Cannoli unexpectedly left us very late on Wednesday night.
We went to the vet on Wednesday afternoon for an examination and a blood draw. Vet visits can be stressful, but Cannoli appeared to handle it well. She was exhausted on the way home, yet looked fine when she hopped into the cage. But a few hours later, at dinner time, she looked depressed and was not interested in pellets or lettuce. I called the vet and discussed what we wanted to do.
Noli spent the evening in a temporary pen so I could monitor her output. I tried to entice her to eat and checked for any signs of pain. The vet called me back every hour or so for Noli's status and to plan our next move. By 9:30, Cannoli was still really not herself, but was looking a little better and alert. I would monitor her overnight, and if she wasn't eating on her own in the morning, we'd return to the vet.
When I checked in an hour and a half later I could clearly see Cannoli was going. I returned her to the cage to be with Boadicea in familiar surroundings. Total shock. I had thought she was rallying.
I have lamented over my guinea pigs that had a long decline before dying. I go through weeks or months of constant worry and care, only to feel guilty at the relief when they're gone. I have wished to have a pig not go through that. Well. I got my wish. Know what? It's still terrible. And worse? Instead of feeling guilty at being relieved, I was left with the guilt of did-I-do-something-wrong?. At midnight, it's pretty crushing.
The vet was stunned when she called in the morning. It was not the outcome either of us had expected. In talking to my vet and feedback from the Guinea Lynx forum, consensus is that Cannoli's heart gave out. It's quite likely she had cumulative heart damage from the hyperthyroid. It was just a matter of time before it gave out. She couldn't recover from the stress from the vet visit.
Initially, I wished I hadn't gone to the vet and just fed Noli more. But it's becoming clear in the last few days that the majority of hay and pellets were consumed by Noli, not Boadicea. (Boadi is still maintaining her loafy figure, but I am not refilling the bowl and hay rack nearly as often.) Upping Cannoli's meds without consulting the vet would have been a stupid and dangerous thing to do, and may have had no effect. So we did the right thing, but with an unforeseen, unwelcome result. It's not fair. I am angry at the situation and heartbroken I lost Cannoli like this, but I am coming to the conclusion we all did our very best. It just sucks.
Cannoli has been laid to rest not far from Pinniped, buried with an offering of pellets and hay to send her on her way. We're already missing her daily demands for food, her goofiness during floor time and her general enthusiasm. You left too soon, little pig. I wasn't ready.