poorly pig, worried piggie mama. Sorry it's long but I need to debrief!

(33 Posts)
chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 20:40:33

Yesterday afternoon I begged my Dh to let me bring our two seven month old boars into the house. It is too cold, plus with that horrible wind I did not want them to be left outside.

Anyhow, this morning I got up to discover that the cage had blown over in the wind. I was met by a load of shavings, evidence of blood, yet unable to find my pigs. I put the hutch upright and discovered one healthy pig and another with a laceration under his chin.

Thoughts of breakfast were abandoned, two children were rapidly rounded up and we headed for the vets. Unfortunately I had to stagger to the vets due to the joys of PGP.

The vet cleaned his wound up, gave him an anti-inflammatory and some analgesia and reassured me that the bleeding had stopped. It wasn't actively bleeding but intermittently oozing on arrival to the vets.

I brought him into the lounge to observe, my Dh having now firmly lost the battle to keep the pigs outdoors, and was not happy that the bleeding was sufficiently stopped. I phoned the vets back and was reassured that he was probably disturbing it when he brushed against his hay. I placed him on fleece as this would be softer, not feeling content as it should not be so sensitive, and frankly fearful of his fluid loss. Anyhow, he wouldn't eat his food so I phoned the vet back. They offered to see him again. The vet and nurse were lovely with him. He was given fluids, an antibiotic, had it glued, cleaned up, a bit of critical care nourishment, and more analgesia. I have more critical care, analgesia, and AB with me to administer at later dates. They reassured me that he should be fine.

He is now in the dining room all snugly warm and does seem to be sulking, I think that he is enjoying a bit of my attention. He nibbled on a bit of carrot in the vets but won't touch his grass at the moment. I am going to give him a syringe feed shortly. He does seem happier than he was previously in the day. His breathing appears normal.

My dd 2 being an independent little madam bashed her chin this afternoon and now has an impressive egg. I have been wound up and irritable all day, the pregnancy hormones are doing me no favours. To top it off my Dh was late home, [sulk].

Oh what a day, am going to get some parsley tomorrow, we have no dandelions in the garden atm, am going to get a baby leaf salad and pick out the baby dandi leaves. Any piggie rescue suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I am presently feeling overwhelmed with guilt sad.

To conclude (my epic essay), on the second inspection the vet seems to think that his injury resulted from been bitten by the other pig. He is getting booked in for castration next week. They have previously got on fine together, just this week they have been getting a bit scrappy and we agreed that a castration is in order. They are now separated. Poorly pig will get his op done once fully recovered. At this rate is can see me needing to get them both a rescue sow each.

My little old piggie was only buried last Saturday. What a piggy week.

What a nightmare shock

A couple of points I'll throw into the mix-
if your boars have been outside (I don't know what the temp has been like where you are.We had 5C at night on Monday but that's the coldest so far. My boars are 2 yo and have an oil filled radiator & Snugglepads) make sure the temperature change isn't too much. Keep them comfortable but not too warm.

TBH your boars are at an arsey age. They are Terrible Teens.
Neutering won't change that. Your vet will charge you (£40/£50?) to give them the snip -and the risks involoved) but it won't change their personality. Go onto some websites to confirm this (I love Barmy 4 Boars).
Boars are less 'close' than sows. I've never had 2 adult boars before and wow they are different to the sows I had as a child (much higher maintence)

Does your boy have probiotics with his antibiotics? You need these to repopulate his gut with friendly bacteria (bit like those Yakult milks, but of course guineas don't do dairy).

If he's having the Critical Care when he's convalescing then you know he's getting fluids and food. Do they like any fruits? Apple.Grapes- just a few?

If he's not having loose hay can you get him some hay cookies (a packed disk of hay. It keeps them busy too, GPs live to eat rather than eat to live)

Boars need space and lots of it -which is why my little gits are in their Pighouse with the heater to keep them warm and dry. I've got a rabbit run in the garage to give them a change of scenery.
If you have them neutered to get them females then you'll need loads of space. You might be better enlarging the boars space and leaving them un-neutered? (Mine still bicker when they are too close but they can storm off. If they are inside for a cuddle we have a paddling pool. They think it's too small hmm )

Lots of boxes ,tunnels .Make a GP 'village'. Paper Primarlk bags are fun (cut the handles off, my chunky boar got his leg stuck in the handle hmm )
He'll heal in his own time (poor piggie sad ) just keep a check on the wound.

Your poor DD too. Kisses and chocolate.

