Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Guinea Pig Attachment.
My fluffy monkey Cody.

This is a LONG one...

Okay guys, I know I haven't done a blog post for a few days now, but there has been a genuine reason. 
And this reason is pictured above,
and this is my Cody.

I write about and photograph all things fashion and beauty related right?! But I also have 'life' attached to the end of that little heading. And this right here is part of my life, it's real.

I wanted to take the time to write a post about something that effects my every day life in the most stressful ways, but also in the best ways. 

To most people, yes, he is "just a guinea pig", but to me he is regarded in the same manner as if he were a dog or a cat. He is still a living creature, he has feelings and he has the most awesome personality.

Cody hasn't been an easy ride, let me tell you! You would think just by going into a pet store to buy an animal it would be easy as pie, yeah? 
No. No it wasn't.
What was about to hit me like a tonne of bricks was something I had NEVER anticipated when homing this monkey. In a way this post is telling you my story (in short as it is majorly long) but also advising you readers out there that are animal lovers. 

I got Cody at around 8 weeks old. He was teeny, alert and most of all he was cute and already had a quirky personality.

I fell in love instantly.

Unfortunately, after this picture was taken (the day I got him home) I noticed something wasn't quite right with him. He was sneezing constantly and scratching like a maniac. 

I love to research, especially when it is to do with animals as I have a major passion for them and their care, and I concluded by his symptoms that he had a URI (Upper Respiratory Infection) and Ringworm. Now, the URI needed to be dealt with straight away, as guinea pigs go down hill very rapidly and they hide their illnesses well until the last minute. And well, the ringworm was contagious as hell and it must have been hurting him.

Ha, no word of a lie my mum was cleaning everything like a dog on heat, she wouldn't leave anything untouched.
Bleach became our new best friend!!

The next day, he went back to the vets and this is where my hell began. He stayed in their care for months, it was horrible. I didn't really get to see him and I felt so helpless. I was even suggested that I "swap" him for another one or "given back". These remarks made me furious. He isn't a mobile phone that you can just send back because it's faulty. He is a living creature. Just imagine if I had given him back, I would have never of forgiven myself. 

I believed in Cody and I knew he would make it. He was strong.
He was however in a bad way. He was on antibiotics for months and even to this day he is still on them. My knowledge on guinea pigs, their care, medicines, diet, warning signs and illness is above average and most of the time I have diagnosed him before the vets have even figured out what is wrong. 

That is the shocking thing, I am untrained yet I spotted all the signs and symptoms! (That is is a WHOLE different story on its own.)

I won't go into major details as this post would be going on for weeks, ha.  But yeah, I eventually got him back like this.

He had grown LOADS and was sooooo long. I was a little shocked. Obviously, now he is quite the chunk but it was still strange and he was so tame too. 

I thought my ordeal was over. 

He was on continuous medication but when I brought him back on this day, I noticed a scabby patch on his right ear and some on his nose before that and it wasn't again picked up. So he had another trip back to the vets. I literally spend most of my time there these days. They suspected ringworm on his ear and took him back in. It was then confirmed a week or so later that it was a bacterial infection.

From the very beginning of me taking Cody to the vets I complained about his ear scratching and head flicking but nothing was really done about it. 

And now, we come to the present day. For over a year Cody has been on various different types of medication; Septrin, Baytril, Metronidazole, Loxicom and Emeprid. It's got to the point now where I indistinctly know when to give him medicine and what type. Oh, and another thing I learnt, just like humans, guinea pigs very much dislike having to take their foul tasting medicine. It is a daily struggle, but I have been doing it for so long now I am a pro. 

I now know all about GI Statis, bloat, rhinitis  when he becomes what the professionals call 'Anoretic' (stops eating and drinking), I have to deal with seizures, him almost dying from poor advice. You name it I have been through it with this guinea. I know A LOT. 

And now chronic middle ear infection. 

I would just like to point out that, I have tried SO hard to save his life because I had a gut instinct and knew he was too healthy to be put to sleep. And that if at any point he was severely suffering I would NOT of kept him alive for my own benefit.

