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Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9662
Experience:  40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
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5 year old fem guinea pig, not eating or drinking

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My 5 year old female guinea pig has not been ewating or drinking since Monday. She is not making any noises and is very still. she won't eat her favorite thing like carrots, she used to take it and run to eat it. My mom looked on the internet and talked to others who have guinea pigs. They say that it may just be her time and that to take her to the vet at this time could cost hundreds of dollars and because of her age it was not a good idea. I am 10 years old and if it is true, it is ok, i will make her comfortable and be with her. My mom and I don't have alot of money right now. What should we do. Charles
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Pet
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Relist: I still need help.
You sent me an email to verify that my son (a minor) had consent to ask this question) - Yes he did. So much time has passed, I am hoping that we will hear from someone promptly. Regards, Maureen (MOM) Please also verify that we are not charged twice due to this misunderstanding.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Hello Charles,

I'm sorry that you are going through this. Your mom and others are correct that a five-year-old guinea pig is elderly. You must have taken very good care of her for her to live to an old age. It is true that a vet won't be able to help. When a guinea pig stops eating, it means it is very sick. The internal organs begin to shut down just a few hours after that. I must agree with your mom that your guinea pig's time has probably come. This is the hardest part of loving a pet. They are never with us as long as we would like. All you can do now is help her be as comfortable as possible, let her know you love her, and tell her good-bye. It hurts to hear this, I know.

There's a story that gives me some comfort when I lose one of my own pets. It's called the Rainbow Bridge. I'll give you a link to it, and you can ask your mom to look at it first.   

http://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm

The same site also offers other services for pet lovers who are losing or have lost a beloved pet.

http://rainbowsbridge.com/hello.htm

I wish I could do more for you, Charles. I wish I could make your guinea pig healthy again, but no one can do that. As an animal lover myself, I can only share in the hurt you feel. I hope that in time your good memories of your little guinea pig will help you feel better. If you want to talk about this some more, just click on REPLY. There is no additional fee to do that, and I want to offer you help in any way I can.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Anna, It is Maureen here, my son has gone to bed finally, a little under the weather himself. He came home early from school with an upset stomach. He thinks maybe it is from worrying about Flully (our guinea pig). You see his is 10 and in the last year his Dad of 41 years of age died of cancer and then our closest familiy friend died of cancer in august and now he is worried about fluffy as am I. My question is that if I could find the money is there anything that could be done for her? Is it possible that she has a teeth problem or flees or something like that. Please be as honest as possible with me, I will not share this information with my son.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Maureen,

How awful for your son, and for you. I wish I could tell you that a vet could help, but I don't think they could. A condition called hepatic lipidosis sets in after 12 hours of no food, and there is no cure for it.

I'm going to give you a couple of things to try. I have to be honest with you, the situation looks grim, but it may help Charles to try to help Fluffy. And, who knows, maybe his love and caring will result in a miracle. You can get some Pedialyte (yes, the same you use for kids). Us a syringe to put a little in the side of Fluffy's mouth. You can do this every ten minutes for the first hour, then once an hour after that. You can add a little liquid vitamin C in with the Pedialyte. There's a special food called Oxbow Critical Care that you can buy in larger pet stores. It is fed with a syringe, too. You can also make a slurry of crushed pellets, water, and pureed vegetables. This can be more difficult than it sounds, so I'm giving you a link to a page that describes it in great detail, including variations on what to feed, and how often to feed:

http://www.guinealynx.com/handfeeding.html

I don't want to give you or Charles false hope, but I do feel that as long as there's life, there is at least a glimmer of hope, If Fluffy should happen to respond to these measures, then you might want to consider taking her to a vet. I suspect that if you took her to one now, the vet would recommend euthanization. Regardless of what happens, your son may feel better if he's actually doing something to try to help. If money wasn't tight, I'd tell you to go ahead and see a vet, but I hate to recommend that you spend your hard-earned money on something that only has a slim chance of being successful. The steps a vet would have to take to try to help Fluffy would be quite expensive. You'd probably be looking at hospitalization, with fluids and tube feeding, medications, and even surgery if the teeth are involved.At age five, these measures aren't likely to be successful. Only you can make the decision as to whether you want to try all of that.

This is truly a heartbreaking situation. I can't even imagine how hard it is for you, as well as Charles. If you need anything else, don't hesitate to let me know.

