommendations comply with or surpass minimal welfare recommendations in English speaking countries.
You can find them via our new owners' guide collection: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

GrandmaGuinea

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Thank you so very much, Janey. This is most helpful. I love the “dating service” idea. I’m going to look into finding a rescue right away that offers this service.
 

GrandmaGuinea

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Thank you so much Weibke!
This information is so helpful and we really appreciate you taking the time to help us navigate through the bereavement process with our little baby guinea.


Hi! I am very sorry; young guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly. it is always very upsetting because you are left with a huge shock and lots of unanswerable questions. Only an expensive post-mortem at a vet clinic might answer them. :(

Here is our bereavement guide; you will hopefully find it helpful. Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig

The best guinea pig rescue in your region is Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue. They have a strict neutering and spaying policy, so you can opt for either a sow or a 'husboar' as a companion; mutual liking is much more important than age. The rescue will only put guinea pigs up for adoption when they are fully healthy and recovered from the operation, so you do not have to worry about potentially carrying in a new bug. Use the time you should quarantine your survivor (as the cause of death is unknown) to contact the rescue and set up an adoption. US rescues generally require you to fill in an adoption form as the first step.
Website: Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue or facebook: Metropolitan Guinea Pig Rescue

PS: Our forum welfare recommendations comply with or surpass minimal welfare recommendations in English speaking countries.
You can find them via our new owners' guide collection: Getting Started - New Owners' Most Helpful Guides
 

Wiebke

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Thank you so much Weibke!
This information is so helpful and we really appreciate you taking the time to help us navigate through the bereavement process with our little baby guinea.
All the best! I am in contact with the lady who runs the rescue and can vouch for how dedicated she is. If she has any requests, please be amenable to them; they are always for the best of your guinea pigs and their welfare. But you will be in very safe hands there.
A good standard rescue is frankly by far the safest and best place to get guinea pigs from; for your extra effort, you get a lot more service and total peace of mind; you have also got the support of the rescue for the duration of the life of their adopted piggy if anything goes seriously haywire.

There are two more rescues listed for Maryland on Guinea Lynx that have comparable requirements as to the standard and ethics at all stages of the rescue/rehoming process to the UK rescues listed on our forum in order to qualify as recommended rescue. Metropolitan GPR is the one that explicitly also covers Washington and North Virginia.
Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations
 

Merab's Slave

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So sorry for your loss.
What a terrible shock for you all.
I hope you find a good companion for your surviving piggy.
Don’t forget that you all need to grieve too so be gentle with yourselves
 

Swissgreys

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I just wanted to add that I think you sound like wonderful owners and have clearly done everything within you power to offer both of your girls an amazing home.
It is hard but don't blame yourself, as guinea pigs are masters at disguising illness and can go downhill very fast when they do become ill.
Plus it is always impossible to rule out some underlying health defect, that means even if you had been home you would not be able to have saved your little girl.
Be kind to yourself and remember to keep us updated as to how things work out with finding a friend for your remaining piggy.
 

GrandmaGuinea

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Many thanks for the details regarding the rescue, Wiebke. Grandpa Guinea and I looked it up yesterday and read all about their policies and even looked over their available guineas. We will look up the others in the area as well so that we have as much information as possible. We really love the idea of having Cinny have a say in who her new pal is going to be by seeing who she best gets along with. We received advice from small, exotic animals vet that we should keep her quarantined for a week (someone in this group mentioned that as well) to rule out anything that may be contagious since we don’t know what really happened to little Toasty. We are so thankful for all of the advice and support this network has provided to us. Just an update on our little Cinny (Cinnamon)...this morning during our playtime she was running & jumping around like crazy and making that high pitched whistling sound. I really hope that means she is happy. She sure seemed that way, though I’m sure she is lonely. Hopefully we will be able to have a pal for her soon.
 

GrandmaGuinea

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Thank you so much Swiss Greys. It is so hard not to blame yourself, you are right.
I think we will feel a bit better once we have a new friend in there for Cinny.
Of course, I will keep you updated. You all have been so helpful and supportive, I can’t thank you enough.
I just wanted to add that I think you sound like wonderful owners and have clearly done everything within you power to offer both of your girls an amazing home.
It is hard but don't blame yourself, as guinea pigs are masters at disguising illness and can go downhill very fast when they do become ill.
Plus it is always impossible to rule out some underlying health defect, that means even if you had been home you would not be able to have saved your little girl.
Be kind to yourself and remember to keep us updated as to how things work out with finding a friend for your remaining piggy.
 

Wiebke

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I just wanted to add that I think you sound like wonderful owners and have clearly done everything within you power to offer both of your girls an amazing home.
It is hard but don't blame yourself, as guinea pigs are masters at disguising illness and can go downhill very fast when they do become ill.
Plus it is always impossible to rule out some underlying health defect, that means even if you had been home you would not be able to have saved your little girl.
Be kind to yourself and remember to keep us updated as to how things work out with finding a friend for your remaining piggy.
She sounds like she is coping well and is a happy, energetic baby; that is at least one big load off your shoulders and gives you time to do your research. Our recommendation and the Guinea Lynx list are the rescues that we can guarantee for that you and Cinny will be in safe and experienced hands. Unfortunately, anybody can call themselves a rescue without licence or supervision, and the results can be accordingly. If you rehome privately, all the risks are on your side. You have to be aware that previous owners can be amazingly economical with the truth when they are trying to get rid of a no longer wanted piggy. By adopting from a good rescue, you can at least assure that the freed up space goes to another piggy in need of good and often medical care. You are always saving more piggies than you bring home! ;)
 
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