Sudden Guinea Pig Baby Deaths

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Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:27 pm

I work at a farm that just happens to include guinea pigs. Recently, we've been having a lot of pregnancies happening due to employees who fail to pair males and females up correctly (something that bothers me, yes, and I am working on finding a solution to). Five days ago I discovered three babies (just a few hours old), one, who I named Curly, was too weak to even get up (on his side, twitching a lot), the second (named Larry) was up and walking, but still falling over from exhaustion, and the third (Moe) was relatively normal. After some coaxing from the mother to get them to nurse, I realized she had rejected them due to their apparent issues (though why she rejected the seemingly normal one, I did not know). I waited eight hours to see if there was any improvement, but the babies were being completely ignored.

That's when I stepped in and decided to help them out at home. I purchased critical care from my vet, and administered feedings every two or so hours to get some sustanence in them. Curly passed first, from what it seemed like sheer exhaustion. Larry passed second from what I thought were seizures, showing signs of a tilted head and small reoccurring body spasms. Moe survived up until 5 days old until a few hours ago when he all of the sudden lost motor skills, went limp, and died within the timespan of four hours. It's Moe's death that confuses the most out of me. He was seemingly so healthy, and as happy go lucky as a pig could be. He loved cuddles and eating veggies. He especially loved my boar Bruce, who taught him how to eat hay and drink from a bottle.

What could have gone wrong? I'm still distraught over the situation and can't help but feel I am somehow at fault. I'm also worrying that it could have been a transmitable illness that took them one by one, and that my own guinea pigs are at risk now. I realize now that I shouldn't have let them interact with my own, but I wasn't thinking about the possibility. I have a very expensive veterinarian, so I might have to raise the money to get all four checked out if something like this is a possibility.

I appreciate the feedback in advance. I hope to learn from this situation so I'll be better equipped to help babies in the future.

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Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2018 5:32 pm

I am so sorry about the losses. You tried so hard. There are some tips on the hand feeding page but it is likely you did nothing wrong.

Always weigh daily, feed carefully, and feed enough. Another option might have been to take the mother home too and give her some time with them, perhaps swapping out guinea pigs to see if she would feed them. If there was another mother with pups, sometimes they will accept new pups.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:30 pm

One likely possibility is that the pups were inbred, and had severe problems at birth. Don't beat yourself up -- sounds like you're the only one with the guinea pigs' best interests at heart.

Is this farm breeding guinea pigs for sale? or as food for snakes? If not, are they keeping any breeding records?


Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2018 2:34 pm

Oh goodness no. We are an educational organization that travels around to schools and the like, teaching the public about the animals we care for. Also, I do not believe they keep breeding records with the guinea pigs. They expressed to me that they do not care for the guinea pigs as much as the other animals. And thank you for your responses -- they helped a lot.

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:46 pm

The first thing I thought of was prematurity or inbreeding.


Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:30 pm

I had the same problem with some babies. The first vet had advised me not to worry too much about giving them water because there was water in the mix (bad advise). When I took them back in another vet gave them boluses of water and glucose, they sprang right back up. Make sure you give them the appropriate amount of water for their weight. They need to be fed every two hours and It's very difficult to get enough in them while trying not to aspirate them. I basically didn't sleep for days.

I had one baby I thought was doing well and still nursing that suddenly went downhill. Her body would stiffen and then relax and she would just lay limp. She was at the point where she was having trouble swallowing. I know you aren't supposed to give guinea pigs applesauce, I also know it's very high in carbohydrates. As a last ditch effort to save her I gave her a small syringe of applesauce. Within 4 minutes her head came up and she struggled to stand, within 7 minutes she ran up my son's shoulder. I immediately started giving her food and water. She survived and is doing well at 2 years. We had 4 babies and lost one. I will always regret I did not try the applesauce with the first one who was showing the same symptoms and died.


Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 2:56 pm

Sorry, I need to add this important note to my post and I could not edit it.

I would never give repeated doses of applesauce. It can cause severe diarrhea and kill your guinea pig. In my case the baby was dying and she wouldn't have survived the night. The vet's office was closed for the evening and there were no other options.

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Post   » Sat Jun 16, 2018 11:54 pm

poho1100, this is an old topic. Your advice may help other readers but probably not the person who started the topic.

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Supporter 2016-2018

Post   » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:37 pm

Sorry for your losses. I am guessing the guinea pigs were too precious for this world and they were born so you could show them love and care for them. They at the bridge waiting for you. Munching on grass and popcorning. The sky now has 3 bright stars gleaming down twinkling in the night sky. # little angels who got their wings. Sending big hugs your way!

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