To Neuter Or Not To Neuter..

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bethaleio

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Hey guys! I will quickly tell the story of my piggy, Tumnus, and then get to the point of this thread!
What would have been around 3 months ago now, there were 3 male piggies that some jerk had set loose in a field by my apartment. Tumnus was caught fairly quickly, but the other 2 were much younger than him and VERY timid... they took about 5 or 6 hours to catch. ANYWAYS, even with proper introduction techniques, Tumnus would NOT get along with the other 2 males (who were clearly both from the same litter and bonded) and the fighting was severe so they had to be separated. I live in a small, one bedroom apartment but I have an 8 square foot cage for Tummy and the 2 babies were put into piggy foster care (and they found their forever-home last month.. YAY!)

So, the point of this thread is that I have a single piggy right now. Tummy is such a lovely boy, by far the most friendly, social, and confident guinea pig that I have ever had, and I obviously want the best for him! He does not exhibit any signs of sadness or lonliness, and is constantly wheeking, squeaking, tearing around the apartment, and begging for veggies. However, I know that quality of life would be higher if he had a friend as that is how it is in nature. The problem lies with his dominance. He is a territorial piggy and I do not want to attempt to bond him with boars again (it was really scary.. he charged right for the babies and not in a typical meeting/rumblestrutting way.. he meant business! So, I booked him an apointment to be neutered on the 14th so that I could introduce him to a sow. There is a small animal vet in the city that I live and they seemed very confident on the phone, telling me that they neuter guinea pigs and rabbits all of the time and it has a high success rate, but the more research that I do the more scared that I get. I seriously love Tumnus so much. I have had 3 months of bonding with him, and he has such a big personality that i know inside out. I feel like he was randomly plopped into my life for a reason, and I am scared of him being put under anesthesia, but I would do it if I truly thought that it would overall enhance the quality of his life. However, I have also been reading a TON about new guinea pig introductions and how some piggies are simply loners that don't like sharing their space. If an introduction with a new piggy failed, I do not have the space to house a piggy in a separate enclosure plus it would take away from the play time that Tumnus would have.

I am so sorry for this long post! But these are all concerns that have been buzzing in my head for three months! I guess that I am just asking for advice from other piggy owners on what they would do :) Since the date of the neuter is getting closer, I realized that I really had to make a decision. (Also, here's a picture of my little rescue! ^_^ )guineapig.JPG
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome

If you have found a vet with practical experience and a good success rate, then neutering is very much an option. The success rate depends very much on how experienced your vet is, as the shorter a guinea pig is under GA, the less the risk of a bad reaction and of post-op complications.

However, as with any elective procedure, the closer you come to the date, the more doubts you are bound to get; it is a leap of faith. You have to remind yourself that you are doing this in order to give Tumnus the happiest of guinea pig lives.

Please be aware that babies can happen as late as more than 5 weeks post-op. My Tegan (the little Santa baby in my avatar picture on the left) is in fact the surprise present from a supposedly safe over 5 weeks post-op boar (not one of mine, I hasten to add). It is rare, but there is a crucial difference between 99% safe and 100% safe as I have found out the hard way myself! I have since heard of more cases where this has happened.
We therefore recommend a full 6 weeks post-op safety wait, as it is successfully practised by all good UK guinea pig rescues. Even after several hundred of operations, there has never been an accident; believe me, it would make the rounds like wildfire! You can have Tumnus live alongside his future lady-love while he is in recovery, so they can make friends through the bars and will hopefully be more accepting of each other when they finally meet. It is likely Tumnus has got fear aggression issues, especially when he is stressed out.

All the best! Sadly, there is no recommendable guinea pig rescue in your province that you could look for for a friend of Tumnus' choice.

