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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 08:23 AM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Feeling Guilty

My first official thread here and it will be a discussion about whether I am the reason my baby pig died.

This is the longest story ever and if you want to know about the baby pig only skip to the last section.

***There is a pet store pig involved but I would really like this to be a discussion about the pig and not about where she came from.***


It all began with a rescue.


I have a co-worker that had a 2 pigs at her house because the husband decided it would be a perfect gift for the kids for Christmas even though my co-worker had said no when they had discussed it.


So she had asked if i would like them and I had asked my husband and seeing as how I have 4 dogs and 3 rats he said absolutely not.


I did tell my co-worker that if worse came to worse to let me know and I would foster them until a home was found.


The following week they went out of town and I said I would watch the pigs for them but she decided it was too much of a hassel and they left for the weekend.


When they got back one of the pigs had died.


This is when I told them I would foster the single left over pig.


At this time I should tell everyone I live in Texas and our summers start early and get very hot, very fast. Yesterday it was 101 degrees outside and my co-worker didn't like the smell of the pigs so they were living in the garage...


I used this little bit of info to soften my husbands defenses and then I brought the pig home and he fell in love with her immediately.


It was at this time I decided that she needed a new buddy because I knew she would be lonely in a new home and having just lost her friend so I picked up a baby pig.


Before anyone says it, yes I purchased the baby from the petstore, the closest breeder was 6 hours away and the rescues are pet store bought pigs anyway. I know a lot of people absolutely HATE petstore pigs but this was my best option and I did go to several stores and picked the store with the healthiest, best cared for pigs.


-------------------------------


I had the baby for about 3 days before I started noticing that her breathing was labored. When she was originally brought home she was very vocal and playful so I began to worry.


I brought her into the vet clinic that was in the petstore, Banfield Animal Clinic.


The "exotic" vet looked her over, looked in her eyes, ears and nose said he didn't see anything wrong with her even though when you put her down it was obvious that she was having a hard time breathing.


He ended up giving me a pink liquid to give to her twice a day for about three days.


I gave her the meds and she started to get better and was running around again.


As soon as the meds stopped though she started going downhill again.


At this time I would like to state that I felt this vet was very inexerienced with guinea pigs. His answer to everything was pump the pig full of vitamin C and that will fix it.


I woke up one morning to find her literally gasping like a fish out of water for air and slightly cool to the touch and not very responsive. I had to work that day so I called my mom immediately and asked her to bring my pig back in and she did within the hour.


My mom was also very unimpressed with this guy. He once again said he could see nothing wrong with her even though she was literally opening her mouth to breath and gave me more pink liquid, this time the bottle was labeled with Baytril, and told me to go home and give her this twice a day for 7 days and then come back in for a check up.


This pig is obviously extremely distressed and you want me to just take her home and give her some oral antibiotics?!


That night she got worse, she was not eating or drinking and the gasping got worse. I gave her the meds and held her.


The next morning I decided I was going to take her to the vet and this time was not going to leave until they took her in and kept an eye on her themselves because I felt like I was doing everything wrong to take care of her.


I had to work on this day too but I went in, got all my work done and left at noon to take her in.


When I got home, she had already passed.


-----------------------------------------------


It is at this time that I realized I might have been my own pigs killer.


Is it possible to drown a pig in antibiotics if you give it to them wrong?


Was I not handfeeding the meds to her right?


I keep myself awake at night just thinking I may be the very reason that little pig passed away. I might have gotten it in her lungs and made it harder and harder for her to breath until her little body just couldn't handle it anymore.


And I have looked every where on the internet in hopes of finding some kind of answer to how I would know if I had drowned her. How would someone know? What would the symptoms be.


She died so suddenly and the vet said he could never hear or see anything wrong with her.


