Guinea pigs are quick and cheerful animals that bring joy to the home. Unfortunately, guinea pigs have a short life expectancy.
It is not always possible to realize that the guinea pig is dying. Most often it happens unexpectedly to the guinea pig owners. With careful attention to the pet, you can notice serious health issues. Sometimes it can still be saved and thereby prolong the life of the guinea pigs.
Death of a guinea pig
Signs of a dying pet
If the guinea pig is healthy, nothing bothers it, the food is good, there is water and there is no reason for stress, it will be constantly on the move, actively eating food, eyes will be shiny, behavior is friendly. Such a pet is happy to respond to games and is notable for its cleanliness.
If the dying guinea pig, it can be determined by characteristic signs:
- Blunted eyes, the cornea is cloudy;
- Movement coordination is severely impaired, the guinea pigs limps, limps, its movement in the cage is difficult, it often collapses sideways for no apparent reason;
- refuses to eat or partially refuses food (even if offered her favorite treat), stops drinking water;
- instead of the usual active movements, the furry friend sits hunched over, on its back or on its side for a long time;
- respiratory problems, wheezing may be heard;
- the guinea pigs stops reacting to external stimuli, does not notice the owner, tries to hide in a remote corner of his home;
- The guinea pigs becomes untidy and stops brushing its coat;
- large amounts of hair fall out, bald spots appear;
- bumps of unknown origin may be felt under the skin;
- The joints of the limbs and fingers are visibly thickened.
Even if there are none of the above symptoms, but it has become noticeable that the animal sleeps most of the time, you should be wary.
What guinea pig can die from
Under normal conditions and good care, the pet will live an average of 5 to 8 years. Sometimes large animals in homes live 10 years. But they rarely live to an advanced age. Therefore, 5-6 six years is a normal age for a guinea pig.
Why guinea pigs die:
- Genetically determined developmental abnormalities;
- Injuries received (most often from falling from a height or in fights with other animals, or may get stuck somewhere);
- Infectious diseases (enteritis, pseudotuberculosis, salmonellosis, worm infestations);
- diseases of a non-infectious nature (poisoning, pneumonia, breach of conditions);
- unsuccessful pregnancy (toxicosis, abnormalities in childbirth);
- overheating of the body (with prolonged exposure to direct sunlight);
- complications after operations;
- sudden death from stress;
- foreign body in the throat or respiratory tract;
- cardiovascular disease;
- natural causes from old age and related pathologies.
By about 5 years of age, guinea pigs are no longer able to move actively. Signs of advancing old age – curvature of limbs, poor appetite, lethargy, neoplasms on the body, poor vision.
If the guinea pig’s is timely treated for disease and well cared for, it dies of old age without suffering, just falling asleep in his sleep.
Can a guinea pig die from fright or boredom?
Guinea pigs’ nervous systems are weak, so animals can die from boredom. To prevent this, either get more than one at a time or give the guinea pig’s plenty of attention.
In addition, the guinea pig’s is very shy and is stressed by loud noises. Severe fright can cause cardiac arrest, so never raise your voice to the baby.
Improper care and feeding
These factors are key in keeping a rodent, so poor hygiene, improper eating and treating with forbidden foods can lead to a number of infectious diseases, to illness digestive system and poisonings that can lead to death.
Guinea pigs have very fragile bones. Therefore, even small bumps and falls from the height of the cage can kill the guinea pigs gradually. Try to protect your pet from accidents by covering the bottom of the cage with soft hay and covering sharp corners with cloth. If fighting between several guinea pigs in one cage is noticed, they should be moved to different houses. This will help avoid further trauma causing the guinea pig’s death.
Guinea pig labor
Guinea pigs are among the most prolific rodents. Despite this, during pregnancy and after delivery, situations can arise that lead to the death of the animal. More often than not, this happens for several reasons: Toxicosis during the last week of pregnancy and even after delivery. The presence of the afterbirth in the uterus. Obstruction of the birth canal. Vaginal prolapse. If you notice such phenomena, you should immediately seek help from a veterinarian. Most likely, surgical intervention will be required. Very often the young die if the female does not feed her offspring.
