I picked Alley up at about 3pm yesterday. Dr. Kirk had called and said he was really concerned and wanted to refer her to a specialist. I asked about Dr. Warner. She is practicing at Phoenix Veterinary Hospital in Wayland and Dr. Kirk called and she was happy to see us. Yay!!
When I picked Alley up in Medfield, my poor piggie looked like she had been run over by a truck - flat and listless. G-pigs certainly are not supposed to look flat. She looked 100 times worse than she had in the morning. She had been given food and fluids - she should have looked better.
When we got to the Phoenix Dr. Warner said she was willing to take Alley home overnight and try to nurse her back to health. I told her I wasn't asking her to make the decision for me, but would her trying to nurse Alley back to health be for me emotionally versus for Alley? What did she think? Would she make it? Dr. Warner said a g-pig presenting like Alley was had maybe a 10% survival/recovery rate.
Okay. Dr. Warner went and cut some dandelion greens from the hospital's garden to try and tempt Alley. She failed the dandelion test (g-pigs LOVE dandelion greens). I had already made the decision to have Dr. Warner euthanize her (I can't bring myself to say put-down it seems wrong). I didn't want to keep her alive, depressed, and miserable for another 24 hours essentially for my emotional health. That wouldn't be fair. Alley then had a seizure, which confirmed I was making the right decision. Dr. Warner said given Alley's age (2.3 yo) it had to be either malocclusion (when the teeth don't wear properly and prevent eating) or something in the gut. It happened so dreadfully quick.
Dr. Warner took Alley out back and anesthetized her and then brought her back so I could hold her while she injected her with the poison. They anesthetize pigs first because they inject the poison into their chest and even a sick piggie isn't going to want to be placed on their back or side like that. Alley was still so dehydrated Dr. Warner had difficulty getting any blood to come up into the syringe.
I brought her home to bury her in my in-law's backyard. Their backyard is huge and backs up to a creek. There is a grove of trees between the open part of the yard and the creek. I chose a spot that should get dappled sunlight beneath a large tree. On the way home I stopped and bought two pots of St. John's Wort which is considered an "invasive" herb and has pretty yellow flowers; due to its invasive nature I hope it will survive with partial sunlight. I thought the St. John's Wort was appropriate because I am heartsick about losing Alley and because she was obviously so ill and depressed. My FIL gave me a nice cobblestone for a marker. After I dug the hole and placed Alley, wrapped in a blanket, in it and started filling the grave in, I placed the cobblestone (which is at least 10" long) in the hole standing up. I buried the stone with about 4" sticking out and the St. John's Wort on either side.
Just as I was finishing the sun officially set and the grove was filled with golden sunlight. It was truly beautiful and special. Alley was what people would refer to as my "heart" pig. She reminded me SO much of my first g-pig, Punk-rock Petey who was a long haired Peruvian g-pig. He was awesome. He used to sit on me for hours while I read. Alley was exactly the same - content to just be with you. After everything I went through with Zeke, I expected him to be my heart-pig, but it was Alley. My unassuming little chocolate sow who was so, so special. She was a chocolate brown American with a white blaze and her lower lip was perfectly split between pink skin and brown skin.
I am pretty heartsick. This is the month the g-pigs were due for their annuals, so I will make appointments for Izzy and Zeke with Dr. Warner. She is a VERY special vet and I feel lucky that I was able to have her euthanize Alley.
17 hours ago