Occasional hooting in seemingly healthy pig?

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Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2006 6:34 am

my pig "fatso" is not a verbal pig. she emits the common "give me food now!" sound and pretty much nothing else. but once in a while she gets these brief "fits" and starts "whimpering". it can be any time of day, sometimes it's during the night and it's loud enough to wake me up. it's never when i'm handling her or she's bothered by her cagemate, she always starts "on her own". today, when i finally managed to catch it on tape, she was nibbling on veggies while doing it. (i haven't seen that before.) please watch the video at:
and tell me what you think...

it sounds to me like she's in pain and i've been hypothesizing that she's passing small kidney stones or is feeling bloated because of something she ate. she usually breathes (quite heavily) in rhythm with the sounds but without any wheezing/coughing/sneezing. she stops after just 2-3 minutes and then she seems perfectly normal. this "condition" doesn't happen often at all (sometimes not for months) and since it's so unpredictable and seems to not have had any considerable adverse effect on her health i haven't taken her to a vet (most vets around here don't know much about guinea pigs anyway).

i've looked through the threads here on "hooting pigs" and i just can't believe that it in my case could be a heart problem or URI since it never lasts more than a few minutes and doesn't come again for long periods of time, and i see/hear no other mysterious symptoms.

(the pig is about 3 years old, keeping her weight well and is healthy but doesn't exaclty burst with energy. i don't either, at my age.) :-)


Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2006 8:50 am

Hi Kejn -- I've watched your video, and these symptoms sound very familiar to some I encountered with one of my pigs, Pai. She showed no other symptoms, as you mention is the case with your little one. She was a large pig (fed a diet based on dog food as a pup which practically destroyed her metabolism) and not terribly active. I had her to our vet at least a half-dozen times, and she tried just about every possible respiratory ailment remedy she could think of, but none improved the situation. Finally and suddenly the sounds got much worse -- I remember seriously thinking we had a dove in the house somehow, to give you an idea of how loud she got -- and we lost her a day later. Knowing what I know now, I would have started researching a new vet much sooner and would have insisted that they explore the possibility of heart problems. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that, but I'm convinced I could still have her with me if I'd had a little more sense. Good luck.


Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:00 am

thank you. i will research and see if any vets around here are familiar with heart problems on guinea pigs. it might be worth just having her checked out even if she seems fine now.


Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:15 am

Again, good luck. and **don't settle**. I stuck with a vet who made many errors in judgement for too long, and I feel like I paid for it with Pai's life. I found a new vet an hour and a half away with much more limited hours and who charges a good deal more, but he's worth the extra hassle and money just for the peace of mind. He's not perfect (who is?) but he's willing to research and willing to learn.

Also, I went back and forth with Pai for about a year where she would be alright, and then she'd start making these sounds, she'd quiet down, and then she'd start up again. If it is her heart (which in my non-expert opinion, I'm convinced of after watching your video), the problem isn't going to just go away. Please keep us posted. Best wishes!

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I GAVE, dammit!

Post   » Tue Sep 19, 2006 9:33 am

That is very clear hooting, and indicates fluid in the lungs.

I'll eat my hat if that isn't a 'heart' pig.

Get the vet to do a good xray of the heart and lungs, and you'll probably see a small amount of fluid in the lungs and an enlarged heart.

I have a number of heart pigs, all of whom are dosed with human lotensin 1mg twice a day. Those that hoot occasionally need a small amount of lasix until the heart meds kick in - which usually takes a couple of weeks.

Pigs can live very long, normal lives on heart medication. Without this the chances of them having a heart attack are high.

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Post   » Sat Feb 17, 2007 7:04 pm

Kejn, do you have an update on Fatso?

We listened to the video you posted, and it does sound like what Tom does occasionally. He might go days or a week or more without us hearing him do it, but then he does it for a while (usually not more than fifteen minutes to an hour that I have noticed).

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sat Feb 17, 2007 8:02 pm

Heart! Heart! Heart!

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Post   » Sat Feb 17, 2007 9:53 pm

Thank you so much for catching this on tape!!!! I heard of the "hooting" before but didn't think (thank goodness) I had heard it in my pigs. And wow, do heart pigs sound like a human CHF'er!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for clearing up my confusion! :)

Get on your bike.

Post   » Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:31 pm

Heart rabbits too.

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Post   » Sun Feb 18, 2007 12:05 pm

It certainly sounds like she's having difficulty breathing. You might only notice it when she's eating because the rest of the time, her breath doesn't need to "compete" with handling the food.

Heart certainly sounds like a distinct possibility, but at the least, it could be some form of pneumonia or other lung issues.

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I dissent.

Post   » Fri Feb 23, 2007 8:45 pm

*oops* accidental post


Post   » Fri Aug 15, 2008 1:35 pm

update on the fate of fatso:

fatso lived (quite well) another 1½ years after i posted this and was euthanized after an ultrasound revealed a mass in her bladder, inflammation of the uterus and several ovarian cysts. the ultrasound didn't show any evidence of heart disease and hooting was not part of the symptoms during the illness that eventually brought her demise.

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Bugs Mom

Post   » Fri Aug 15, 2008 2:05 pm

How great that Fatso lived a long time. I'm sorry you lost her now though. It sounds as though she had a good life.

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Post   » Fri Aug 15, 2008 8:46 pm

Thanks for the update. I'm sorry you lost her but agree it sounds like she had a good life.

Let Sleeping Pigs Lie

Post   » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:33 pm

I'm sorry that your sweet girl is gone. I don't know if you are aware of this, but your "hooting" video has helped so many other guinea pig owners. Thank you for sharing her story.

M Lawrence

Post   » Fri Mar 27, 2015 7:09 pm

Hello all-
I apologize if it's bad form to bring up an old thread like this, or to post on another pig's health thread, but this one contains the video that I want to reference (9/19/2006).

My alpha, Percy, just was making that exact same hooting sound that Fatso was making. Otherwise he appears to be healthy and robust, not losing any weight (steady at 2lb., 15oz.). The boys were at the vet about a month ago and given a clean bill of health (including listening to the heart and lungs).

Obviously, this is a sudden concern of mine. If it's congenital, separating the boys will not accomplish anything and may give him even more distress. Should I leave them together until I can get him checked out again?

Thank you.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Mar 27, 2015 8:42 pm

Yes, definitely leave them together. It won't hurt him, and the separation probably would.

Let us know what the vet says.

M Lawrence

Post   » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:07 pm

Thanks, I will.

You can quote me

Post   » Fri Mar 27, 2015 9:28 pm

Ditto bpatters.

How old is your pig?

M Lawrence

Post   » Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:22 pm

I don't know for sure. We got him in early January from another couple who was moving and needed to find a home for them (we got a bonded pair). We were told that they were brothers, bought from a pet shop, and a bit more than a year old at the time. They sure do seem to be brothers, and also seem to be young enough, but it's hard to be precise in a case like this. If weight matters, then they are both about the same- Percy is 2lb. 15 oz., and Bruno is 2 lb. 14 oz.

Percy has the real 'alpha' spunky personality, though- very bossy (in a lovable way, of course) and always investigating. Aside from those sounds I heard today, nothing seems off about him at all. 'Hooting' is the best way to describe it.

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