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How can my guinea pigs be friends again? WEEKEND: YOUR PETS.

Q. I HAVE two male guinea pigs, both just over a year old. One of them tries to mate occasionally with the other, but recently this has got worse and now they won't go near each other without teeth chattering. What would make them friends again?

A. THERE is often only an initial show of aggression when guinea pigs are housed together for the first time. It will settle down once the pecking order has been created.

The aggressive pig will adopt a defensive stance and chatter its teeth in warning. These conflicts normally last up to two or three hours. Any longer and they should be separated.

You could try smearing a little mentholated vapour rub around the rump and the chin of the pigs. This takes away the body odour differences between the guinea pigs and can decrease the conflict.

Also, provide plenty of food and if necessary have two or more bowls of dry mix to try to minimise any disputes over feeding space. Exercise the guinea pigs together in a new large run with hiding places, such as branches, large stones etc.

Never let them exercise unsupervised until you are happy they will not fight.

Q. MY nine-month-old rabbit has developed runny eyes (clear fluid), but isn't sneezing or coughing. He is eating well and doesn't appear unwell. Can you help me?

A. THE most common cause is nasolacrimal duct obstruction. This duct runs from the inner eye to the nose and normally the natural eye-lubricating tears will drain this duct.

The most usual treatment is to flush the ducts. Some rabbits need repeated flushing, whereas others need lifelong antibiotic treatments.

Other conditions include chronic conjunctivitis where an affected rabbit has a clear or purulent eye discharge. The eyelids are swollen and the conjunctiva is red. This would need veterinary treatment, as well as checking on the ventilation in the hutch to avoid draughts, excessive ammonia from urine or other irritants.

If you have a question, write to: PDSA, PO Box 5987, Chelmsford CM1 2GP.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 26, 2004
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