Good Luck.

Everything I was going to say 70 has covered.

I have learnt hard and fast about boys fighting, my two live separately now but I am hoping that somehow I can get them back together in the new year. <doesn't hold breath> My two are 11months and 7 months.

Neutering will do nothing for their behavoir, I wouldn't risk putting my pigs through it unless I was planning in getting them a wife, and even then i would be hunting round hard for the best vet i could find. It comes with its risks that I wouldn't be happy taking lightly.

Boars need lots and lots and lots of space, at least three of everything and no closed off spaces!

You say he is now inside with you? Where is your other one?
Can they still see, smell, speak to each other? It will do them both the world of good.

Make sure you get as much water and food in him as he will take and YY to the probiotics!

And they can have all the leaves in a baby leaf salad - my two love them! grin

I would quiz your vet abit too if you do go ahead with castration.

Not many vets seem very clued up on pigs. None of them seem to know about the pro-biotics, and tbh if your vet has told you (apologies if he didn't) that neutering will help their temperaments then I would be looking for another one asap!

The guinea pig forum have a fab list of cavvy savvy vets!

And I do wonder, that if one did bite the other, if it was either in fear or shock. It must have been terrifying for them to be blown over for them, and the weather is horrendous out there.

I swear the little blighters are sensitive to it. My two seem to liven up when they can smell the cold air. I have had horses do the same to in the past. I could reliably tell anyone when there would be a frost because my horse would be a nutter the day before.

I would give them a chance before you right them off as 'fighting' , try and get them back together and see how they go. He may well have had the injury from the fall just as likely as he could have had a bite iyswim.

Will shut up now wink

Good luck! smile

chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:08:52

Hi 70isa

many thanks for your response. It helpful to know that neutering will not change my boys personality. I am now beginning to think that it may not be the best idea to have it performed. The vet gave no mention of any probiotics, will they have some in stock that are suitable for cavies? If not then are they easy to obtain? The vet was lovely but I did come away from the first visit wondering why his wound had not been glued. Also with your point made about the prebiotics, I do wonder how experienced in pig neutering our local vet is.

He refused his grass, carrot, and apple but has actually had a nibble of his dried food (phew). His bleeding remains completely settled now and his ears just feel nicely warm to touch.

I am feeling inspired by your housing suggestions, more space and more toys sounds like a good starting point. So far they have the larger sized zoo zones. I am aware that the boys were in a high stress situation when the injury was sustained. I will keep a close eye on his wound and observe for any infection.

I once had 3 boars (all brothers) who all lived happily together, never a nibbled ear or anything. These two pigs certainly don't look like they were from the same Litter. Ideally I would like a shed with a decent heating system, daylight, have seen those heat pads and they look great. ATM we just have a crap damp shed. For now they are in the house until the following spring.

Again many thanks for your advice.

chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:19:02

Thanks for the other responses, have just seen them, took forever to finish my post due to distractions. All advice is gratefully appreciated right now.

I agree with the shock part. The pigs were placed under huge stress, in all my piggie years I have never seen a pig inflict such a wound on another. Santa I accept that it may not be a bit mark. I really am feeling less convinced about the whole neutering idea. The pigs can hear and smell each other. I will put them together for some supervised play tomorrow.

I would definitely sort them out a bigger space if you can!

I have my hammy in the zz (just short of 100cms long?) , it would be far too small for two boys to live happily, even one I think its too small unless its just sleeping quarters. The more space the better with the menz wink .

If they are indoors, have a look at C&C cages. Cheap, big, airy, easy to move/flatpack etc . I have them and its fab! smile

chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:22:40

I have been drooling over those C&C cages on youtube smile. Early Christmas present me thinks wink.


Ebay so a set for a great price wink

chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:25:24

Which one are you looking at, the white one?

This is the one I got, enough to mage a decent sized set up with cable ties and connectors. You can by extra grids aswell if you need extra from the same seller!

Get some correx and your done!


chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:27:57


I sometimes wonder if vets who special in cats/dogs lump all small animals under the same umberella.

Rabbits are routinely neutered for aggression and health reason.
Therefore, GPs too???? confused.

Lots of people ask me if my hogs are snipped and say they should be. I'd only neuter if I had one who I wanted to pair with girls.

They should be fine if they've always been together, bonded pair rather than littermates.
I've had 2 sow/female piglet pairs and they had their little spats (not as spectacular as the boars TBH). Being blood relitives certainly didn't stop them.

