Abandoned Guinea-Pig

 

frontalkleinThis little one was caught after 2 days of effort at the edge of a forest by concerned animal lovers. Since they had no experience with Guinea Pigs, they tried to contact the local shelter, but couldn’t get through, so they decided to bring their rescued animal to our small animal practice hoping we know someone. Unfortunately we couldn’t find anyone that fast either and I took him in for the time being.

It turned out this is a neutered male about one year old and he was in total panic when he arrived. It was pretty chilly the day he was caught, he was cold and only 740g. Male Guinea Pigs usually weight around 1kg, so that makes him pretty thin. I have to admit I’ve seen some seriously underweight adult Guinea Pigs at our practice, some barely more than 500g, but those were crutially ill animals. Our abandoned boy was actually surprisingly healthy, but wasn’t fed properly for a while.

Here’s the deal: Guinea Pigs don’t survive on their own in the wilderness, specially not in Germany where it’s too cold in the winter without proper shelter and care. Due to their coloration they’re excellent prey animals, so if illness or weather conditions don’t kill them, predators definately will sooner than later. Abandoning a Guinea Pig equals a death sentence. What I want to say is, this abondoned Guinea Pig couldn’t have been living outside on his own for longer than a few days before he was found, therefore we suspect he wasn’t properly fed for a while wherever he was living before.

He also suffered from an advanced lice infestation. The species of the lice and the heavy degree of the infestation suggest he also must’ve had those before he was abondoned. Where ever he came from: they didn’t take proper care of him.

On top of the lice, he was carrying about 15 tick nymphs around his nose, that all needed to be removed by hand. He also developed a cold in the following days of his capture, had eczema around his anal region and developed an eczema on his ear due to scratching because of the itch from the lice. Unfortunately the eczema on his ear got infected and he needed antibiotics as well as an anti-itch salve for local treatment

The eczema all got taken care of and are long gone. His ear has a little bit of a notch now, but it’s barely noticibale. He got over his cold with a nice warm place to live and a good dose of Vitamin C. He’s under lice treatment at the moment and will receive his last dose later this week, after which he will be going to a Guinea Pig rescue group where he’ll be put up for adoption.

About his weight: well, let’s just say he’s a good eater. Last time I checked he had 873g, so DSC_0003he’s getting closer to normal weight every day. It was a huge relieve that he was eating like a champ ever since day one. Their digestive system is build for constant eating, therefore if a Guinea Pig doesn’t eat, it will develop severe gastro-intestinal problems and dies.  The muscles in their gastro intestinal organs are very weak, so they need to eat in order to push the food through their intestines. This is the reason why Guinea Pigs have to be force fed when they don’t eat on their own and I was prepared to force feed our abanonded Guined Pig, which I thankfully didn’t have to do.

He’s not a picky eater either. So far he’s eaten absolutely everything I suggested to him. As long as it’s food, he will love it, even some veggies my own Guinea Pigs don’t like. I really have yet to find something he doesn’t like to eat, but his favorite are carrots.

He’s very shy and is not used to being handled by humans. He won’t eat out of my hands and will take any chance to get away whenever I handle him. Fortunately he’s a very good boy and not aggressive at all, he never tried to bite me, even though he’s been though stuff like getting injections at home. That’s the good (and bad) of being taken care of by a vet tech: you won’t see the vet often, but your caretaker will do stuff the vet otherwise would. During his first week he required injections, daily wound care and very close inspections, which is not exactly helping to build trust.

I know it will be hard to let him go, because he’s a wonderful Guina Pig and a real beauty as well. He’s an English Crested, but I suspect there’s some kind of long haired breed mixed into him as well, because his fur is a bit too long for a purebread English Crested and it’s crazy soft. Now that he’s feeling good and got rid of most of his problems, it reflects in his fur: it’s super soft and shiny.  A healthy animal has a healthy coat.

Since I have a group of two females and a neutered male, I can’t introduce him into my group and I don’t have enough space to keep a second group, therefore he will need to go. I’m glad I found a good rescue group and I personally know the woman who will take him in until he gets adopted, so I have a very good feeling about it. I hope he will find a good forever home with many friends to keep him company. He definately deserves it.

