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Guinea Pigs/barely alive guinea pig


QUESTION: my male guinea pig was very lethargic and lame. he was unable to control his body or head movements. he seemed to get better and now he is barely breathing and gasping please answer me soon.
 cheers and thank you

ANSWER: Oh Christine, I'm so very sorry to hear this. It's so hard when this happens because you feel so helpless. Guinea pigs don't seem to show their illnesses until it's very often too late.

I wish I could give you some kind of encouragement or answer as to what's happening, but I would be misleading you if I gave you any hope that this was something we could fix. The average life of a guinea pig is only about five years for most. Some age faster than others and sometimes they simply leave us for no reason we can find.

The best advice I can give you is to tell you just to hold him in your arms and pray his suffering passes quickly. I'm so sorry for your little guy. I wish there was something I could do to make it easier.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: he has 2 brothers, they are fine. they are running around the hutch squeeking and eating and drinking- just like he was this morning. does this mean that his brothers will join him in heaven? he has now died- i tried to keep him with me but massage of the chest (heart) area and mouth to mouth didnt work.

I'm so sorry he's gone. There shouldn't be any reason the brothers would follow suit. If they're acting like they normally do there isn't any reason I can think of that they should become ill as well.

Sometimes these things happen and we have no idea why. Hopefully the other two boys will fill the empty spot in your heart and will live for a long time. So please don't worry about losing them. It sounds like whatever happened to the other little guy was just a sudden fluke with no explanation.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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