Introduction and Pig´s strange panic

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Sunny

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2002 11:19 am


Hello, My name is Sunny. I am new to the forum and I´m not sure how this works. So please fill me in if I make some awful breach in etiquette. I´m hoping to get some insight on the strange new behavior of my guinea pigs. Being new, I thought I´d introduce my piggies first so I apologize if this message is a little long.

I have two male guinea pigs, Spot and Fido. We got Spot as a baby two years ago. Spot is an angel baby, he is so sweet. He´s calm and loving, he´ll snuggle up to your neck when holding him and purr when you pet him. He´s very people-friendly with a very passive (did I say sweet?) personality. I felt so bad leaving him alone all day, we decided to get him a baby brother. I had read that putting two males together was fine, but that the new guinea pig should be a baby so that dominance was predetermined.

Well it was predetermined all right... We got Fido about 5 months ago, so he´s about 6 months old. From day one, he was very aggressive with Spot -- Stealing his food right from his mouth, pushing him out of his shelter... just a miniature bully. Funny thing is, Spot didn´t seem to mind. He is just so passive, he didn´t object to being pushed around; although I felt horrible; in an effort to make Spot´s life better, I had effectively made it much worse.

Fido was anti-human when we first got him. He´d let me hold him but would be very tense, staring at me suspiciously as if he was sure the beating would begin any moment. Over the last few months Fido has calmed down a bit and now when I hold him he seems... tolerant. I think he´s realized I´m not the enemy and in fact the food source. He´s still a bully. Wherever Spot is, Fido decides that´s where HE wants to be and pushes him out of the way. But Spot seems to deal with it and has learned he just has to wait in line for food and water.

However; the last few days I´ve noticed Fido getting even more aggressive. He has started humping his big brother! This is one thing Spot will not tolerate. He´s never bit him or anything but at least squeals, jumps out of range, and runs away from him (which is good for Spot). But Fido won´t let up. I read a couple messages on the forum saying this is typical behavior for a pig this age. So I haven´t tried to stop it.

Now for the weird part. Yesterday I went into my piggies´ room and Spot was freaking out. Let me remind you, Spot is always very calm and easy going. But this time he was frantically running around the cage kicking bedding up all over the place. I got closer and he sat in the corner making this awful shrieking chirping sound. I listened to a "chirping sound bite" later on the forum and this was the sound except much more piercing and panicked. Fido, was on the upper level of the cage, not even close to Spot. I pulled Fido out of the cage immediately assuming he was the problem. Then I picked up Spot who´s little heart was racing. I searched him over for injuries while my husband inspected Fido. I then took Spot to the bathroom to let him run around to see if he was limping or anything. By the time I got him to the bathroom, he had calmed down and was absolutely fine. I laid down and held him on my chest for a long time, comforting him and talking softly to him. He seemed fine.

What do you think happened? Of course I assume that Fido was harassing him and Spot finally got sick of it and freaked out. Can anyone think of anything else that would trigger this kind of panic?

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2002 11:54 am


One of my calm not so aggressive pigs (Nina) who lives with a more dominant pig is the chirper. And probably the pig in the sound clip. She seems to chirp sometimes for no reason. I think it quite possible that something else startled your pig and brought this out. Nina did not always chirp. She was maybe a couple years old before I ever heard this.

By the way, if you don´t have two houses for them, you might consider getting another one. And make sure you have a really large place for them to live (check out the Care Guide and the housing links. http://guinealynx.info/guinealynx/healthycavy.html

I would also consider supplying two sources of food and water. When I give my pigs vegetables, I always bring three of everything -- one for each pig. I usually give them one thing at a time so they can each grab one from my fingers and eat in peace.

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lisam

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2002 12:30 pm


Even though you think that Spot´s life is not as good as it was when he was solo, I bet he actually likes having a cage mate, even though he is a pest. I think that most animals like a companion of the same species, although there are always exceptions.

I have, however, tried a few different combinations with our boar, Artoo. We got Artoo when he was a baby, as a companion for Luke Skywalker. Luke had had a previous companion, Han Solo, who didn´t work out (too close to the same age). Luke and Artoo got along great. But then Luke had a medical problem and had to be kept separate. So we got Threepio (as a baby) as a companion for Artoo. But he was sexually aggressive from the start, and never got any better. Artoo tolerated him, I think it stressed me and the kids out more than him. So we found a good home for Threepio and now have Darth Vader ( a baby) with Artoo. Artoo is a very gentle, easygoing pig, and it looks like Darth Vader (I call him my little Dark Lord of the Sith, or Annie, for all you Star Wars fans) is too.

