Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gone Much Too Soon

Cannoli unexpectedly left us very late on Wednesday night.

She had struggled to keep her weight up, even with the hyperthyroid medication.  She'd been in the 720-750g range, which was her new normal for several months.  I was giving her extra pellets, even separating her from Boadicea to ensure Noli was eating enough.  I gave her extra critical care, which she sucked down 15cc at a sitting.  But about a week ago, she dropped to 680g for a few days; suddenly she was averaging 690g.  That was just not right.  At the same time she stopped being as interested in the critical care, I had to coax her to eat it.

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.


  1. Oh, Sally. I am so very sorry for your loss of bright-eyed Cannoli.
    These are the losses I don't think we can ever, ever be really ready for. It's going to hurt deeply, no matter what.
    Sending a big hug for you, and a little one for Boadicea.

  2. My heart is broken. I am so sorry for your loss. Cannoli was such a sweetheart and I enjoyed following her adventures. God bless you and Boadicea. You are in my prayers.

  3. I'm SO SO sorry for your loss... I know exactly how you feel. I went through the same thing with my guinea pig Gabby this summer. It sounds like the exact same thing happened. She died in my arms back in July. It's probably the saddest and most beautiful thing I've ever experienced. All she wanted in the end was for me to pet her... lifting her head to touch the top of my hand any time I stopped. She was so loud, affectionate, playful... I miss her dearly every single day. (I just cried my eyes out thinking about it). I know in my heart, I'll see her again someday-- I just imagine her cutting around the grass, sticking her nose up in the air to smell butterflies flying around, while hanging out with my sister's dog. That makes me feel so much better. They all leave way too soon, bless them.

  4. This brings tears to my eyes. I ache for your loss and have had pigs go both ways in the past and yes, they both suck and have their own version of guilt. Sending you and your family lots of warm/positive thoughts - including Boadicea.

  5. This brings tears to my eyes. I ache for your loss and have had pigs go both ways in the past and yes, they both suck and have their own version of guilt. Sending you and your family lots of warm/positive thoughts - including Boadicea.

  6. Oh noooo.....I'm crying for your loss. No matter how long or short their lives it is never enough. Poor Noli, so precious. It really does suck that cavies can have so many health issues. Love to you and Boadi.

  7. I'm so so sorry for your loss. My heart aches for you because I've been there. Please don't blame yourself. You made the best choices you could based on the information that you had. That's all any of us can do. We ultimately aren't in control. I often say the true cost of having an animal in your life isn't the cost to feed, house, take them to the vet etc. It's the awful ache in our hearts when we have to say goodbye. And we always have to say goodbye in the end. It's the bill come due after years of memories & joy. Please take care of yourself and pass some love along to Boadi for me. I promise I will give my mini herd some extra love tonight in honor of Noli. May she rest in peace over the rainbow bridge.

  8. Awe I'm so sorry for your loss. Saying goodbye to a cherished family member is always hard. Please don't blame yourself as I know you did what was best for cannoli. I had a situation in my life where I had wondered if I did things differently would my daughter be here today. For years I blamed myself. I know a pet is different than a child but the feelings are the same. My four piggies are my babies and I love them dearly. I will definitely give my four babies extra loving tonight in honor of Cannoli.May cannoli rest in peace over the rainbow bridge.

  9. I'm sooo sorry! I've been there so many times, and I still question myself over every decision. Maybe it's a tiny comfort to know that you made your choices based on the best information that you had at the time, and with only love in your heart for Cannoli. I know nothing can dull the pain, though. I'll light a candle for her tonight.

  10. So sorry for your loss. The sudden passing are just as difficult, but in a different way, I agree.

  11. I would feel the same way... oh it's so sad when someone needs to leave us in this life. It never makes sense, we question ourselves but know somewhere in our hearts that it must be endured as part of living and loving. She was a good girl... you'll never forget her. Love never dies like the body does. LeeAnna

  12. Heartbroken to hear of your loss Sally. Noli was a beautiful little person with a huge personality. I miss her terribly but know that my Henry will take good care of her over the bridge. Love to you and Boadi.


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