Recently, I moved to a new apartment across town. My two boars, Humphrey and Chaplin, both 3 years old, moved in this past Saturday. They are now living in a 2x4 C&C cage with fleece bedding, but I've noticed some worrisome things that I'm wondering if they are normal or not and want to know what I can expect at the vet. Let's start with Humphrey because I'm more worried about him.
Humphrey is really spooked in his new environment. He has never lived in such a loud place before as we previously lived with my parents in the suburbs. I try to keep my door shut to minimize the noise, but between loud neighbors with a yappy dog and the fact that my friends and I are generally loud people, it can only help so much. I know the room is rather echo-y as well, and I plan to get curtains to help dampen the noise. Humphrey basically lives in the fleece forest now. I have been patient, only picking him up when I needed to weigh him and when he and his brother managed to burrow under the fleece once (whoops), but my own anxiety is gearing up. How long should I give him to adjust to his new environment?
I have seen him out and about mainly to eat and drink (I have seen him eat his hay, veggies and pellets), but he gets scared often and runs away from what he was doing. I worry because when I spot clean morning and night, I have seen some very dry, crumbly poos and the "teardrop" poos as well. I don't know who is making them, but I suspect it's him. Are there other reasons why a guinea pig's poos may be off in that way aside from not eating/drinking? Are dry poos just a sign the dropping is old or is it also a medical symptom as well?
As an addendum, I have put the pigs on a diet because they were being fed entirely too much before. I now measure out their pellets (Oxbow Essentials - Adult) to 1/4 cup total and I give them both a total of 2 cups of veggies. However, the past two days I tried feeding them yellow bell pepper because they turned their noses up to green, and they also refused to eat that. Last night, I swapped out the pepper for endive, so I shall see what their poos look like when I get home, but this morning, I still saw crumbly and teardrop droppings. (Just to clarify, I was giving them a mix of green lettuce, cilantro, cucumber and bell pepper, not just bell pepper.)
As for Chaplin, he is adjusting faster than Humphrey. Still gets scared by new noises like my squeaky door handle, but I caught him sleeping out in the open, so I think he'll be okay. He was always the braver of the two. My main concern with him is itching. He itches about once every hour or half-hour. Sometimes if my nail goes over where his hip bone is, he turns back to itch it. He recently had a bald spot on his tummy that I went to the vet for and she put him on Cortisone I believe? The skin looked less red and scaly and his hair grew back and has stayed back since. He did have mites in the past, so I'm wondering if they have resurfaced. How much itching is normal or is it always a sign of some skin condition? If it's just dry skin, how do I treat it?
Right now start weighing him daily so you know he is still eating properly.
It is possible the mites have returned and are contributing to the problems. Consider also a possible fungal infection.
I weighed him on Sunday, and I will weigh him as soon as I get home tonight.
I have a vet appointment scheduled for both pigs now, but I will keep an eye on him in the mean time.
Thank you for your help!
After her cleaning she performed at the office, I followed her instructions, but their penises looked fine. She called me back that Wednesday, the 31st, and I told her I wasn't seeing improvement. She said she suspected they would indeed have to be put on antibiotics. I began their antibiotic regime that night, and so far I haven't seen any improvement in Humphrey. (It does seem that Chaplin's pee is no longer producing any white discharge, so that's good.) I was going to wait until Saturday when their antibiotic runs out to call if I still hadn't seen improvement, but her office called yesterday. I told them while Humphrey hasn't gotten any worse, he also hasn't gotten any better either. She told me to take him off pellets and veggies to see if that improves the look of his poos, and if there is still no improvement she would take a sample to see if he has giardia.
1. How could he have gotten giardia if he has never been fed grasses? I lived in a fairly rural area, and with all the wildlife that traipsed through my yard, I didn't want to take the chance of them eating anything that had been pooed on.
2. How can Chaplin have perfectly normal droppings if giardia is suspected? I know it is highly contagious.
- You can quote me
Most neighborhood dog-cat vets may be well-intentioned, but know very little about small exotics (guinea pigs, hamsters, etc.)
I'm glad to hear they're settling in, but I think you need to find a vet more knowledgeable about guinea pigs. Ditto Lynx; calcium deposits have little to do with penis cleanliness. And if they have not been outdoors, and your water is properly treated, giardia is unlikely.
Edit: don't know if any of these are accessible to you or not --
I think that she is knowledgeable. She seemed to ask all the right questions when I went in, and her qualifications specifically lists exotic care. I live near Richmond, so all of those on the list would be a 2+ hour drive for me. As far as I know, there is no clinic around here that only does exotics. Or at least, I can't find one on Google and I have never heard of one. She seems better than the last exotic vet I brought them too as well because that one ignored the gas issue.
Also, cutting the fresh veggies has really helped. I've been weighing them every day just to make sure the change isn't upsetting them physically and separating them out at night just so I can make sure I know who is doing what. Both are now producing some nice looking poos.
- Supporter in '14
When my sows are stressed the first thing I notice is they hide more and there is a change in their stools. They are in their usual place in the kitchen but I am starting to leave the windows open at night to cool down the house. All it takes is the scary cricket and frog noises during the night and the birds chirping in the morning to keep them hiding in their houses. They will get used to them eventually but when they start hiding more I put hay outside the door to their house and keep all their food close.
I came home last month from work and immediately could tell Abbey had been traumatized during the day. My daughter and grandson were visiting and I finally got them to confess grandpa had turned on the stereo. One of the speakers is right behind the girls' cage and the vibration freaks Abbey. They should know better. I was so mad at them I removed the speaker wires from the back of the speakers so they couldn't use the stereo.
- You can quote me
Males need to be checked and cleaned for this periodically. It won't be a problem unless it gets badly built up; if that happens, it can hurt and in extreme cases get infected.
A bit of gauze (you can get sterile squares at any drugstore, they're pretty cheap) is rough enough to remove the stuff but soft enough not to injure or irritate the very sensitive tissues. Only their pride will be wounded, and they will let you know loud and clear. ;-)