Tales of a rescued piggy 

This is my piggie, Precious.
Please excuse the immodest pose, but
could you resist showing off a tummy like that?

You can follow her progress from these posts I've made to the Guinea Pig Daily Digest. The beginning of major health problems' dates are in bold.

August 10, 2002 -- Hi all, wanted to let you know I just picked up a new pretty girl today. She is a rescue that a local shop was keeping, hoping to find her a good home. Of course they spotted me as a big sucker right away and so the rest is recent history. I have her quarantined, and will make a vet appt for her on Monday.

She is a gorgeous girl! I think she has ear mites though, and probably skin, toe, hair, butt, and nose mites, if all those exist. She seems to be itchy. She doesn't seem at all interested in her hay. She also seems constipated. I gave her some romaine lettuce; any other suggestions? I am not used to constipation in pigs! I'm sure the vet bill will be astronomical.

Just about all of the hair on her hind end was gone, from bad cage conditions, but it is growing back in really nicely. So hopefully she doesn't have ringworm.

She is an aby, tri-colored, very unique. Her nose is black, and her lips are pink. She has one pink ear and one that is half black, half red. Her tummy is mostly white, but her two nipples are pitch black. She looks like she has on pasties. She has a white, long lock of hair that goes forward over her forehead, and red that goes up the front of her face, ending at a point under the white.

She is very interested in people, she doesn't run when you try to catch her or touch her. She is a nibbler, though. I am already in love, can you tell?

The two names I am considering so far are Sugar and Peace Lily. Let me know if you all have suggestions or advice.

August 13, 2002 -- Well, we went to the vet today, and I was right about several things. The bill was $90, yikes! She does have ear mites and skin mites. They did a culture for ringworm. Poor baby, she is itching something fierce. They gave her Ivermectin. And the lyme-sulfur stinky dip. She had a bath tonight. My poor little one, she is not a happy girl in the stinky bath!

She was very, very nippy to the vet and his assistants. They had to wrap her up tight to do anything. She has one toenail that is just a tiny stub and they said she likely ripped it off in the wire floor of her previous home. The bottoms of her feet are irritated from that too.

Have I ever mentioned all of the horrible, illegal things I'd like to do to people who mistreat animals?

Anyway, she was very sweet to me the whole time, like, "mamma, get me out of here!" and it breaks my heart that I can't scoop her up and snuggle her against my neck. I could get ringworm and spread mites and ringworm to my two other girls. I do hold and cuddle her though, I am just careful.

Are there any in-between baths treatments I could use to help her heal? She has some sores on her, mostly in the middle of her rosettes and her bald areas.

She does go to the bathroom, just not as much as I am used to seeing from my other girls. She didn't poo once while we were at the vet, and we were there 2 and a half hours.

I can't wait until she is well. I am still thinking about a good name for her. Nothing just grabs me yet, you know? I like names that end in 'y' or a 'y' sound. So I could have Honey, Teddy, and ... y.

Sorry to go on and on. But you know how it is when you have a new baby!

August 15, 2002 -- My new girl is feeling better... she gave me the 'give me food now' squeals, she squeaks as she putters around her cage, and she did some popcorning around and around her pigloo.

She does stink like the bath though! My poor angel! It scared me a minute tonight. I had her out to play on a raised surface, and I sat on the floor so we are at eye level, and she came over, and when we touched noses (so sweet!), I noticed a bad smell. At first I thought it came from inside her mouth, and just about freaked. But I figure it is the bath smell -- the rest of her smells that way too. I will call the vet though, to make sure they checked her teeth well.

The names in the running now are Cookie, Kylie, and Sasha. She is quite a lovely girl, I must get some photos soon. I do want to wait a bit until her hair grows out. Thanks to all for the advice and for listening, it is nice to share with others who care about piggies.

August 17, 2002 -- My rescue girl is doing better and better. She is getting very happy, and wants me to spend more and more time with her. I am reaaaaaally falling in love, hard and fast! It is killing me not to snuggle her close under my neck and give her kisses (can't because of the ringworm possiblity) and spoil her properly with a bed -- can't because it might harbor mites or fungi.

Thanks to everyone who is sending messages of support and sharing photos of their piggies and name suggestions.

I put a dab of the ointment form of Neosporin on two sores on my rescue girl that she can't reach. One is a big, scary, scaly scab in the middle of a lovely rosette, and one is a raw spot on the bald area of her behind. Do you think this is okay? She can't reach it to lick it.

