Guinea pig bullying? What should i do?

s.haller16

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Hi I have six guinea pigs, in one cage i have three boars that actually get along fantastic and have no problems whatsoever, but in my other cage I have two girls and one male. The two girls, being a mother (Minnie) and daughter (Riley), and the male being the baby daddy (Teddy). Over the past few months Minnie has been getting increasingly dominant, especially toward Riley. She is constantly chasing, mounting, shoving, and sometimes nipping Riley (but not breaking skin). Although these are all normal guinea pig behaviors, in this case it is excessive, to the point that Riley can barely do anything with out getting picked on. As for Teddy, i have caught Minnie even trying to mount and shove him on multiple occasions. Teddy is a very relaxed pig and doesn't mind very much, but because he is so relaxed he also does not set Minnie in her place. When Minnie gets going on Riley, it is a continuous flow of Riley's pitiful submissive whine, for Riley is far from dominant. They already have a huge cage of horizontal space , and i even added another layer so that they could retreat when they had ad enough of each other. I really do not want to split them up as they both have a strong relationship with Teddy and practically have an anxiety attack when they aren't with him. Currently i have Minnie on the top level alone (squeaking at the top of her lungs because she cant see teddy) and Teddy and Riley on the bottom (calm). I am at a loss, i feel like i have tried so much but yet nothing works. I will take any advice, i am desperate.
 

Popcorning Pigs

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While I have not had my piggies long and don't have as many as you, I have found that giving them time outside of the cage with supervision stops most of their disagreements. They still fight for space in houses like normal, but after I just gave them time as well to settle their arguments they eventually came to an agreement.
 

Betsy

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I would take her to the vets for a thorough check just to be on the safe side. There may be something amiss which is making her behave like this or she just may have decided that she doesn't that she just doesn't like Minnie anymore. Have you the space so that that can live in side by side cages? This way Minnie can still see the other two and have interaction with them.
 

VickiA

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I’m assuming Teddy is neutered?
I would take Minnie to the vets to be thoroughly checked over. Sows I’ve had who behaved like this either had ovarian cysts or thyroid issues and charged around the cage as though they were constantly pumped up ready for a fight. If there’s no physical reason then perhaps it’s just a true falling out and separation is the answer. I have had to separate pairs and groups of sows in the past when one suddenly decided that another would no longer be tolerated.
 

Wiebke

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Hi I have six guinea pigs, in one cage i have three boars that actually get along fantastic and have no problems whatsoever, but in my other cage I have two girls and one male. The two girls, being a mother (Minnie) and daughter (Riley), and the male being the baby daddy (Teddy). Over the past few months Minnie has been getting increasingly dominant, especially toward Riley. She is constantly chasing, mounting, shoving, and sometimes nipping Riley (but not breaking skin). Although these are all normal guinea pig behaviors, in this case it is excessive, to the point that Riley can barely do anything with out getting picked on. As for Teddy, i have caught Minnie even trying to mount and shove him on multiple occasions. Teddy is a very relaxed pig and doesn't mind very much, but because he is so relaxed he also does not set Minnie in her place. When Minnie gets going on Riley, it is a continuous flow of Riley's pitiful submissive whine, for Riley is far from dominant. They already have a huge cage of horizontal space , and i even added another layer so that they could retreat when they had ad enough of each other. I really do not want to split them up as they both have a strong relationship with Teddy and practically have an anxiety attack when they aren't with him. Currently i have Minnie on the top level alone (squeaking at the top of her lungs because she cant see teddy) and Teddy and Riley on the bottom (calm). I am at a loss, i feel like i have tried so much but yet nothing works. I will take any advice, i am desperate.
Hi!

Please have Minnie vet checked for ovarian cysts. Ovarian cysts are very common; they can be treated by hormone injectionsimplants or a spaying operation. In older and frailer sows, draining can be an alternative that avoids general anaesthesia. Ovarian cysts often manifest in behaviour that resembles a sow experiencing a constant strong season without any of the other usually cited signs like symmetric hair loss on the sides, crusty nipples etc.

Thyroid issues are much rarer, hard to diagnose and even harder to treat; medicine is only starting to push into that area and reliable medication has not been achieved yet.

Sometimes dominant sows can decide that another sow is suddenly no longer a member of their group. In this case, you need to separate. Often there is an ovarian cyst at the bottom of it.
 

s.haller16

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I’m assuming Teddy is neutered?
I would take Minnie to the vets to be thoroughly checked over. Sows I’ve had who behaved like this either had ovarian cysts or thyroid issues and charged around the cage as though they were constantly pumped up ready for a fight. If there’s no physical reason then perhaps it’s just a true falling out and separation is the answer. I have had to separate pairs and groups of sows in the past when one suddenly decided that another would no longer be tolerated.
Yes, Teddy is indeed Neutered. But i was wondering if there where any other symptoms of ovarian cysts or thyroid issues to look out for?
 

