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Guinea URI

larsond

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Some advice would be great : we have two young boars , one has a URI at the moment , weve had him to the vets and hes on antibiotics, taking him back on friday if he hasn't improved. The vet suggested keeping the 2 guinea pigs together as it's likely the 2nd has been exposed to it already and it would be a greater stress to separate. At first we though the well pig was being supportive by lying outside the Ill pigs hide, we now suspect hes actually forcing the Ill pig to stay in the hide and chases him back in when he comes out. The well pig is the normally dominant one in a well bonded pair.

Would this be common for a well pig to start pesting a sick pig or do you think they are together for companionship ? We dont want to ruin a good bond by interfering however the Ill one is very poorly.

We can get fresh hay, pellets and veg into the sick pigs hide so it's not being prevented from eating , however we dont really know if its staying in its hide because its Ill or is being forced by the other pig.
 

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Some advice would be great : we have two young boars , one has a URI at the moment , weve had him to the vets and hes on antibiotics, taking him back on friday if he hasn't improved. The vet suggested keeping the 2 guinea pigs together as it's likely the 2nd has been exposed to it already and it would be a greater stress to separate. At first we though the well pig was being supportive by lying outside the Ill pigs hide, we now suspect hes actually forcing the Ill pig to stay in the hide and chases him back in when he comes out. The well pig is the normally dominant one in a well bonded pair.

Would this be common for a well pig to start pesting a sick pig or do you think they are together for companionship ? We dont want to ruin a good bond by interfering however the Ill one is very poorly.

We can get fresh hay, pellets and veg into the sick pigs hide so it's not being prevented from eating , however we dont really know if its staying in its hide because its Ill or is being forced by the other pig.
Hi!

How long have you had your boys? The establishment of a group in new territory takes on average 2 weeks.

We strongly recommend to never use any huts and furniture with just one exit in a boar or new piggies cage so no underpiggy can be locked in. We also recommend to have everything in twos: huts ot tunnels, water bottles at different ends of the cage, access to hay (which makes ca. 80% of the daily food intake) that cannot be blocked. Use two bowls to serve the 1 tablespoon of pellets per piggy per day and the veg mix and remove in between meals to encourage eating hay for good long term health and an increased longevity.
You can find more information on boars and the various dos and don'ts in our comprehensive boar guide, chapter 3: A Comprehensive Guide to Guinea Pig Boars

Please weigh your ill boy daily instead of weekly and if necessary step in with support feeding. The need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat. Add to that that most antibiotic also impact on the gut microbiome and that your boy is at the receiving end of some major dominance (which may or may not be connected to his illness), he is dealing with a triple whammy, so it is worth keeping a closer eye on him.
Weight - Monitoring and Management
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Our forum advice re. companionship is the same as your vet's. In our experience companions rarely catch URI from an ill companion unless they have a lowered immune system or are badly stressed themselves, too.
 

larsond

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Thank you I appreciate your response, we've had them for 5 months , they are both 6 months old. They have a load of space , they have several hides , several hay areas, two water bottles , 2 veg trays , only one pellet cup but they always seem happy to share, ive added a second pellet cup now though. The hide the ill pig is in is a corner hide so no second exit but it is in the bedroom (darkest) part of the hutch and they previously had been very happy sleeping in there together, ive taken this out though and just filled the entire bedroom section with hay. Ill keep them together and see if removing the hide makes a difference.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you I appreciate your response, we've had them for 5 months , they are both 6 months old. They have a load of space , they have several hides , several hay areas, two water bottles , 2 veg trays , only one pellet cup but they always seem happy to share, ive added a second pellet cup now though. The hide the ill pig is in is a corner hide so no second exit but it is in the bedroom (darkest) part of the hutch and they previously had been very happy sleeping in there together, ive taken this out though and just filled the entire bedroom section with hay. Ill keep them together and see if removing the hide makes a difference.
Hi!

Thank you for the added background information; that helps because your boys are currently at the peak of their life-long testosterone output in one of the trickiest phases of teenage. Depending on the personality mix, it is not always outright squabbles and fights but any small change during teenage can shift the delicate balance more easily. Just do your best to remove any potential sticky areas. I would recommend to add some log tunnels etc. so there is additional housing elsewhere and to also add water and hay inside the sleeping area in order to prevent food bullying.

Please take the time to read this guide here; you may find it helpful: Boars: Teenage, Bullying, Fighting, Fall-outs And What Next?
 

larsond

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Thank you, hopefully the sick one pulls through, we saw some slight improvement this morning with not breathing as hard.

