How to Verify if a Guinea Pig is Dead

Are you not sure if your guinea pig is dead? Are you not sure how to go about verifying whether or not they are dead? Do you want to know the key signs your guinea pig is dead? If you are wanting to know the answers to any of these questions, the post can help you understand if your guinea pig is dead or not.

You can verify if a guinea pig is dead by looking for any movement, checking its body temperature, checking for a heartbeat, checking if it’s breathing, lifting it up, and checking its eyes. Observing the status of each of these points can help indicate whether the guinea pig is dead or not.

If you would like to know more about how to go about verifying if a guinea pig is dead, keep reading on.

Look For Movement

A major indicator of whether or not a guinea pig is dead is if they are producing any movement. If they are not moving in the slightest, it is probably a safe bet to assume that they are no longer alive.

In the event that you do monitor for movement and there is even the smallest movement such as a twitch or a slow movement with one of their limbs, there is reason to hope and not write them off as dead yet. This is an indicator that there may be some way to help them if you can get them to a veterinarian as soon as possible to see if there is anything that can be done.

It is important to then tell the veterinarian exactly what kind of movement, where the movement came from, and how long it lasted. This will help them assess the status of the guinea pig’s health and chances of surviving.

Check its Body Temperature

A simple and quick way to observe whether or not the guinea pig is dead or not is to indicate whether they are producing any body heat. If you have a thermometer, you can use that if you know the temperature range that is viable for them to survive within, but if you don’t have one you don’t necessarily need one to accomplish this test.

If they feel warm at all, that is a good sign that they may still be alive. If they are significantly cold, that is a sign they may be gone.

That being said, while their body temperature is in fact cold when a guinea pig has passed, do not take that as a sure sign and make a solid conclusion there. Move forward with additional testing for a solid answer before you proclaim the guinea pig to be dead. Sometimes it is difficult to make a call on whether its body has some heat or not because it may be a little warm, but not enough to still be alive.

Check for a Heartbeat

When checking for a heartbeat, the sign that your guinea pig has passed is that there is no heartbeat at all. If there is still a heartbeat, it is worth checking and seeing what their beats per minute are to differentiate whether they are in shock or not. A typical heart rate of a guinea pig is between 130-190 beats per minute. To feel the pulse, it can easily be found on the inside of its back leg around the mid-thigh area.

You will want to be very gentle when you press down to feel the pulse, it would be best to use your pointer and middle finger. When you find the pulse, hold your fingers there for a full minute and count how many you feel. A key point to note is that if its heartbeat is over 130-190 beats per minute, it is an indicator that they are in shock.

Check if it is Breathing

It is an obvious sign that your guinea pig is no longer alive is if they are not breathing. You can check if they are breathing in two ways. Because guinea pigs primarily breathe out of their noses, you can place one finger under their nostril and if you feel air coming in and out of their nose, they are in fact breathing.

Another way you can test if they are breathing or not is to watch for any movement of their abdomen. If it is moving up and down, that is a good sign that they are still breathing.

If you hear sounds of wheezing or labored breathing, even if those two tests provide signs that it’s breathing, it would be a good idea to take them to the veterinarian as soon as possible to see what is preventing them from breathing easily.

Lift the Guinea Pig up

By lifting the guinea pig up, you can then feel whether its muscles are either stiff or flexible. If you feel that its muscles have become stiff, that is an indicator that they are dead. Guinea pig muscles only get stiff when they have passed away.

That being said, if your guinea pig has suffered from rigor mortis and has stiff muscles, don’t call them out yet. Wait 24 hours and check again. Often after the 24 hours have passed, they will become loose again and there is a chance they can still make it. But if they stop eating or breathing during those 24 hours, it is a sign they are dead.

Check its Eyes

Another physical sign that is a major indicator that your guinea pig is dead is the state of its eyes. Guinea pigs that are alive and healthy will have eyes that are shiny and will not have any trouble staying open and looking around. When a guinea pig is dying or dead, its eyes will lose that shine and become more matte-looking.

Oftentimes when a guinea pig is dead, small flies will collect near its eyes. That is not the case with guinea pigs who are alive and well, so flies hanging around their eyes is a good indicator of their state of life as well.

Carolina Pieters

I'm Carolina and created this blog, to provide practical advice and emotional comfort for those dealing with pet loss.

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