Wiebke

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Yes, Teddy is indeed Neutered. But i was wondering if there where any other symptoms of ovarian cysts or thyroid issues to look out for?
A palpation or scan can usually confirm ovarian cysts. You may want to see a vet that is familiar with guinea pigs for that.

Thyroid issues should only be considered if your vet draws a blank with ovarian cysts as both diagnosis and treatment are difficult and not yet reliable; research is currently very contradictory according to my own piggy savvy vet who is fully up on cavy research. My Pili Pala is a potential candidate for hyperthyroid - and the first piggy in over 50 cavies I have had so far while many sows develop ovarian cysts as they get older; the majority of which doesn't cause any problems.
Thyroid is also pretty rare although currently a somewhat fashionable disease in some quarters, like we had with diabetes a few years ago when ultimately only a few piggies turned out to need treatment for it. You may need to see an exotics vet on referral about it and require expensive lab tests etc. It has taken a few years to develop a reliable way of diagnosing and treating diabetes in guinea pigs; this process is not yet done with thyroid issues. ;)
 

s.haller16

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A palpation or scan can usually confirm ovarian cysts. You may want to see a vet that is familiar with guinea pigs for that.

Thyroid issues should only be considered if your vet draws a blank with ovarian cysts as both diagnosis and treatment are difficult and not yet reliable; research is currently very contradictory according to my own piggy savvy vet who is fully up on cavy research. My Pili Pala is a potential candidate for hyperthyroid - and the first piggy in over 50 cavies I have had so far while many sows develop ovarian cysts as they get older; the majority of which doesn't cause any problems.
Thyroid is also pretty rare although currently a somewhat fashionable disease in some quarters, like we had with diabetes a few years ago when ultimately only a few piggies turned out to need treatment for it. You may need to see an exotics vet on referral about it and require expensive lab tests etc. It has taken a few years to develop a reliable way of diagnosing and treating diabetes in guinea pigs; this process is not yet done with thyroid issues. ;)
I have been going to an exotic vet for two years now, of which i am very comfortable with. :) And as i would do practically anything for my little piggy babies, cost is a factor of that i am a tad worried :( If she does have ovarian cysts is it common? As well as dealt with easily and cost friendly?
 

Wiebke

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I have been going to an exotic vet for two years now, of which i am very comfortable with. :) And as i would do practically anything for my little piggy babies, cost is a factor of that i am a tad worried :( If she does have ovarian cysts is it common? As well as dealt with easily and cost friendly?
Ovarian cysts are common, but neither a spaying operation not hormone treatment are all that cheap as guinea pig neutering ops are not subsidised and do not have to be offered at cost, unlike rabbits. :(

I have my sows treated only if the cysts are very large and in danger of bursting, if there is bleeding from the genitalia (potentially cancerous cysts) or if they cause disruptive behaviour. Thankfully, the mahority of cysts doesn't cause any problems or symptoms.

Currently I am trying to save up for two spaying operations for cysts, which should be done ideally this year. One 3 years old sow has taken against another, which has led to me having to split the quartet and find another group for the no longer wanted sister pair.
The other candidate has got the classic hair loss pattern; she is not quite as urgent but should ideally be operated before she turns 5 years old to make sure that there is not any bigger trouble down the line.
The vet I am seeing is very experienced with spays and has done several affected sows of mine over the years.
 

s.haller16

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Ovarian cysts are common, but neither a spaying operation not hormone treatment are all that cheap as guinea pig neutering ops are not subsidised and do not have to be offered at cost, unlike rabbits. :(

I have my sows treated only if the cysts are very large and in danger of bursting, if there is bleeding from the genitalia (potentially cancerous cysts) or if they cause disruptive behaviour. Thankfully, the mahority of cysts doesn't cause any problems or symptoms.

Currently I am trying to save up for two spaying operations for cysts, which should be done ideally this year. One 3 years old sow has taken against another, which has led to me having to split the quartet and find another group for the no longer wanted sister pair.
The other candidate has got the classic hair loss pattern; she is not quite as urgent but should ideally be operated before she turns 5 years old to make sure that there is not any bigger trouble down the line.
The vet I am seeing is very experienced with spays and has done several affected sows of mine over the years.
Thanks for the advice :) I have yet to take mine to the vet, but will be doing so very soon to see if there are actually any cysts. The only reason I have to bring her to the vet is that she has been expressing some excessive dominant behavior, do you think that is a reasonable point to bring her?
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for the advice :) I have yet to take mine to the vet, but will be doing so very soon to see if there are actually any cysts. The only reason I have to bring her to the vet is that she has been expressing some excessive dominant behavior, do you think that is a reasonable point to bring her?
Yes. You always have to make sure that there is no underlying medical problem for any sudden major changes in behaviour. Guinea pigs can't tell you what is wrong with them; that is your job. All the best!
 
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