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Introductions Introducing Special Needs Piggie HELP


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jan 16, 2012
So the boyfriend and I were at Petco buying some carefresh for the pigs, and the first thing we see is this beautiful little girl in a tiny aquarium all by herself. There was a sign in the front saying that someone had abandoned her and that she was up for adoption. Apparently she had an ear infection which left her with what I think is a permanent head tilt. :sad: I was seriously so heartbroken, I didn't want to leave her there all by herself in that tiny aquarium. So after much debate we adopted her and took her home!

We have two other girls that we were going to introduce her to. We put them in a never used blanket in our apartment hallway, where the other pigs had never been to. Everything went well there, they sniffed at each other, ate some hay and veggies, nothing major happened. After about an hour and a half we put them all in the cage where I had cleaned everything with vinegar and changed the fleece.

Here is where the problems started happening. One of my other piggies is just going at the poor little thing, running after her and sometimes even nipping at her. I feel terrible because I think she is more vulnerable because of her head tilt. :weepy: I read that as long as there is no bloodshed I shouldn't interfere, but my heart still goes out to Luna (our new girl). The worst thing, though, is that I think that they are keeping her TRAPPED in the loft! :( I have no idea as to how to fix this. I try to give her a little push but she still is not wanting to go down.

What should I do!?
Well, if she's being trapped in the loft I suggest blocking off the loft for a while so she's not trapped anywhere.
Our Oliver has a fused joint in one of his front legs (at the elbow) and can't use it well, after he was neutered we worried about introductions since he was going in with our two girls and one of them, Moo, is VERY dominant.What we did was the same as you in the beginning part, different room, neutral ground that stuff. But we also gave them all a bath together and before we put them back in the cage together I touched my fingers to the lid of a vanilla extract bottle and then rubbed those fingers through the fir of all three of them. That seemed to work really well. If they all have the same smell they're more likely to get along better was the theory.

Good luck!!!
That sounds like a really good idea! We have been putting up the ramp and letting them hang out downstairs for a couple of times already, I think we're gonna have to keep doing that a couple more times. I think that if the whole dominance thing does not get sorted out in a week or so I'm going to try the buddy bath and your vanilla idea! Thank you!
you should have quarantined her. and I suggest that take out the loft,
that might help over time I think they will get over it she is just the new girl
and they just have to sort the dominance thing out
She was quarantined :) I have been thinking of taking out the loft, if it doesnt get sorted out soon. I just hope it gets sorted out soon and there is no need for that. She is just so tiny and scared my heart goes out for her :(
i have heard that a guinea pig who is sick, or otherwise anything but healthy, may get aggressed on by the rest of the herd. it's the usual herd mentality i think. a weakened member of the herd threatens the whole herd and is just "put out".

i don't know how that will play itself out with your herd. time will tell, but i think this is just something to keep in mind. with my special needs guys, i was told to keep them separate from other pigs UNLESS the other pigs are very passive and docile, and have the right personalities to allow special needs pigs to join their herd.

good luck!
I had the same thing happen when I tried to introduce clover to my two bonded girls brioche and doris. In the end I found it too stressful ( we never even got out of neutral ground, they hated her from the start) so I ended up getting 2 more girls fluffy and squeak. To start with I couldn't even have clover in a separate cage next to the other 2 as they would constantly teeth chatter and harrass her, but now the 2 older girls are in a cage next to the 3 younger ones and they are happy to talk through the wire, still can't do floor time together though.
I guess getting another piggy may be something to think about, if you have room for another cage setup, don't mind cleaning 2 cages, doing 2 lots of floor time, lap time etc, It just depends on what will suit you and your family
GOOD NEWS!! We put the up the ramp off to the loft and made it off limits to all 3 pigs for about 2 days. There was still some rumbling and chasing going on but they seemed to get along better. Last night we put it back down we were so delighted to see that little Luna is not trapped in the corner anymore! They get along beautifully now, it's so nice to see! We have even see her cuddling with Pippa and Minni from time to time. I'm telling you, the stress of introductions is well worth it when you see how great they get along after the first couple of days!

I used this great article to guide me through the process since I had never done them before. guinea_pigs: Guinea Pig Introductions 101

@jacqueline You'll be happy to know that everything worked out! They treat her as if she has always been around now :)

@Nix16 I'm sorry Clover's introduction didn't go very well :( but at least you gave a good home to 2 new piggies :) I definitely cannot get anymore for now, three is definitely pushing it. The only reason we got her was because of the the way she was being kept in that tiny aquarium, and her head tilt :(

Here's Luna munching away at the pellet bowl.
[GuineaPigCages.com] Introducing Special Needs Piggie HELP

And here are Luna and Pippa having a cuddle together <3
[GuineaPigCages.com] Introducing Special Needs Piggie HELP
is she gonna have the head tilt forever?
Most likely. Her previous owner did not get her ear infection treated fast enough, so it seems like the head tilt is going to be permanent. I haven't found much information on it online, though.

I've been trying to do a little "therapy" per se, following what they are doing in this video.
Guinea pig getting rehab for head tilt familyvet.MPG - YouTube
Her head tilt is not as bad as it looks on the picture, though.
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