• Discussions taking place within this forum are intended for the purpose of assisting you in discussing options with your vet. Any other use of advice given here is done so at your risk, is solely your responsibility and not that of this forum or its owner. Before posting it is your responsibility you abide by this Statement

What happened

Sugar262

New Born Pup
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Points
40
Hi. I want to preface this with that I am new here, but I needed to share my experience. I lost my precious baby girl Cocoa last night, and the pain is still very fresh and graphic in my mind. But there’s something bugging me about it and it’s killing me.
Cocoa was 5 years and 11 months old, turning 6 on Friday. She was extremely healthy and happy up until the day before she passed. She had a bath, was playful, very energetic and hungry and full of vigor. But the very next morning something was wrong. She was stumbling in her cage and not responding a lot. We put her in a secluded cage to keep an eye on her where I sat by her most of the day. She couldn’t seem to move her back legs a lot, she was shaped weird (her back end was huge and her front end seemed extra thin, kind of shaped like a gourd). Her hair was also falling out with a lot of dead skin attached. After a while we noticed she wasn’t pooping, peeing, or eating. I realized she probably had a stroke because of how she was moving and one eye being less responsive than the other. I also examined her to see if she was impacted and put her up on the table in a soft towel and helped her pass some of it. That’s when I noticed her back right foot was bent where it shouldn’t have been, right in the middle basically folded up. Then I noticed the black and blue bruises on her ankles and feet which were very pale pink with white fur. They were covered from ankle to bottom of foot to even her quicks, all of them black and blue and purple and bright red. I realized both her legs were broken and she was paralyzed. She was very responsive on her front half, especially her head. But anywhere else was like I wasn’t touching her and she HATED her back end touched. I went and sat with her on my lap for an hour and was comforting her, knowing now the extent of her pain. I then felt a huge lump on her back left side. Now, this lump wasn’t new. It was first found by a vet who immediately tested it for cancer and the like. It wasn’t her ovary or any organ, and they said it had no fluid or any cancerous cells. It was deemed harmless and an anomaly. Well, it was swollen to about 3 times the size, and when I barely touched it she jumped in pain, her first response for a while at that point. After a bit she began to convulse periodically, and began nudging my hand to rest her head on it. She started drooling heavily on me, then within minutes began to shake, and twitch. And make almost a gagging noise and motion. Then she was gone after several terrifying and agonizing minutes.
What is keeping me up is how much went wrong overnight. How did she break her back legs, both of them? How did the lump get so huge so fast? How did her hair suddenly start to fall out? How did she have a stroke and become impacted? All so quickly?
All I can fathom is this scenario: the lump was some kind of cyst that ruptured, and put fluid into her body. The pain caused a stroke and/or seizure where, in the midst, she managed to break both her legs. The stress and pain caused impaction and rapid hair loss. And eventually it would cause another stroke or seizure that would be the last.
I want to be content with that and let it rest and grieve, but it’s so much so fast I can’t. Has anyone ever had such a gruesome, tragic, and sudden death like this?

We couldn’t afford to take her to a vet, and we don’t think she could have made the 1 hour drive to the nearest small animal vet under the pain and stress she was already in, so I have no expert opinions. But it was all pretty obvious when observing, at least what we could tell physically. It’s a fact her legs were broken, the lump was irritated, she had some form of stroke, she was impacted, and she was losing hair. But she was handled and observed the night prior with no symptoms of any of that. I know this is rambley but I’m in so much pain right now. I need closure on what could have possibly happened to my baby.
 

Sappyshelly

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
457
Reaction score
513
Points
455
Location
New Jersey
I’m so, so sorry for what happened to your poor pig. I’ve never heard of that, ever. Your poor girl didn’t deserve to have so much pain. :( I can’t offer much information on what happened, but I can offer my deepest condolences.
Sending hugs
 

Freela

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Aug 15, 2010
Messages
4,951
Reaction score
3,512
Points
1,200
Location
Canada
I'm so sorry for your loss, that sounds terrible. Unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure. Is there any way she could have had a fall or any other kind of trauma? A ramp, someone who could have handled her and dropped her without you being aware, another animal that could have gotten to her and injured her in some way, etc.? I wish I had answers for you. ((HUGS.))
 