Anna

Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Thank you for the information. I have looked on line and read about hepatic lipidosis in the last few minutes. I would not be able to strat this helping process till the morning as we do not have a suringe or pedialite at home. I will advise Justin of the situation in the morning. I am afraid that fluffy is in God's hands till then. I understand from what I read that had I seeked vet service the first day this occured the outcome would likely have been very different. However the reality is that even then it woulds have cost so much to even begin by seeing the vet. We love our pet but when I called vet's to get help, I was told I could be looking at $400 dollars if it were a tooth related issue. We paid $24 for her 5 years ago. If she weren't older in terms of guinea pig's life span, it would have made sense but in this already difficult time, it is hard to know what to have done. Thoughts/ comments? If we had of treated her immediately what would have been the normal life span of a guines pig?

 

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Finally what are we likely to see or experience in her continued passing? When will I know that her time is so close?
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
First, I apologize for getting your son's name wrong. The very first post was signed "Charles," so I assumed that w as his name, but I see now that it is Justin.

If you had seen the vet immediately, the outcome may or may not have been different. The average lifespan of a guinea pig is usually stated as 5 to 7 years. In my experience, most die at 5 or 6 years. Very rarely, a guinea pig may live to age 9 or 10. Anesthesia and surgery are very risky for guinea pigs, even young ones. An older one often isn't a candidate for surgery. The other factor is that, because of Fluffy's age, the original illness that caused her to stop eating could well have been something there is no treatment for. Liver or kidney failure, heart disease, and tumors are all pretty common in older guinea pigs. While these conditions can sometimes be treated in larger animals, there usually is no treatment for guinea pigs. Guinea pigs are among the most fragile of our pets.

As for what to expect as the end nears, I can't really tell you. It depends on what is actually the primary disease. Often, and I hope this is the case for you, the guinea pig will pass away in their sleep. Other times, there may be some thrashing about or seizures. If it seems she is suffering, you may want to consider having a vet end her pain. Local animal shelters often offer euthanasia to the public as a service at greatly reduced costs.

If she lies down and won't get up, and breathing becomes labored or shallow, the time is probably near. If a heart problem is what is wrong, she could simply collapse at any time, just a person does with cardiac arrest. I wish I could give you more definite answers to these questions, but there are too many variables to be able to give you a certain answer.

Maureen, I can't tell you how bad I feel for you. You've been through such an tragic ordeal this last year, and now you're trying to be strong for your son. I hope you're taking care of yourself, and have a friend or family member you can count on. I'll keep you, Charles, and Fluffy in my thoughts. If I can help in other way, I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX so just ask. I'll be going offline soon, but I'll check back in the morning.

Take care,

Anna
Anna, Pet Expert/Biologist
Category: Pet
Satisfied Customers: 9662
Experience: 40 yrs.: herps, pocket pets, rabbits, poultry, dogs, horses. Biology degree. Vet assistant.
Anna and 4 other Pet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you so much for your responses. I have just read Justin your first response and he seems to be at peace - I thank you for that. I have decided to just let nature take it's course (as I believe it has already done so) - I am afraid of hurting her to pick her up and even try feeding her and I am very nervous of being bitten and I don't want that to be our last memory together. We will watch her, talk to her and let her feel our presence. If she appears to be in any obvious pain, I would get her comfort/relief of the pain as you suggested. I drive a school bus of young children and they are aware of what is happening and praying for her as well. I reminded the children that anytime a pet stops eating or drinking the best thing is to have her seen quickly, that unlike ourselves they cannot go long without food and water. I have learned this should we have pets again that we need to respond quickly. Having said that I know Fluffy has had a very good life and I know the joy she has brought to us as a family. We will miss her deeply. We are deeply touched by your patience, compassion and understanding. I would recomend this service to everyone. Thank you again, Anna. Please feel free to keep intouch over the next few days if you wish. However I understand if you cannot. Maureen
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
You're welcome, Maureen. I think you've made the best decision for how to proceed. We can stay in touch as you go through this, but the way to do that is for you to come back to this question and reply. Then I can respond to what you posted. There is no additional fee for that. Just don't click on accept a second time - that would result in a second charge to your card (and, thank you for accepting above).

I'm hoping this will be a gentle passing for Fluffy. I'm glad that Justin is at peace. Do stay in touch.