It is not uncommon for death in guinea pigs during or after surgery. Veterinarians carefully determine the correct dosage of the drug, but this does not bring assurance that all will be well. The guinea pigs body may not be able to tolerate the anesthetic if the disease has been neglected. It is also not recommended to administer the drug if the pet has abnormalities of the heart muscle. Important: The pulse rate in guinea pigs is about 180 beats per minute. This provokes vascular exhaustion, which leads to the death of the individuals.
Deadly guinea pig diseases
Most guinea pigs have a strong immune system. However, with no right food, nutritional deficiencies, or contact with sick animals, a pet can get sick and can die from dangerous viral infections.
Factors of sudden death guinea pigs are varied, so only an autopsy can tell the true cause.
By age 5, guinea pigs develop benign tumors and can become malignant, leading to cancer and death if not cared for properly.
Enteritis develops when E. coli enters the body. It multiplies rapidly in the gastrointestinal tract, emaciates, dehydrates the body and leads to death.
Common signs of enteritis:
- A hard, swollen abdomen;
- complete refusal to eat or drink;
- high fever;
- bloody diarrhea;
- The mumps breathes with wheezing;
- paralysis of the limbs sets in;
- convulsions all over the body.
If not intervened at the beginning of the disease, the guinea pigs dies from dehydration.
Salmonellosis in a guinea pigs is useless to treat. The infection comes from infected guinea pigs, food, or water where salmonellae are found.
Signs of salmonellosis:
- Refusal to eat or drink;
- heavy breathing;
- bloated abdomen;
- persistent diarrhea;
- increase in body temperature.
With these symptoms, the guinea pigs may die within 24 hours. A chance to save only in the first hours of the disease. Otherwise, it will have to be put to sleep.
Salmonellosis is transmitted to humans. It is necessary to disinfect the cage, accessories and the entire room where the sick guinea pigs was.
An infectious disease that is transmitted through food or water. The bacteria spread between the animals in a matter of hours and can kill other guinea pigs in cage.
Signs of pseudotuberculosis:
- loss of appetite;
- lethargy, sleepiness;
- Convulsions leading to paralysis of the limbs.
Clear signs of the disease.
Pseudotuberculosis is untreatable. Causes of death are dehydration and paralysis.
Poor maintenance can lead to pneumonia. Cold, drafts, poor nutrition, and contact with sick animals provoke pneumonia.
Signs of the disease:
- sharply reduced appetite;
- weakness and lethargy;
- The animal does not respond to the host;
- Frequent drinking of water;
- breathing frequent, intermittent;
- purulent discharge through the nose.
The guinea pigs rubs its nose, wanting to get rid of the discharge, wipes its nose with a paw. What to do in this case? The animal should be isolated in a separate room. If you quickly go to the vet and start treatment, the pet can be saved.
How to help a guinea pig dying of old age
There is no cure for old age. Good care and attention only prolongs your pet’s life, but not for long. If your pet is completely debilitated by old age, make it as comfortable as possible.
First of all, you need to change the diet of the pig, whose teeth can no longer cope with solid food. “Older” pigs are fed the following foods:
- Grain porridge (corn, barley, wheat);
- oat flakes;
- Soft fruit pulp (e.g., a piece of juicy pear;)
- boiled carrots;
- juicy greens;
- Mashed potatoes or pumpkin.
Help your pet to get to the feeder and drinker. Make sure he drinks water at least 3 times a day. If he fails to do so, drink with an insulin syringe or dropper.
If he is unable to chew his food, he should be given nutritious vitamin mixtures. You can make these yourself or buy them in specialized stores. Such mixtures are usually intended for feeding newborn rodents.
The house of the rodent should be freed from everything unnecessary. Remove second floors, ladders, other objects, on which the weakened animal can hurt itself.
Hygiene must not be forgotten. The piggy suffers from not being able to take care of itself. All dirty places in the pet wipe with absorbent cotton soaked in warm water.
If the pet has a favorite stuffed toy, it should be placed in the cage. This will make the pet feel calmer.
Try not to make loud noises in the room where the rodent is, as they may scare it.
The pet should be stroked and sweet-talked as often as possible. The guinea pig is very sensitive to the tenderness that is shown towards it.
First aid to the guinea pig before the vet arrives
If signs of lethargy, drowsiness, indifference to others appear in a young guinea pig, it is necessary to show it to the veterinarian urgently. The body is very small and all processes occur very quickly. It counts for seconds.
