Last month beautiful Breeze went to be a Star on Planet Guinea; she’s the big black and white one that is usually hovering in the background save for certain times of the day when she is in full view and if you’re lucky you will get to see her from several sides.

One morning when I went in the shed Breeze wasn’t hovering, waiting for her breakfast and on lifting up the Pigloo I was greeted with what I can only describe as crying, blood was very apparent on Breeze, on the top of her head and as she turned around it was seeming to come from her eye. Instinctively I went to pick her up so I could examine her further, she cried again and moved away from me, Breeze doesn’t do this.

When I picked her up she was very obviously traumatised- not a word I use lightly, it was like holding a different guinea pig. Her trauma, though obviously not her pain was passing onto me and I simply needed to get a grip and decide where to go from here. Breeze wouldn’t let me near her head because of obvious pain so a vet visit was going to be necessary, step one put Breeze in the travelling box…

Next I needed to phone a friend, its not often I go to bits, even over guineas but I could feel myself falling apart here. Said friend missed my call so I text her and went back out to give the others their breakfast and check Breeze. Breeze was eating, a little slower, but eating, and I chose Queenie to be Nursey Pig and accompany her to the vets.

An appointment was made for Breeze to see a vet that afternoon, one at a different surgery that I hadnt seen before (as it was a Sunday and our vet was closed) but I decided that she obviously needed painkillers and antibiotic eye drops and quite probably to start a course of antibiotics. It all seemed quite straightforward.

On arrival at the surgery I was struck by not just the size (or lack of) the waiting room, but, in comparison to Active Vetcare Tilehurst, the lack of informational displays and posters plus leaflets and business cards for pet owners.

Not a good day for guinea pigs, a pair of guineas went in before I took Breeze in and one came out. Unfortunately only one went home meaning he/she didnt get to spend time with the dead body of his/her friend, this set alarm bells ringing, a bit…

On entering the consult room I was asked what the problem was, I said I didnt know exactly what happened but Breeze was in pain. I was toold she had been in a fight with another guinea pig and then asked what I would like for her! We discussed painkillers and antibiotics though I did refuse antibiotics by injection, painkiller yes, if it got into her system sooner then it made sense. Eventually I suggested some Fucithalmic antibiotic eye drops because of the trauma caused to her eye and the blood coming from it. I’m told I had a very long consult…

All was well Monday, a follow up in the morning with Sally  at Active Vetcare went well, we got some more antibiotics and pain killers and made an appointment for Friday. However, by Tuesday there was a slight decline in her well being, not so perky and not so eager for food. I started to syringe feed her which she enjoyed and took her food easily. But I brought her appointment forward from Friday to Wednesday. She was given Vetergesic again, not something I wold normally use but if it put her out of pain so that she ate I wanted to give it a go. She was also prescribed some stronger eye drops as  her eye was quite dry but Sally said there was a reasonable chance she would get it back.

By now I had heard the vet prognosis for Breeze and was forming one in my own mind. She was definitely not improving and was slowly deteriorating, not so interested in food despite the Vetergesic. I decided that unless there was an improvement by Friday I would have her put to sleep. It was also becoming apparent that when she recovered she was probably going to be quite , what I can only describe as traumatised, not her usual self.

The saddest part for me was seeing her find her way to the side of the hutch when I put her in it so that she could follow it round to her house. She was just so sad.

On Thursday I came home to find Breeze had taken the put to sleep decision away from me and had already left us.

I have never believed it was another guinea that caused those horrific injuries (but I wasnt there, I dont know), and on moving a block of hutches in my shed I found a hole the unwanted “guest” got in. The guineas were in an open pen so were moved to secure hutches at once. The hole has been dealt with and the guineas will soon be moved back.

Tilehurst Active Vetcare fed back to the first vet I saw, which I hope goes someway to helping another guinea pig, at least the surgeries are aware of each other.

All my guineas are special and then there are those like Breeze, there are no words. All this took me out of my comfort zone, visiting a different vet who comes from a culture where pets are thought of differently than they are in the UK, feeling absolutely out of control and emotional yet knowing I had to hold it together to get the drugs Breeze needed and biting my tongue when I could see so many faults.

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