DSC_0001 kleinEven though he was abandoned, he was extreamly lucky to be found in time. His overall condition was actually not that bad, despite of his parasites, being underweight, having some eczema and developing a slight cold – it could’ve been much worse, to be honest. I’m gald I was able to foster him back to health relatively fast. Finishing his lice treatment is the last step he still needs to take in order to find a good home, but other than that he’s doing amazing and he got used to living with me surprisingly fast. He already feels right at home, yawning and chilling out right beside his water bowl (that he absolutely loves for some strange reason), so I’m sure he’ll get used to his forever home fast as well. With enough patience he’ll realize humans aren’t that bad, either.

I took him on my own account and paid for his treatment out my own pocket (I get special prices at out practice since I’m staff, though). I’m not asking or anything in return. I’m just happy to be able to give him the best start possible for a new life. I definately would’ve kept him if he was a female or if I didn’t own a male already, but since I need to let him go, I’ll stay in contact with the rescue group where he’ll be going to and make sure they’ll find him the perfect home he deserves.

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Adopting a Dog in Germany

Shana1

our old girl in spring 2014

Ever since our old girl had to be humanely euthanized at the age of 16 in July of 2014, my father has been thinking about adopting another dog. As time went on, the thought became a serious wish and he started actively looking for dogs.

First off all, where can you buy/adopt a dog legally in Germany?

  1. you can buy a puppy from a breeder
  2. you can look into newspaper advertisements or the internet to get a dog from a private person who wants to / has to give the dog away
  3. you adopt a dog from the shelter
  4. you adopt a dog from one of the many animal rescue /helping organizations around

It’s actually forbidden by law to sell dogs on flea markets in Germany and if I remember correctly there’s exactly 1 pet store in the entire country, where you can buy puppies. Personally, I think the best way to go is to look for a dog in a shelter or adopt one from a trustworthy rescue organization (many may act out of good will, but it often lacks a professional execution).

I also understand why some people would rather have a puppy from a breeder, because that way you can check on the parents of your dog and the environment it’s been growing up in and basically you can be sure the dog has never really experienced anything bad and you get the characteristics you’re looking for in the specific breed you want to have. It’s the safest way to get a healthy normal dog, if you want to go to the trouble of finding a good greeder and spending a lot of money for a purebreed puppy.

sleepy girl

sleepy girl

I reason I prefer “second hand dogs”, is mainly because I respect the choice to buy a puppy from a breeder, but I want to give the older dogs sitting in shelters and foster homes a chance as well. They may come with a problem here and there and it takes them longer to get used to their new home and both of you need time to get to know eath other well, but it’ll work out eventually with rigth amount of patience and love.

So, my father read an advertisement on the internet and called the women who copuldn’t keep her 10-year-old Beagle anymore, but he was too late. After turning down 20 people who weren’t goof enough, she gave the dog to a shelter a week ago. My dad went to said  shelter and there was the Beagle.

You see, it’s not that easy to adopt a dog from a shelter. They usually have you come several times to go for a walk with the dog, so you two get to know each other. They will also have talks with you about your experience with dogs and what kind of environment you can provide them and if they feel you’re unfitting, no dog for you. They usually try very hard to find good people, but that’s not easy, especially for older dogs.

Most people look for young and healthy dogs, that leaves the old ones and those with medical issues harder to find a new home for. When my father went for a walk with said Beagle, two women spoke up to him. The first one complained that dog would be too old for her liking, but the second one was very happy for that old dog to have someone interested in taking him. Faith in humanity crushed and instantly rebuild, I guess.

The usual procedure is, after you’ve decided you want to have the dog and the shelter staff agrees with you, you get the dog on probation, so to speak. Usually it’s a few weeks and after that time, you call the shelter and tell them how’s it going. In an ideal situation, you tell them all is fine and you keep the dog. If not, you bring the dog back. Many shelters have you pay the adoption fee after this probation period, in case you keep the dog. The shelter my father wants to adopt said Beagle from, even brings the dog to your home, to see the future environment by themselves. I think that’s awesome.

It may sound troublesome to get a dog from a shelter, but I think it’s good everyone tries their hardest to find good owners for the dogs.