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Trust in ability to make correct decisions

Pigoles

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Nearly two weeks ago, I had to have lovely cheeky Melvin PTS. I tragically trusted my local vet to operate after she discovered dental spurs after a sudden weight loss. I was shocked and panicked to discover that he needed an operation, and just desperately wanted him well again. My instincts told me he was still in pain after the op, so the next day I asked for pain relief. The vet told me that they don't usually give pain relief (!), but gave me Metacam at a low dose.

I was concerned about the low dose, so the dose was also checked with his usual vet (I have been looking after Melvin for a family member since February). His usual vet also insisted on the same low dose of Metacam. I was afraid to go against the advice of two different vets, and as I am autistic, I struggle with decision making, needing the security of guidance. I hated seeing him in pain, and despite my constant 27/4 care, Melvin deteriorated, refusing some syringe feeds. The final advice of the vet was to PTS, five days after his dental op and I agreed as desperately didn't want him to suffer ... but less than a week earlier my cheeky, curious, lively boy had been trotting around the kitchen to peek inside the open dishwasher ... the shock of his loss is huge.

I'm left feeling that my trust in my own judgement is broken, as having been wracked with guilt over the last week, I know my gut instincts were right, yet the vets advised me incorrectly. My nightmare thought is that Melvin could have recovered (with adequate pain relief to enable him to feed/recover), yet I handed him over for his life to end. The guilt is immense ... I had grown to love that cheeky boy so much and loved caring for him (plus his friend Bella) ... yet at the end, I feel I failed him by my misguided blind trust in the vet, in the worse way possible.

How can I trust my judgement again? I know my sweet Bella needs a new friend for her ongoing happiness, but I am terrified of making another misjudgement ...
 

Pigoles

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Thread title should be "Trust in ability to make correct decisions" ... last few words went 'missing' somehow, sorry!
 

sport_billy

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Hi, I am really sorry to read this. Dental issues are complex. We follow the judgement of vets, they are the ones with medical training.

What you are feeling is the unreasonable part of grief, the dreaded ‘what ifs’ these and it makes the loss so much worse to deal with.
You made the kindest decision for your little boy when he needed you the most despite how much pain it was going to cause you.

The pain in time eases and so does the guilt, I have lost 7 over the years and still second guess myself over choices I have made or not made... but I know again this is a wave of grief and one of the awful emotions attached to it

Melvin was loved and that is all any of us can ask for in life. Please be kind to yourself, you deserve it. Hugs x
 

Pigoles

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Hi, I am really sorry to read this. Dental issues are complex. We follow the judgement of vets, they are the ones with medical training.

What you are feeling is the unreasonable part of grief, the dreaded ‘what ifs’ these and it makes the loss so much worse to deal with.
You made the kindest decision for your little boy when he needed you the most despite how much pain it was going to cause you.

The pain in time eases and so does the guilt, I have lost 7 over the years and still second guess myself over choices I have made or not made... but I know again this is a wave of grief and one of the awful emotions attached to it

Melvin was loved and that is all any of us can ask for in life. Please be kind to yourself, you deserve it. Hugs x
Thank you for your very kind reply. I am still struggling with the regret of following the vet's advice ... as I fear in hindsight from searching/reading far more on here since Melvin was PTS, that he could have recovered given proper pain relief and more recovery time. I was too afraid of acting against the vets advice, and that cost my cheeky Melvin his life. The thought that I handed him over to be taken before his time hurts tremendously, as I miss him so much.

I am trying to tell myself that all I can do is learn from this terribly sad experience and think of the happy months before the sadness and pain of his last few days and advocate/search for better care for Bella, should she become unwell. I also worry about judgement here, as some posters did try to offer advice, but I was so confused with the conflict of advice offered here and advice from the vet ... so I made the (misguided) choice to trust the vet ... and I fear judgement from more experienced piggie owners here, of the choices that I made :(
 

Swissgreys

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You made the best decision that you could at the time.
No one will judge you for that.
Be kind to yourself - everyone makes judgements that they later feel are lacking, but Melvin was clearly loved. and that is something I like to think that they carry forwards with them :hug:
 

flintstones

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Melvin, was very loved and that is obviously. Please remember if Melvin was in the wild medical intervention would not have been possible. What you did, was let him go so he would be free of pain. The last final act of kindness.

There is no words I can say that will remove the doubt that you are experiencing however please know no one is judging you. You made the decision to let Melvin go, and to end his suffering.

