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Guinea Pig Injury & Possible Illness

MommaPiglet

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PLEASE HELP! This is my first time posting, so my apologizes if I’m on the wrong thread.

Short story: Milo (the submissive guinea pig) has a cut on/above his lip yet under his nose. I believe it was caused by his cage mate. I also notice them both itching a lot (but Milo’s fur seems to be thinning possibly where he has been itching, and a tiny clump of hair also fell out). The hair loss isn’t from the cage mate. I’ve contacted a few vets and they are booked. I was told to keep calling in case of cancellations. For now, I cleaned Milo’s cut with warm water. The blood seemed dried when I saw it this morning. He is eating and drinking regularly. I am concerned and paranoid about their interactions today so I put up their ramp to separate them. They at first didn’t like being separated and were biting the bars, but I don’t like what I’m seeing.

DETAILS: About 3 weeks ago, I got 2 male guinea pigs that are from the same litter. Their age was estimated, so now they are about 2-3 months. Milo is clearly submissive and Simon is dominant. They play and enjoy each other’s company.. but sometimes Simon finds Milo annoying and wants to be left alone/doesn’t want Milo in his area. They both mount each other but there have been times where it seemed to look like it was getting on the more aggressive side. However, Milo always ends up backing downand/or running away. I am not always a fan of how they play and I don’t always like the behaviors displayed by the dominant one(e.g. sometimes he still persistently chases and teeth chatters after Milo has backed down) however, they’ve never caused any physical damage to one another. Also, Milo (who is actually bigger in size) is always able to eat and drink...and can always run away from Simon. Even if Simon enters the igloo, Milo has always been able to run out past him in seconds.

It’s making me anxious that the vets’ don’t have availability. I’ll be calling the vet’s everyday to make sure I get the earliest appointment possible. I don’t want to wait until next month. Multiple places are booked and/or don’t specialize in guinea pigs. In the meantime, what are some things that I can do in terms of: their cage, ensuring safety, and taking care of Milo’s cut.
 

MommaPiglet

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Here are some pictures from today.

Their cage has 2 igloos, a pet bed, chew toys, 2 water bottles, a big litter area with plenty of hay. They do share a pellet bowl. They also share a bowl when eating veggies, I’ve tried doing 2..they aren't complete confident yet and prefer eating where the other one has ate. The houses take up a lot of room in the cage but they are still able to do zoomies and get at least an hour of floor time almost everyday.
 

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Piggies&buns

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You will need to keep trying with the vet regarding the itching. It could be parasites so diagnosis and treatment will be needed.

Regarding their cage, that looks to be a Midwest (correct me if I'm wrong) which unfortunately is too small for a boar pair. Midwests tend to measure 120cm x 60cm (of course you may have two cages together so it would be bigger) but a boar pair need 180cm x 60cm to have enough territory each. Boars just need more room than sows.
It also means that if you've separated them and split their cage in half that neither of them now have enough space in their respective halves.

You also need to use hidey houses which have two exits - so tunnels - instead of enclosed hides. Enclosed hides mean a piggy can get cornered and this is when defensive wounds are likely to occur.

If they have a functioning hierarchy - one dominant, one submissive and the submissive is happy with his position and not trying to take top spot, then you need to just let them get on with their relationship. You can give them a time out if hormones are getting too much, but what you shouldn't do is separate if it is just dominance displays as you interrupt their processes. They are also just coming up to their teens by the sound of it so you are going to see a lot of dominant and hormonal behaviour
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

MommaPiglet

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You will need to keep trying with the vet regarding the itching. It could be parasites so diagnosis and treatment will be needed.

Regarding their cage, that looks to be a Midwest (correct me if I'm wrong) which unfortunately is too small for a boar pair. Midwests tend to measure 120cm x 60cm (of course you may have two cages together so it would be bigger) but a boar pair need 180cm x 60cm to have enough territory each. Boars just need more room than sows.
It also means that if you've separated them and split their cage in half that neither of them now have enough space in their respective halves.

You also need to use hidey houses which have two exits - so tunnels - instead of enclosed hides. Enclosed hides mean a piggy can get cornered and this is when defensive wounds are likely to occur.

If they have a functioning hierarchy - one dominant, one submissive and the submissive is happy with his position and not trying to take top spot, then you need to just let them get on with their relationship. You can give them a time out if hormones are getting too much, but what you shouldn't do is separate if it is just dominance displays as you interrupt their processes. They are also just coming up to their teens by the sound of it so you are going to see a lot of dominant and hormonal behaviour
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
Thank you so much for your response! You are correct, it is a Midwest. I only temporarily split the cage today to give them a break since I was worried. The submissive one (Milo) seems to accept his position. He is a lot more friendly and playful. Simon seems to prefer being left alone unless he initiates play first. Simon definitely calls the shots. It seems like at times he tells Milo to leave an area and Milo will leave. I keep a bit of hay and a water bottle on the other side of the cage so they don’t get in each other’s way. Maybe I’m just in need of the moral support because these are my first guinea pigs. I think Simon will get on better with Milo with the additional cage space. I will make a c&c cage and swap out their hideys. Thank you!
 

Siikibam

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Make sure when you re-introduce them it’s done in neutral ground and not just removing the divider. It’s good you’re expanding their space now because teen months can be fraught, and lack of space can be the downfall of some boars.