Anna

Customer: replied 5 years ago.
i"ll
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
If you posted something, it didn't come through. All that's showing is "I'll." You can just re-post it, or if you didn't mean to post, there's no need to reply.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I was just going to say that I'll keep in touch. You know Anna we come home and move past her cage, she moves her head and look up at us like normal, if it weren't for no food and water in her since Monday, I would swear that she was just fine. She looks exactly like normal, her size, her coat everything. Weird isn't it? It is hard to believe that she is any discomfort. I feel like I should be doing something, it is so confusing. I would try anything but not if it would only comfort us and not have a change on the overall outcome. If we did take her out just to hold her again are we going to cause her pain? Am I being cruel not to have her put down?
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
No, Maureen, if she's acting normal, you're not being cruel to not put her down. Try holding her to see how she reacts. If it causes her pain, she'll let you know. While she's out, check under her chin to see if it's wet. That's an indication of a dental problem. You could also try tempting her with special foods to see what happens. Fresh parsley or mint, a piece of an orange, etc. would all be good to try.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

anna she is moving around and walking like normal i think i hear a grinding sound there is no wet under her mouth although she doesn;t want me togo near her if i had a phone number i could call direct and tell what is happening or we can do it this way whatever you suggest the orange she notices it but did not touch it should i still try and pick her up she runs from me

 

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
The only method of communication Just Answer terms of service allows is posting here. But that works.

After 5 days with no food or water, Fluffy shouldn't be acting normal. She shouldn't have the strength to run away from you. If the grinding you hear is from her teeth, that is a sign of pain. It isn't necessarily tooth pain, but any kind of pain can cause tooth grinding.

Are you certain that Fluffy hasn't been eating all week? Is she passing any droppings? Is she drinking?

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

no food and water to the best of my knowledge but i can't be 100 % i managed to pick her up and out of her cage twice she is sniffing some orande and fresh hay but won't take it or even her favorite carrot she is running fromme when i try to pick her up she is out now in her blanket and i am changing her cage water hay and food she was squeeking at us she seems to have had her heart raceing in her breathing and the grinding was a bit noisier but it stopped almost from intial excitment she likes me stroking the side of her when we first disturbed her from her corner she was stiff in movement but certainly not now she is moving around and turning around she even started to clean her self by rubbering her paws and stroking her ears past her mouth justin says it made her grind as well like her claw hit her teeth or that she was trying to grind her teeth

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
After 5 days without food or water, Fluffy should be very weak, not able to run around, and certainly shouldn't be interested in cleaning herself. Guinea pigs produce special droppings called cecal pellets. They produce them at night and eat them. The cecal pellets have moisture and nutrients in them. It is possible that Fluffy may have been producing and eating her cecal pellets. That could be enough to prevent dehydration and other problems.

When Justin first described Fluffy's condition, he said that she was very still and not wanting to move. That doesn't sound like how she's behaving now. I believe that something is keeping her alive. With this new information. I'm going to change my recommendations for you. If you can possibly go to a discount store tonight, pick up a couple of syringes and some Pedialyte. Begin to give some to Fluffy as soon as you can. Also, start the hand feeding of a slurry that I told you about in an above post.

Can you check your Yellow Pages to see if any vets in your town are members of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)? Let me know.

Anna





Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.

Hi again, Maureen. I'm going to be going offline soon, but wanted you to have this information. The AAHA has a program where they give grants to pet owners who need financial help. The vet has to apply for it. If you can find a vet who is a member, you could call and discuss this with them. If you qualify, it would be a way to have Fluffy seen without putting yourself in financial jeopardy. I still am not sure that a vet could help, but the fact that Fluffy is so active does give a tiny bit of hope for her. Here's a link to the site that explains the program. Not all member vets are aware of it, so you may want to print out the information if this is something you're interested in.

http://www.aahahelpingpets.org/

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Her eyes to seem to be a little bit like they have sleep crusties in the sides of them (if that makes sense) or a little wet - i want to do as you suggest about feeding her myself but i don't know how, i am so afraid that she will bite me or that i will hurt her - how do i know to get the suringe in her mouth do i wrap in something first? I am scared of this part - Justin is asleep so I will have to get it in the morning The vet i found that is a member of the aaha is The Links Road Animal & Bird Clinic 41 The Links Road Toronto,Ontario M2P 1T7(NNN) NNN-NNNNopen on Saturday from 9am to 2 pm their web site is their name, if you need it. I have changed her bedding and i will have a much better idea of what if anything is in the bedding even if only moisture. while i am typing this it is very quite she is either purring,wimpering or snoring just in the other room i can hear her - i will go take a look ... anna she is either sleeping with her head not on the ground or she is now having laboured breathing her eyes are also at half mast or mostly closed - what do you think - i have been hearing this noise for about 5 min or so. it literally sounds like snoring or mild wheexing but it comes and goes.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
I wish I could be there to see and hear her. It's so hard to know what is happening with only a description to go by. If her breathing is labored or she is wheezing, she may not make it through the night. If she does, and in the morning, she is running around, etc., like she was today, then I would go ahead with the feeding and Pedialyte. For now, let's just leave it that we'll wait until morning and see how she is then.