As others have said, please be kind to yourself and when the time is right you can begin a search for Bella's new friend.
 

Zanzan

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Your situation makes you think you did the wrong thing but also consider there is every chance that Melvin might not have recovered and might have spent an extended time in pain and discomfort with the same eventual outcome. However much regret you are feeling you gave him a life full of love and happiness and a peaceful and pain free end. Please don't punish yourself, he would thank you for all you gave him
 

Pigoles

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You made the best decision that you could at the time.
No one will judge you for that.
Be kind to yourself - everyone makes judgements that they later feel are lacking, but Melvin was clearly loved. and that is something I like to think that they carry forwards with them :hug:
Thank you ... it is my lack of knowledge that I regret ... I wish I had known more about guinea pig pain relief/limitations of vets before suddenly being thrown into illness. I guess I feared judgement from more experienced owners here who may have thought "Why is she not listening to our advice?", but it was so confusing for me when the vet contradicted what I read on here ... (which I now realise was far more knowledgeable advice than the vet gave, tragically).
I hope he knew how much I grew to love his cheeky character in the few short months I had him ... he (and Bella) was the only reason I had to get up during lockdown ... I just miss him so ...
 

DougalandDiego

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It sounds like Melvin was a very loved and spoilt piggy. Be kind to yourself - sending big hugs :hug:
 

Pigoles

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It sounds like Melvin was a very loved and spoilt piggy. Be kind to yourself - sending big hugs :hug:
Oh ... he was! My father renamed them the "Pampered Rats"! I used the forum to find out all the wild things piggies can eat and went out on walks into the surrounding countryside to collect them ... soft thistle, groundsel and stickyweed were found to be Melvin's favourites!
 

Zanzan

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Melvin will always have a room in your heart but please don't lose the confidence to have pigs in the future. It's horrible when they die but I feel this is always outweighed by the joy they bring when they share their lives with us. Don't deny yourself the piggie love you deserve because of this sad experience.
 

Guinea Slave

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How awful for you but at least he had a wonderful life with you and you cared for him and loved him so much.

As others have said, this is all much about grief and the process you go through mentally and its awful, its a very frustrating and upsetting way we deal with things mentally. I always question myself afterwards no matter how mad it is and how black and white the decison or actions I took were. For example, I had a horse break a leg once out in her field, nothing anyone could have done, it was an accident and she clearly had to be PTS, but for weeks I questioned whether I had done the right thing, it was the only decision and I was wracked with guilt but there was no other option. Its just an example of how grief can make you think highly irrational thoughts, so please dont beat yourself up.

As for experience, I think we have all been through those early years of animal learning and it takes a long long time to learn to trust your instincts and push back. One of my first guineas was amazing, the sweetest little agouti I have ever had. She had to be PTS in the end as she just withered away in front of us. I literally took her miles to see different vets and nothing resolved it. In the last 20 years since, I still wonder if we could have done more and now I think we could have. Now I do question and I do push back BUT it took a long time to have the confidence to do this. Each and every one like her and your Melvin has taught us something which has helped other guineas/animals later on. For Melvin's memory take the experience and use it for the future. Thats the gift he gave you.

I suspect he's looking down on you now thinking...'dont worry, you did right by me and did all you could do'

Time heals and memories wont fade.

RIP little Melvin. xxxxx
 

Claire W

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I am so sorry for your loss :( If it helps, I also lost a piggy to dental issues. His teeth was trapping his tongue but he just didn’t recover well after the op. I will always feel guilty for sending him to the bridge but I know in my heart of hearts, that I made the kindest decision for him.

Take time to grieve and for your heart to heal and I promise, it does get easier.

You did your very best for Melvin and made the kindest decision for him x
 

Freela

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I'm so sorry for your loss. :( I have also second-guessed my decisions following the loss of a piggie... I lost one pig, Frenzy, to dental issues several years ago and still feel she could have potentially been saved had I known to find a vet with more experience and more current knowledge. I have to remind myself that I did the best I could at the time with the knowledge and experience that I had. I loved Frenzy and would have done anything I could to save her life. I just didn't have the resources to be able to do so at the time. Although it was too late for her, I learned from the experience and found a more experienced vet who may have saved the life of a future pig who also had dental issues. I still wonder about what could have been and wish that things had turned out differently, but I realize that I can't change the past and can't beat myself up over what could have been. I did the best I could for her, I gave Frenzy a good life while she was with me, and although I wish it had been for longer, I have to forgive myself for what I did with the best of all possible intentions at the time.

