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May 2 12 1:30 AM

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One of my guinea pigs, Donald, died yesterday. I don't know why - he was rather quiet the night before, not running to greet me like he usually does and not making much effort to run away when I picked him up. I got him to eat and he wasn't showing any other sign of illness though, so I thought I'd see how he was in the morning and take him to the vet if he hadn't improved. He seemed to have perked up and gone back to normal, so I decided I was just being paranoid the night before. Then, when I checked on him in the afternoon he was dead. I feel so horrible for not taking him to the vet sooner now...I knew he wasn't himself, but he didn't really seem sick either. I should have known better!

He's always been quite skinny, and he was small - he didn't ever weigh much above 800 grams. But he ate fine, pooped fine, the vet said he was most likely just built that way. There was no weightloss before he died and he seemed absolutely fine apart from being quieter than usual the night before :/

Now my other guinea pig, Mickey, is alone. I'm going to get him another companion of course, but how long should I wait to make sure he hasn't got some disease from Donald? I've given the cage the clean of its life, so I guess I just have to wait and hope Mickey is healthy. I'd love to adopt a guinea pig from ACS, but of course I don't want to expose another pig to a disease if there is one!!

Also, not so much a medical question, but he and Donald sometimes had vicious fights even though they generally got on, so I separated them and they interacted through the divider in the cage and I let them play together while I supervised. Mickey was generally pretty passive, just defending himself against Donald, but I'm concerned about fighting again if I get another male. He isn't neutered though - is it worth the risk of getting him neutered in order to get a female companion for him? :/

Thanks so much for reading guys, any advice is much appreciated!!
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#1 [url]

May 2 12 2:47 AM

Hi sorry for your loss.

Where are you in VIC? are you close to the ACS in Melbourne?

You will need to watch Mikey before getting another piggie, you wouldn't want to make it sick. is mikey showing any signs?

Where are they kept? how old are they? where did you get them from? what did you feed them? did you give them fresh cut grass?

Radish and Little Foot
Rocky and Liam

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#2 [url]

May 2 12 9:31 AM

You probably know guinea pigs tend to hide illness. There have been a few times when I thought a piggy looked a bit off, and got distracted by something else or waited to see if he was better. Other times I have rushed to the vet and it wasn't anything at all. It's not always possible to have known better, I think.

I have no idea what may have happened. Could it have been cocci which piggies mentioned in the other thread?

Just wanted to add my condolences for your loss of Donald.

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#3 [url]

May 2 12 12:30 PM

I'm in Diamond Creek, so not too far off.

Mickey is absolutely fine so far as I can see, eating happily, drinking happily, pooping happily, he snuggled and fell asleep on me same as usual. He's energetic, running circles round the cage at vege time like usual! I'll continue to keep a close eye on him, but I'd say he couldn't be healthier at present.

They're kept in my room in a C&C cage. I keep the thermostat above 18C, usually at 19C. They go out in the garden at least once a week, I'd like to do it more but I work full time so I'm usually home when it's getting dark. I check the grass very carefully before I put them out and sit by the run the whole time to make sure they're safe. They're both around two and a half years old. I got Donald from my old boss whose guinea pig was pregnant when he got her, and I got Mickey (epic shame) from a pet store (which I will never do again!) I've had them both nearly two years. They've always been perfectly healthy. They get a different mix of vegetables each day, in the last week: a small amount of kale, some celery tops, a couple of baby carrots each (a couple days apart), half a bunch of parsley each (split over two days), a couple of leaves of cos lettuce, half a bell pepper each (though they never eat all of that, so probably about a quarter each), and about a third of a small apple each. They get some fresh grass from our backyard, which I wash, at least every other day - it's only grass and clover, I don't go near any plant I'm not sure of. Fresh hay is always available (I use it as their bedding).

I don't think it would be coccidiosis...neither of them have ever had diarrhea, no significant weight loss. I just don't know what it was :/ My mum suggested since it was so sudden maybe he had some underlying condition, a heart problem or something, which I kind of hope it was...just so it's not contagious!

Thanks so much for your replies - burying him this morning was heartbreaking. It just feels so wrong to put a pet in the ground and put dirt on top of them >.< I'm always a bit neurotic about making sure they're safe, so having one die so suddenly is really matter how much I try, I still couldn't keep him safe :/ At least he had a good life. He was a happy pig!

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#4 [url]

May 3 12 2:55 AM

I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like your piggy had a great life thanks to you though. He sounds like he was very spoilt. It sounds like your other piggy is healthy, maybe just monitor him for a while and then get him a friend from ACS.

I'm getting some piggy friends from ACS melbourne shelter for my boy piggy tomorrow, I can't wait!

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#7 [url]

May 3 12 1:56 PM

aurora borealis wrote:
I'm in Diamond Creek, so not too far off.
Thats an understatement! Virtually next door! LOL

So sorry you lost Donald - it does sound like he has some underlying issue. Could even have been teeth problems which can explain his slended build and small size, but doesn't explain his sudden death.

If you don't mind me asking, were his eyes wide open when you found him? If it was a heart attack, their eyes are usually wide open!

Did he tend to drink a lot of water and urinate a lot? If so, he may have had kidney and/or heartproblems.