Sugar262

New Born Pup
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Points
40
I'm so sorry for your loss, that sounds terrible. Unfortunately, there's no way to know for sure. Is there any way she could have had a fall or any other kind of trauma? A ramp, someone who could have handled her and dropped her without you being aware, another animal that could have gotten to her and injured her in some way, etc.? I wish I had answers for you. ((HUGS.))
Her cage had no ramps or steps or anything, it was all one open level, on a large flat surface with no wires and soft bedding (she had issues with her feet so we removed anything rough or hard on them months ago) and the only other animal I have in the house outside a fish is a small turtle who can’t get in her enclosure. And it was only my mother who handled her, I developed an allergy and couldn’t handle her as much and she disliked being held a lot in general, I think because her age and she always worried she’d pee on us (she always held it until she was put back then she’d run to her corner). I was also the last to check on her before bed, as I got home from work when everyone was asleep. She seemed fine and happy, although she didn’t accept a treat because I assumed she was full from the fresh hay and greens that were in there.
 

Sugar262

New Born Pup
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Points
40
I forgot to mention that she was wheezing very heavily, from the second we found her not acting right to the very end. It was so loud it could be heard from a room over if it was quiet
 

VickiA

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 1, 2013
Messages
20,047
Reaction score
23,803
Points
2,465
Location
Cheshire, England
I’m very sorry for your loss. Sadly we don’t have all the answers. Try to remember her at her best and not as she was at the end.
 

Sappyshelly

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
457
Reaction score
513
Points
455
Location
New Jersey
I’ve been thinking about your piggy’s story. This is a rough idea, but maybe she has a seizure which caused her legs to bend? I'm not quite sure. It’s all I could think of.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
67,890
Reaction score
35,494
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Hi. I want to preface this with that I am new here, but I needed to share my experience. I lost my precious baby girl Cocoa last night, and the pain is still very fresh and graphic in my mind. But there’s something bugging me about it and it’s killing me.
Cocoa was 5 years and 11 months old, turning 6 on Friday. She was extremely healthy and happy up until the day before she passed. She had a bath, was playful, very energetic and hungry and full of vigor. But the very next morning something was wrong. She was stumbling in her cage and not responding a lot. We put her in a secluded cage to keep an eye on her where I sat by her most of the day. She couldn’t seem to move her back legs a lot, she was shaped weird (her back end was huge and her front end seemed extra thin, kind of shaped like a gourd). Her hair was also falling out with a lot of dead skin attached. After a while we noticed she wasn’t pooping, peeing, or eating. I realized she probably had a stroke because of how she was moving and one eye being less responsive than the other. I also examined her to see if she was impacted and put her up on the table in a soft towel and helped her pass some of it. That’s when I noticed her back right foot was bent where it shouldn’t have been, right in the middle basically folded up. Then I noticed the black and blue bruises on her ankles and feet which were very pale pink with white fur. They were covered from ankle to bottom of foot to even her quicks, all of them black and blue and purple and bright red. I realized both her legs were broken and she was paralyzed. She was very responsive on her front half, especially her head. But anywhere else was like I wasn’t touching her and she HATED her back end touched. I went and sat with her on my lap for an hour and was comforting her, knowing now the extent of her pain. I then felt a huge lump on her back left side. Now, this lump wasn’t new. It was first found by a vet who immediately tested it for cancer and the like. It wasn’t her ovary or any organ, and they said it had no fluid or any cancerous cells. It was deemed harmless and an anomaly. Well, it was swollen to about 3 times the size, and when I barely touched it she jumped in pain, her first response for a while at that point. After a bit she began to convulse periodically, and began nudging my hand to rest her head on it. She started drooling heavily on me, then within minutes began to shake, and twitch. And make almost a gagging noise and motion. Then she was gone after several terrifying and agonizing minutes.
What is keeping me up is how much went wrong overnight. How did she break her back legs, both of them? How did the lump get so huge so fast? How did her hair suddenly start to fall out? How did she have a stroke and become impacted? All so quickly?
All I can fathom is this scenario: the lump was some kind of cyst that ruptured, and put fluid into her body. The pain caused a stroke and/or seizure where, in the midst, she managed to break both her legs. The stress and pain caused impaction and rapid hair loss. And eventually it would cause another stroke or seizure that would be the last.
I want to be content with that and let it rest and grieve, but it’s so much so fast I can’t. Has anyone ever had such a gruesome, tragic, and sudden death like this?

