Every guinea pig owner will experience a time in their life when they need to say a final goodbye to their beloved pet. Sometimes our guinea pigs leave this world with no symptoms, and sometimes they go through a difficult period before they leave. Is my guinea pig dead or in shock? Let’s look at all the possible scenarios.
Spotting the warning signs your guinea pig is dying?
For inexperienced guinea pig owners, distinguishing the stages of a dying guinea pig can be a bit challenging.
In addition, some of the disease symptoms can mimic and resemble the symptoms one would typically see in a dying guinea pig.
Typically, dying guinea pigs refuse to eat or drink, shake or defecate or urinate uncontrollably, and pain and slow movement can be observed in severe cases.
- The diseases and signs that lead a guinea pig to its final moments of life usually last 24 to 72 hours.
- Most dying guinea pigs will refuse to eat or drink until the end of their lives. They will not accept food even if you try to force-feed them.
- Some guinea pigs with severe disease will develop diarrhea and hematuria.
- Straining to defecate or urinate may also indicate a serious problem.
- The vast majority of burrowers develop fevers and tremors at the end of their lives. The fever may be due to lung infection (the number one cause of death in guinea pigs)
other symptoms may include:
- shortness of breath,
- difficulty breathing
- Guinea pigs drink from a bowl, a behavior they may stop entirely before they die.
- Sick guinea pigs have difficulty moving and show signs of pain.
Many owners recognize that poor fur condition, inflamed skin, crusty eyes, and a crusty nose can quickly put a pet’s life in danger.
The ability of a guinea pig to heal and return to normal can only be determined by an exotic animal vet such as your pet. The prognosis relies on the severity of the disease, the progression of symptoms, the age of the animal, and concurrent health problems.
Is my guinea pig dead or in shock – what are the signs?
Although your guinea pig may appear to be dead when it is actually in shock, the mere fact that it is in behavioral, allergic, or hypovolemic shock can undoubtedly lead to death.
Guinea pigs are prey and very timid animals that can die almost instantly from fear. This condition is known as behavioral shock or panic shock.
Is My Guinea Pig Dead Or In Shock? – Causes
Even the slightest change in environment can shock a guinea pig. In many cases, shock can cause your pet to die a tragic death, but not all frightened guinea pigs will die.
When things get out of hand, and their heart stops, they collapse and stop breathing. Think of them as elderly people with weak hearts and avoid doing anything that might trigger a guinea pig’s fear.
In addition to behavioral shock, pathological shock involves the function of different organ systems.
One type of shock is anaphylactic shock. This occurs when a guinea pig’s circulatory system collapses due to an overreaction to an allergen. This condition appears to be similar to death. The animal suddenly begins to have difficulty breathing, its gums turn white, and all vital signs suddenly disappear.
Hypovolemic shock occurs when there is severe blood loss or dehydration. Guinea pigs suffering from hypovolemic shock may appear agitated and confused, their skin is wet and cold, and they exhibit general weakness and shortness of breath.
Any type of shock or concussion in guinea pigs can lead to instant death, and sometimes it is impossible to distinguish between them because they can both appear suddenly.
Whenever there is a possibility that your guinea pig is in shock, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. Unfortunately, not many guinea pigs survive shock conditions, so do your best to prevent it.
The guinea pig death process
A dying guinea pig will withdraw from you or another pet and move to a quiet place, usually the corner of the cage.
They stand on all four legs rather than lie in a resting position as they prepare for dying.
When symptoms of the disease persist for several days, your guinea pig may lose its normal size and weight. What happens next can be very distressing for most guinea pig owners.
When the beginning of the end begins, the guinea pig is right next to him. You may notice his body undergo what appears to be a series of electric shocks. The electricity is generated by the central nervous system, which tries to revive the failing heart.
Most guinea pigs begin to move their legs rapidly as they approach death. This behavior is confusing to most people because they believe the animal is suffering. Many owners take their pets to the veterinarian, and this happens to euthanize them.
We recommend that you not rush to the vet and check to see if your guinea pig feels anything. Instead, get using your phone’s flashlight, point a light source at your piggie’s eyes, see if the iris stays wide open or starts to contract, shrink or twitch.
If there is no contraction or visible movements, it means that the pet is completely unconscious and does not feel anything.
In such an unfortunate scenario, it most likely means that death will occur soon after this event.
Pre-mortem seizures in guinea pigs
dying seizures in guinea pigs can be the nervous system’s response to restoring the body – just like a hospital defibrillator.
Leg paddling or kicking is also part of the death process, but it is always difficult to say exactly what is happening to the guinea pig.
Although true seizures are rare in burrows, they do occur and can lead to sudden death.
In warmer areas of the planet, guinea pigs will often have seizures from overheating because of brain damage.
All guinea pigs can have seizures if poisoned, has an ongoing (usually severe) infection (especially ear infections), or if there is a head injury.
