What to do for my bereaved guinea pig :((

mhibo200

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One of my two guinea pigs has just passed away due to URI. Now my other guinea pig, all by herself is all scared and I dont think she knows fully what happened. How do i break the news? What if my late guinea pig is contagious and if i put her in their cage, what if she transmits the disease to her sister? Or is it safe to put her into the cage for her sister to see.
I am not entirely sure on how to break it to her as i heard URI is contagious and it really breaks my heart to see both of them and to say goodbye to one of my dear guinea pigs.
 

Siikibam

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I think (from what I’ve read here) they will sometimes come sniff them then walk off. Or they may not approach at all. So I guess you can see how long. If she’s been in the cage since morning then I think that would be enough time. She may have already said her goodbyes when her friend passed away. Or even shortly before.

I’m sorry for your loss.
 

mhibo200

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Thank you, do i wash any fabrics or leave them as i read here that it would be nice to keep their ‘scent’
 

Siikibam

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Keep them in for now so her scent is still in there.
 

mhibo200

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Do i eventually wash them? I heard URI is extremely contagious so i dont want to harm my remaining pig
 

Swissgreys

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In my experience your guinea pig will let you know when she is done saying goodbye to her sister.
For some of my piggies this took an hour or two as the remaining piggy kept returning to their partner to lick and sniff them, but more normally it took a few minutes.
Be guided by your girl.

I also wouldn't wash everything - just a few bits and pieces as needed over the course of a few days.
 

Swissgreys

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As you piggies have been living together while one of them was ill, then if the remaining piggy was going to get sick she would have already been exposed.
I am not an expert but I don't think URI"s are always necessarily contagious - I certainly had a piggy who had one and was on antibiotics for 10 days and did recover and her cage mate never got ill.
 

mhibo200

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So i dont have to worry about my piggy potentially getting a URI because of the fabrics her late sister was in? There was this towel i used to comfort Lucy (the one that passed away) and i was thinking to have her sister use it a something to snuggle to at night, but just worried of her getting contaminated.
 

VickiA

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I’ve never had URI spread from one piggy to another so wouldn’t worry about washing everything yet. As for how long to leave them together, I think that you have to play it by ear and see how your surviving piggy reacts. I have usually found that piggies are pragmatic. They will sniff and lick their deceased companion, sometimes they will lay with them a while. Then when they are done, they go and eat pellets or hay and at that point I will remove the deceased piggy from the cage.
 

VickiA

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So i dont have to worry about my piggy potentially getting a URI because of the fabrics her late sister was in? There was this towel i used to comfort Lucy (the one that passed away) and i was thinking to have her sister use it a something to snuggle to at night, but just worried of her getting contaminated.
I wouldn’t worry about that myself.
 

Swissgreys

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How was the URI diagnosed, and what medication was your girl taking?
Who told you an URI is highly contagious?

Obviously you should always listen to an experienced vet, so is this where you got the information from?

My vet told me it was fine to keep my piggies together when one was ill, but this did require a hands on examination to confirm the illness and prescribe the correct treatment first, so I wouldn't say everyone should do this.
 

piggieminder

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I am so sorry to hear your little sow didn't recover from her illness.
When my boar had a URI my vet told me there was no need to separate them. Ask your vet for advise but depending on the illness it's not normally a problem for the companion animal. Having the scent in the cage of the friend is a comfort to the remaining animal. I would replace the fleece items in the cage gradually as they need to be washed. My vet said -
A. They had been together so if the other one was going to catch anything he would already have it.
B. A strong immune system in the well pig would fight off any infection.
 

Wiebke

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how long do i show my remaining guinea pig her late sister?
Hi and welcome

I am very sorry for your loss.

See whether your bereaved piggy is showing any interest or not; if not, this means that she has already taken her leave from her very ill mate. If yes, leave the body as long as she is showing interest. This is an area you have to play by ear. Please read the relevant paragraph about this in our bereavement companions guide link, which you should find very helpful.

Also be aware that you need to conduct a 2-3 weeks quarantine with any piggy whose companion has passed away from an infectious problem to avoid potentially passing on the issue to any new companion unless your bereaved piggy is stopping to eat and drink and is facing towards the walls (i.e. pining acutely) but has been cleared by a vet of having URI herself.

Please take the time to read the green guide links in this thread. You will find the information very helpful.
Here is more information on problems that typically come with new piggies and also about quaranting as well as your customer rights.
New guinea pigs: Sexing, vet checks&customer rights, URI, ringworm and parasites
 
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