Yeh, its unlikely that his problem was contagious if he hadn't been exposed to a heap of other pigs recently.

Let me know if/when you are ready to find Mikey a new friend. I'm sure we can find a buddy that he doesn't fight with. Its all about choosing the right personality...

-=[[ Lynlee ]]=-
There are 1000's of homeless guinea pigs in rescue shelters all across Australia that NEED YOU!!

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#8 [url]

May 3 12 3:09 PM

I'm pretty sure whatever it was must have been some disease...Mickey died tonight. I have no idea what it was still though...he was fine at 9.30, said hello and ran in circles like he always does when he hasn't seen me all day. Then I went to say goodnight at 10.30 and he was flat on his side, dead. His body was still warm. I feel so numb right now, I can't believe I just lost them both within two days of each other...with NO visible symptoms.

Lynlee - no, both of them had their eyes closed. Donald was curled in a little ball, Mickey is stretched out like his 'pancake' mode. Donald did drink quite a bit now I think about it...maybe just a little more than Mickey, though he was quite a bit smaller. Neither of them, or me, have had any contact with other guinea pigs since I got them. We have a cat, but I don't really handle him much, he's more my younger siblings' pet, and he's never been anywhere near the pigs. But still, dying within two days of each seems too much to be coincidence?

I think I will want to get another pair, I've always loved having guinea pigs, but of course I want to wait a couple of weeks...not having two little bodies rustling around in the corner is going to be so strange :/

Do you think it would be worth destroying their old 2x4 C&C cage in case it's harbouring some disease? Or could I disinfect with something instead? If you recommend I destroy it, I might look at going for a 3x4 C&C cage... if I can get them to deliver that size of coroplast xP

Thanks so much for the support everyone. You're all wonderful

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#9 [url]

May 3 12 8:29 PM

I'm so sorry. How awful for you.

I suggest you throw away the fleece or whatever other bedding you've been using. I don't think you need to destroy the cage; you can disinfect it with bleach. But on the other hand it would be much better to have a 3 x 4 cage anyway, so go with that if you can.

Sending lots of love.

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#10 [url]

May 4 12 4:18 AM

Oh gosh, I am so sorry!

I remember everyone mentioned F10 disinfectant in relation to cocci, which I'm not saying it is, as there was no diarrhea. I don't know what F10 is. In fact, it was very hard to find this thread. Google worked better than search but I thought this forum was private.

Ah, bleach works too! Last post, second page.

It sounds like your piggies had a great life (what Kara said).

Could it have been something in the hay that you can't see?

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#11 [url]

May 4 12 8:14 AM

That's a terrible loss losing both boys so close together. I was just wondering if u changed anything recently like to a different grain mix or hay, so sorry for your loss. I know how much it cuts you up inside when they leave suddenly like that.

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#12 [url]

May 6 12 2:11 AM

@zebrallama - I just use a little Carefresh with a hay on top for bedding, so that's easily done. I'd love to have a's more a space issue. I keep them in the little kitchen attached to my room (it doesn't have a door or a wall between it or anything, so it's pretty much in my room), and it would leave very little space in there to get to the sink etc. I don't know how my sister would feel about that either...(we share a unit).

@hayfever - Thanks so much for the link Very useful information! Though how are you meant to make sure the cage is clean after if you can't wash the bleach or whatever off with the hose or something like that...:S

@Grandma Guineapig - no, nothing changed at all. I have no idea at all what it could have been, other than some illness, though I have no idea what it could have been :/

Thanks so much for taking the time to reply everyone!! Hugs all around

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#14 [url]

May 6 12 7:18 AM

I am so sorry you've lost Mickey too...absolutely awful!
I doubt illness though - symptoms (or lack of) are all wrong, and the fact they were not recently in contact with other pigs...

I suspect something toxic in their food. The speed at which they died, after seeming totally fine, sound just like a spate of mystery deaths I had last year. In the end, I changed stock feeds as I could only put it down to toxins that piggies must have ingested through their food. As soon as I changed food suppliers, the random deaths stopped.

Given all the rain we've had, its possible that their hay or chaff or other food has a micro-mold that causes toxin release in the piggies gut. Autopsies on my pigs revealed nothing consistent - only 2 pigs had symptoms of watery diorrhoea that was so short-lived that the diorrhoea wasn't even released from their bodies. One girl (milky mouse, my avatar) had massive diorrhoea attack. All other pigs showed absolutely nothing. Standing at the bars, waving goodbye in the morning, dead in the afternoon.

So, yeh, I'd be looking at food contamination...

-=[[ Lynlee ]]=-
There are 1000's of homeless guinea pigs in rescue shelters all across Australia that NEED YOU!!

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#15 [url]

May 6 12 7:55 AM

Ughhh how horrible Their current bag of pellets had been in use for nearly two weeks, so I'd guess that would be fine, and the current bag of hay about a week...I did change over the hay the day before Donald died, so maybe I hit something toxic in the bag, and then when I recleaned the cage after his death for Mickey, I put in MORE hay...>.< I only hope it was fast for them anyway. My poor little babies, they were still so young and healthy

So sorry about your pigs too - it's soooo sad to have them die like that

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#16 [url]

May 6 12 8:50 AM

I feel so terible for you, such a horrible thing to happen. I hope you are holding up ok.

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