We couldn’t afford to take her to a vet, and we don’t think she could have made the 1 hour drive to the nearest small animal vet under the pain and stress she was already in, so I have no expert opinions. But it was all pretty obvious when observing, at least what we could tell physically. It’s a fact her legs were broken, the lump was irritated, she had some form of stroke, she was impacted, and she was losing hair. But she was handled and observed the night prior with no symptoms of any of that. I know this is rambley but I’m in so much pain right now. I need closure on what could have possibly happened to my baby.
HUGS

I am very sorry. Only post-mortem examination at the vets can give you the answers you need. It can be that the lump has cut off the the blood/oxygen supply to the legs overnight rather than a break or that she suffered a devastating fit. Depending on how the lump did grow into the body, it may also have impacted/cut of the digestive process.
When you found your girl, her body was already well into breaking down with multiple organ failure. I am very sorry for your traumatic experience.

Death sadly is usually much more physical in the vast majority of cases. Because guinea pigs are such small animals, things can happen very quickly and dramatically. Our nebulous concept of 'gently drifting away in your forever sleep' does happen only rarely - and that also goes for humans, the majority of which dies in hospital or hospice well away from our view, so we have lost touch with it.
You can never choose what your piggies (or human beloved ones, at that) die from and when. With older piggies - and yours has reached the average life span of 5-7 years - things tend to often happen very quickly and dramatically. If you can, please try to find an out-of-hours vet or a vet that will see life and death emergencies/emergency euthanasia anytime.

I don't know whether it is any consolation for you, but of the 6 piggies (thankfully all elderlies and not young ones) I have lost this year so far:
- 7 year old Tesni died in March by going suddenly into multi-organ failure on the evening before her specialist vet appointment which I'd made because she'd started losing weight quickly and started gnawing in the area where she had an ovarian cyst. She passed away the moment I put her cuddle bag down in the vet's reception area to get the other piggies I'd booked in for a check-up out of the car.
- 9 year old Calli developed severe bloat out of the blue. I had to race her to the emergency vets at 2 am, less than 5 hours after discovering the first symptoms to have her euthanised when the usual medication didn't work and she was in severe pain. She wouldn't have survived the night but I could at least spare her several hours of total agony.
- 10 days later I found 5 year old Bedo dead on his side from a devastating heart attack during the night; by the way he was lying, he must have been already dead when he fell.
- 2 days after that I made the decision during a consultation with my specialist vet to have 6 year old Iola euthanised. The pain in her body did come less from the gut adhesion I suspected but from one of her kidneys (similar area) and she was also on the very brink of losing control over her back legs, which was all adding up to a very unhappy total.
Iola was also clearly suffering from the heat wave (of which there was no end in sight yet) despite my best efforts to keep her comfortable and cool. The vet said that any heavy duty medication she could prescribe could buy Iola between 1 to max. 8 weeks of life, but could not ensure quality of life - and for me quality of life comes well before length of life. Iola was the third one I lost within 2 weeks' time.
- in September 5 year old Pili Pala died in my arms from a last devastating heart attack on a Sunday after she'd started going into acute heart failure during the night. She'd had at least another heart attack before that. In her case the likelihood that she would have died from the stress on the way to the out-of-hours vets or latest during the consultation was extremely high (I've got that t-shirt already), which is why I made the decision not to race her to the vets but allow her to pass away at home with the comfort of her long term friends. Pili Pala had survived a full blown gut stasis and a year of support feeding/medication for a growing rat-tail of incurable and hard to treat ailments and had gradually grown frailer over the summer.
- 3 weeks later in October my 6 year old Carwyn had to be euthanised because the vet came up with the same devastating diagnosis that I had requested a euthanasia appointment for - the heavy overnight bleeding though both nostrils had indeed been caused by a brain tumour. Carwyn had been not quite well for a few days but the treating vet couldn't find anything obvious, and neither could I. :(