PS: Tumnus is a gorgeous boy!
 

bethaleio

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Thank you so much, that was all very helpful advice! It is scary to have the life of your piggy in the hands of someone, but they ensured me that it is a procedure that they do often and that they try to keep the surgery under 20 minutes in small animals so that they do not have to be under very long. The 6 week advice is very good to know, thank you! Some websites were suggesting 2-3 weeks after, but I will definitely take your advice.. better safe than sorry! I have a pet-store cage that I use as Tumnus' travel cage for times that I go away for the weekend and bring him along so I could keep her in the living room so that they could talk before the big introduction :)

And I know, I am sad that there are no rescues in the area too (especially since I have read that many of them do 'guinea pig dating' so that you can definitely get a compatible buddy)! But there are always piggies in need of homes on kijiji (mostly people's pets that they are rehoming).

Thanks again for the thoughtful response, I appreciate it so much, and I LOVE your avatar :'3
 

VickiA

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What a gorgeous boy he is. I have no doubt that you are doing absolutely the right thing for his long term future well being and happiness by having him neutered. I hope that you are able to find him a lovely wife or wives (once he is past the 6 weeks safe period!)
 

Swissgreys

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He is fantastic and was clearly destined to be with you.
Good luck wit the neutering - everything we do has some degree of risk, but if it offers him the best chance of companionship and happiness for the rest of his life then you are undoubtedly doing the right thing for him.
Can't wait to see him happily living with a friend (or two!) in a couple of months.
 

bethaleio

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Thanks guys, you have definitely made me feel more at ease, I wish that I had joined this forum months ago! It is good to know that neutering is a possibility that you would pursue in this situation too :)

Another question, what aged sow do you think would be the easiest to introduce to him? I have read that introducing younger piggies to an older piggy can make for a better first impression, but this is most of the time talking about same-sex introductions. Do you think that it matters as much with a boar-sow introduction? It is hard to find research on that particular pairing :)
 

Flutterby

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He's gorgeous! I hope the neutering goes well, I am booking my boy in to be neutered this week.
 

bethaleio

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Thank you! ^_^ And good luck to your little piggy! Keep me posted on how it goes, I'll be sending lots of recovery vibes :)
 

JenniferG

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He's so cute! It is a hard decision. We had our 2 boys neutured so they could live with our girls. They had to be in another room from them till then. They both had an abscess but they cleared up.
 

bethaleio

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He's so cute! It is a hard decision. We had our 2 boys neutured so they could live with our girls. They had to be in another room from them till then. They both had an abscess but they cleared up.
I have been reading a lot of posts on other neutering questions about peoples piggies getting abscesses. This seems to be really common, what causes them and how do you prevent/treat them? :( Also, are they easy to notice? People have said that their piggies got abscesses up to 4 months later.. can this be the case?
 

JenniferG

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Yes, it was a while after for Scruffy. You can't prevent them and they are easy to see. They take antibiotics, it's simply an infection that can happen after any surgery. The fun part is squeezing out the pus!
 

Cavy Kung-Fu

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I'm so glad he found you! It's lovely to hear :) I don't have any boars myself, but I wanted to wish him good luck with his nut free procedure XD

I've noticed a lot of places say "must be on their own because he/she doesn't get on with others" but usually it's a lazy approach because they can't be bothered to bond properly or simply that they don't know that piggies are like us, some people you like some people you don't! It just takes time, a nice little buffet with some candles and music to set the mood XD

I'm sure he'll love having a wife, once he finds Mrs Right I'm sure he will be in his element! :)
 

katew

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What a beautiful piglet.

We got our latest male already neutered from a rescue centre. When we got him he was very timid and had been bullied - with a badly bitten bottom. We introduced him to our two older girls who were really tolerant of his over excited behaviour - I'm not sure he had met any girls before and his manners weren't good.They were only a year older than him but that did seem to give them a bit of maturity.

Anyway, our little runt soon calmed down and has turned into a very happy and contented boy - quite a big one too. He has loved being with the girls and I bet your Tummy would too. Good luck with it all.
 
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