Senior pigs - bad behaviour, illness or bonding trouble?

SomebodysJerry

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Hi, this is my first ever post and its a doozy o_0 So i have two piggies, Giggly and Piggy, that are almost 5 years old and have been bonded since birth. Around March/April this year we noticed P starting to lose weight very rapidly. After a lot of worry and trips to the vet, we have basically been told they have no idea what's wrong with him and refuse to do any invasive tests as he is eating/drinking fine and as the vet put it, 'still putting up a good fight' when she tried to examine him. Nothing else changed with him at all, it was just the weight loss concerning us and we were told just to wait and see what happens. Around the same time G also ended up at the vet due to chronic bladder stones/cystitis that was treated, but they had to be separated as G was bleeding and making P think he was female so P was mounting him. Since then the only change has been that as fast as P loses weight, G puts it on. Now G is twice the size of P.
So, P has always been the dominant pig but lately we had noticed a lot of teeth chattering happening from both of them but nothing else. Last night we noticed P had a small wound to the corner of his mouth, and later on my son reported they had been fighting. They are currently separated and have had their view of each other blocked as it was winding them up seeing each other. Right now they seem fine, but anytime they see each other they get very agitated.
My question is what's causing this behaviour? Is it old age? Have they fallen out? Could one or both of them be in pain? Is P worried G is trying to take dominance because he's so much bigger now? Do I keep them separated? Do I go back to the vet again even though they never seem to actually do anything? In short, what do i do for the best here? Thanks for reading everyone.
 

Swissgreys

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Welcome ot the Forum
:wel:

Sorry to hear about the complex situation with your pigs though.

To be honest sudden and unexplained weight loss is worrying and is the sign of an underlying problem.
You did the right thing by seeing a vet, but it sounds like they possibly weren't very guinea pig savvy?

I am tagging @VickiA and @Flutterby as they are both very experienced owners who have their own piggies, plus volunteer for a local rescue in your area so may be able to help with vet recommendations.
The first step would be to rule out medical issues, as any pig struggling with pain or illness will behave differently and may cause trouble in an existing bond.
I hope you can get tot he bottom of the problem.

It's nice to have you here.
 

SomebodysJerry

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Thank you. I actually contacted my local rescue when i got my pigs in order to find a decent vet in the area and they recommended the one I use as they use him too. He's a registered exotic vet and supposedly has a lot of experience with guinea pigs but he has also said to me before now that all shampoo is safe to use on guinea pigs as 'they're all tested on them anyway' 😑😑😑 If I can get advice on a better one then that would be very welcome.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome

Here is our recommended vets locator: Vet Locator

I know that The Potteries Guinea Pig Rescue are using Willow Veterinary Centre in Tunstall (which is on the map):
Ted cuttings or Clive Curry or Charlie Green
Willow veterinary centre
Tunstall
Stoke on Trent.
01782 826738

Mystery weight loss is my least favourite symptom because there can be so many different things behind it. Have the vets taken a x-ray or scan to check for internal growths, gassing in the stomach but not the gut (my Ffowlyn had that); dental overgrowth, a developing dental root abscess or oral thrush (fungal mouth infection); checked for diabetes, kidney or bladder stones/a misshapen kidney, problems with another organ etc. In the majority of cases a pain issue is ultimately at the bottom of it but since piggies are prey animals, they are very good at masking symptoms.

Four years of age is just come up towards the bottom end of the average life span.

Are you giving feeding support to help with slowing down the weight loss and keeping up his fighting strength?
Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Mounting is a mild dominance behaviour that is practised by both genders in a range of different contexts and with different meanings.
It is a very different kettle of fish from true male/female mating at the end of a sow's season when she is ready to conceive for a comparatively short space of time.
You will see dominance mounting when the leader is ill and is struggling or no longer able to keep up the claim to their position in the group hierarchy.
Dominance Behaviours In Guinea Pigs
Bonding and Interaction: Illustrated social behaviours and bonding dynamics
 

SomebodysJerry

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That is the vet I use. They have told me it's not worth doing tests on a guinea pig. They said it's expensive and pointless because if they found anything there would be no treatment anyway. I took P 3 times in 2 weeks because I was so worried. Each time they checked his teeth but refused to do x rays, scans or blood tests. I suggested recovery food, they said yeah if you want. I had to request a probiotic when G was on long term antibiotics because they didn't think of it. They also won't investigate Gs bladder issues even though he is clearly in pain with every pee. I'm actually reluctant to take my pigs back there.
 

SomebodysJerry

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Also he is eating perfectly well. He has hay, pellets and fresh veg and had no problems with any of it. He's also drinking, pooping, running about etc perfectly fine. He's just thinner o_0
 

Wiebke

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Please be patient and see whether our Potteries fosterer members do have other recommendations.
 

Merab's Slave

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I can't add anything except to assure you of support.
You sound as if you are doing everything possible and I hope you find an answer soon
 

VickiA

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If you are looking for a second opinion you could try Cheshire Pet in Holmes Chapel. The exotics vets are Cristian (without an h - He is Spanish. There is also a Christian with an h) or Emily (who only does a day or so a week).
 
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