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Very sick guinea pig, looking for advice and mental support

Anna12

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Hi all,
I am looking for some advice and I think mainly some mental support. Also maybe from people who have experience with this particular disease my guinea pig has (lymphoma).
So here's the story. My girl, Stella, is an older guinea pig. We do not know exactly how old she is, but my guess would be over 5. Just two weeks ago, we were at the vets for a regular check up. She has kidney cysts, for which she is under treatment and that seemed to be going very well, she was happy and healthy, running around through my living room, and sharing her opinions (mostly about food) very loudly. During the checkup she was just over 900g. She used to be more, but she was fluctuating quite a bit, mostly between 920 and 1000g, which was due to the kidneys (made her drink a lot, so she had a lot of liquid in her body at times).

Now, since that visit, about a week ago, I found that there was a little lump in her throat, which quickly developed into a not so little lump. Within a matter of days it grew to the size of about a cherry tomatoe. Weighing her showed me that within a week she had lost 100g as well. She actually dipped right under 800g on Thursday. I instantly made an appointment with the vet. And it turned out she has lymphoma. What seems to be a quite aggressive version, because it has grown so fast, but now it seems to have stabilized (at least in size). I am aware that this is a terminal illness for her. I feel like surgery would be way too risky, and I am not even thinking about that as an option: she has had surgery within the past 5 months, she has renal failure, she is a bit older, and the lump is in the throat, which is a tricky location.

I feel like a little side step is needed: earlier this year, she lost her life long companion ,and i feel we went on with the treatment for too long, so his last few days were very stressful to him, and I don't want to stretch a guinea pig's life again because I am too sad to let him/her go.

Back to yesterday. I really felt like it was the end. She was just laying, staring at a wall. not eating much. Later she was on my lap, just laying flat, with her eyes closed. It's hard for her to find a spot with her head, because the lump is in the way, though it doesn't seem to hurt her much. I tried to feed her, but she didn't want to. I do not want to force feed her, since this is a terminal issue, It will be over when she says it is. Later she started to really make sounds of pain and her body was making these little 'shocks', like a hickup but a painful one let's say. I decided to give her a little extra painkiller, and something to help her with a bloaty belly and her intestines. I was afraid to walk into the living room this morning. But there she was, interested in me and her food, willing to take her meds, and almost all of the food I left (it was a LOT), had been eaten. She has gained weight and is now 880g! She doesn't look so apathetic anymore either and she's eating hay, though she does not seem so interested in her pellets.

So here is my question basically: I am really afraid that we're letting her go on for too long. Do you think she is in too much pain? How long does this normally take with a lymphoma? I was in shock with how fast this thing developed for her.
Furthermore I'm just looking for a bit of support from people who get how important guinea pigs can be in our lives. Not many people seem to get it, and the "but it's just a guinea pig" comments are really not helpful right now. (

Thank you for weighing in!
 

Siikibam

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I’m so sorry that your girl is terminally unwell. What conclusion did you come to in terms of pain management after the vet visit?

I think it’s difficult and I couldn’t tell you if she is in pain or you’re putting her to rest too early. I believe you are best placed to make that decision because you know her best.

I would see about syringe feeding her to help her get the weight up. Some on here feed grated carrot/sweet potato or oats as a weight booster.

Piggies are important for those of us who have them as pets. Just as dogs and other cats are important to their owners. It’s unfortunate that some people don’t get it. I’m of the opinion that it’s okay if they don’t, they’re not their pets 🤷🏾‍♀️They bring our family joy (even my husband!) but luckily I’ve yet to come across anyone who thinks they’re just rodents. Even my mum who wasn’t convinced at the beginning has sort of come round!

Enjoy every day as it comes, and when the time is right you will know. We’d love to see some photos of your beautiful girl.
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
 

Hannah_xx

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I'm so sorry to hear you are going through this, I know exactly how you feel as I too recently went through the same thing with my Girl Wilma :luv: .
With Wilma most of her Lymphoma lumps were in her armpits. She went downhill quite quickly, But in the first few weeks when she was still quite ‘well’ I just treated her like a queen, gave her all the food I knew she loved best and made her as comfortable as possible with soft bedding, lots of hay and pain medication. Within just a week or so she became much less active, her breathing was becoming laboured and she started to loose her appetite. I took her to the vet for a checkup, prepared to say goodbye.. but the vet, rightly, assured me Wilma was doing okay and it was fine to let her have another happy week or so..
Somehow her weight was never much of an issue as she was a curvy girl at around 1400g at pretty much stayed at that.
A few days later, Her breathing had become very laboured, she was very quiet.. And I knew it was time. First thing on Sunday morning I rung the emergency number and took her straight in at 8am to let her peacefully go to her forever sleep. It was SO hard and upsetting but I knew 100% it was the right time. The vet was fantastic and I couldn’t be ‘happier‘ with the choice and timing. I still remember stroking her soft beautiful fur as she slipped away.

