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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Too many interests

I have way too many interests… and still waste my time onthe internet doing nothing most of the time.  You know, like writing a blog noboidy is going to read anyway about my crazy interests nobody is going to find interesting, even if he stumbles into it.

So, as I just mentioned, I have a lot of interests and I often find myself very much into something for a short period of time, before I move on to another. I just can’t do everything at the same time, but unfortunately I tend to neglect something, if I’m currently into something else.

Hold your horses, I’m a responsible person (at least I hope so), I will always care for my guinea 817625d7a583fdd7195478de3d4194a21835ca6cpigs as best as I possibly can and if that includes feeding my big girl 7 times a day again, like I used to when she was growing up very ill, than I will do that. Our pets are part of our lifes, but we are our pet’s entire life. These are living creatures depending on our care, no matter what happens I will always provide the best possible care for them. I love them to death, I wanted to have them for at least 10 years before I finally got them and they are certainly not just a phase of mine, but treasured pets and part of my family.

I’m talking more about stull like… movies, games, anime and manga, stamp collections – this is all stuff that I like. I also have a full time job. And guinea pigs, including a very high maintance individual, that needs special care and a special diet. I also love doing postcrossing, something that I really really need to pick up again. I’m into photography, but I need to get my lazy ass outside more to actually take photos of… well… something. I love to go to the zoo and basically love everything connected to animal care. I have a huge book about the green tree python and one about the genetics of corn snakes, but even though owning a snake is something I can imagine, I will probably never actually own a snake.

I also have books about strawberry poison-dart frogs, dwarf hamsters and box turles – I’m not going to own any of those for sure. I’m interested in it, though. I have to admit I hate learning oophaga_pumilio_blaubeiner_hifor exams, but I do love learning about the stuff that I like. This is what I loved about the time I went to University: I was able to do what I really wanted to do for the most part. I was able to attend a lecture about the origins of the universe, starting with the big bang all the way until the development of the first cell on earth, as part of my studies. No, I did not study astrophysics, I studied biology for teachers. How does that make any sense? I don’t know, but I do know the universe is finite and still expanding to this day, thanks to that lecture.

Surprinsingly, I’m not into US TV shows at all and even though I’m a pretty nerdy girl, I don’t like US comics.

My Set of G-Pigs

I’m currently hosting a home for my lovely set of G-Pigs consisting of a castrated male one and two girls. Guinea Pigs live in harems, therefore the ideal constellation is to have a male and several females he can reign over. Too bad nobody told mine this story.

My male one, Anton, is a red Abyssinian and a typical guy, he’s showing off and waggling his butt like a champ. He’s a really funny one and once broke his upper teeth off. God know how he managed to do that. With just 970g and still overweight he’s very small for a male. He’s a rescue pig from an animal rescue organization and probably from an inbred family line. He suffers from mild allergyies (allergic coryza), but as long as his hay and straw won’t dust too much, he’s just ocassionally sneezing. It’s not bothering him at all. His other problem is his asthma. He’s sometimes coughing as if he’s violentely trying to cough mucus up or something. The first time I heared it, it really scared me, but he’s only doing it occasionally. On very rare occasions, he’s having a bit trouble breathing. It sounds as if he’s whisteling from his breathing system. I have an emergency cortison-Injection in my fridge in case he has a bad attack and needs something against the swelling asap.

My “big girl” is a miracle pig. Her name’s Patti and she’s a white-chocolate-red swiss teddy. I got her together with the other female from a pet store and soon she began to develop serious problems with her intestinal system. She was chroncially bloated and it wouldn’t get better no matter what we tried. Her immune system was at the worst and she suffered from additional secondary infections, including pneumonia that was treated with 6 weeks of antibiotics, gastritis, a bad fungal infection and several bacterial infections & viruses. Her last virus infection took her two months to heal off and I thought she would die during that time twice. However, during the entire time, I thought she wouldn’t even make the night at least once every other week, because she was doing so poorly. I had to force-feed her for 9 months – smometimes more and sometimes less, had her on anti-bloating medication the entire time, pain medication in such a high dosis that she got addicted to Metamizol and had her on different antibiotics for weeks. All of that with a G-Pig not even a year old. It was a very tough fight and considering how fast these animals die, it’s a miracle she’s alive today. Back then I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing by keeping her alive, but seeing her today, it was all worth it. We don’t know exactly why she had so much trouble, but we found out she can’t eat fresh vegetables or fruits. That means no fresh carrots, salad, cucumber, apple, nothing or else she’s bloating up immediately and she needs a very specialo diet with additional vitamins. She also has a very sensitive and dry skin and a chronically weak immune system, but everything is very well managable.

She’s a big fighter, that’s probably the reason she made it through all of it. She’s a real character and the unrivaled queen of the group. She’s what I call “passive dominant”. She’s super chilled out and never seeks a fight. She never tried to bite or showed any agression towards the other pigs, but she’s the boss and she expects everyone naturally to accept that. My male had a real problem with that behavior when he was first introduced into the group and never managed to climb the ranks ablove her. They sorted it out without anyone getting injured and the male eventually settled down below her just fine. My underweight tiny piggie grew into the largest one of the bunch. She’s very large for a girl and weights proud 1050g. She’s simply amazing.