Sometimes the guinea pig needs first aid before a specialist arrives.
Foreign body in the airway
If the guinea pig has something stuck up its nose or down its throat, the following signs will occur:
- The pet is in a depressed or panicked state;
- panting, wide-open mouth, gasping for air, wheezing;
- There may be urges to vomit.
The animal should be lowered head down sharply. If the foreign body does not come out, you can try with a finger (without sharp nails) to push it down the esophagus. If all goes well, the animal is given water from an insulin syringe or a piece of pumpkin or a carrot to chew on.
Allergies manifest as swelling of the throat. The animal collapses sideways and gasps for air. First aid is to give any liquid antihistamine antiallergy medicine for children (e.g. Claritin syrups, Citrin, Fenistil drops).
When the intestines are bloated, the piggy refuses to eat, lies on its side, and breathes heavily. This can happen when eating a leaf of white cabbage or a large quantity of legumes. You should massage the abdomen and give a liquid diarrhea drink.
How to save from heat stroke
If the temperature in the room is above 23℃ for a long time, the air is dry and hot, it is detrimental to the animal. Guinea pig death can also occur from exposure to direct sunlight.
How overheating manifests itself:
- The animal is lethargic;
- refusal of food;
- the animal’s coordination is impaired;
- Body temperature is elevated.
Soak head, ears and feet with cool water. Administer prednisolone and 0.1 ml sulfocamfocaine subcutaneously.
How to save from intoxication
If the animal is poisoned, the symptoms are as follows:
- gag reflex is observed;
- Diarrhea (may be with blood);;
- loss of coordination of movements;
- a depressed or otherwise agitated state.
The pig should be taken to the vet as soon as possible. Before he arrives, the stomach can be rinsed with normal warm boiled water.
You can save your pet if you determine what caused the poisoning. If poisoned by copper or zinc (if the food was kept in zinc or copper containers for a long time), we give it milk. Rodents may also be poisoned by common dietary salt. For its neutralization use a 10% solution of glucose.
How to put the guinea pig to sleep at home
The departure of a beloved pet is always stressful for its owners. But it is necessary to pull yourself together and try to alleviate the plight of the animal.
If the condition of the animal is incompatible with life, it may be more humane to put it to sleep. This is done by specialists, with a visit to the home or in the clinic.
Our pet is gravely ill
To kill a guinea pig with barbaric methods is not to put it out of its misery, but to mock it. Putting a guinea pig to sleep involves administering painkillers so that the animal dies without pain or suffering. This procedure is performed by a veterinarian.
The diagnosis and indications for euthanasia are also made by a veterinarian. You need to find out how much it costs to put the guinea pig to sleep at home, without going out, so as not to put the sick animal under unnecessary stress.
If the guinea pig, which brought so much joy to all family members, died, it is a very hard sight for all family members.
Usually veterinary clinics also offer cremation services for animals. This option is especially suitable if it is necessary to get rid of a guinea pig that died of a viral infection.
Tips For Euthanasia At The Vet
Take something familiar, preferably soft, and absorbent with you.
It is nicer for the animals not to be put to sleep on the smooth, cold examination table, but on their cuddly towel or something similar.
If you have the strength to be there during this last step, you can hold and calm the animal while administering the anesthetic injection.
Shortly afterward, the animals become limp and relax so much that they may empty their bladders.
Therefore, a towel under the animal is well suited, then you do not need to put the dying animal away in alarm.
It is beneficial if you can sit down with the animal in your lap, it is nicer for the animal than having it on the examination table and if your knees go weak, you are already sitting.
What to do if the guinea pig dies
Some breeders do not always realize that the guinea pig is dead. The guinea pig may lie still for a certain amount of time, and breeders think the animal is asleep. And they discover that the animal is dead when the body is already stiff. It is worth remembering that the pig normally sleeps sitting up and not more than 10-15 minutes at a time. Pigs rest lying down, but their eyes are always open and they are active when the owner approaches. Most often, the approaching death can be determined by the agonizing state, refusal of food and water, as well as by their isolation. The animal does not come into contact with humans, seeks solitude and hides.
However, these signs are only appropriate for natural death from age. In the case of disease, death can occur suddenly.