Wishing you all the best, And I’m here for all the support you need:hug:
 

KathT

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I have a piggie called Delilah who is currently on Loxicom due to having lymphoma. She has a large lump next to her left nipple and several smaller lumps all round her body. Like you, I didn’t think surgery was an option as she has so many lumps and the vet advised to keep her comfortable until it was time - either a breakdown of the skin where the lump is (as it is close to the ground) or if she is in more pain than the Loxicom can handle and her quality of life diminishes. She was very grumpy with her cagemate but since being on regular painkiller/anti-inflam, she has become more agreeable and more like her old self, so I imagine she had been in some pain. I will keep here pain free as long as I can, but once her quality of life diminishes I will have her put to sleep. Making that decision is hard but ultimately the right thing to do. You will know when it’s time, with the experience from your last piggie who you felt went on for too long.
Wishing you strength through this hard time.x
 

Anna12

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thank you so much for your kind and supporting answers! @Siikibam she is currently on metacam for 4kg. Today she seems a little better, though she's not 'active' but she's also not pushed away in a corner. For now I am weighing her daily, and she is relatively stable. But with the syringing I more ment 'forcing'. If she wants the syringe and she takes it on her own initiative, I'll give it to her, but I won't forcefeed her. @Hannah_xx and @KathT thanks for your answers, it is 'nice' to hear stories from others that are going through the same thing. I'm wishing you both a lot of strenght as well. I have given her now a nice bed filled with soft padding and fleece, I'm cleaning her multiple times per day, and she has constant access to her favourite foods. If she goes down, she'll go down like the queen she is.

Here are some pictures of her poking around in the living room and disturbing all of my efforts to live a healthy yoga life 😂 .IMG_20200525_182747.jpgIMG-20200525-WA0002.jpgIMG_3207 (1).JPGIMG-20200705-WA0001.jpgIMG_3308.JPG
 

KathT

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She‘s beautiful and looks like a little Queen too! They get into everything don’t they?! :hug:
 

Hannah_xx

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thank you so much for your kind and supporting answers! @Siikibam she is currently on metacam for 4kg. Today she seems a little better, though she's not 'active' but she's also not pushed away in a corner. For now I am weighing her daily, and she is relatively stable. But with the syringing I more ment 'forcing'. If she wants the syringe and she takes it on her own initiative, I'll give it to her, but I won't forcefeed her. @Hannah_xx and @KathT thanks for your answers, it is 'nice' to hear stories from others that are going through the same thing. I'm wishing you both a lot of strenght as well. I have given her now a nice bed filled with soft padding and fleece, I'm cleaning her multiple times per day, and she has constant access to her favourite foods. If she goes down, she'll go down like the queen she is.

Here are some pictures of her poking around in the living room and disturbing all of my efforts to live a healthy yoga life 😂 .View attachment 154392View attachment 154393View attachment 154394View attachment 154395View attachment 154396
Aww she’s gorgeous! She’s actually a bit similar to my Wilma! (who has lymphoma)
88AC93CD-5F30-4B94-8BBB-EE053C2D6FEB.jpeg
 

Siikibam

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What a beautiful girl she is. I hope you have lots more happy today’s.

It’s not force feeding but feeding to help maintain her gut movements and not to lose too much weight. All the best, it will be nice to have updates on her every now and then. You could always start a thread for her 😊
 

Claire W

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I’m so sorry that you and Stella are going through this. Lymphoma is horrible, I’ve lost two piggies to this terrible disease :(

Make plenty of memories and you will know when she’s had enough but I always say it’s better to say goodbye a day too early than a day too late.

(((hugs))) x
 

Anna12

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Thanks all for your support! THe day before yesterday she seemed to be in a very poor state. At one point I was afraid she might go into gut stasis, so I syringed her. She was so so happy to eat that. Overnight she ate everything I give her. Yesterday I also supplemented her food with some critical care. Today she weighs 900g! and she is eating a lot. When I came in the living room this morning, she was at the fence waiting for me to feed her. She's also not as tucked away in a corner as she was yesterday, and she is back to grooming herself, and facing the room while sleeping instead of putting her face in a corner. I have no illusions about this illness not being terminal, but I'm so happy to have some hope back that we may have more time left than just a few days.
 

Winniepeg

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It’s clear to see why you adore Stella. Her character shines through in the photos. Sending you a hug x
 
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