What went wrong with my guinea pig, Murphy

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I haven’t had the focus to write anything, and while I have had downtime on this blog, I have been keeping up on our Facebook Page. If you’d like to head there, I have the accounts listed to the right side of Stop and Eat the Flowers.

Smurph had a final diagnosis of pericardial effusion. The sac around her heart was filled with fluid. It was either pus, or clear, or blood. I could have elected to have it aspirated that day, but the fact that it formed in the first place left a difficult treatment ahead. It would have given her relief that day and likely come back even a day, week, month, or year later. Based on things we had noticed with this litter of guinea pigs over the years, and with Smurph, these sisters had a genetic issue with their hearts. We never had anything close to a diagnosis up until a year and a half ago when Potsticker died at the vet of heart failure. Ever since the girls were brand new, they had coughing. It usually acted up when they were eating, after they’d been resting for a time. I was also told that Murphy honks when the household comes alive around 6:30am. It was going on for about a year, but I’d never witnessed it, until a few months ago. She was honking gently during the day.

My mistake was going to the wrong clinic. I went to the smaller one where the prices were higher because of low volume, and they wanted to run about $1000 in tests, so I opted for a short course of antibiotics. I hadn’t heard her honking after, so I let it go. Except that in June, she was taking treats from me and eating less than half of them. She wasn’t standing up on the frame of the cage anymore and asking about stuff. I took her to the big hospital in Fairfax, where they said she was having low digestion and needed to start getting fluids and motility drugs. The vet asked me about her breathing. I said that I’ve had pigs with respiratory issues before, and that this seemed to look more like pain to me. What would he suggest? We discussed doing a short course of antibiotics, but then agreed that this would be a bad idea because it would nuke her gut flora, while we’re trying to avoid G.I. Stasis. I said let’s do the x-ray.

You couldn’t even see if her heart were enlarged because the fluid around her heart was obscuring the view. The hospital could drain it, but we would have to follow up with a small animal cardiologist, with no guarantees. We had already taken her an hour from home to this facility, and frequent trips would be a strain on her. The vet said that “even if you had ‘Bill Gates’ money, it’s not a good prognosis”.

The veterinarian conference called with my partner and I so that it was all discussed again, and we euthanized her. She was the only one of her litter to make it to four years old, so she did reach a full life, just not one of the longer ones. Those honors go to her Auntie Mu-Xi (5 1/2 years old) and Chai (8 1/4 years old).

That’s it. The guinea pig pen was taken down, and her laundry washed, and the donation was made of a car load of items to the small animal rescue out here just this week.

I was with Murphy throughout the euthanasia process. I’ve been there since her first day out of the womb, and I stayed until she departed. I don’t like sending them to the back, alone.

If you enjoy nugget videos, please turn up your volume.

That’s Murphy.

And if you would like to read up on heart conditions, Guinea Lynx is a great resource:
Cardiovascular disease

Now I am retired from guinea pigs, at least until my 40s. We started December 2006 with our first guinea pig:
Her Royal Highness, Princess Cabrielle, Ruler of all She Surveys
Cabby was a twat.

Left clockwise:
Cabby, Chai, and Coco

Retired guinea pig wrangler

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After 12 1/2 years, the Pig Pen has been broken down, and the quality items left over from the guinea pig herd are to be donated to the rescue.

On Tuesday, Murphy was euthanized.

I am uneasy. I do not regret. I can’t process. This is a major adjustment to my daily life. The sounds of a 2 lb stampede, following you back and forth, until you notice ‘Could you please wif the cookies?’

I can’t right now. I’ll tell you more later. I didn’t realize I was going to get so upset in writing a few sentences.

Bird Emergency

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I did, after all, destroy my car. Yet somehow this was not the worst of things to come in May.
May 18th, while my partner was out running his children and their friends around (as it was Saturday) I was home alone with the animals. I noticed that Jak had a feather out of place on her leg. I tried to inspect it, but Jak has always been my nervous bird, so I blew gently to spread her feathers, and I freaked the heff out.
That’s not even possible.
I blew on her feathers again. I was sure that I saw a flash of raw leg hanging out. I started crying. My partner just happened to get home within the next ten minutes with his daughter and her friend. I told the females upstairs or downstairs, NOW.
My partner inspected the bird and thought it was a blood feather. Huh uh no; I don’t believe so because blood feathers, I could handle. I needed to take her to the ER, but his son was still over at a friends’ house, and because I destroyed my car, his was the only available vehicle.
“Can you uber with the girls and go pick him up later?”
“Can’t you uber?”
Arrangements were made for the son’s friend to bring him back, but by the time I got back home with the car, my partner went to go pick his son up instead. Jak was not home with me.