I will add some extra tunnels , should we also avoid moving 'furniture' around as much in case this leads to problems? to stimulate them we often swap hideys/tunnels in and around etc. We have a hutch with upstairs/downstairs which we have added legs and a base and keep inside , upstairs is 2 sections bedroom and kitchen on aubiose, downstairs is all fleece and is twice as big and has all the hides / tunnels etc. Do you think we should also have a kitchen area downstairs ? Maybe just a plastic box with hay/water in ? I've never observed either preventing the other from going up/downstairs we've set it up like this as it is makes it much easier to keep clean and maximises their running about space.

Also to clarify, we've never seen them 'Fight' as the underpig is very submissive and I'm still not certain whether the well pig is lying outside the hide to block the other in or is just keeping it company, we'll see what happens with the removal of the hide.
 

larsond

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Sorry , both of my questions are answered in your link - Yes we should minimise territory changes , yes we should also have hay downstairs.
 

Wiebke

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Thank you, hopefully the sick one pulls through, we saw some slight improvement this morning with not breathing as hard.

I will add some extra tunnels , should we also avoid moving 'furniture' around as much in case this leads to problems? to stimulate them we often swap hideys/tunnels in and around etc. We have a hutch with upstairs/downstairs which we have added legs and a base and keep inside , upstairs is 2 sections bedroom and kitchen on aubiose, downstairs is all fleece and is twice as big and has all the hides / tunnels etc. Do you think we should also have a kitchen area downstairs ? Maybe just a plastic box with hay/water in ? I've never observed either preventing the other from going up/downstairs we've set it up like this as it is makes it much easier to keep clean and maximises their running about space.

Also to clarify, we've never seen them 'Fight' as the underpig is very submissive and I'm still not certain whether the well pig is lying outside the hide to block the other in or is just keeping it company, we'll see what happens with the removal of the hide.
Adding a 'kitchen' area downstairs may give more interest but make sure that it has got exits on different sides. I would not expect fights; my concerns are more in the direction of avoiding bullying scenarios, which is something that is also being addressed in the teenage guide. Teenage is by no means as stereotypical as you (and many other people) seem to think and it also has some fairly distinct stages and phases; it is not running at the same strength the whole way through (again, see the teenage or the boar guide, chapter 2 for age related aspects). But the more you can avoid potential flash points for whatever potential scenario you are dealing with, the better. The current weeks are the most difficult.

I don't know where you are but if you are in the UK, I wound strongly recommend that you make sure that the URI piggy is kept in a stable and warm environment. URI is much more of an issue for outdoors piggies because of the much more pronounced temperature changes, not just from day to day but also between day and night which can affect piggies with a lowered immune system, be it an underlying health issue or a stressful situation. Personally I would always bring an ill piggy indoors.

It can take several days to up to a week for an antibiotic to kick in and make take more than one course if necessary but it is excellent that there is an improvement. Please continue weighing daily and if necessary topping up with extra syringe feed (as much as a piggy still partially eating wants). Give a little to the companion, too, so they do not feel left out - especially a dominant teenager (them you need to give everything first anyway in order to not cause upset).
 

larsond

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Brilliant advice thank you , we are 'up North' we had them outside over the summer but moved them inside around two weeks ago. I suspect we will get another course of antibiotics on Friday.
 

larsond

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Thought I'd update , vet was pleased with progress antibiotics are working , we have 2 days left of a 10 day course, at worst he lost about 120g but has put nearly 90 back on. Breathing still looks rapid but head isn't nodding anymore, hes definitely up and about alot more, is asking for food and eating well. Not sure what we do after the 10 days is up, he seems well other than we can still see his sides moving.

Unfortunately his brother is definitely pestering him, almost constant rumble strutting, mounting and humping, especially whenever I'm near the cage. The dominant one seems to have claimed the downstairs run area and chases the other all the way back to the bedroom if he tries to go down. Its difficult to watch and not to get involved as the little one is so submissive he just squeals really loudly , I'm hoping it's a combination of the illness and testosterone spike at 6 month and will settle down in a few days.
 

larsond

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Back at the vets , we now have a 2 week course of cotrimoxazole, he has put on weight but breathing is still a struggle and head nodding is back, otherwise he is eating well and getting about the cage ,although no running or popcorning.

Vet suggested putting guinea pig in a room with steam and patting its sides gently to try and dislodge mucus i imagine ? Has anyone tried this?

They also suggested a nebulizer if the new antibiotics haven't worked in a weeks time.
 
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