Vitamin C deficiency and tumors may also sometimes be the cause of seizures in guinea pigs.
In the case of seizures from overheating, the only thing you can do is cool the guinea pig with a cool, wet towel. In all other cases, you need to take him to the vet and examine him thoroughly.
A type of guinea pig mange called Trixicara caves can produce seizure-like symptoms in Guinea. This behavior occurs when the mite causes an intense itching sensation, so the animal simply falls to one side and begins to twitch, cry and squeak.
signs a guinea pig is dying – Guinea Pig in shock symptoms
Knowing the signs that your guinea pig is dying may not be obvious; this is true for both beginner guinea pig owners and experienced owners.
Dying guinea pigs have many voluntary and involuntary body movements. If decoded correctly, some of these movements show guinea pig in shock symptoms.
So what how do you know your guinea pig is in shock?
- Twitching is one of the most common signs a guinea pig is dying; this is present in many last-moment experiences be they die.
Apart from twitching, a guinea pig nearing death may also show:
- Rapid breathing with almost no other visible body movements
- Visible heartbeat in action
- Sudden movements, for example, jumping.
As scary as they may sound or seem, the above-listed signs of a guinea pig dying are natural progression because those movements mean the organs were gradually shutting down.
Soon the light in their eyes goes out, and at that moment, your guinea pig will depart this world, never to return.
A Guinea pig twitching dying movement is, in most cases, the last sign of death, and when the convulsions or twitching stops, death has probably already occurred. Even though the animal’s lungs and heart may keep functioning for a while, it is nothing more than a retained reflex.
How do I keep my guinea pig safe from shocks?
Most things you think are small can be huge for your guinea pig, so it is vital always to consider your state of mind when interacting with them. Suddenly walking into a room, grabbing your guinea pig out of nowhere, or yelling can cause them to panic. To ensure that your guinea pig is not electrocuted, consider the following.
Keeping them away from loud noises
Guinea pigs cannot tolerate scary sounds and noises, such as music speakers, heavy traffic, sirens outside, and people shouting. These sounds sound harmless to us, but to your guinea pig, they sound like predators in the wild!
The most recommended method for keeping your guinea pig away and safe from loud, scary, and distracting noises and sounds is to have a room just for them. Make sure the room is also off-limits to other pets and loud noises in the house. When you are in the same room with your guinea pig, keep the volume to a minimum, whisper, and never scream or shout.
Everyone in the house, including children, should make sure no scary noises could harm the guinea pigs. While children are usually harmless to guinea pigs, their noise can be life-threatening and can die from petrification.
If you can’t provide a separate room for your guinea pig, keep their cage away from other pets, and you shouldn’t put it on the ground where anyone and everyone can reach it. Large birds and other large animals can scare your guinea pig, so don’t place their cage near a window.
Gradually introduce your guinea pig to new things.
Make sure you introduce your guinea pig to new things gradually, including other pets in your home, but this is only recommended if you can’t keep them separated all the time. If they can be separated, keep your guinea pig separated from other pets and away from them. Introduce your guinea pig to new things slowly, even if it’s food, toys, or a home.
Observe their reactions as you slowly introduce new things to them. If there are no adverse symptoms, continue using it until they are completely familiar with the new item. Conversely, if adverse reactions occur, stop and retry later. Forcing your guinea pig to adapt to something new may be harmful to them.
Can you save a dying guinea pig?
Whether or not you can save a dying guinea pig depends on many factors. Really old guinea pigs don’t have a great chance of continuing their lives. For youngsters, the chances of being saved are better, depending on their health.
If you are unsure of your guinea pig’s age, you should look for signs such as twisted and thickened toes, stiffness, small skin tumors, and cloudy eyes characteristic of older individuals.
You have a few days to react, except in the case of sudden death without any symptoms.
When your guinea pig becomes ill for any reason, you need to take him to the vet. This may be the only way to help your dying Guinea, and it is the only time you have.
Even if he is being examined and treated, the prognosis may not be so good. Always be prepared for the worst, especially if the symptoms are severe.
When your veterinarian tells you that your guinea pig’s chances of getting better are slim, you can still try to make the end of his life more comfortable.
One thing you can do is offer your guinea pig baby water from a syringe or even put some ground-up hay and pellets in it – offer, but don’t force-feed!
At the end of a guinea pig’s life, when body functions stop working, there is absolutely nothing you or anyone else can do to prevent death from occurring.
However, there are things you can do to make your precious pet’s passage more comfortable.
A dying guinea pig will feel most comfortable in a warm, quiet space with medium light. Natural, soft sounds can make a guinea pig feel very comfortable.
You can place his favorite toy next to him and gently hug him as a sign of affection. This way, dying guinea pigs can be reassured that they are not alone and should not be afraid.
Spend as much time with you as needed. If you have more than one guinea pig, set your dying guinea pig aside until his last breath before you part with him.