Last Updated: 6/25/18
Photos and Videos
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I babysat Georgie at Thanksgiving 2015 for a week and later found these photos I took of him:
GM - in cage
GM - cute face
GM - right side
GM - posterior
GM - top view
I took these photos the morning after I got George Michael, 7/4/16.
GM's old cage
GM after his bath
GM playing peek-a-boo.
I have some newer photos that I took but I have not been able to process photos for a few years due to lack of time so they are just sitting and waiting.
On 7/3/16, a relative asked me to take their guinea pig as they could no longer care for him. His name was George Michael, after a character in the TV show "Arrested Development." He was about three years old. George Michael, or GM for short, had his back left leg amputated a few years ago due to injury. Since then, he suffered from impacted feces. They had to be expressed regularly.
I left GM in his old cage until the next morning as it was late. In the morning, I set up a cage for him. I put him in a shallow warm bath and washed him a bit and expressed his impacted feces. Then, he got to eat which he loved to do.
Georgie had a check up on 7/7/16. He was 3.1 pounds. Aside from the fecal impaction problem, the vet did not find anything wrong. I told him the impaction was common but he had never seen it. He looked it up in his book which said it was common in old boars and to feed more fiber and keep cleaning it out. So, I planned to give him a butt bath on Saturday evenings and just to express the clump of poo perhaps every Tuesday and Thursday. I had to get in to a routine. The vet said that neutering would not help. Given that my four pigs were old middle-aged, it did not make sense to have unnecessary surgery on GM. He would live his life apart from my other three pigs. I hoped he was not too lonely. His cage was near other animals, most of the time next to the rabbit, Mr. Tiny.
On 7/6/17, Georgie went to the vet for a check up. They remarked how clean he was despite the fecal impaction. They agreed that he had more dark wax in his left ear than his right (ten times the vet said) and more eye stuff in his left eye than his right. He lost some weight, down to 2.5 pounds but he was overweight.
Georgie became sick rather quickly. He had always eaten all his fruits and veggies and either on 5/10/18 or 5/11/18, there were some left the next morning. As both rabbits and guinea pigs can go a few days with reduced appetite, and I was super busy, I did not think too much of it. Then, on 5/12/18, his breathing became labored. It was bad enough that I believed he was not going to survive the day, and that it would not be worth the time, money, and stress of a vet visit. His breathing was better the next day though, and he wanted to eat some food. I noticed he seemed gassy, and he started to make smelly, liquid waste. I called the vet. They could not see him until Monday night and said to go to the emergency vet if I wanted to have him seen sooner but the emergency vet is not open during regular vet hours, and they know absolutely nothing about guinea pigs. I got him to his regular vet on 5/14/18 at 6 pm.
The vet said his front lymph nodes were greatly enlarged but not his back ones indicating an infection that he thought was in his respiratory tract even though his breathing and heart sounded normal at the vet visit. The vet gave me a new oil-based Baytril (enrofloxacin) liquid. It was tutti fruitti flavor. He thought GM would be fine after a course of antibiotics but I did not think so. The vet said he had not lost weight but the receipt said he was 1.2 pounds while on 7/6/17, he was 2.5 pounds.
Unfortunately, the vet was wrong, and I was right. Georgie was dying. He never did eat or drink much again after the vet visit. The antibiotics only lasted 7 days (was supposed to be 10) but he did not improve. When I changed his bedding on 5/19/18, there was some bright red blood on the piddle pad under the fleece. He continued to loose weight and had trouble breathing. Since his lymph nodes were still huge, I figured he had lymphosarcoma. I held him on 5/22/18, and I think it comforted him for a little while. He started to have trouble using his back legs and progressed through the stages of death and could no longer walk. He died while I was at work on 5/24/18. When I took him out, he had a piece of spinach in his teeth so I went to take it out and noticed that his bottom left incisor looked to be cracked in half. How could this be? Was this his problem all along? Both the vet and I had looked at his teeth and did not see this problem then. His mouth and teeth area did not look infected at either time. But, if he broke his tooth, the pain could have prevented him from eating. It had been my feeling that he needed Metacam for pain management but the vet had insisted he had some minor infection. If the tooth was indeed the issue, he could have had surgery. It would have been a big ordeal and very expensive of course. I feel bad that I failed him if it was his tooth and not lymphosarcoma which is what I thought was the cause of death before I saw his tooth. I have an infinite amount of living animals who need me though so I cannot beat myself up for too long. I am so sorry Georgie.
On 6/14/18, I took my rabbit, Mr. Tiny, to the vet, and we discussed Georgie. The vet assures me that, if his tooth had been split when he looked at him, that he would have seen it. He also told me that guinea pigs do not stop eating when their front teeth are cracked. I do not know if I believe that one but I feel better that maybe the cracked tooth had nothing to do with Georgie's death. The vet thinks maybe it broke during the death process.
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