August 25, 2002 -- I think the new girl may have the name Squeaky. She is definitely the noisiest pig I have ever met, a real Miss Squeaks-a-Lot! She will even do a 'wheek wheek' when I am holding her on my lap. She is adorable, she likes to lick. She does it every time I hold her, all over my left arm.

Although, yesterday for the first time, she went *crunch* down on the tip of my finger. Ouch. It's okay, though, she didn't mean to. Boy did she jump when I squealed! It was a surprise for both of us.

August 29, 2002 -- Well, after much deliberation, my rescue girl has a name! Yay! Her name is Precious. Because she is. It happened during the stinky dip bath. Before we put her in the little tub, I was using an old toothbrush to brush the dip on her cheeks and under her chin. We always continually apologize to her for making her go through the wretched process. She was such a good girl, holding still, being so patient, all the while getting wetter and stinkier by the moment, and my Mom, who was assisting me, and I both said, isn't she precious?

So there you go. I need to fix the caption on my website photos of her. Actually, the name has a history. When I had my first piggie, Oreo, I was in sixth grade and my science teacher had a class piggie named Precious. And if you brought a note from your parents, you could take Precious home for the weekend. Needless to say, Precious spent many, many, many weekends, and all the school holidays at my house, carousing with Oreo. After a few times I no longer needed a note! It was like a standing date for me and Precious.

My girl Precious has a follow-up appt at the vet tomorrow. Hopefully all will be well. I talked to the guy at the store that rescued her and he said he didn't think she had ringworm, because when he first took her in, he held her and bathed her and didn't take any special precautions, and he didn't get ringworm. So that cheered me up.

Thanks to everyone who suggested names, I will keep them in mind for future pigs!

September 13, 2002 -- Hi all, I'm sorry I haven't been posting much lately, but this time it is *me* with the health problems rather than the piggies.

What I wanted to tell you all is that Precious' culture results came back, and she did not have ringworm! Yay! The first thing I did after I heard was to pick her up and give her a great big smooch and cuddle. Of course, I hear this after the full course of dip baths, but oh well. She'll think her next bath is heaven since it won't be yellow and it won't stink! Now soon I'll be out to get her a bed. Hopefully she won't eat it.

I introduced all 3 girls today after them seeing each other through the cages for a week or two, and it went okay. Some minor scuffles, a little hair pulling, but nothing big. I took some photos, hope they will come out okay. They are funny, pulling hair and squealing.

I gave them all a piece of tomato for a treat while they were out, hoping Precious would say, hey, they love that, give me some, but she wasn't having any of it. So far tomato is the best vitamin-C rich veggie two of my girls will eat. They all run from oranges as though they were poison. Of course, they all love their romaine.

I'm sorry I can't be more help to those asking health and behavior questions, but I still feel like a newbie myself on those issues. I do send lots of love and good wishes to everyone dealing with problems and those that are trying to cope with the heartbreak of loss.

September 26, 2002 -- Wow, it is so good to be back online finally. My computer has been in pieces, and my life too! I'm sorry, but this is long...

Precious is sick. It has been so scary and complicated. It is really sad, because the little girl who once held still to be picked up and ran to the front of the cage to see me, now backs away when I come near, she is so tired of me and my medicine giving.

It all started last Saturday, she wasn't eating her hay. And her poo was tiny, skinny, and not much of it. And her ears were not pink, but maroon. So when I got home Monday we went to the vet first thing. They checked her and took xrays.

They said she has ear mites, although she's been treated for them before, and they treated her again with ivermectin. Her lungs were cloudy and there was a little eye discharge, so they diagnosed pneumonia, and diagnosed Baytril. About her poo, and the lack of it -- she did two little bits from Sunday to Monday morning. I was so scared. They diagnosed ileus, decreased motility in her gastrointestinal tract. They did not know what caused it, and gave a guarded prognosis. They did not find any parasites in the poo I brought them, but prescribed an antiparasite treatment, fenbendazole,  just in case. They also said they gave her something to 'jump start' her system, metoclopramide.

They wanted me to add more vit c to her diet, but she won't eat orange or tomato or strawberry, and very little romaine at this point. So I am dosing her with concentrated vit c crystals mixed in water. She is not drinking much on her own. Also they want me to give her some yogurt for her tummy and she HATES it. I got strawberry banana.