In short, ((HUGS)) to you. You did everything you reasonably could to help a pet who you obviously loved very much. A lot of piggies are not so lucky. Please be kind to yourself and give yourself time to grieve. It's always so hard to lose a beloved pet and having to make these kinds of decisions is always very, very hard.
 

Pigoles

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As for experience, I think we have all been through those early years of animal learning and it takes a long long time to learn to trust your instincts and push back.
Now I do question and I do push back BUT it took a long time to have the confidence to do this. Each and every one like her and your Melvin has taught us something which has helped other guineas/animals later on. For Melvin's memory take the experience and use it for the future. Thats the gift he gave you.
Thank you all for your thoughts, reassurance and empathy ... it is comforting to read. It is true ... I now know far more than I did three weeks ago about piggie's health (tho think Bella is fed up of being placed on the scales ... thankfully she isn't losing weight any weight whilst alone ... rather the opposite ... greedy piggie ;) ! I will be far more assertive in the future, less panicked and have gained knowledge to care for future piggies whilst sourcing more specialist vet help.

It helps immensely to know that other people also learnt over time (tho very sad to read of other's sad losses). I guess when faced with the vast knowledge and experience of members like @Wiebke @furryfriends (TEAS), I felt like I might be judged for making 'wrong' choices through my inexperience and blind trust in the vet ... but all I can do is learn from this terribly sad experience, and continue to learn, love and care for Bella as best I can ...
 

Guinea Slave

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Sounds like Bella is very happy with the 1:1 attention!

You will do just fine, And we are all here to help you x
 

Wiebke

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Thank you all for your thoughts, reassurance and empathy ... it is comforting to read. It is true ... I now know far more than I did three weeks ago about piggie's health (tho think Bella is fed up of being placed on the scales ... thankfully she isn't losing weight any weight whilst alone ... rather the opposite ... greedy piggie ;) ! I will be far more assertive in the future, less panicked and have gained knowledge to care for future piggies whilst sourcing more specialist vet help.

It helps immensely to know that other people also learnt over time (tho very sad to read of other's sad losses). I guess when faced with the vast knowledge and experience of members like @Wiebke @furryfriends (TEAS), I felt like I might be judged for making 'wrong' choices through my inexperience and blind trust in the vet ... but all I can do is learn from this terribly sad experience, and continue to learn, love and care for Bella as best I can ...
I am very sorry about your bad experience.

Please remind yourself that our own knowledge is very often based on similar hard lessons we have had to take and get on with in whatever way. We are just longer at it and have more dents and knocks and the scars (and supposed wisdom) that comes with it.

How were you to know as a new owner that there are vets and vets - you often find the good ones only by trial and error or by places like this forum, which certainly wasn't around yet when I started out again with my adult life piggies and had to work things out totally on my own with my own decisions, some of which I will always rue. And our recommended vets locator relies fully on the good and bad experiences made by our members.

Ownership is a life long journey; sometimes you have to run after a hard knock to catch up, sometimes you can find your way through with the help of somebody else's map. But it is always your very own journey and never somebody else's.
There are always things that have to be put down to 'life lesson'. Adulthood is full of them. All you can do is get up and try to avoid making the same mistake again. It won't help you with making all sorts of other mistakes. I am still at it - making mistakes and misjudgments and fighting my own hang-ups. Flying blindly and having to make executive decisions with insufficient data means that you cannot always get it right. I am still as far from achieving sainthood as anybody else on this forum, you know!

When the chips are down you had to choose between a trained professional and a forum of amateur owners, however experienced. We certainly don't blame you for your decision, and neither should you yourself; it is one of these things that become obvious only in hindsight. But all of us are sad that your choice has come with such a heavy price.

I sincerely hope that the next part of your piggy adventure is a smoother one and the lessons will be more pleasant ones. We have got lots of helpful information via the guide shortcut on the top; and you are of course always welcome to ask any questions you have or share your concerns with us.

Bella sounds like a very pampered and indulged lady indeed!
 
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hannahs26

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I'm so sorry for your loss of Melvin, and for what you are going through. I hope that you soon can accept that you did the best you could in difficult times, and trusted in those who you thought had the knowledge to guide you. You couldn't have done anything differently at the time. You saved Melvin from suffering, which is such a very hard thing to do, but you were strong enough to do it, due to your love for him. Sending you hugs x
 
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