Koi went to the ER with her bird, Jak, so that Jak would remain as calm as possible

If you open up the image and look closely, you can see the one feather standing out on Jak’s right leg.

Her leg was actually split open to the muscle. They said that the condition of the margins let them to believe this wound wasn’t fresh. She had probably been keeping it from me for a day, and we found no evidence around the house of trauma. I am inserting the medical photo very small, and you can choose to view it in full.


She had surgery the next morning, and they were only able to suture it about halfway closed. It was wrapped, she got the Cone of Shame, and was sent home with me Monday morning.

By Wednesday her accessories for the wellness cage arrived, and we were able to make it more comfortable for her.

Toddler perches are awesome. This way she didn’t have to flat-foot it around. It’s Polly’s Perch rocker in X-small.

By the 23rd of May she was having supervised time with her wife and discontinued her meloxicam:
On June 1st she had her baytril discontinued and her leg unwrapped and sutures removed. I was given a silver based cream to begin applying to her large scab.
Jak’s scab fell off two days ago

Jak lost her scab.

Posted by Stop and Eat the Flowers on Saturday, June 8, 2019

Today I removed her cone and let her free for six hours. She took 1 1/2 baths, and did a lot of grooming, and was given a lot of grooming by the other two green cheek conures. Her timing for her injury was at the beginning of a molt. She had so many pins on her that were unrelated to the feathers that began to grow back on her leg. My partner doesn’t feel comfortable letting her have Night Night unsupervised with the other two, but she’ll be out with them all day tomorrow.

I do have another car should something go cockeyed again, but Jak has been through this amazingly without complications.

Are you ready?

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The site improvements look good from my end, so content is coming this month.


I will explain.

Stop and Eat the Flowers is on Hiatus

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Feel free to follow Stop and Eat the Flowers on social media. The links should be available on our homepage. I can also be reached at Lala@stopandeattheflowers.com

The website needs updates, and my webmaster is completing his final semester for his Masters in Library Sciences. Go, Dismal.
I have also had a setback. I was involved in an auto collision Monday in Washington D.C. and my car may be totaled, maybe not? I have mixed feelings about this because I was not the only person in my vehicle. No injuries, but mental health is not fantastic. No animals were in the vehicle, either. The family is fine. I need some time.

We were also selected by BasePaws to get Stewart entered into the research program because he is an asthmatic cat. We supplied them with his vet records, and they sent us a CatKit for him. I filled out surveys for him online, and the next step is to take his samples and send them back to BasePaws.

To find out if your cat may qualify, follow this link and view the characteristics and traits they’d like to study. https://www.basepaws.com/science


Summer is coming – Travel with your pets

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There are very good suggestions when traveling with your pets. Keep a copy of their current vaccinations in the vehicle where you can access them. It is also a good idea to have a vet visit before you travel, and have a health certificate issued to your pet.

If you have a harness for your cat or dog, it’s ideal to leave it on them at all times when the vehicle is involved. It’s more difficult to remove than a collar, and you can clip on i.d. tags, as well as give them a little freedom with the leash from time to time, or keep the leash connected to an attachment point in the vehicle so that when doors open, they can’t jolt out into an unfamiliar place. There are also seat belt restraints that click into the buckle and attach to the D or O ring on their harness.

Will my cat really wear a harness?
There are so many options to chose from, I am sure you can find one that will work. There are jackets, figure 8, H-style, and custom items you can order from marketplaces such as Etsy. We personally use the H. This one buckles around their rib cage and around their neck, with a strap connecting the two from the point at the back of the neck down towards the bottom of the shoulder blades. Figure 8 does not have the strap between the two wrap arounds – “8” vs (this one is sideways)”H”. Another thing is to consider the size of your cat. Weight distributes differently on these felines, so you would want to get a flexible fabric tape measure and jot down some numbers. Not all cats fall into a cookie-cutter Small and Large. Thirteen pounds on my boys make them skinny, and thirteen pounds on my girls present them as rotund. Do not refer to their weight in sizing, but their lengths.

