View Full Version : Introduction and questions about social problems and biting problem

11-27-16, 07:17 pm
Hi there! I have had my guinea pig for about a year now and want to introduce myself and ask some questions. The reason I am a "Cavy Slave" but just now posting an introduction is because I've been having a few forum problems. (Thank you bpatters and CavyMama for helping my out.)

I have two guinea pigs, Maple and Steve, but I've had Maple for a lot longer. I got Maple and his sister from a local pet store thinking that they were both girls. They weren't. Fortunately, we found out and separated them before Buttercup got pregnant. Also, I know now that you are not supposed to get guinea pigs from pet stores, but I didn't know that then. Also, I'm kind of glad that we got Maple out of that place. (Don't worry, it was a small business and they didn't come from a commercial breeder.)

I couldn't put Buttercup and Maple together, so Buttercup fell into the care of my eight year old brother. She got hardly any attention and lived in a small cage in a closet, so we decided it was best to find her a new home. :( We did find her a great new home, but we still had a problem. Maple had been living alone for about a year by then and I thought that it would be best to find him a cage mate, so we bought Steve from Petco. At this point I new that adoptions were better than pet stores, but driving three hour both ways to the nearest rescue with guinea pigs simply wasn't an option. :(:( Long story short, we put Maple and Steve together and found another issue. Maple didn't want a friend, and Steve was a bully. It started off with lettuce stealing, which led to hay stealing, which Maple tried to tolerate. But when the igloo stealing started, Steve crossed the line. There were two igloos. Maple would go into one, Steve would fight him and chase him out, and Maple would go into another. But Steve was never satisfied and would chase Maple in THAT igloo forcing him into the other one, where he would chase him again. Finally there was a big fight in an igloo and Steve came out with a tuft of Maple's hair. That's when I separated them. Now they are in a 2X6 C&C cage in my bedroom with a divider down the middle.

This arrangement makes Maple happy, but Steve is constantly chewing on the grid divider. There are literally brown spots were he chewed off the white plastic coating. :(:(:( To make matters worse, he is losing his hair. We took him and Maple to the vet, who said that Steve was having an allergic reaction to a flea bite. Maple also was having an allergic reaction, but he hadn't lost any hair yet. So the vet gave both Steve and Maple some medicine and gave Steve a shot to make his hair grow back.

After we brought them home, Steve decided not to eat pellets, barely eat hay, and only drink a little bit of water. He has improved, he now eats hay and drinks water but he hasn't eaten any pellets for about a week now. I feed my guineas lettuce every night, but I'm still a bit worried about Steve's vitamin C. So there are Steve's problems.

Maple also has a couple of problems. (1. His hair is always super oily. It looks shiny, and feels like human hair that hasn't been washed in three days. Is that normal? (2. He bites. He has had a biting problem for a long time. His bites are more like sometimes-but-not-always-painful nips, but he has been reported to draw blood. And it's not aggressive biting either! He bites when he's expecting food, he bites when he's being petted and obviously happy, and he bites pretty much whenever he can reach human skin. Why? If anyone has any answers or advice on Maple or Steve's problems, please help.

11-27-16, 07:39 pm
Maplepig, a lot more people will read your posts, and you'll get more responses, if you'll break them up into paragraphs and doublespace between them. As you posted it, I couldn't even tell which pig had which problem, or what you were asking.

In no particular order...

1) Pigloos are never recommended. They've only got one door, and one pig can easily trap another. You might have solved your whole problem in the beginning by either cutting another door in all the pigloos, or taking them out altogether and replaced them with fleece forests or tunnels.

2) If I were you, I'd try putting them together again, but do the introductions properly this time. This is the bible on introductions: http://guinea-pigs.livejournal.com/3002707.html. Steve may be much happier in with Maple, and may resume eating all on his own.

3) I'd treat Maple for mites. They can make a pig mighty unhappy about being touched at all. See https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/111160-How-to-treat-for-mites-and-lice.

4) Allergies to flea bites? Did you see any fleas? Or any flea dirt?

5) They need more veggies than just lettuce. For one thing, they need a good source of vitamin C. Bell peppers are the best thing for that.

