A General Update

I’ve been so preoccupied with introspection & navel-gazing recently that I’ve completely failed to update you all on various Real Life happenings that don’t directly relate to me.

Isabel recently had her ‘induction’ day things at the school she starts in September, which consisted of a ‘stay and play’ type afternoon with the other parents + children, and then a half day without parents. I have to confess that I expected to have to peel Izz off my leg to get her into the classroom and thought that she’d freak out when I tried to leave but the reality couldn’t have been further from the truth. We walked past children-parent combos with tears on both sides(!) only for Izz to run to her new teacher, waving me off with gusto. This, from the kid who spent years being too shy to talk to members of her own family! Couldn’t have been more proud of how far she’s come :)

It did feel a little bit odd as I left the school grounds though. There were parents talking about “not going too far in case it went wrong”, people who were planning on sitting on the grass outside for the afternoon; I went straight to my car and shot off back to work without a second thought. I am clearly a heartless parent :p

In less positive news, we lost Big Pig (Ginger) a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I half-expected to lose him after his skin problems in January so for him to hang on another 5 or so months was a nice surprise. He was 6 and a half, so a good age for a guinea pig :) Karl took him away to bury him with his original friend Afro. Although we’d talked about losing him months ago and had decided that when it happened his friend (Little Pig) would be neutered and placed with the girls, I’ll be honest in that I’m struggling to deal with all of the animals on top of everything else I have to cope with at the minute. Not sure what I’ll do long term with the animals. :(

Oliver has been conversing in full sentences for a while now and keeps up well with his sister. He’s eating well, sleeping… occasionally(!) and doing everything he should for his age. I’m considering trying to get him out of nappies over the summer purely from a financial point of view although I have to say I prefer the “wait until they do it themselves” approach we took with Izz. I guess there’s only so far you can push a kid either way.

So basically most things are OK and we’re just bumbling along as normal… :)

Poorly Big Pig

Several drafts in progress have been abandoned over the past week or so as I’ve been even busier than usual.

Towards the end of last week we noticed that Big Pig (our oldest guinea pig) who has had a small patch of what looked like dandruff since before Christmas, had got full on itching, fur loss and associated skin damage from over-grooming/scratching. As well as that he had lost an obvious amount of weight; his back end having gone from nicely rounded to skin and bones.

guinea pig skin problem

As with most small animals the symptoms seemed to come on suddenly (because they’re so bloody good at hiding these things until it gets so bad they can’t hide it any more) and so usual chaos of emergency vet visit etc ensued. My usually good vet surgery was close to useless and basically gave a diagnosis of skin cancer caused by old age, with the prognosis of 2 further weeks before addressing “quality of life” and the decision to put him to sleep. She gave us treatment for fungal infections and mites in the mean time (although neither of suitable quantity to have any actual affect, it turns out).

Now I’m no vet, and I’m not a small animal expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I reckon that irrelevant of age an animal that is moving around as normal, eating, drinking etc but just feeling a bit sore and rotten is not on his last legs and about to pop off to meet the great big guinea pig in the sky (or you know, whatever).

So, advice sought from multiple sources and time-honoured guinea pig experts and the general consensus is a fungal skin infection, which is what my gut was telling me. Some intensive nursing, lots of soothing baths over the coming weeks and Big Pig should be back to normal in no time. Plenty of life in the furry bugger left yet, even if he does look a bit like a plucked chicken at the minute ;)