If the guinea pig was healthy and died for no apparent reason, you should not bury it. The dead animal should be taken to the nearest veterinary clinic to understand why the animal died and to dispose of the body. The animal’s carcass may contain pathogens of dangerous diseases. After the pig is disposed of, it is necessary to wash and disinfect the cage and all feeders, houses and drinkers, as well as wash the floor of the room and all objects with which the animal was in contact.
If the pet was kept with other pigs, it is recommended that all pets be taken to the veterinarian to exclude the possibility of infection and the spread of disease.
If there is only one pet, you should wait at least one month before getting a new pet. During this time, many of the spores and bacteria will die, which will keep your future pet safe from dangerous diseases.
How to tell your child about the death of a guinea pig?
Parents should decide for themselves how to inform their children that the guinea pig has died. It depends on the child’s psyche, age, and degree of affection. You can resort to trickery. For example, tell the baby that the guinea pig was sent for treatment. Perhaps after a month or two baby will not feel so hard parting. During this time, he will get another animal.
In any case, parents should be sympathetic to the fact that the child will be the most worried. And we must do everything we can to protect him from stress.
Every family has its own attitude towards the situation. Some families prefer to bury the pet and explain to the child that the pig has a short life.
When a pet passes away, life is divided into two halves. Sometimes a photo album with a beloved pet, videos are a consolation. But often the pain is so intense that just this is not necessary.
Remembering your beloved pet without acute sadness will not be possible for a very long time.
Therefore, when you bring a pet into the house, you need to be prepared for the fact that their age is shorter than that of humans. One should be psychologically prepared and philosophical about this fact. It depends on the human to make sure that the animal lives its allotted time in decent conditions.
Gentle pet during his short life becomes a beloved friend of the whole family or a real outlet for a lonely person, so it is hard enough to survive the death of a guinea pig not only children but also adults.
Do Guinea Pigs Mourn Their Partner?
That is hard to say.
What is certain is that they register it and their behavior is more or less influenced.
They can sometimes show problems with feeding, appear disturbed, be more anxious, move less, etc.
The larger the group, the less noticeable a change in behavior.
In extreme cases, if the only partner dies away, serious problems can arise.
Usually, this can be fixed by a new buddy.
Most guinea pigs do not notice grief as strongly as one might initially think.
They become calmer, move less, eat more or less than before and are no longer as interested in their surroundings.
Others show hardly any changes in behavior or the owner does not notice any difference from before.
But these animals also mourn internally.
Many older guinea pigs even die of grief or get sick.
Most of the time, there is nothing to notice from the outside of the animals, but inside they suffer so that in the worst case scenario, the internal stress can trigger an illness.
No guinea pig should grow old alone, there is always a solution to keep the animals in a species-appropriate manner, even if you want to stop keeping them.
Can You Leave The Partner Guinea Pig Alone?
I often hear that keeping after the remaining guinea pigs should be stopped.
The last guinea pig should therefore remain alone until it dies.
These animals are often old, but some are still “in their prime” and are kept alone to wait for their death.
For a social animal, such an attitude on the part of the keeper means a few horrific last months or years.
It invisibly suffers from the decision of the owner.
There is always a solution to keep social animals in and give them a dignified life to death.
You can find out how to do this below.
No guinea pig should be left alone just because keeping them should be stopped in the long term.
Ideally, a new guinea pig should be added immediately, but if one cannot be found that quickly, a partner should move in at least in the first two weeks after death.
Long waits are difficult for some animals to cope with, especially if they go beyond a month.
Make sure that the guinea pig eats well and remains active during the waiting phase.
Sad guinea pig
Keep only bright and cheerful memories of your pet
After the death of a funny pet, do not blame yourself and the doctors, to seek out the causes of death, this animal will not return.
It is necessary to assure children that their little friend lived a decent happy life. The whole family can:
- make a photo album with moments from the life of an affectionate pet;
- Hang a photo portrait of the animal on the wall;
- Plant a tree or perennial flowers in memory of the guinea pig.
It is desirable to recall often with kind words funny pranks of the family pet, tell friends incidents from the life of a baby. Until the pain of loss subsides, tears dry up at the memory of the little beast, do not get a new pet.
It is important to love and pamper the friendly guinea pigs, try to stroke the wonderful little ones often on the forehead and behind the ears, give them treats and say affectionate words. Funny rodents selflessly love their owners all their lives and forever remain a bright spot in human memory.