Good luck and hopefully they will do fine once you reintroduce them. And good luck getting them to the vet.
 

Wiebke

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Hi!

:agr:

Please take the time to tread the green guide links. You will find them very helpful as they contain all the practical information and detailed tips that we cannot pack into every post, seeing that we are all doing this for free in our own free time.
 

MommaPiglet

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Make sure when you re-introduce them it’s done in neutral ground and not just removing the divider. It’s good you’re expanding their space now because teen months can be fraught, and lack of space can be the downfall of some boars.

Good luck and hopefully they will do fine once you reintroduce them. And good luck getting them to the vet.
Thank you so much!
 

MommaPiglet

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Hi!

:agr:

Please take the time to tread the green guide links. You will find them very helpful as they contain all the practical information and detailed tips that we cannot pack into every post, seeing that we are all doing this for free in our own free time.
Thank you! I actually read a plethora of articles and information on here. I think I was just getting a bit of anxiety and was secretly needing the moral support. Thank you for the tips.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you! I actually read a plethora of articles and information on here. I think I was just getting a bit of anxiety and was secretly needing the moral support. Thank you for the tips.
Please use the tips in the dos and don'ts chapter 3 of the Boar Guide to minimise the risk for disputes when you make changes to the established territory; this is most important with teenage boars but it can also impact on adult pairs with underlying interpersonal issues or hang-ups.

All the best!
 

MommaPiglet

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Please use the tips in the dos and don'ts chapter 3 of the Boar Guide to minimise the risk for disputes when you make changes to the established territory; this is most important with teenage boars but it can also impact on adult pairs with underlying interpersonal issues or hang-ups.

All the best!
Thanks! You are very much appreciated!
 

MommaPiglet

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You will need to keep trying with the vet regarding the itching. It could be parasites so diagnosis and treatment will be needed.

Regarding their cage, that looks to be a Midwest (correct me if I'm wrong) which unfortunately is too small for a boar pair. Midwests tend to measure 120cm x 60cm (of course you may have two cages together so it would be bigger) but a boar pair need 180cm x 60cm to have enough territory each. Boars just need more room than sows.
It also means that if you've separated them and split their cage in half that neither of them now have enough space in their respective halves.

You also need to use hidey houses which have two exits - so tunnels - instead of enclosed hides. Enclosed hides mean a piggy can get cornered and this is when defensive wounds are likely to occur.

If they have a functioning hierarchy - one dominant, one submissive and the submissive is happy with his position and not trying to take top spot, then you need to just let them get on with their relationship. You can give them a time out if hormones are getting too much, but what you shouldn't do is separate if it is just dominance displays as you interrupt their processes. They are also just coming up to their teens by the sound of it so you are going to see a lot of dominant and hormonal behaviour
A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
I just wanted to give an update. I cleaned Milo’s cut everyday and can hardly even see it now. I was able to snag an appointment with the vet and was given treatment for mites. Also, due to my guinea pigs being separated for a couple days, I did an reintroduction on neutral territory. It ended up being 10 hours (Milo took to being submissive rather quickly but I was waiting for Simon to calm down) but it was completely worth it. I built the c&c cage. It’s a 2x5, with some 3x5 areas (I built it to the shape of my room haha). Multiple exits in hideaway areas and 2 of everything spaced out in cage. There’s room for them to have their own space to get away from each other and with the way I set up the cage, there is room to run around the perimeter as well as down the middle. Took the advice from the suggested chapters & mingled their scents in the new cage before putting them in. Their relationship seems to be so much better. As you said, they needed more room and I needed to let them get on with their relationship. Thank you!
 

MommaPiglet

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Please use the tips in the dos and don'ts chapter 3 of the Boar Guide to minimise the risk for disputes when you make changes to the established territory; this is most important with teenage boars but it can also impact on adult pairs with underlying interpersonal issues or hang-ups.

All the best!
I just wanted to give an update. Thank you for pointing me into the direction for the information I needed. Milo’s cut is practically healed. I was able to snag an appointment with the vet and was given treatment for mites. I did an reintroduction on neutral territory. It ended up being 10 hours (because I wanted to wait until I truly felt like the dominant one was calm) but it was completely worth it. I built the c&c cage. It’s a 2x5, with some 3x5 areas (I built it to the shape of my room haha). I followed the directions of what to do with the new territory and things are looking great. They definitely needed the bigger cage.
 

Wiebke

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I just wanted to give an update. Thank you for pointing me into the direction for the information I needed. Milo’s cut is practically healed. I was able to snag an appointment with the vet and was given treatment for mites. I did an reintroduction on neutral territory. It ended up being 10 hours (because I wanted to wait until I truly felt like the dominant one was calm) but it was completely worth it. I built the c&c cage. It’s a 2x5, with some 3x5 areas (I built it to the shape of my room haha). I followed the directions of what to do with the new territory and things are looking great. They definitely needed the bigger cage.
That is great news! I am glad that it has worked out for you.

It is definitely not worth pushing a bonding or re-intro and transferring too quickly. That just creates the kind of stress you want to avoid at all cost.

Please be aware that any parasite treatment with ivermectin or selamectin (US brand Revolution) needs to be done three times at the product specific interval. It can never be just a one-off, because you are only killing off any mites now but not any mites still in their egg cases and emerging in the coming weeks.
Here is more information on mites and skin parasite treatment: New piggy problems: URI - ringworm - skin parasites
 
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