Our Herd · Uncategorized

Goodbye, Warren

This month has been difficult. Right before starting this blog, we lost Rowlf, one of our ferrets, to insulinoma. Then shortly after starting the blog, we lost Ben, another ferret to the same disease. Both ferrets were over 7 years old so we knew we didn’t have much time left with them but it was still unexpected and difficult to deal with.

In addition to losing our ferrets, Bartlet and Warren have both been in and out of the vet for pneumonia. Both had recovered but on the 20th, we noticed Warren developing symptoms again so we took him back into the vet for the third time in about 3 weeks. We did everything we could but we got the call this morning that Warren passed away during the night. Anytime a guinea pig is diagnosed with pneumonia, you should “prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” as they say. So that’s what we did. Being prepared for something usually makes it easier for me, but that’s not the case this time.

After getting the news, I definitely had the thought of “Why even keep going with the blog? Who would want to take advice from me? I’ve lost 3 pets in a month.” I thought about it some more, though, and realized that my husband and I did absolutely everything possible we could for our pets.

The ferrets were old. Their deaths were unexpected and they showed no symptoms until it was too late. Even if we had known that they had insulinomas, we probably wouldn’t have put them through surgical intervention because of their age. They lived long and happy lives with us and will be missed dearly.

We did everything we could do for Warren, too. He had been to the vet 3 times in the past 3 weeks and spent 5 nights there. We took good care of him when he was at home and watched him closely. We rushed him back to the vet at the first sign of a new symptom. It just didn’t work out for him. We’re devastated but we can’t blame ourselves.

It’s really easy to blame yourself when you lose a pet. I know I ruminate and go over and over every little thing that happened before they died. I’m wondering if maybe the fan being on in the guinea pig room caused him to catch a chill. We used some scented carpet powder the other night. Did the scent irritate his lungs? Did the sound of the vacuum stress him out too much? Maybe we handled him too much? Did we feed him the right vegetables? Was he getting enough vitamin-C? Did I not wash my hands enough? Was there anything, anything at all I could have done that I didn’t do? There are so many things we can think about and blame ourselves for but the reality is that none of it would have mattered. If you’re providing the best care possible with the knowledge and resources that you have, there is nothing more you can do.

That’s why I’m going to continue this blog. It wasn’t my fault and I want to share with everyone what I’ve learned through all my experiences, good and bad. I want to take all my sadness over the loss of Warren and channel it into this blog so people can learn about their guinea pigs. If one person reads my blog and recognizes a symptom in their pig and seeks treatment because of it, I would be so happy about it. Warren was a good pig and even though he was Boss Pig, he loved all the other pigs in our herd, so I think he would be happy that his memory might help another pig.

Warren, you were my buddy. I love you and I miss you already.


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