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Sunny

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2002 3:21 pm


Dear Lynx, thanks for your reply. I was afraid to put Spot and Fido back in the same cage together so I cleaned up Spot´s old cage and have separated the two. I also went out and bought a new water bottle and food dishes for Fido. Yes, when giving them treats, I always bring two. Fido always steals Spot´s treat (he´s sure I´m giving Spot something better). Now they can have their own individual food/water supplies. It makes me feel better being able to monitor how much each one is eating/drinking.

And lisam, thank you for your message too. You really think they are better off with a cage-mate? I´m starting to wonder. I think I´ll try the two cages for a while. I have a play area in the basement - so I will still let them spend time playing together. But after just one day, Spot seems more content being on his own. Trouble is, you never really know do you? Wish the little guys could talk :).

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ladyveg

Post   » Sun Feb 17, 2002 3:42 pm


Well, if you don´t mind having two separate cages, and it makes YOU feel better, I see nothing wrong with having them live next door to each other. I have several boars here who just don´t seem to play well with others. In fact, I have what I call "bachelor row" in my office, which is four cages stacked of single boars who haven´t worked out with a cagemate yet. They know they aren´t completely alone, because they hear, see, and smell the other pigs, but yet they get their own space and don´t have to fight over food or hidey houses.

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Sunny

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 9:57 am


Well since seperating my two pigs, I´ve noticed that Spot doesn´t eat and drink as much as Fido. Fido drinks twice as much water than Spot. I thought this might be normal since Fido is younger and is much spunkier than Spot. But yesterday, I noticed a small bald patch on the Spot´s hip. It doesn´t seem to be sore, just hairless. So I made an appointment to take him to the vet tomorrow. :-(

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lisam

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 11:23 am


Do you think it could be mites? Have you read the information about mites on Guinealynx? He may need some ivermectin. I have heard that bad cases of mites could cause a pig to go off his feed, and not like being touched.

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Sunny

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 12:08 pm


I looked for mites but couldn´t see anything. Although he does seem to have "dandruff" or flakey skin. He´s not off his feed, just going light on the pellets, he is still munching up any fruits or veggies I give him. And he doesn´t seem to mind being touched. In fact seems to like it as much as usual, nuzzling up to me when I pick him up. I have not read about mites on Guinealynx - will do that now.

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Sunny

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 12:21 pm


I just read about mites on Guinealynx - look what it says about mange mites:
"Symptoms: These species specific microscopic mites cause unbearable itchiness for the animal and can result in thinning and/or patchy loss of hair, scurfing of the skin (may resemble dandruff) and eventually, open sores as a result of extreme scratching and biting which aggravates the hair loss. Scratching an area of skin infested by mites by hand may produce such pain and irritation in your cavy that it looks like it´s having a fit."

Could this be the "fit" I addressed in the beginning of the thread?

It also says to have all animals treated so I´ll take Fido to the vet with me tomorrow. It breaks my heart to see the little guys suffering.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:18 pm


It´s hard to know. I think some pigs have fits and great discomfort but I do believe that the mites are there but not as painful for other pigs (maybe it depends on how heavily infested they are and where the mites are living.

It can´t hurt to rule it out. If they have never been treated with ivermectin, it would probably be a good idea. I´ve never heard chirping linked with mites though.

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Sunny

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:25 pm


Lynx, have you ever heard chirping linked to anything negative? Because he was obviously distressed about something. Just panicked -- and when I picked him up his little heart was racing.

By the way, I´ve put the two in the run together for playtime but after the treats are all found, Fido spends the entire play period trying to mount Spot. It´s so frustrating (for me and Spot). I want them to be friends but how horrible for Spot to have to continually fight to get away from Fido.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 4:56 pm


For Nina it is sometimes being startled/fear. Other times out of the blue. It would fit with panicking.

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Sunny

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 5:21 pm


So you don´t think the panick and chirping was out of frustration of being continually humped?

Evangeline

Post   » Fri Feb 22, 2002 6:25 pm


Sunny-
You haven´t found mites on him? They are microscopical and can´t be seen to the naked eye.

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Sunny

Post   » Sat Feb 23, 2002 10:30 am


Well that would explain why I haven´t found them! I´m pretty sure it is mites after reading more about them. Vet appointment in 1 hour so will find out for sure.

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Sunny

Post   » Sat Feb 23, 2002 1:35 pm


Well the vet confirmed that Spot indeed has mites. Spot and Fido were both given Ivermectin injections (50mL).

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