11-27-16, 09:46 pm
Everything bpatters said and I wouldn't even feed lettuce every night..or at all.

I'd choose a nice romaine or red leaf, they're usually the same price as lettuce. Bell peppers are an awesome sources of vitamin C and I give mine a vitamin C supplement on the days they don't get bell pepper. I use the Oxbow Vitamin C supplants that are made from Timothy.

Did the vet check for any other reason besides a flea bite? It sounds off to me too.

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11-27-16, 09:49 pm
Male guinea pigs have a grease gland over their tail bone and that can sometimes overproduce and make them greasy haired. You can try a good quality GP shampoo on him but if it keeps up I'd ask the vet to give him a look over.

Try to take them to an exotics vet that had experience and additional training to deal with GP's.

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11-28-16, 08:39 am
Actually, PotterThePiggie, romaine and red leaf are both lettuces. The only lettuce definitely NOT recommended is iceberg, because it has almost no nutritional value. Romaine causes excess calcium secretion in some pigs, and that's been implicated in bladder stones. Red or green leaf lettuces are both safe and recommended.

11-28-16, 12:41 pm
Thank you for fixing my paragraph spacing problems, I'll improve in the future.
I said "lettuce" out of pure habit, and am really sorry that I did. Allow me to clarify: Every night I feed my guinea pigs either lettuce,(Romaine or leaf) celery, or carrots. I sometimes give them cilantro when I have it, and cucumber or banana as a treat.
I personally did not see any fleas, but we rescued a kitten from the side of the road and it was living in my room. (don't worry, I put a temporary kitty-proof roof on their cage) My room was the only safe place for the kitten because we have a dog.
I am hesitant to introduce them again because when they were together Maple hardly ever seemed happy. I have tunnels made out of oatmeal containers, and will think about re introducing them. It would probably solve a lot of problems.

11-28-16, 12:42 pm
The kitten did have fleas.

11-28-16, 12:52 pm
Sorry if I posted this once already, I think I posted it and then accidentally deleted it or something.
Thank you bpatters for fixing my paragraph spacing, I'll do better in the future.
I said "lettuce" out of habit. Allow me to clarify: Every night I feed them either lettuce, (leaf or romaine) celery, carrots, or cilantro. I have gotten into the habit of referring to all of these in general as "lettuce." Sorry about that.
Last time I tried bell peppers, they didn't get eaten. I've been meaning to try them again, and I will.
I personally did not see any fleas, but they are a real possibility as I had a kitten living in my room for a few weeks.
I am hesitant to re introduce them because Maple never seemed happy when Steve was around. But perhaps using tunnels instead of igloos will solve the problem. Will tunnels made out of large oatmeal containers work?

11-28-16, 12:53 pm
Male guinea pigs have a grease gland over their tail bone and that can sometimes overproduce and make them greasy haired. You can try a good quality GP shampoo on him but if it keeps up I'd ask the vet to give him a look over.
How do you go about bathing a guinea pig who has a biting problem?

11-28-16, 10:19 pm
How do you go about bathing a guinea pig who has a biting problem?

CAREFULLY! Wear either latex or rubber gloves. The rubber gloves would probably be better because they are thicker.

Insofar as the biting goes, it IS possible to break the habit in a cavy, but Maple is probably too old by now for it to be effective. I acquired my Chip at 6 wks. old and he was a biter......and hard. >( He is a very high-strung and easily frightened little fellow. I think in the beginning most of the biting was out of fear.

I rarely raise my voice at the boys so when I do, they react. I would lightly thump or tap his nose and say sternly "no bite". He is now 13 mos. old and rarely bites hard.......sometimes a light nip. I do have to be careful when I'm doing his nails.

11-29-16, 03:54 pm
Really? I read somewhere that you are never supposed to yell at a guinea pig. Maybe the book was wrong?

11-29-16, 03:58 pm
"say sternly" does NOT equal yell.

11-29-16, 04:06 pm
Update: Steve is suddenly eating pellets again. Also, my mom claims to have seen flea dirt on Maple.

11-29-16, 04:29 pm
If it's flea dirt, it will turn blood red if you put a bit in a drop of water. If it doesn't, it's not flea dirt.