Last Updated: 3/17/06
I wanted to get Fritz a companion. Not wanting to contribute to the irresponsible breeding of guinea pigs, I opted to adopt a guinea pig from a guinea pig rescuer. We visited a rescuer in Baltimore on 1/25/01. There were over 70 pigs to look at, and it was very hard to pick one. I have never seen so many huge pigs and so many kinds. There were mega-Peruvian boars and tons of regular-coated guinea pigs with unique colors and patterns. One boar was so big and brown, he looked more like a woodchuck. The pigs were well loved. We opted for Kylie.
Kylie was a steel and white Abyssinian sow. Abyssinians have hair whorls called rosettes that make them look funky. Her dark color looks black on top, gray on the bottom, and blue on the sides but the vet called it steel and said the color is hard to breed. She was born perhaps in early September, 2000. Her parents were rescued along with hundreds of other guinea pigs from a breeder in Hampton, VA who kept them in abhorrent conditions. Many of the hundred some sows were pregnant, and one of them had Kylie. The day after we got her, she was seen by the vet. She had slightly injured feet (the vet said this was caused by wire flooring although I do not remember seeing any wire floors) and guinea pig lice which are very common. She was given a shot of invermectin, and I gave her a shower in 0.04% pyrethrin dog flea and tick shampoo as suggested by the vet. She got another shot in two weeks and then met Fritz. She was the most docile guinea pig I had ever met. She let me lay her upside down and stick my fingers in her mouth! At first, she did not know what to do with the fruits and vegetables that she had never seen before. She did eat those that she had seen such as carrot and broccoli. It took her time to adjust to being alone and quiet (no squealing pigs!). She ate virtually nothing for the first two days and then ate most of it by the time she joined Fritz. Kylie weighed 1.63 pounds on 1/26/01. After she joined Fritz, she became more outgoing and ate plenty (although she dropped to 1.5 pounds while Fritz went up to 2 pounds, 2/24/01). By 5/4/01, both Fritz and Kylie were fat from overeating and both nipped me! By 2/20/02, Kylie weighed about 2.6 pounds. By 2003, they were fat piggies!
In early October, 2004, I noticed that on the wooden box that Kylie sat on (Fritz never jumped up there), there were blood spots. On turning her over, I saw a little blood around her privates. At first I was worried they came from her vagina, and she could have uterine cancer but then I saw that when she peed on the box later, the resultant natural chromatography showed blood at the edges. I took her to the vet on 10/5/04. She weighed 1250 g or 2.5 pounds. The vet said uterine cancer is rare in guinea pigs but that blood in the urine is very common in old sows. I did not really think of a four-year-old as old but I guess she was for cavies. The vet said half the time that bloody urine is due to a urinary tract infection (UTI) but half the time it is due to bladder stones so he did a "free" x-ray which showed she did not have stones. Kylie was put on 0.78 mL of Bactrim Sulfatrim (concentration unknown) twice a day for 7 days for a UTI.
On 12/24/04, while grooming her, I discovered that Kylie had a tumor on her tummy just below the front legs. It seemed to be a fatty tumor but I would ask about it the next time she went to the vet. I have had a rabbit and cat with breast cancer, and it did not feel like that. I felt like my old dog's fatty tumors.
On 3/4/05, Kylie went to the vet. A needle aspirate showed her lump was just fat. She did not have any blood or white blood cells in her urine so the vet said she was fine. She drank and peed a ton. While at the vet, she went three times! She was big at 1237 grams which was less than I had recorded from last fall (different scales though).
On 10/11/05, I took Fritz and Kylie to the vet (see Fritz' page for her story). I had weighed Kylie on 10/9/05 (she was 900 and something grams) and was surprised to find that she had lost so much weight, a full quarter of her weight from six months before! Most of that weight had come off in just the previous 4 weeks or so. She was also losing fur. I wanted the vet to do a blood profile. First, after hearing a heart murmur, she did an x-ray which showed Kylie's heart was huge, filling most of her chest cavity which will eventually result in congestive heart failure as she would not have enough room for her lungs to breathe. Right then, her breathing was pretty normal. There is a heart medication that she could have taken but she needed blood work to see if her kidneys were okay since the medication is a diuretic (dehydrating). Kylie did not cooperate so on 10/13/05, when I had to take Fritz in for surgery to remove a lump, I left Kylie there. They were able to get blood from her. It showed her kidney values were normal but her liver values were bad. The vet did not give me actual numerical values. She said that she did not want to give Kylie the heart medication until she had trouble breathing since it could dehydrate her too much. I could not just give her subcutaneous fluids like I do with my ill cat and rabbit because with her large heart, Kylie could have died by having the solution flood her lungs. I figured by the time she could not breathe, it would be too late anyway. I was very sad for her. Horrible things happen. So, we waited, and I gave her a few extra kisses.
I began to weigh the pigs monthly on my digital scale. Kylie was 1004 grams on 10/29/05. Either she gained some weight, or her feet were not fully on the scale when I did it last. I made sure they were for future readings.
The morning of 11/13/05, when I went to feed the pigs, I knew right away something was wrong. Kylie was not in a normal position. She was dead. I think she died of a heart attack. At least it was hopefully fast and not too painful. She never did have real trouble breathing or lose any more weight. Post mortem, she weighed a strong 999 g, basically the same as a few weeks earlier. The night before, she was active, eating, and normal. I will miss Miss Ky-Ky (my nickname for her). Here is a photo of her after death (since I did not take one recently). Please do not look at it if you find such things disconcerting. She looks alive except for the eye not reflecting right. It was hard for me to believe she was gone.
To see photos of Kylie, go to the section on photos of Fritz, Kylie, and their home.
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