So they wanted me to cal back in two days with a report. Well, she hadn't pooed at all, so they wanted to see her. They did more xrays and said she looked better, that she did a big doody during the xray process. They said her lungs were clearer and her system was working better, by the looks of it.  They are worried about her not eating, and prescribed nutrical, I don't know if any of you have used it before, but she hates it too.

SO... we are having a rough time.  I'm not sure if Honey and Ted got the ear mites... they aren't showing signs so far. I washed all the beds and all the cages and cage parts and bowls in the bathtub with hot water and antibacterial soap.

Precious just does not want to eat, and I am trying everything.  She will eat a few bites of things. I am getting her out and she is getting 2 doses of Baytril, one of the fenben, one of yogurt, one of vit C water, and two of nutrical, although I need to give more of that.

She is really tired of me, and has started to bite. The only good thing I can say is that her spirits are good, she just likes to nap a lot in her pigloo. When we got into the car for the second vet trip she pitched a pig fit in her carrier, I know she knew where we were going and got mad.

I'm sorry this is so long but a lot is happening! I hope she gets well, my poor little sweet P girl. Please send good wheeks her way. If you have advice to offer, I would like that too.

September 28, 2002 -- Hey, thanks so much to everyone who has sent suggestions for Precious. Fortunately, yesterday she started eating more. Pellets and hay, and lettuce too. Not as much as before, but better.

The thing that is so weird is that her output doesn't really match what she is taking in. Perhaps it will begin to soon. She seems to be feeling better.  Just wanted to update everyone!

October 1, 2002 -- I wanted to report that Precious has made actual poo, in a pile. It happened yesterday. We were all very excited here, I can tell you. It was like, "Get in here!  Look!  Look at this poo! Yay!"

Guinea pigs make you do weird things

October 11, 2002 -- I just wanted to update everyone on Precious. I haven't posted in a while. I am pretty discouraged. Not that I've given up, not at all, or have stopped trying. I am still doing my best with her, my sweet little girl.

She has gone back to the vet twice since I last posted. The first one was because she just wasn't doing any better. But after they took x-rays they said her lungs had cleared up and her gastrointestinal tract looked better. And she was going to the bathroom there at the vet. But, as soon as she gets home she stops. I took her with me when I went out of town to see a doctor, a specialist, and she travels great, but she doesn't potty. I've continued her antibiotic until it was gone. I've also continued to give yogurt, vitamin C and nutrical, and tried various foods. She is just so lukewarm about food. It is like if it isn't a food, she wants it, but if it is a food, no thanks. She seems to be constantly looking for something she can't find.

This past trip, on the 7th, was her 10-day follow-up visit. They took two x-rays and said she looked better, internally. I told them about her strange behavior, like licking the floor of her cage, and they were puzzled too. They checked her teeth, trimmed them because they said the lower inscisors were a bit too sharp, and prescribed BeneBac for her tummy. I just gave her a second dose tonight. At the vet she was pooing like crazy, but when she got home she stopped.

They gave her different treats to try. I bought her a salt-vitamin block and some wood chews, the thin plain kind. She loves the chews. But her eating is just not happening and neither is any poo. I just don't know what to do, she ignored most of her lettuce tonight and is sitting with her back to me and the other girls, facing her bed, with her hair fluffed out. She squeals for food, but doesn't want any of it. She used to be such a chow-hound. I've tried so many foods, but tomorrow I'm heading back to the store and I'm going to raid the produce section.

They wanted to get a blood sample to check her kidneys and that sort of thing, but couldn't get a vein because she is so small. I think maybe she needs more BeneBac.

I'm afraid she is going to die. She is so thin. She has lost 200 grams since her first visit, despite all my efforts. I am ordering the Critical Care product for her to try. I'm doing my best with her but at the end of this month I'm going to have to be in the hospital and then very sore with limited mobility for about a month. Do you think Peter Gurney might know what to do for her? I am holding her every day, petting her and letting her nibble on me and a towel. She seems very busy and spirited.


October 13, 2002 -- Thanks for all the advice... it is so wonderful to have people to ask, people with experience who care. Fortunately, she is eating better today, and yesterday, and there is actual poo scattered about. Not quite normal poo yet, but there is a quantity of it. She attacked her romaine tonight with a great deal of energy. I am now offering the full leaves rather than pieces, and she likes to put one foot on it to hold it still while she munches.

