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Sick Unexpected illness/death - concerned about other pigs


Cavy Slave
Feb 11, 2019
Hi all, I came home from my 12 hour shift yesterday to discover that my single boar hadn't touched his hay or pellets that I had filled before I left. Upon inspection, he appeared scruffy and unkempt which is not his baseline, and I was worried he was sick. Unfortunately it was already 9pm and we don't have an emergency exotics vet so I planned on taking him early in the morning to see his vet. So i just fed him critical care and loved him for a while and put him back with intentions on taking him this AM. This morning I found that he had passed. We have 2 other boys in a neighboring cage, and although the cages were next to each other we had placed a small cardboard barrier on the wall because they would nip at each other through the c&c squares. Yesterday while inspecting him I didn't seem to find any URI symptoms, his breathing wasn't labored or wheezy, no eye/nasal drainage. My husband thinks he might have had organ failure, as we had rescued him from a very neglectful situation about 8 months ago where he lived in a travel size hamster cage and was only fed pellets. Even if it was a URI, is it likely that it might be passed by ME to the other healthy pigs? I rarely washed my hands in between cages. I'm going to call the vet anyways and see if they recommend a checkup for the remaining 2 boys, but i figured some insight/feedback from cavy savy individuals might also be helpful.

As a side note - when we first got him he was reportedly a year old and he was very tiny. He never gained weight for the 8 months we had him despite him eating very well, he only maintained his current weight and when I weighed him yesterday he had lost almost 3 ounces from when I weighed him 2 weeks ago. He was also very quiet, never wheeked or made happy noises and I think i only saw him popcorn once the whole time we had him. I'm kicking myself for not recognizing sooner that he might've been ill.

Any insight is appreciated!


Staff member
Cavy Slave
Sep 23, 2009
I'm very sorry you lost him.

I wouldn't worry about the other pigs, but I would keep an eagle eye on them and weigh them daily for a while, preferably in the morning before breakfast. It sounds like your boar may have had some other problem, as his size and lack of weight gain in spite of good food indicate that something was going on.


Active Member
Cavy Slave
May 18, 2019
I'm so sorry for your loss. He was lucky to have you for the duration of his life, and you did the best you could given the rapid deterioration. I agree with the above comment as it doesn't sound like something contagious, but close monitoring never hurts. Sending good thoughts!!


Active Member
Cavy Gazer
Feb 20, 2020
I agree, keep a close eye on the others and maybe weigh them once daily (before breakfast, or before dinner, whichever is most convenient for you). I'm so sorry for your loss. He very well could have had lasting damage from the situation you got him from, which is so very sad. If you are super concerned, you could always take him in for a necropsy (think thats what it is called). Hugs!