Beloved Buffy just passed away

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Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:27 am

I'm still in a daze as I type this. She was fine, and then she wasn't.

Buffy (short for Buffalo) was born to us April 2, 2015, and was named Buffalo because she looked like a baby buffalo. She had dark brown, wiry hair. She was my husband's favorite of the seven we have. He was always "I hate guinea pigs," but whenever he entered the family room where we keep our piggies, he always cried out "Buffy!" and went over and petted her. He snuggled with her. They had a special relationship. He didn't "attach" like that to any of our other piggies. Whenever he would go downstairs singing "Buffy!" the girls and I would exchange knowing looks. "Yeah," one of them would always say, "Dad hates guinea pigs" and roll their eyes.

My husband is taking her death hard. He's muttering about getting rid of all the piggies, which I know he won't do, he's just hurting. Still, I'm not sure what to do for him.

Here's what happened:

She seemed fine yesterday when I gave her treats with all the others. She's always been a bit bashful except with my husband, but she darted right up to the cage to get her treat. We fed and watered the piggies like normal this morning. Jeff (my husband) said he thought Buffy seemed a tiny bit lethargic but I didn't notice anything and he didn't say anything to me. She seemed normal to me. Anyhow, we had lots of errands to run today what with the girls starting school and meet your teacher times today, then this afternoon and evening we spent with friends. Came home about 9 pm tonight.

Jeff came upstairs from feeding and petting the piggies and told me he thought something was wrong with Buffy, so he just then put her in a recovery cage by herself. I ran to the cage and got her to examine her to see if she had bloat (a recent affliction we dealt with Panda about) but that wasn't it. She was always docile, but she did seem more docile than usual. But no bloat. We gave her her favorite treat that she hardly ever gets -- a fresh blueberry -- which she ate fine. Then we gave her some red bell pepper, which she also ate fine. OK, so no problems eating then.

Then I noticed she had a bit of dried diarrhea on her bum, but with her dark hair we had missed that yesterday. As I held her on my chest, she ran up to snuggle in my neck as she usually does with Jeff. I pulled her back down so I could check her eyes, and she started jerking her head straight up and her whole body started spasming. I kept petting/stroking her, which she seemed to like, but within minutes she just went limp and died.

Not that it matters now, but does anyone have any idea what might have happened? Ear infection? UTI? After I cleaned up, I ran to thoroughly check each of our remaining six piggies, and nobody else has any signs of diarrhea or lethargy.

We are still in shock.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:45 am

I'm so sorry you lost her.

It really sounds like a stroke to me. Neither an ear infection nor a UTI would have caused those symptoms.


Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:50 am

Do you think two separate strokes then? Why would she have a bit of dried diarrhea on her bum and be a bit lethargic before just a single stroke?

The only cavy savvy vet in town won't be open till Monday and this is Saturday night. Not sure a necropsy will be possible by then.


Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:54 am

All our pigs are young, and we haven't dealt with any infections yet.

Panda had bloat recently, and when she gave birth (to Buffy and 3 other babies), she was too young herself and her femurs broke from being depleted of calcium by the developing babies. And Twilight (the now-neutered father) got his eye poked with hay that scared us just a few months after the babies had been born. But that's it. Our piggies have always been pretty healthy.

Still in shock.


Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 1:06 am

I guess the small consolation we have is that since Buffy was born to us, we know with 100% certainty that she was never abused or mishandled; she always knew love and affection. She didn't like being picked up, but she did like being held. She was our best purr-er. She always purred as soon as we began petting her, and her purrs were louder than all the others' are. She was our chirper, too. None of the others chirp. I still don't know why she would chirp, but she never did so when she thought humans were in the same room. She was part of a very bonded herd and never knew being isolated or alone. She got to eat a nice fresh blueberry and yummy red pepper just before she died, and she was being held and petted the way she always liked when she died. She had a good life. It was just way, way too short. <Sob>

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Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:23 am

Oh, I am so sorry, JX4. You and your family have my sympathy.

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Supporting my GL Habit

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:45 am

I'm sorry for your loss. Given what you describe, I wouldn't attribute it to an infection. Seems like a stroke or heart failure (but I am not a vet, and only a necropsy would tell you for sure. If you can keep her cool (chilled, not frozen) until Monday, it may be possible for a necropsy. But I'd go with something congenital, not infectious. That totally sucks. What a shock.

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Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:35 pm

I'm so very sorry, JX4. I know how horrible a sudden death can be. My sympathies to you and your family. Rest in peace, little Buffy. You are loved and missed.

Sending hugs and healing hopes to you and yours.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 2:52 pm

Sounds like a seizure to me, but doesn't help much if you don't know what caused it. The diarrhea seems like the only clue.

