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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 22584
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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My 6 month old guinea pig died last night trying to give birth.

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My 6 month old guinea pig died last night trying to give birth. I had my male castrated and was told he cud go back in with the females. This is how she got pregnant at this age. I took her to the vets to have her checked out he said good she was so young to give birth that was last week.I rang vets talked to receptionist 5pm last night as she seemed to be distressed her heart was racing. The woman toldme to leave her alone and check 2 hourly to see if she had given birth. At 2.40 this morning I found het dead poor litte soul I havent stopped crying for her since.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian. I do apologize that your query wasn't addressed before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and want to help you today.

I am very sorry to hear about this terrible turn of events. Due to this species producing very developed (and therefore large) young, labour difficulties are not uncommon and we do at times need to intervene and perform a c-section even in young guinea pigs.

While there is sadly nothing we can do now that Truffles has passed, I do just want to note a few bits of information for you. If you have any follow-on questions, do just click the reply button and we can discuss this situation further.

Now you did note that the lad was put back in with your females, but you didn't mention if he was isolated after his surgery for any length of time. The reason I mention this is because even after castration, the male will still have a bit of semen in the tied off tubules. And because of this, we do have to keep the neutered male away from entire females for 4 weeks after neutering to ensure he doesn't have any viable semen left to impregnate the lasses. So, if he went right back in, then all the females would be at risk of pregnancy over those 4 weeks post-surgery.

Furthermore, just in case you are ever in this type of position again, I do want to touch on the timeframes we have to consider when monitoring labour and delivery for this species. Once the labor begins, if we see our sow continuously straining without delivering for >10-20 minutes (or off & on for >2 hours), then we consider this a dystocia and have to intervene. The reason we only give that small period of time before intervening is because once delivery has started guinea pigs tend to deliver their young very quickly (the whole delivery can take as little as 30 minutes total with <10 minute breaks between each pup). So, any delay in delivery is a worry here and often needs to be assessed and potentially assisted.

Again I am very sorry to hear about Truffles situation.
Please take care & do let me know if you have any other questions I can answer for you.
Dr. B.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank u pity my vets r not so well informed as he told me to put Rupert back in after his final check up. Last wk another vet didnt know bout guinea pigs just rabbits. Seems 7yrs not well spent training in my opinion hope my Grandaughter does better. Many thanks Linda Im buying best book I can find.
You are welcome, Linda.

This situation was quite a shame.
Sadly, not all vets are up to date or keen on our wee cavies.
Just to note in regards XXXXX XXXXX search for more information on this species, I do want to mention that there is a very good web resource called Guinea Lynx (HERE) that could be a good starting place for you. Furthermore, I did want to note that you can find a cavy specific vet database on that site (HERE) and at the AEMV (HERE). And if you are near a vet school, many of them have exotic specific vets (ie Bristol, RVC, Edinburgh) or work with local ones (ie Glasgow).

Please take care & do keep an eye for any signs of pregnancy with any other sows Rupert may have been in contact with,

Dr. B.
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