We had ours in for 2 nights for Guy Fawkes in my DD room which was coolest. She said they were bickering even though we gave them 2 hay boxes. But they didn't have their usual space and I left their indoor cage without a divide.

I physically can't put a bigger cage indoors (it's 4'x2') so I will leave them in their Pighouse all winter if I can.

I'm quite happy to give them daily fresh bedding and keep the temperature warm enough for them. -if it keeps the peace confused

chocolateicecream Fri 23-Nov-12 22:44:17

He has just lapped up his critical care bless him. Oh he's so cute I love him. Am off to bed now x.

70 I think the same. If a vets knows abit about Rabbits then they seem to think Guineas fall under the same. confused

I dread the day i have to take one of mine to the vets for whatever reason, the vet will hate me by the end for one reason or another because of questions that I will be asking grin

Bonkey I took my guineas to the vet that Silver73 recommended. It is a good few miles away (had to pootle round the M25) but IMO it was worth it to find a practice that is guinea-savvy. They do a Guinea-Pig clinic.
There is one that is nearer but the GP vet is one of the few vets who specialises in opthalmics so is probably at the practice irregularly (and probably not when I would need them). hmm.

So I'll take the sclep round the M25 option.

And I want a vet who loves guineas, and doesn't just view them as boring, annoying pieces of squeaky fur (which alot of people do sad )

There is a vet on the guinea pig forum in Bath which is about 20-30 mins away. If I need anything more than a patch up of a wound then I will go there just have to convince dh to drive me over . Its him who I was going to consider using if I ever get them neutered.

My local vet is the vet for longlete so I imagine that they should be capable of the basics....

I can't believe anyone can't fall in love with the balls of fluff! Even before I had them I thought they were gorgeous!

Vet for Longleat (ooohh).
They probably spend more time trying to avoid that creepy bloke with the hundreds of wifelets and the porno painting on the wall . I was terrified when we went there in case he fancied me (Hey I'm gorgeous and breathing ) blush.

I could just imagine my GP1 : "I hope you've ^washed your hands Mr Vet. After you've had them in a rhino's bottom".
And he'd be flouncy too. grin

I bet your DH would love to drive the guineas on a hours round trip grin


Problem with the longlete vet is that i used the same vets for my horses a few times and were less than impressed with the way the dealt with them. In my head I feel if they can't deal with a pony then how can they deal with a Gpig!

And dh wouldn't have a choice if its what they needed! I would layer on the guilt so thick he wouldn't argue wink

chocolateicecream Sun 25-Nov-12 14:15:21

Piggie update

My little pig seems to be doing really well. His glued wound looks dry and healthy. He is having some prebiotics. We selected some really nice piggie nibbles, baby dandelion leaves, parsley and curly Kale, amongst the usual yummy nibbles.

My young boys remain separate but close to one another. We have had them both out at the same time, lots of space, close supervision. They chattered their teeth at one another and their body language suggests that they are really not content with one another ATM. They have both individually had a bit of a play on the kitchen floor with my mature (sensible, gentle, calm) boar. They both seem to be very taken with him. He tolerates them whist they purr and strut their stuff around them.

I am not sure if my two youngsters are really going to ever be happy with one another. My plan at the moment is to have them in C&C cages, separated by a divider wall, lots of space, lots of entertainment, my other pig will also be in close proximity. I suppose that as they mellow they may become more tolerant of one another.

They seem to be enjoying the human contact, my eldest dd loves the pigs and will cuddle them at every chance she gets.

Santa, do you get shavings everywhere with your C&C cages, or do you use fleece? My Dh has groaned at the prospect of us acquiring more cages and he has stresed that he is keen to get them back outside next spring (he is a bit worried about the space issue). I am sure that due to the flexibility of the C&C cages, two floors, etc, the floor print will be not too much greater than three Zoo Zone 2's.

Good to know your little boy is on the mend chocolateicecream.
If he's eating it's a good sign (they are greedy little blighters aren't they?)

Hopefully they'll settle themselves as they get over their Terrible Teen stage, but will all GPs there's a hierarchy . If they all toe the line, peace reigns.

My GP2 will sometimes niggle his brother and I think "for pity's sake don't you little swine". (GP2 started their worst fight last winter, after too much coriander -ours GPs crack cocaine, so now banned hmm )
They do have the odd scrap, GP2 looks a bit muleish, then they get on with things. He's not being 'bulldozed' as such, it's just his place. In return he gets the protection that GP1 gives him.