 Cody had gotten over his persistent URI and stubborn Ringworm but was left with Rhinitis (which is rare in guinea pigs) that makes him allergic and sensitive to a lot of things. He cannot have wood shavings as his main bedding so now his cage is made of fleecing, he is allergic to grass (his favourite) and his hay irritates him. 

It's a lot of hard work. I never did think when I brought him that both me and him would be going through all of this stress. 

He is worth it though. :) 

Last week, I had to take Cody to Bristol (UK) for a CT scan. It is a long way from where I live but I needed to know what was going on with his ears. As I mentioned earlier from the beginning he had been constantly irritated by his ears and on Christmas day  13' he developed a 'head tilt' which becomes present when an animal has an ear problem. He lost his balance and began having mini seizures which was so upsetting to watch. Again, I researched and I concluded he had signs of a middle ear infection. He also had green matter being brought up his ear canal which showed he had some sort of infection that just wasn't budging. Cody isn't an ordinary guinea, he is a moody piggy and dislikes being touched and held and is very anti-social that way.

With what he has been through I am not surprised. 
I wouldn't have him any other way though, he isn't boring that's for sure.
Codes loves to travel and often sleeps. 
So, yeah the results came back yesterday and it wasn't great news. I was told the bone structure in both ears had severely thickened and there was fluid stuck down there. The vet also said that he is almost definitely completely deaf but otherwise he is healthy and happy. And it was confirmed this was all down to the URI he had in the beginning and that it is common knowledge that middle ear infections result from a URI. The first signs were the patch of skin on his ear, that I noticed in the beginning. The bacterial infection. 

Speaks for itself really. 

I was told they wouldn't recommend surgery after all as his ears are so small and to drain the ears could do more harm than good. 

So it is now a case of trying the last few antibiotics to try and alleviate the symptoms but he will at some point become immune to them and the day will come where I will have to make the decision to put him to sleep. 

I was and still am devastated. I have battled so hard, and apart from his ears he is a healthy and happy guinea pig. He has hair that I am jealous of, he popcorns (a jump they do when they are happy) eats like a horse (he costs me so much money) and is so funny I could watch him for hours. 

I have spent months looking after him, a lot of money, so much stress and heartache but I wouldn't change him for the world.
When you fall in love, you fall in love. 

I don't know how much time I have left with him and I am hoping we can defy the odds like we always have and I can make him better. But whatever time we do have I will make sure it's the best time he has. 

He is my little buddy and I will not give up on him. 

I hope you liked this post and at some point I will be doing an advice post on guinea pigs from my own personal experience. 
If anyone would like to ask me anything regarding this post just drop me a comment. :) 
I will now leave you with a few pictures as the vids won't upload so I will put them up at a later date.

This is a state of total relaxation.
Love this picture!
What guinea pig even does this?! Look at his little frog legs! Ha ha.
He actually puts his head on the pillow to sleep. He even moves it
to where he wants it. Too cute.
His favourite place to 'chill'.
All of my babies :)



  1. I just randomly stumbled upon this post as the words "guinea pig" immediately got my attention! Firstly, I was to thank you for dedicating this post to such an awesome little dude, he's so strong and courageous and my GAWD his hair is spectacular! I also want to say that I'm so sorry about the situation that has unfurled and the decisions that you'll inevitably have to make, but I'm so inspired by how giving up was never an option for you and Cody!

    I know it's horrible, but your efforts were never in vain - you gave that piggie SOOO much happiness in his little life and I hope and pray and dream that he'll pull through :) Because hey, if he's gotten this far, he sure as hell is some wee fighter!

    Adore this post so much and I'm sending lots and lots of love and hug's both your and Cody's way <3

    Claire xo

    1. Thank you so much Claire for those kind words. It was nice of you to take the time to read the post as obviously this isn't a usual beauty or fashion one. I wasn't expecting anyone to leave a comment anyway :) I am hoping it will be okay, but odds aren't looking awesome. I will just keep positive and keep fighting :) Thank you again xxx


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