Goodbye, Ms Piggy

Posted in Medical, Memorials at 8:50 am by ACR&S

We lost Ms Piggy today. She originally came to us from the Orange County Animal Shelter in late 2005, as a 2 or 3 year old by estimate.  We took her in to pair with our Jacksonville pig Cookie for an adopter in early 2006. The pair were returned after about 18 months, and both had lost a lot of weight. Between this and their age it was decided to make them Sanctuary residents.

Cookie died in July 2008 and Ms Piggy was paired with Brownie (shown here to her right). Brownie passed in September. During all this time we were still trying to resolve Ms Piggy’s low weight.

In October 2008 we found an excellent vet, Paul Gibbons, who finally discovered that Ms Piggy’s weight loss, poor coat condition, constant thirst, and hyperactivity was due to hyperthyroidism. Although the guinea pig rescue community is well aware of hyperthyroidism in pigs, there is very little clinical data and only one or two published case reports, and Dr Gibbons had to get creative at adapting the protocols for diagnosis (by measuring T4 levels) and for treatment. We started treatment with Tapazole and after a few months of dose adjustment, found a dose which worked wonders for her. She put on weight and her other behaviors normalized. In December 2008 she was paired with Douglas, and they’ve been together ever since.

Ms Piggy’s behavior last night was perfectly normal – begging for dinner, running from her medicine. Her weight has been up, and there was no indication at all that she was ill or even slowing down. We suspect that it was just her time to go. At the lowest estimate, she is at least 5.5 years old – the length of time she’s been in the rescue, even assuming she was much younger than we thought on intake. She could certainly have been as old as 7!

She has been a sweet pig and we’re sad to see her go, but so happy she was in our lives for this long. Goodbye, little girl.


  1. Celia said,

    May 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

    When our time is ‘up’ there is nothing that can be done. That doesn’t make it any easier to say “good bye”. Time bonds us to our little friends, but the pigs with “problems” are the ones with whom we must spend so much of our time, energy, emotion, and other resources to help. We see them at their most needy and do our best to make their lives a little better. As they see-saw their way to and from health, they crawl deeper and deeper into our hearts. Though we tell ourselves to expect and prepare for the possibility of “early departure”, it is something we never seem able to do.

    Goodbye little Piggy girl; the conditions of your life may have been unfortunate but you leave having known a lot of love.

  2. Paul Gibbons said,

    July 17, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Thank you so much for the opportunity to help you care for Ms. Piggy. She motivated me to learn about hyperthyroidism in guinea pigs and to present this information to hundreds of veterinarians throughout North America. I believe that thousands of other guinea pigs will benefit from the outstanding care provided to her by the ACR&S.