If you find that she's still active in the morning, go to this site and read the information there:


http://www.guinealynx.com/handfeeding.html

After reading it, if you have more questions, let me know. I know ths waiting and wondering is hard, but there just isn't anything else to do right now.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
She is still with us. She will occasionally move to turn around. She looks up when you come in the room. She is definately seeming more noisy in her breathing and sitting very still and low, if that makes sense. We have not done anything else. Her eyes appear to be more caved into her head. I am concerned that she is suffering. Should it be taking this long for her to pass?
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Hi Maureen,

I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you - I was away for much of the day. It seems the situation has changed again. The noisy breathing may indicate congestion in the lungs. That can be a result of a problem in the lungs themselves, or of congestive heart failure. The caved-in appearance of her eyes is most likely from dehydration. There is really no certain amount of time it should take a sick animal to pass because each is an individual, but Fluffy has gone on for an exceptionally long time without eating or drinking. From your description of her condition now, it does sound like she is suffering, or at least very uncomfortable. If she doesn't pass tonight, you might want to consider having a vet help her pass peacefully tomorrow. Local animal shelters often offer euthanization at very reduced fees as a public service, so if the vet fee is a concern, you can call your local shelter and ask. I hope you and Justin are holding up OK.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you for your response. I will check on her again now and respond... well she is lying very still, low and flat. she lifts her head to hear our voices and she will change position. As I pet her, her hind feels more of bone like I can feel her hips. She will not let me near to touch or stroke under her chin , she just presses her mouth to the bottom of the cage.. I am not hearing any noise in her breathing. She lifts her head again to us if I stop petting her, she is very comforted by our presense (I belive). Now she has gotten up and moved to another place in her cage. Confusing isn't it. I will see how she is in the morning. On approach she looks very unwell and yet still moves about ? Moderatly as it is. She is hanging on ? She has moved bedding so that she is lying on the plastic bottom of the cage. As if to keep cooler. She would do this when we would travel in the car to my mom's up north to keep cool and would wet her head with her water spout to also keep herself cool She is a very smart and loveable creature. Thoughts/Comments? Justin & I thank you again for your continued support.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
You're right that it's a confusing situation. Fluffy's condition seems to vary from hour to hour. Sometimes animals can sense that we're not ready to let them go, and they'll hold on as long as they can for us. That may be what is happening with Fluffy. Things like this just can't be explained. If you and Justin feel ready to let Fluffy pass, perhaps you could tell her this. even though she won't understand your words, I believe that animals can sense our feelings behind the words.

I'll continue to be here for you as you go through this. Post updates when you want to.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Anna, I am so moved by your response, just before you typed this Justin & I did tell Fluffy just that. As I remembered the nurses at the hospital telling us to let his Dad know that it was ok to let go and to go to rest and that we would be ok and would continue to love and miss him forever. And so we told Fluffy the same and that she could stop fighting and go to her rest. Death is very similar in so many ways regardless or age shape, type or gender. It is a loss and that is the comonality. We'll keep in touch.
Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
You have good instincts about what to do, Maureen. All you can do now is comfort Fluffy with your presence as you wait.

Anna
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Anna,

 

Fluffy had passed this morning when we woke up. She was cold and stiff whe we went to chech on her. I was so glad that we had that time with her last night and that we got to say goodbye. I knew we loved her but I never knew how much until today and to walk in the house and not go to her right away was so wierd. Not to hear her squeek at us for her carrot. I was overwhelmed today with the loss. Justin on the other hands remains strong and said that he loved and will miss her but that it is the Circle Of Life and we just have to except it. Out of the mouth of babes. I just wanted to let you know and to thank you again for all your help and the continued support that you have shown us through this few difficult week. My deepest heartfelt graditude. Maureen & Justin

Expert:  Anna replied 5 years ago.
Maureen and Justin,

You're welcome, and I only wish I could have done more. I'm so sorry for your loss of Fluffy. Justin is very wise and strong for a ten-year-old. I understand too well the hole that the loss of a pet leaves in your life. It has to be even worse for you two, after the other losses you've suffered. I don't know your beliefs, but I do believe that animals have souls, and we'll be re-united with our beloved pets, just as we will with the humans we've lost.

I know that words can't really help right now, but words are all I have to offer. I hope that with time, your good memories of Fluffy will ease the loss you feel now. You gave her a wonderful home.

I'm still here if you need anything else, or just want some support. Don't hesitate if you do - I'm glad to be of help.

Anna




Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you.

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