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Thread: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

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    Unhappy 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    I KNOW THIS POST IS LONG BUT PLEASE HELP ME I'M WORRIED ABOUT MY BABIES

    I have had sisters Cora and Olympia for a little over 2 years, and they are almost 3 years old. Olympia began acting strange around 2-3 weeks ago, and it seemed like dominance behavior. She was rumblestrutting, chattering her teeth, and holding her head high. She would sometimes charge at Cora which worried me, but I was told that this was fine as long as there was no blood. Although this appeared to be pretty obvious dominance behavior, everything I read said that it's supposed to happen when they are young or newly introduced. Olympia and Cora have been together since birth and have never seemed to show dominance behavior before (although I didn't know much about guinea pigs when I got them so I might have not recognized it). What concerned me the most is that Cora would shriek like I've never heard before. This would happen multiple times a day, and when I held her she seemed absolutely terrified.

    Since the dominance process is not supposed to be disturbed, I didn't separate them. Around a week and a half after the behavior started I went home from college, so although there was a change in their environment, we move back and forth 5-10 times a year and they've never had any issue with the transition. I've been home for almost a week now and have noticed that Cora doesn't shriek as much. I figured the process was done but today I saw a bunch of blood for the first time. I was cleaning under their little hideout igloos and noticed a few stains.

    What is happening? What do I do? Is it time to separate them? They've always gotten along and this breaks my heart I'm really worried

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    I know my girls have gotten less adaptable to transitions as they have gotten older. They tend to show their frustration out on another pig until they calm down. They do this especially if they are confined for any time in a smaller space...how big of a cage are they in during this current transition home?

    I also avoid igloos or other hideys with only one entrance/exit when there is considerable dominant behavior and go with multiple exit hideys or fleece forests to prevent one pig being trapped and fights.

    I am assuming you have checked them over for bites to determine if the blood is from a wound or torn nail? Did you find anything?

    Are you sure what you found was blood and not oxidized urine?

    They also display aggressive behavior sometimes during illness.

    I had a pig who had a bladder infection once. She definitely became more moody and more aggressive towards the other pigs until she felt better (she had to have antibiotics). There was blood in the urine but it was small spots I would find on the fleece about the size of a dime at most.

    Is the aggressive female showing other symptoms for possible ovarian cysts?

    If it continues and you can't find a cause for the blood, such as a wound, I would take them in to the vet to get them checked out. Rule out illness.

  3. "Thank you, Smileandnod, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    I'd take the aggressive one to the vet for a general check-up and an ultrasound to see if she has ovarian cysts.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    Hi thank you for the information! They are currently in a 2x4ft cage, although since I have more room at home I was thinking of expanding it. When I was at college my roommate and I took them out at least once or twice a day for playtime and cuddles.

    I hadn't heard of fleece forests but they look so cute and fun! I'll definitely make a couple of those

    I've checked for wounds and couldn't find any but they have dark hair so I had some trouble seeing, I've been checking them every few days though. They didn't lose any nails and they don't have any blood on their paws. I noticed a nail-looking thing close to the stain but I think it's just one of their treats since they still have all their nails.

    I've noticed some oxidized urine and some reddish poop, but the blood was an actual stain, a few drops. They were on my bathroom floor at the time (I leave the cage open sometimes so they have more room to run around while still having access to their cage and fleece) so the stain is very clearly dark red and spotty rather than liquid-y.

    I actually took them to the vet a few days after the aggression started because I noticed they each had a cyst. The vet checked for ovarian cysts though and said there were none, is there a way I can check too so I can be on the lookout?

    I just looked up the symptoms for ovarian cysts and she's showing most of them. She had a bald spot on her flank region (left side) but the vet said that was also normal unless the skin looked scabby. She now also has a small bald spot symmetrically on her right side, as well as a few extra random small bald spots on her back. Her "lower body" seems really large (especially compared to her sister's, they've always been around the same size) but the vet told me she's just overweight. She hasn't expressed any discomfort when I hold and pet her. As of last week she was eating fine, since they're not in my room anymore I haven't seen her eat the past week but the food is gone so I assume she's eating something.

    Should I take them to the vet again and get a second opinion? It seems like my vet was really fast to rule things out.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    @Marga...was your vet an exotics vet who has successful experience with guinea pigs (a cavy savvy vet) or a small animal vet?

    Our small animal vet who we have had for 20+ years supposedly also sees guinea pigs...BUT I quickly learned that even though she is the best with cats & dogs she is horrible with guinea pig knowledge...so we have an exotics vet across town especially for the piggies.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    I took them to the only exotic animal vet in my small college town. I didn't ask about their success with guinea pigs but I do know they have treated a wide range of exotic small animals including guinea pigs, rabbits, rats, and ferrets. However, it was my first time going there so I have nothing to compare my experience to. I am now in San Diego, where there are numerous more vets I can go to.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    The hair loss in itself is nearly a guarantee of ovarian cysts. As @Smileandnod says, non-exotic vets know little to nothing about exotic pets, and it sounds to me like your vet didn't recognize the ovarian cyst symptoms. I'd want a second opinion from another vet, one that has experience with exotic pets.

    If what you're seeing is drops of blood, one or the other of them may be spotting during a heat cycle. Most sows don't bleed at all during a heat cycle, but a few do, and what you'll see is a drop or two of blood at two week intervals. It may be the one showing signs of cysts, or not.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

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    I didn't realize I could post pictures, so here's a view of her from above, pictures of her bald spots, and the blood stain (which is a bit larger than a quarter). The left bald spot is almost gone. She also has bald spots behind her ears that have always been there but now look a bit larger.

    Thank you guys for all the information! I've had guinea pigs before but have never dealt with anything like this, so I'll call some vets around here and try to find one with a lot of experience. Sending lots of love to you guys and your piggies

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    Bald spots behind the ears is perfectly normal.

    If I am seeing things correctly in the picture, are the bald spots you are describing at the center of where her hair grows out in poof's?

    She's an Abyssinian guinea pig and those small bald spots at the center of each rosette is normal. I am not seeing any large balding areas on each side.

    The blood does look concerning to me. If it was me, I would make a vet appointment for the blood and in the meantime separate the girls briefly just for the means to determine which one exactly the blood is coming from, if you don't know already. (If you know who it is from...i don't see the need to separate unless it is injury caused by the other). Then take a fleece pad, towel or whatever that has a sample with me to show the vet. My only experience with bloody spots that weren't due to a wound was a pig with a bladder infection.

    Let us know updates.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    Just to be clear, that's not a bloody spot from a bladder infection -- those are pinkish because the blood is diluted with urine.

    And @Smileandnod is right, those spots are the center of the abby whorls, not hair loss.

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    Re: 3yo sisters show aggressive, dominance-like behavior with blood :( help please

    Hey @Smileandnod @bpatters, just an update:

    I built them a bigger cage (12ft) and separated them within the cage so they can still interact but can't touch each other. I haven't seen any blood or heard shrieks since I separated them, and I still have not been able to find any injuries on either of them. This makes me think that the issue was between them (dominance or a heat cycle?), and not due to one of them being sick (or, if they were sick, they're better now). I'm still on the lookout for any physical changes or odd behavior just in case, and the moment I see blood again and can ensure whose it is I will call the vet. I also made them a little play area in my room so I can watch them interact without interfering. Hopefully, if there's no more aggression I can put them together in their cage again.

    Thank you guys again for your help and support, and please let me know if you have any suggestions or concerns with how I'm handling the situation <3 hope you're staying safe with everything going on

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