I tried an ear of corn tonight, I washed the outside, and peeled away the husks to just the very inner leaves. I cut off the brown part of the silks and discarded them. I washed it all again, and cut the cob in three pieces. Precious liked the green silks but refused everything else. Teddy went after the corn, and kernels squirted juice on her little face. So cute. Honey was lukewarm about the whole situation. I also tried peeled kiwi fruit, and NOBODY wanted that. I thought it was kind of icky myself. I also bought parsley, so I'll try it again tomorrow. Yesterday I offered bits of wheat bread, and nobody was interested.

Anyway, I think the Benebac really helped and I will be calling the vet Monday for some more. I'm also planning to order Critical Care.

Thanks for all of the suggestions, I have either tried them, or they are on my to-do list.

Precious is better now and very active and noisy. Yay!

November 9, 2005 -- Okay, it has been a long time and I need to back track. Precious has been having bladder stone problems for the past two years. A few times her pee was pink, and some other times in was very, very red. We've made many emergency trips to the vet. She has passed many small stones. Then some grew quite large.
She had surgery for bladder stones earlier this year -- I was lucky enough that a visiting vet exotics specialist from Washington state was at the Veterinary Medicine College that the exotics vets work out of  to do it. So she not only gets good care but helps teach the vet students about gps. And she gets to bite them. Ha ha. One of the doctors there has been helping me ever since all the harsh problems with Cupid... so he knows I am a sucker. But he has come to emergency calls at like 12 am to check on Precious in person.

When she went in for her surgery, I was worried, afraid she wouldn't do well in the operation, afraid afterward her system wouldn't work, and on and on. I went to see her the next day and she was like, "yeh, I had surgery, so what? got any treats?" It was a big relief. She is a real trooper, she has been from day 1.

Precious is not much of a 'drinker' while Silky and Sooty together drink about 16 oz a day. But seeing those two drink so much has helped her want to go mess with her own water bottle more.

I have tried feeding raw corn silks, this is a folk remedy for bladder problems -- cut off the icky brown parts and wash the silks, and feed them. My girls love them. Precious has never had bladder sludge that I know of, just stones. The doctor said as they age some gps just tend to get these stones. Even though she has had surgery for them previously, but I don't think it would be good to do again. The odds of  a gp doing well once in surgery are not good, and twice... well.. she is older now, too.

We've been to the vet 3 times for this current batch, there have been two sets of  X-rays a month apart and have had numerous phone consultations about her. They think she can pass the two stones that are in her ureter. They tried to get them out for her but couldn't. She has been on Metacam (meloxicam) for more than a month and she still makes pain noises. No blood in her urine.

They have given me another med to try, since she still hurts, and I am trying it, for two days now but she still makes pain noises. She still eats and everything, and she still 'kisses' me (licks my arm and hands) but, she is hurting. Every day. I do not know if I am making her suffer by keeping on with this, or if I should just let her go and let her rest. Precious' new pain medicine is Butorphanol -- and only comes in tablets. I've been disolving it in bottled water with some sugar and syringing it... is there a better way to get a pill into a pig? I think it is finally helping her a little, and she doesn't seem sedated at all.

The doctors all say that if she is still eating and everything it is not too bad, the pain. But I don't know how they know that. She has always been a real trooper through all sorts of trials, so it is hard for me to know. She is also my favorite girl, I've had her the longest, so this is really hard.

People say I will know when it is time for her to go, that she will let me know.

August 9, 2006 -- Final entry. In December of 2005, right before Christmas (I am not going to remember the date on purpose) I decided enough was enough for my girl. She was hurting too much. The night before I gave her LOTS of pain medicine. The next morning I gave her an extra meal of every single thing she liked, and then we made that final trip to the vet's office together. She was at peace, no more pain or horrible meds to deal with for her. She was tired of  it all. It was my Christmas gift to her. She was my little Neopolitan vanilla chocolate strawberry nippy kissy pig, and one of the funniest gps I've ever had. I'll always miss you Miss P!

All the Piggy Pages 
Main Piggy Page
Precious' Health
Oreo and Cupid
Silky and Sooty
Honey and Teddy
Care and housing
Precious' Story
Links to visit


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Page first created August 25, 2002
Updated August 9, 2006