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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20632
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hello I had 2 guinea pigs.Scruffy and Geno. I acquired

Resolved Question:

Hello

I had 2 guinea pigs.Scruffy and Geno. I acquired them on 26th April this year from pets at home. Sadly on 20th June Geno passed away due to an underlying illness. Scruffy was left by herself and after 2 days got very depressed so we went out and got her a friend - another guinea pig from pets at home named fluffy. They have been getting on great and settled in really well. Scruffy is no longer depressed. Since we got scruffy every 2 weeks she is on heat and starts rumble strutting. While Geno was here Scruffy rumblestrutted and chased Geno around for 2-3 days then went back to normal. However this is the first time she has been on heat since we got Fluffy (we've only had fluffy 2 weeks) and its been almost a week of her rumble strutting and I am getting concerned as I know it isn't normal to do it more than 2-3 days. Could you please offer some advice?They are both female by the way. I know it is a dominance thing but how much longer will he do this for?

Thanks in advance
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
Good evening,

I am so very sorry to hear that Geno has passed on despite your trying to help her.

Now in regards ***** *****'s behavior, can you tell me:

How does Fluffy react to Scruffy's behavior?
Are we seeing any fighting, mounting, or avoidance behaviors?

How is Scruffy otherwise?
Eating, drinking, and keeping weight on per normal?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Fluffy either seems to ignore her or just thinks its a game and chases her back. Once or twice she has squealed in which case I have separated them for a bit. No fighting, no mounting or avoidance, just chasing and rumblestrutting.


 


Scruffy is fine otherwise. Doesn't stop eating and putting on weight each week, Normally about 1-2 ounces.


 


There is about 12 week age gap between the 2 of them. Scruffy being the eldest.

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you Laura,

Now in regards ***** *****'s signs, these are not alarming under the circumstances. If we had had prolonged estrus/heat behavior prior to the change in cage mates, then we'd have to be more concerned about issues like hormonal imbalances or cystic ovaries (though if we had those concerns, we'd expect her to be an older cavy of course).

Yet in this situation, it is more likely that Scruffy isn't actually having a prolonged heat. Instead, the hormonal changes have likely driven her initial rumble/strutting and stirred her up a bit. From there, Fluffy's lack of complete submission has likely played a role in triggering the continued signs with Scruffy. Because as I know you appreciate these signs are those we see in dominance displays or our rumbling can be a non-specific cavy behavior disapproval.

Now in regards ***** ***** frames, this is not something we can truly predict because behavior issues, getting adjusted to one another, and forming a bond takes time (for any animals living together). As long as no one is rearing onto 2 feet and we don't have any fighting and your referring when things do get hairy; I would expect Scruffy's behavior to continue to wane in the weeks to come as long as there are no major set backs (like a fight or Fluffy pushing Scruffy's buttons).

Finally, to help aid this settling, do make sure to keep the girls' environment and life enriched (ie toys, treats, play, adventures into a cavy safe yard, etc). This will help distract them from focusing on any hierarchy arguments. Furthermore, taking them into neutral territories (ie the house, garden, etc) will provide them with places where neither has "claims" or feels dominant about their surrounds (& we may even find them feeling closer to one another as they will be the "familiar" thing in those environment for one another), will increase your chance of getting them familiar with one another without the need to dominate each other and continue to help them settle into life with one another.

All the best,
Dr. B.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your answer - it makes sense. I was concerned about the ovarian cysts as I had read about them on the internet and was worried it my be that. Could you just answer me one more thing? If this is dominance behaviour how come scruffy didn't start this behaviour straight away or is it because she came on heat and its being prolonged from that?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome Laura,

As I noted before, I'd not be worried about ovarian cysts in this case. They would just be a wee bit too coincidental in this situation. As well, this tends to be a condition we see in older cavies (~18months-5years of age). So, I'd not be assuming that for her based on her history and age.

In regards ***** ***** other question, I would be highly suspicious that they were sussing one another prior to the heat. But when hormones get thrown into the mix often will just put everyone on even more edge and likely just trigger increased "emotions" and such behaviors (hormones can even effect human females) . So, it is likely that these hormones heightened her behaviors and perhaps the lack of complete submission from Fluffy when presented with her rumbling/strutting has just thrown a wee spanner in the works in helping them develop their bond. So, again, this is likely just an extension of the behavior without an actual prolonged heat (which we'd need to blood sample to check hormone levels to prove/rule this out) and we'd instead just want to focus on that angle to help settle Scruffy down and help further develop their bond.

Take care,
Dr. B.

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