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We’ll miss that whiskery face.

It is with heavy hearts that we announce the death of Tobias (or “Tobi”), our six-year-old Patagonian cavy.

Earlier this month, part of Tobi’s lower jaw appeared swollen. He was given an exam and diagnosed with a tooth abscess, a condition that is common in cavies and other rodents with similar dental structures.

Although there is no way to ascertain the size of a tooth abscess without surgical exploration, radiographs and a lack of symptoms indicated that the abscess was likely impacting just a few of Tobi’s teeth and could be managed. Our veterinarians devised a treatment plan that involved a surgical procedure to debride the infected tissue and pack the site with antibiotic beads to promote healing.

Tobi was brought to the L3Harris Animal Care Center yesterday and given a preoperative radiograph to see if his condition had changed since the exam. Noticing no substantial differences, we began the procedure as planned. We were surprised to discover that the abscess was much larger than had initially been believed—it had enveloped almost his entire mandible and was beginning to rupture into his mouth.

Unfortunately, there was no way to debride the abscess and leave enough tissue for a functional jaw, so we made the difficult but compassionate decision to euthanize him and prevent further suffering.

Tobi arrived at the Zoo in December 2014, and his warm personality quickly won all of us over. Although he was friendly with everyone, Tobi certainly had his “favorite people” and would greet them by squeaking, squealing, spinning and jumping. Tobi was harness-trained and one of his favorite activities was walking over to see the meerkats. He was a loyal companion to Oliver, our other Patagonian cavy.

This is a tough loss—especially for Tobi’s keepers—and it’s safe to say the Petting Zone won’t be the same without him.