Saturday, June 29, 2019

Goodbye, Broccoli

Yesterday, we had to say goodbye to Broccoli. At nearly 8 years old, Broccoli was the oldest guinea pig the humans ever had. He was rescued by a friend of the humans who found him wandering outside. It seemed that somebody had abandoned him, because the friend knocked on doors looking for his owner, but couldn't find one. She lured him into a box with a piece of broccoli, and the rest is history.

The humans are so glad that they got a chance to adopt him and ensure he lived a long and healthy life. He got to have many cage mates over the years, go on pignics, try dozens of different fruits and vegetables, meet other pigs and people, and see the humans go through many life transitions over the years.
Broccoli recently got to try wild strawberries that they humans found growing in their backyard.
Broccoli started out as a very friendly pig, often rumble-strutting in front of his lady cage mates and burring seductively, despite having been neutered. He never once tried to bite anyone or any pig, and was always more of a lover than a fighter. As he grew into adulthood, he settled down and enjoyed being held and fed his favorite treats: Belgian endives, vitamin C, and carrots.

We nearly lost him 2 years ago when he started to have dental issues, and almost underwent a risky surgery. He somehow managed to get well enough that he didn't need the surgery, which earned him his nickname, "the miracle pig."

He recently began having more than just dental issues, and we given a "comfort care" treatment plan in April 2019, which consisted of pain medication and 3-4 daily feedings of Critical Care. He enjoyed this bonding time with his humans, and seemed relaxed and peaceful.

In the last few weeks, he started having mobility issues and eating became harder. The humans were unsure at first if it was finally his time, because he was maintaining his weight and still eating, despite everything. But the vet, who cared for him over these past seven and a half years, almost immediately knew it was his time as soon as she saw him after he was brought in. He was in pain, and we had run out of treatment options. He was still eating, but it seemed he was doing so more for us than for himself.
Poor Broccoli...
And so the humans made the painful but merciful decision to help him pass over the rainbow bridge. Broccoli would have been 8 years old this fall, which is an extraordinarily long life for a guinea pig.

We hope that through this blog, he and his cage mates have brought happiness to his many readers over the years, and that these posts have been educational. With Lola as the last remaining pig who, due to health problems, must be an only pig at this point, we're not sure how frequently we will update this blog moving forward. We can be reached at cavysavvyaguineapigblog@gmail.com and are always happy to answer any questions, either in the comments or via email.

Thank you readers, for going on this journey with us over these past seven and a half years. You have meant the world to us, and have made guinea pig ownership even more of a joy.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

How to Handle Guinea Pig and/or Hay Allergies

Hi readers! Today we're going to talk about what to do when your human is allergic to you or your hay. We gave an overview of this problem back in 2015, but since then the humans have learned a lot more about practical ways to live with guinea pigs when you have allergic reactions to us. Here are some tips on how to make life with allergies a little bit easier:
  1. Take a daily antihistamine. If your allergies aren't too severe (in other words, if being in the same room as a guinea pig doesn't send you to the hospital for a neutralizer treatment), then taking an over-the-counter antihistamine can be a huge help in reducing symptoms.
  2. Place the guinea pig cage as far from the sleeping area as possible. When the humans lived in the one floor apartment, their allergies were a lot worse. Now that they live in a three floor townhouse, we have our own floor and they have theirs, and the amount of hay dust tracked through the house is greatly reduced.
  3. Be careful about how you approach floor time. The humans used to let us roam all over the big area rug back at the old apartment, but now we have a concrete floor with puppy pads that can be tossed when floor time is over.
  4. Use a towel or blanket when handling guinea pigs. One of the humans has allergies that are so bad that her skin will develop welts after handing us directly. They're not sure if it's the residual hay dust on our paws or if it's us, but using a blanket or towel eliminates this problem for them.
With these four adjustments, the humans are able to live pretty much allergy-free. We hope that if you have guinea pig allergies, too, these tips can have you breathing easy!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Pictures of a Young Guinea Pig

Hi there, Cavy Savvy readers. It's hard to believe it, but I'll be turning 8 later this year. I first appeared on this blog on November 9, 2011 on a post entitled "Agents Of the Month AND A New Pig!", although tragically, the images have disappeared! Doesn't Blogger know that these pictures are an important part of history? To fix this regrettable situation, I dug deep into the digital archives and managed to find these images of a young me from around November 2011, when I was first brought in:


I haven't aged a day since 2011, have I?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Guinea Pig Cage Cleaning Routine