You may also want to get shades for your rear windows. A barrier across the front seats is very helpful, even if it’s not going to stop your pet from trying to come up with you, it’s going to slow them down and hopefully they won’t startle or distract you too much from your job as chauffeur.

Keeping a collapsible silicone dish in your door pocket is not only useful for serving up water and then storing it away, but it is great to have on hand for coming across strays when your pets aren’t around.

If your pet is prone to car sickness, you can try Dramamine or Bach’s Rescue Remedy Pet given thirty minutes prior. Dosage varies by weight and species. You can also spritz a calming spray in their carrier or on a blanket or hoodie that will stay near them.

If you stay at a hotel, get familiar with their policy while booking your reservation. Some hotels require you to pay a refundable pet deposit, and others charge a flat pet fee. There are also breed restrictions, weight restrictions, how many pets per room, and potentially policies in place that say not to leave your pets loose in the room without a human. I went to get ice from the machine, didn’t have a crate set up, and had to chase my tortie cat up and down a hotel hallway at 1 a.m. upon my return.

The USDA also has a menu to choose where you are traveling to/thru so you can get more information for that state:
Travel with your pet state to state (Interstate)
Please make sure your pets are allowed so that you won’t be separated. Common pets like hedgehogs, ferrets, some breeds of rats, birds, and even some cats and dogs have been regulated in different areas of the United States.

I have no better summary or closing to offer than Safe Travels. Feel free to contribute on our social media accounts.

Easter is next weekend

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Hoppy Easter

It’s the annual reminder that most all commercial lilies are toxic to cats, and it’s any part of the plant, PERIOD.

Please do not be the hero and get an Easter Bunny. Chocolate bunnies work well (not for the dogs) and if you want to get experience with bunnies before you add one to your family, you would be surprised to know that there are many rescues across the country that are dedicated to rabbits, as well as shelters that actually take them in. Volunteer your time and make sure this is the right move for a long-term addition to your family.

Plastic grass used in Easter baskets are dangerous for all family members if ingested. Crinkled paper style grass is available at most all craft stores, and comes in a variety of colors.

Happy Easter and I’d like to take a moment for the historical losses at the Notre Dame Cathedral today. At the last update there is only one seriously injured first responder, and no confirmed deaths. +

Weruva Slide N’ Serve Paté cat food Variety Pack: The Brat Pack

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I ran into an issue uploading photos a few weeks ago, so let’s try this again and see if it’s cleared up.

Weruva sent us the new Slide N’ Serve Paté variety pack (at no charge) for our ladies to evaluate honestly.

The theme of this variety pack is even better than the last one we were able to feature. I’m old enough to understand these, so I thought they were a hoot. It’s pop culture time!

If I ever got a job in marketing with Weruva, I would have a blast. Look at these!

Direct link to product on Weruva

The Brat Pack includes two each of: The Breakfast Cat, Cat to The Future, Meowiss Bueller, Cat Times at Fridgemont, The Karate Kitty, and Cattyshack.

Now that the humans have had their giggle, lets get back to the cats.

Slide N’ Serve have been really convenient. I have some unique clips that work wonderfully with the pouches, and TerraCycle partners with Weruva to recycle your pouches.

These are some great blends. There are beef, salmon, tuna, duck, lamb, shrimp, chicken and pumpkin varieties. My girls have always been particular about their consumption of fish, but they have eaten all of these Brat Pack options. That’s excellent.

Amalie and Princess Yue Pants

All varieties of the Brat Pack are grain, gluten, BPA, and carrageenan free. The average kcal per pouch is 60, while the beef is a bit lighter, so make sure you’re feeding your feline friend according to their daily needs.

You can find Weruva at Petco.com for your cats and dogs, and check out the entire Weruva collection by clicking the banner below.

You know – The usual

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I did my pet chores this morning, hung out for fifteen minutes, and then thought ‘Where’s Yue?’.
Yue is my ten year old cat, who MEERs every day, has huge crazy blue eyes, and a pink nose.
I went to go find her, and I found her hiding spot. She did not meer. Her blue eyes were gazing distantly. Her nose was not as pink.
I brought her a treat to make sure she would eat, and she took her time. She eventually ate it.
I picked her up a few minutes later and placed her on the pet heating pad next to the window. I checked her gums for color, and I felt inside her ears. Everything seemed okay. I watched her for 30 seconds, and her respiratory rate was fine. I waited 2 1/2 hours and then picked her up and put her in the MeowSpace to go eat. She ate a tiny bit.