I hope that my account can help you to put your experience into a bit of a perspective; it's been a pretty expensive year on my vet care account, too - it is the price for seeing so many of my rescue adoptees live to a good old age. :(

An unexpected death is always a major shock, especially when it is such a dramatic one. It takes times to get over it. I had a hard time after losing three of mine in less than a fortnight. Give yourself time. It is hard at first to make sense of what has happened, and then you get the blues when the adrenaline you are still on finally runs out and is leaving you feeling hung over and drained - and very heart-sore.

Please try to recover the good memories by going through all the pictures when it is no longer too painful for it. If you struggle to come to terms with what has happened, please contact the free Blue Cross pet bereavement line (UK) or google for a comparable service in your area. We also have a Rainbow Bridge section for those that would like to post a tribute whenever it feels right for them; not everybody will, and that is also OK.
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
SupportLine - Problems: Pet Bereavement: Advice, support and information
 

Merab's Slave

Forum Buddy
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
16,359
Reaction score
16,841
Points
2,075
Location
Wirral, UK
So very sorry to hear about your loss.
I wish I had answers but can only offer support for you as you grieve
 

Sugar262

New Born Pup
Joined
Nov 18, 2018
Messages
4
Reaction score
2
Points
40
Your co
HUGS

I am very sorry. Only post-mortem examination at the vets can give you the answers you need. It can be that the lump has cut off the the blood/oxygen supply to the legs overnight rather than a break or that she suffered a devastating fit. Depending on how the lump did grow into the body, it may also have impacted/cut of the digestive process. When you found your girl, her body was already well into breaking down with multiple organ failure. I am very sorry for your traumatic experience.

Death sadly is usually much more physical in the vast majority of cases. Because guinea pigs are such small animals, things can happen very quickly and dramatically. Our nebulous concept of 'gently drifting away in your forever sleep' does happen only rarely - and that also goes for humans, the majority of which dies in hospital or hospice well away from our view, so we have lost touch with it.
You can never choose what your piggies (or human beloved ones, at that) die from and when. With older piggies - and yours has reached the average life span of 5-7 years - things tend to often happen very quickly and dramatically. If you can, please try to find an out-of-hours vet or a vet that will see life and death emergencies/emergency euthanasia anytime.

I don't know whether it is any consolation for you, but of the 6 piggies (thankfully all elderlies and not young ones) I have lost this year so far:
- 7 year old Tesni died in March by going suddenly into multi-organ failure on the evening before her specialist vet appointment which I'd made because she'd started losing weight quickly and started gnawing in the area where she had an ovarian cyst. She passed away the moment I put her cuddle bag down in the vet's reception area to get the other piggies I'd booked in for a check-up out of the car.
- 9 year old Calli developed severe bloat out of the blue. I had to race her to the emergency vets at 2 am, less than 5 hours after discovering the first symptoms to have her euthanised when the usual medication didn't work and she was in severe pain. She wouldn't have survived the night but I could at least spare her several hours of total agony.
- 10 days later I found 5 year old Bedo dead on his side from a devastating heart attack during the night; by the way he was lying, he must have been already dead when he fell.
- 2 days after that I made the decision during a consultation with my specialist vet to have 6 year old Iola euthanised. The pain in her body did come less from the gut adhesion I suspected but from one of her kidneys (similar area) and she was also on the very brink of losing control over her back legs, which was all adding up to a very unhappy total.
Iola was also clearly suffering from the heat wave (of which there was no end in sight yet) despite my best efforts to keep her comfortable and cool. The vet said that any heavy duty medication she could prescribe could buy Iola between 1 to max. 8 weeks of life, but could not ensure quality of life - and for me quality of life comes well before length of life. Iola was the third one I lost within 2 weeks' time.
- in September 5 year old Pili Pala died in my arms from a last devastating heart attack on a Sunday after she'd started going into acute heart failure during the night. She'd had at least another heart attack before that. In her case the likelihood that she would have died from the stress on the way to the out-of-hours vets or latest during the operation was extremely high, which is why I made the decision not to race her to the vet but allow her to pass away at home. Pili Pala had survived a full blown gut stasis and a year of support feeding/medication for a growing rat-tail of incurable and hard to treated ailments and hd gradually grown frailer over the summer.
- 3 weeks later in October my 6 year old Carwyn had to be euthanised because the vet came up with the same diagnosis that I had requested a euthanasia appointment for - the heavy overnight bleeding though both nostrils had been caused by a brain tumour. Carwyn had been not quite well for a few days but the treating vet couldn't find anything obvious, and neither could I. :(