Did I kill her?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 09:01 AM
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NO, in no way was it your fault, you didnt kill her! You tried to help her, it was the vets fault, he probably thought it was a URI but after the first round of baytril didnt work and there was no accompanying symptoms he should have run tests. Also, im not sure on this though, shouldnt he have put her on metacam instead? I doubt you drowned her, the only way that could happen would be if the pig was unconsious/ asleep when you gave the medicine, and you should have been given a demonstration too. Please dont feel guilty, you did your best!
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 10:10 AM
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Ack, posted twice.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Last edited by Jennicat; 06-24-2009 at 10:18 AM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 10:17 AM
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A combination of things killed your guinea pig:

1.) she was from a pet store. Complain all you want about me mentioning it, but pet store animals come from breeding mills and are notorious for being sick. We get 3-4 emails a week of people's new pet store pigs dying, typically of respiratory issues, though we get a fair amount of pregnancy, chlamydia, and skin problems as well.
2.) your pig was not being handfed. A guinea pig that is not eating will have it's digestive system shut down. They have to be aggressively handfed a supplement while sick to ensure that it does not.
3.) the antibiotic was not given long enough. The antibiotic was actually Bactrim (Baytril is typically yellow unless it's specially compounded, and it's unlikely that a vet as unknowledgeable as what you describe would have the capacity to compound baytril); and it should have been given for 14 days.

In addition, if you did not do a strict quarantine, you have exposed your other pig to this young pig's sickness, and it may be sick soon as well. Rescue pigs are "just" pet store pigs, but a reputable rescue quarantines their animals so that yours don't get sick and you don't end up with a sick animal. They also can provide assistance to you if your guinea pig becomes sick; they can tell you things like the importance of handfeeding and how to give probiotics.

It was an unfortunately situation for the little pig involved; they require a great deal of specialized care and so many folks just aren't very educated about how to care for them at all, much less the more specialized medical care they need to survive illness.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jennicat View Post
It was an unfortunately situation for the little pig involved; they require a great deal of specialized care and so many folks just aren't very educated about how to care for them at all, much less the more specialized medical care they need to survive illness.
So basically it was my fault.

I did have the pigs in separate cages and when the baby died I took her stuff and washed the metal/plastic things in my dish washer and threw all the bedding and the house away.

But I suppose since the rescue pig was in the same room she will also die now?

I feel kind of inept and stupid about this whole thing now. If the other one gets sick I'll end up killing her too.

So what do I do now?

I can't take her to the competent people at a rescue because then I will be one of "those" people but at the same time I am also too uneducated to care properly for her.

I feel so lost now...I'm going to end up killing this pig too and I can't do anything to stop it. Knowledge of pig things is one thing but the experience to keep her alive is something that can't just be gained over night.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-24-2009, 11:27 AM
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It wasn't your fault entirely. You were ignorant, but your vet should have done research on his own to be able to support you. That's what he was paid for. You tried to do the right thing in the end.

If they were in the same room, there's a possibility of transmission. If they were in different rooms but you didn't scrub down/change clothes between handling them, the possibility is also still there.

If the other one gets sick, you won't end up killing her because now you have a better idea what to do. Go back to the vet, and get enough of the Bactrim to last for 2 weeks. It's cheap as dirt and very safe, so he shouldn't have a problem with that. Order some Critical Care by Oxbow to handfeed. It's a powder that you mix with water that has fiber and nutrients in it to help them keep going.

Check out the following pages for medical advice too:
http://www.guinealynx.info

You may also want to contact Texas Rustler's Guinea Pig Rescue, they're in Double Oak, which seems to be pretty close to you?

http://theguineapigrescue.com/index.htm

They should be able to give you advice on vets, since they've obviously got one for their piggies, and can provide more "on the ground" support. Nobody gets the knowledge out of the air, and I don't think you did a terrible thing. You did your best, and you did try to help your pig friend. Do you know how many pigs our rescue sees that are literally months into agonizing physical conditions, and yet the people refused to even take "just a guinea pig" to the vet?

It's not your fault that you didn't know, and you did what you thought was best. Now you do know better, and you can learn more and do better.

We are as gods to the beasts of the fields. We order the time o' their birth and the time o' their death. Between times, we ha' a duty. - Terry Pratchett.

"Men have forgotten this truth", said the fox, "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
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