The last of the bunch is my peruvian princess Rosie. She’s chocolate-red-white-cream colored and with about 900g she’s the smallest and lightest of the bunch. She’s super social and get’s along with everyone no problem. She’s also the most talkative and can get on our nerves a lot when she wants food – she’s very pushy when it comes to treats. Even thought she’s the most delicate of them all body-wise, she never had any health issues whatsoever. Her only problem is that for about half a year now, she develops phantom pregnancies all the time. She doesn’t seem to really suffer from it, she just has milk and can be a bit moody sometimes, but generally she’s doing extreamly well. I talked to our vets and they said I don’t have to worry about any health issues whatsoever. Since she’s developing phantom pregnancies so often, I’m thinking about getting her castrated nonetheless. She’s two years old and at an age where she can get through an operation considerably good. Maybe I can take some stress off her shoulders that way, but any operation bears a risk and since she’s the delicate type I’m quite worried.

As you can see, they all have their indivdual problems, but since I know all of them inside out, I can deal with them allright. I have different medication against pain, bloating, gut-fungus, skin-fungus and asthma on stand-by at all times. I know the G-Pig dosage for several antibiotics, fungus medication and our expectorant by heart and if everything fails, I can still have a talk with one of our vets. It may sound as if I’m having a lot of trouble with my pigs, but that’s really not the case.

Pet Facts from Germany

I’m working as a veterenary nurse/technician in training in a small vet clinic in Germany and after I watched some veterenary videos on youtube, I decided to tell you guys some facts about pets in Germany.

  • 20% of german households home a cat and 14% home a dog, making cats the most vs000291-europaeisch-Kurzhaarpopular pets in Germany. The most popular breed of cat is the European Short Hair. The most popular dog is the Mixed Breed – I’m not kidding.
  • Germany has 100% no kill animal shelters. Here in Germany it’s forbidden by law to euthanize an animal unless it suffers from an incurable desease that cuts down greatly on the quality of life of the animal.
  • You need to pay taxes for a dog, because they leave their feaces wherever you’re walking them and that sh*t needs to be cleaned up by someone. You don’t need to pay taxes for cats – living 100% inside or not doesn’t matter at all.
  • Our shelters are anything but empty, sometimes overpopulated, but if you want to adopt an animal from a shelter, pe prepared that you will have to come several times to get to know the animal and convince the people from the shelter that you can provide appropriate living conditions and care for the animal, be it a great dane or guinea pig.
  • Germans have a serious helper syndrom when it comes to animals. Since living conditions for pets are generally pretty good here compared to many other countries, there’s a lot of people trying to help animals in countries with worse conditions by bringing them to Germany. However, many people also see this practice with great concern, due to three main reasons: 1. Our shelters are full as they are, we have more than enough pets waiting to be rehomed on our own. 2. Imported dogs often come with deseases that’re naturally not seen here, leishmaniasis for example. 3. It doesn’t help the situation in the country of the animals origin at all.
  • The practice of neutering and spaying is very common over here and many people who don’t want to breed will neuter/spay their animal to make life easier and less stressfull for themselves and the animal. However, if you go very strictly by law, you’re actually fordidden to remove an organ unless the animal suffers from problems with it. Thislaw is usually interpreted very… open minded.
  • If you want to own a dog taller than 40cm or heavier than 20kg, you will have to pass an exam that will test basic knowledge. I did hear rumors one state is panning on having everyone take this exam, regardless of how tiny the dog is. I totally support this, because of the high amount of aggressive little dogs I see every day at our clinic – our small muzzles are much more in use than out big ones.
  • Ever since the early 2000s there’s been a new stricter law regarding the ownership of AMERICAN_STAFFORDSHIRE_TERRIERdog breeds that’re classified as potentially dangerous. Every state has it’s own laws, but you can generally say that if you own a dog from these lists you will have to pay higher taxes, need to provide special requirements in terms of the housing situation of the dog and you will have to pass a special test. The dog might also need to have it’s race determinded even though it’s a pure breed. Races that usually fall under these laws are e.g.: Pitbull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Bullterrier and to a lesser degree e.g.: American Bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Rottweiler. Since the Stafford was a pretty popular breed prior to these laws, after they became effective german shelters were run over with Staffs and Staff Mixed Breeds.
  • It’s forbidden to cut off the tail or any other body part off the animals body for beauty reasons as it has been common practice in several breed of dogs like the Boxer or the Dobermann. Recently there has also been a case in court where it was forbidden to breed canadian-sphynx cats, because their havily reduced whiskers for beauty reasons are considered an act of animal cruely as it leaves the animal handicapped. … so why is it still allowed to breed pugs or cavallier king charles spaniels?
  • There are many places you can take you dog with, even restaurants and shops might allow you to take your dog with you.
  • Exotic pets like different types of snakes, bearded dragons or spiders and turles are on the rise, but they’re still very far behind the “classic” pets.
  • Cute rabbits and guinea pigs are still considered typical pets for small children and Kaninchen_20090127_0023often given to them as presents, even though I personally think they’re unsuited for children. They’re very afraid of humans and don’t like to be petted, need a special diet that is often messed up and die very easily if not provided with proper care. In the past decade the overall knowledge of the average Joe on how to keep such an animal has greatly improved. There’s still a lot that needs to be done for the smallest of pets, though.
  • There are still people left who believe a female dog needs to have a litter of puppies at least once, before she can be spayed safely. This is nonsense.

I guess that’s it for today. Of course there’s also acts of animal cruelty in Germany and it’s not always as rosy as it seems to be. We have problems as well, but we try to work on them, but like ever there’s much to be done.

My Guinea Pigs Anton, Patti & Rosi

My Guinea Pigs Anton, Patti & Rosi