Your older boar is probably a kind uncle type at the moment but that might change if one of the young boars decides he wants to be Alpha.

Oh, and re-shavings. They can lead to respiratory problems as well as drying out their fur,skin and feet.

Fleece is good but you need something absorbant under it (I use rodent friendly cat litter. Megazorb is good but a nightmare to get off fleece).
Or shredded paper?

Out in the Pighouse I use cat litter, rubber mats (the ones with the 'holes' in ) cardboard, newspaper, soft straw at the back then hay.
They have fleece on newspaper and cardboard but not in hay.

I change the haybox evey day/2 days- just roll up the hay + newspaper and replace.

Yeah , don't bet on that wink .

Smallest recommendations for one piggy is a 3by2 c&c which is bigger than your zoozones . Tbh anything smaller than this built either grids looks to small. You will see what i mean when you get them!

I have one pig in a 2by 4 and the other is in a 140 cage.

Once you start building it will get bigger and bigger until you take up a third of the room hmm .

You need to buy some correx and make a tray to stop bedding/poo flying out! Ebay again is the cheapest i have found!

If i was in your situation, i would try and get your older one to accept obey of the others as a full time companion. No.matter what anyone says they are always happier with a companion. Keep the other lone pig side by side and you should have a few happy pigs. Make sure there are at least two of everything and no blocked of spaces and hopefully they should be fine! smile

Sorry for typos!

chocolateicecream Tue 27-Nov-12 13:33:55

Piggie update.

Well yesterday am boy pig seemed fine. He seemed to sulk over the day. He had his last AB last night. This am he is just not interested in his food at all. I am giving him the recovery feeds. He just looks so fed up. I have put him with my older boy pig. He seems aware that little pig is not happy, they just know don't they. He seemed mildly happier to have a companion but I am worried sick about him. His wound site looks clean and dry. I am aware that the AB may make him feel a little yucky. I am very worried that I am going to loose this little pig. His HR seems normal, as does his breathing.

chocolateicecream Tue 27-Nov-12 13:42:27

I am concerned that he may be ill and am trying to find a Vet in the local area who may shed some new light, I am not overly filled with confidence that my present Vet will be able to meet his needs. I am concerned that if he does have an infection, by the time he becomes symptomatic of one it will be too late. He may have an undiagnosed injury from the initial incident.

*chocolate8 the antibiotics may well be making him a bit bleurgh (you know if you have them yourself you can have side-effects, including D&V. GPs can't get the Vomit part but keep an eye on his droppings). They might not be 'normal' until his eating gets back to normal.

The wound is dry? That's a good sign.
As is the breathing and heart rate being normal.
He's not eating? Not a good sign.They need to keep a throughput otherwise they get gut stasis.
If you are keeping the Critical Care going then at least he's having something while he recovers.

Hope he turns himself around in the next couple of days, keep feeding him, something to tempt him (my GP1 would sell his soul for parsley) and water, even is you need to drop it from a feeding syringe .
Maybe some of those naice hays or the dried leaves (dandelion, herbs) to tempt him.

Are his eyes bright or does he look a bit 'sunken' ? Could be dehydration (especially if he's indoors and not used to being warmer)

chocolateicecream Wed 28-Nov-12 20:26:59

Little pig passed away. Am gutted sad.

Oh chocolate that is gutting after all you've been through with him.
You did everything you could for your little pig, but maybe the shock of the hutch incident was too much for him mentally.(They find stress hard to deal with.And being prey animals they can hide things well).
And the antibiotics do their job, but you know what side effects they can have on a human (I work in healthcare, I don't prescribe but alot of my patients are on them. Liver and kidney problems are a potential with people and I'd imagine GPs too).
Add on if he wasn't eating , their livers can fail.

When you feel you can, let the vet know. Not that it will bring your GP back, but to give them feedback. They might not get the outcome of their treatments. But they'll know "hmm, that didn't work". It might help for next time they treat a guinea.
As you say, not all vets are guinea savvy.

The little creatures go quickly don't they sad

guineapiglet Thu 29-Nov-12 14:11:29

Very sorry to hear your guinea didnt make it- what a horrible time for you all - it sounds like the stress of what happened may have kicked it all off - but who knows with these little souls, he may have had some underlying health problem and this was all too much. You did everything you could, and gave him mplenty of love and attention to help him- sadly with guineas, once they go downhill it is very hard as it all happens so quickly. Hope his friend is doing OK on his own - lots of love and attention for him as well as you and your family.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now