Hi humans! It is Sunday, which is cage cleaning day here in the Cavy Savvy household. There are many ways to manage the cleaning of a guinea pig cage, and depending on your set up, you may find that a different works for you, but we thought we would share our process in case you want to try it at your house!
Time for cage cleaning!
  1. First, the type of cage you have affects how cleaning is done. If your cage has multiple levels, you may have to dismantle them and clean them piece by piece. When we were together in the same cage, we were in a MidWest Guinea Pig Habitat, which has the advantage of being inexpensive and made of soft, flexible nylon which is easy to clean. We would line this with fleece (bought and cut to size from a fabric store) and then place CareFresh bedding on top of that. Then, once a week, we would sweep up all the dirty CareFresh, and wash the fleece in the washing machine.
  2. Now that we are in the same cage but the cage is divided, we need a bigger cage so that we still have lots of individual space. We are fans of the Guinea Pig Cage Store because they also sell fleece cage liners that are the exact size of the cage, and are extra plush so they absorb better. We still place a layer of CareFresh on top but can use less since the fleece does a good job. The CareFresh makes a big difference with odor control. 
  3. When Sunday rolls around, the humans set up a temporary cage in the laundry room which consists of a few puppy training pads on the concrete floor and a cage placed around it. The humans place us and our housing and food in the cage, where we spend about an hour or two waiting for the laundry to be done.
    Our home away from home!
  4. The humans sweep up the old CareFresh and throw the dirty fleece pad in the laundry. They use a Free and Clear detergent without dyes or fragrances, since our paws can be sensitive to them. Then they wipe down the now empty cage with mild cleaning spray and paper towels. Once clean and dry, they place everything back in the cage and discard the used puppy pads. Good as new!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Can Guinea Pigs Eat Aloha Peppers?

Aloha, readers! We found a review we had started on but never finished (around May 2018, when things started getting really crazy and we moved to a new place, and then took an extended break from blogging). You'll notice that Lola is able to be near me without being super-hostile (AKA the good old days!), and that we're still in our old cage. After this, we should be all caught up to the present day. :-)

Aloha peppers (AKA Enjoya peppers, Striped Holland bell peppers) come from a company called SUNSET, who describes them as follows: " As pleasing to the eye as it is to the palate, the Aloha pepper has beautiful red and yellow stripes and a sweet flavor unlike any other pepper on the market today."  Is that true? Our piggy palates were happy to test this claim out!

Look at it! That is an awesome-looking pepper! Can't wait to bite into it!

As mentioned in the past, most bell peppers start out as green, turn yellow and orange, and then eventually end up turning red. Aloha peppers, however, "are a fairly new variety that was discovered as a surprise variation in a garden in the Netherlands and have been developed over time to showcase the bi-colored traits. The vertical striping is not passed on through normal plant reproduction, so Striped Holland bell peppers are reproduced using cuttings and hand harvesting, making all the plants genetically identical." So it sounds like it's a lot of work for humans to make these striped peppers for our enjoyment!

Lola, do you think this tastes more like yellow peppers or red peppers?

Hey. I had my eye on that one!
As usual, we've never met a bell pepper we didn't like! 5/5 stars!

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Guinea Pigs and Moving into a New House

Hi humans! Long time, no wheek. We missed you. It has been a long time since we updated, so we apologize for the months-long delay. Let us give you an update about what's been happening since we last posted:
  • The big news: the humans moved into a new house! It was so exciting but a bit scary because we were moved to an entirely different space. Being the creatures of habit that we are, disruptions to our routine are always unnerving, but especially so this time since we have always lived in the old house, in our old cage. 
  • Speaking of which, we got a new cage! The layout of the new house is so different, and the humans decided to gives us our own floor. The finished basement is all ours, and the humans even bought us a bigger cage.
  • Lola recovered well from her cancer, thanks to the great work of the vet crew at SEAVS. She still technically has cancer but has no symptoms, is no longer on any meds, and is not in pain. The only difference is that she now attacks me and seems to want to be in her own space. While guinea pigs normally should be paired with a buddy, in Lola's case she's given the signal that she's prefer to be an only pig moving forward, so with the vet's blessing, the humans complied. As a compromise, the humans placed a grid divider between my side and her side of the cage, so that we can still sniff, see, hear, and in Lola's case try to bite the other pig.

  • As for me, I'm over seven years old now! The vet mentioned that I am one of the oldest pigs she's treated. I'm a little slower than I used to be, but I still love snuggling with my humans, eating my favorite snack of Belgian endives, and napping in my pigloo. Given my dental issues, I need molar trims every 6 weeks, and I need to be hand fed Critical Care three times a day, plus I take Meloxicam once daily. I look forward to my daily feedings and I like the taste of the medicine. It's my chance to get some one-on-one time with the humans!
Thanks for following our adventure! More posts to come soon.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Lola update: Guinea pig recovery from surgery

Hi, everyone. I suppose I'm overdue for a blog update after my recent ordeal, and I hope I wasn't keeping you all in suspense. I survived the surgery just fine, and have been doing a pretty fine job of recovering if I do say so myself. Of course, it helps to have some fine humans to help my recovering by keeping track of my medication regimen. After getting back from surgery, I was on 6 different medications/supplements:
  1. Meloxicam (for pain and inflammation)
  2. Cisapride (for gastrointestinal tract motility)
  3. Enrofloxacin (for controlling gas in the GI tract)
  4. Trimethoprim Sulfa (to treat bacterial infection)
  5. Tramadol (to control pain)
  6. Critical Care (if not eating well, or to help weight loss)

That's a lot of medicine!
Now I'm done with most of those medicines, which means a lot less plastic syringes being shoved in my mouth. My weight has been down a little lately, and the humans need to check with the vet to find out what my "new normal" should be after the spay surgery that removed the uterine cancer.

Thanks for the nice comments, readers!