I hope that my account can help you to put your experience into a bit of a perspective; it's been a pretty expensive year on my vet care account, too - the price for seeing so many of my rescue adoptees living to a good age. :(

An unexpected death is always a major shock, especially when it is such a dramatic one, and it takes times to get over it. I had a hard time after losing three of mine in less than a fortnight. Give yourself time. It is hard at first to make sense of what has happened, and then you get the blues when the adrenaline you are still on finally runs out and is leaving you feeling hung over and drained - and very heart-sore.

Please try to recover the good memories by going through all the pictures when it is no longer too painful for it. If you struggle to come to terms with what has happened, please contact the free Blue Cross pet bereavement line (UK) or google for a comparable service in your area. We also have a Rainbow Bridge section for those that would like to post a tribute whenever it feels right for them; not everybody will, and that is also OK.
Looking After A Bereaved Guinea Pig
SupportLine - Problems: Pet Bereavement: Advice, support and information
Your thoughts on what happened seems the most sound and puts all the pieces together. I find a lot of peace with it that I couldn’t with any other explanation. I hate knowing she suffered so much that last day. Thank you so much.
 

Sappyshelly

Junior Guinea Pig
Joined
Sep 25, 2018
Messages
457
Reaction score
513
Points
455
Location
New Jersey
Your co

Your thoughts on what happened seems the most sound and puts all the pieces together. I find a lot of peace with it that I couldn’t with any other explanation. I hate knowing she suffered so much that last day. Thank you so much.
I agree with Wiebke. Forget what I said before, as her explanation seems very accurate.
 

Wiebke

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Mar 10, 2009
Messages
67,890
Reaction score
35,494
Points
3,466
Location
Coventry UK
Your co

Your thoughts on what happened seems the most sound and puts all the pieces together. I find a lot of peace with it that I couldn’t with any other explanation. I hate knowing she suffered so much that last day. Thank you so much.
You have been with her and done your best. Don't overlook how important that is!

In the many years you have had Cocoa you have obviously given her a good and happy life. Please do not beat yourself up about the last few hours, especially not on a weekend. Feelings of guilt and failure are very normal for the onset of the grieving process for any loving pet owner. We have them all. :(
 

Abi_nurse

Adult Guinea Pig
Joined
Jun 25, 2010
Messages
4,511
Reaction score
1,214
Points
845
Location
Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire.
So sorry for your loss. Wiebke as always has some of the best advice there is. I am terrible at dealing with loss of others, but I am very sorry to hear of the passing of your little one.

There is no telling for sure, as others have said without a post mortem. But from what you have described with regards to the symptoms (apart from the hair loss) then I would be highly suspect of an acute case of bloat or a twisted stomach, which often kills very quickly. The shape she was, the fact that she went off her back legs and was very immobile all suggest this, as well as the suspected 'lump' on her left side getting bigger (this is where her stomach would have been). Sadly as wiebke says the process of death isn't always a nice one to see and many people are not exposed to it, the twitching and shaking was sadly her body failing.

I have had many put to sleep and also many die with me at home, and sadly their last moments are sometimes like this.

Try to remember the good times with her. She had a lovely life with you. So sorry again.

x
 
Top