This afternoon she is totally fine. 0.o

There was no salad for Murphy this morning at the pig pen. I gave her a blackberry, a piece of red bell pepper, a carrot stick, and a vitamin C cookie. She did not eat the blackberry. The reason there was no salad is because the last container of spring mix I got was very heavy on spinach. Murphy has no appreciation for spinach. I dumped the rest of the spring mix in there yesterday for her to pick through, and it looked like she hadn’t touched it. It was a lonely pile of spinach.
Murphy is my four year old guinea pig. She gets what she wants. She now has an appropriate spring mix I picked up at Target next to Petsmart.

At Petsmart there was a woman with a giant bag of guinea pig food. I inquired. She said her female ended up being pregnant, and then was pregnant again, and she currently has 6. I told her about the local rescue group that does small animals, and that maybe she can get some resources. I also ran into a woman with a small dog that had the exact same build as my departed dog, Lila. This dog was black, and 8 lbs, with the very same figure although Lila was 11 lbs. Her dog was mixed with Shih Tzu. It was always suspected that Lila was mixed with Shih Tzu, but I had no prior experience with the breed. Lila came from a smash face rescue in Palm Springs CA, that picked her up from Bakersfield animal control.

I spent too long at Target today. I did. I wandered. I ended up finding some wool laundry balls on clearance. You’re supposed to be able to use these to shorten dryer time and/or beat the crap out of your load in the dryer instead of using fabric softener. Either way I can use them in the human laundry, or I can use them in the guinea pig laundry. You’re never supposed to use fabric softener on fleece guinea pig laundry.

My boyfriend took one of the balls and gave it to my male cats.
Alright. They work for cat toys, too.

I had to sit around with a movie on as I was waiting for the stock update on the rabbit I needed to order from Hare-Today. Stock updated by 4:55 pm ET. I had advance notice that there would be short supply today because our weather has been too erratic this winter for the breeders to provide any regular supply. By 5:15 pm all the rabbit they posted was sold. I got 44 lbs as well as 10% off with code Springfever2019 for orders over $100 through April 12. My click-thru is posted under links at the top of the page if you’d like to see what they carry.

Ah. I almost forgot. The Petsmart App on your smartphone shows that there will be new coupons to earn on the Treat Trail game in three days, and I received 2x the points for litter through 5/5, so check your offers.

Polly’s Pet Products Tooty Fruity Bee Pollen Bird Perch #chewyinfluencer

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This is our last one from Chewy. We were able to choose a bird item (no charge) to get our parrots’ honest opinion.

Surely you know how opinionated birds can be? Yeah. I know. It’s hit or miss, even if you check off all the right boxes.
They like boxes, too, some days.

We have three green cheek conures, and they are about 75 grams each. We chose to get Polly’s Pet Tooty Fruity Bee Pollen Perch in SMALL. The colors/flavors are random, and we received a Goofy Grape. “Oh noes.” – My birds don’t usually like purple at all. But, it turns out it was okay. Idris uses this a lot. She waits for me to take her out first thing in the morning, because it’s mating season and I’ve conditioned her to accept me as her bird right now so she’ll leave everyone else alone. My other two girls are bonded.

However, I’ll repeat : IT IS MATING SEASON

All my birds are DNA’D female, but last year we ended up witnessing Koi laying ten eggs for Jak. If my birds would chew on this (it’s chew-able) it is an excellent source of nutrients they need to keep up with the egg laying.

Give your pal a perch he can actually eat with the Polly’s Pet Products Tooty Fruity Bee Pollen Bird Perch. It’s made with all natural, 100% highly digestible calcium and bee pollen for a tasty, nutritious treat. The calcium is essential to keeping your bird healthy, and bee pollen is packed with nutrients like active enzymes, amino acids, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. Plus, it also doubles as a perch that gently trims nails as your pal walks on it, and his beak as well! It’s easy to set up either on the side of the cage or on the top, and is proudly made in the USA by a family-owned company with a passion for birds.

My girls never chew these things and they never trim their own nails. No one was afraid of it, they did use it, and it’s an appropriate size for them. Thanks for modeling, Idris!

All orders $49+ ship fast and free on Chewy.com