Our Clemmy had a seizure while at the emergency hospital & was in heart failure. Since she was in very bad shape & hadn't responded to several days of appropriate treatment, we had her pts. But she did have uri symptoms so we knew what was wrong.

Losing a young pig is especially hard, at least for me. I"ll pass on something said by the friend who gave us Clemmy. She said she thinks the quality of life is more important than the length. And Buffy certainly had a quality life.


Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:52 pm

Thank you for your kind words, everyone.

GrannyJu1, I think (but I'm not sure) that you were the one who threatened to come to our house and steal Buffy (aka Buffalo) after she was born and we posted the baby pics. You thought she was adorable!

It may have been something congenital with her heart. She was one of four babies in her litter, but one of her litter mates was her identical twin (except the twin had a light brown patch on her bum where Buffy had the same patch but in white; otherwise they were identical -- we called them "the twins" at first). But her twin died within a week of birth. We think she wasn't nursing and we didn't notice until it was too late. But who knows? Maybe the twins had a congenital heart condition that just couldn't bear any stress related to a health issue like not nursing enough or an infection of some kind.

Sadly, a necropsy can't be done now. We weren't sure what to do, and the only thing we could think of to preserve her till Monday was put her in the freezer. We will be taking her to our vet tomorrow to have her body disposed of properly. It's against the law where we live to bury a pet in our yard, and even if it weren't illegal, we have two beagles who would dig her up no matter how much we tried to keep that from happening.

We hadn't made any plans as to what to do in the event of one of our piggies dying because they're so young and have been so healthy. What is normally done?

Clint The Cuy

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:06 pm

I am so sorry JX4 for your family's loss. I too just lost a girl who happened to be my boyfriend's absolute favorite. She was hard not to like. He can't even talk about her. We are having her cremated at his request. He has also said something similar to your husband's remark like, " DO NOT expect me to become attached to any of the others!"

They enrich our lives and it's never the same once they are gone. I have had a few sudden unexpected deaths occur over the years and unfortunately a lot of these cases go unsolved. This is especially hard when you are looking for closure.

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2018

Post   » Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:20 pm

I’m so sorry for the loss of your dear, sweet Buffy. So sad that her life was short, but thankful it was filled with love and happiness.

We’ve had several of our guinea pigs cremated. Some vet offices will make you a memento with their paw prints which is nice to have as a remembrance.


Post   » Fri Aug 25, 2017 10:52 pm

Just wanted to provide an update. I got little Buffy's paw prints today.

When I called my vet and asked if they would do a paw print, they referred me to a private business called Pet Traditions here in Wichita. It was kind of weird to walk in and be greeted with the same demeanor a funeral director for a human death would greet me. The place was, in fact, a funeral home for pets.

They sat and listened to me talk about Buffy and what she was like. They were not pushy about selling me an urn or anything else. They asked me why I had come in and what I was hoping for. I asked about pricing and determined I could afford a cremation and a small paw print stone, but was not able to afford to receive ashes back and get an urn or box. (We have 10 pets and that just would not be feasible and how do you choose which ones to do that for and which ones not?)

When I told them that there was no pushiness on their part about trying to talk me into getting anything more than I asked for. They just assured me that they would dispose of the ashes in a dignified, tasteful way (no just tossing them in the trash).

I picked up the paw print stone today. It is engraved with her name and has both her front paw prints on it. It is very nice. As I picked it up, they told me they remembered little Buffy and thought she was adorable. They again told me how sorry they were for my loss.

My husband initially didn't want to see the stone because he said it would make him too sad. But as soon as I got back with it, he took it from me and held it, rubbing it with affection.

So, for anyone who is the Wichita, KS area, I recommend Pet Traditions.

You can quote me

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 2:35 am

I'm really, really sorry, JX4. For Buffy and for you. I wish her Godspeed, safe passage, and joy and comfort.

I remember her picture when she was born. I remember thinking then that she was pretty tiny. I agree with the probability of a congenital problem.

In nature she likely would not have survived. You gave her a wonderful life, if far too short.

Prayers and blessings for her spirit, and for you, your husband's, and family's comfort.

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Supporter 2016-2018

Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 5:00 am

I as so sorry for your lost of little Buffy. RIP wee one, run free in perfect health reunited with your twin never to be parted again. Popcorn in paradise and eat the fresh grass. You were loved and cherished and you'll never be forgotten. Sending you and Jeff and your children. She will always be in your heart!


Post   » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:31 pm

Thank you, everyone, for your kind words.

We do have six more piggies to love and care for. It's hard to not be able to say we have *seven* guinea pigs now.

Fortunately for our piggies, they don't seem to be mourning Buffy's loss very much. I attribute that to the fact that they have an entire herd to keep each other company.

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