Q: Recently one of my guinea pigs got a fungal infection on her ears and the vet said we should separate them for a week until she was better.
The week has finished but when I tried to re-introduce them together, Patches (She had the fungal infection) kept rumble strutting and trying to bite Bramble’s ears. I really want them to live together again as I already have a lone guinea pig who Bramble and Patches do not like.
Bramble and Patches are both very dominant but so is my other guinea pig Maisie. They have never really got on but they have put up with each other! Have you got any suggestions for how to re-introduce them so they can live together again?
Alison says: I think vets commonly advise separation for guinea pigs with bacterial, fungal or otherwise contagious infections. However, this tends to not always be good advice as it can result in stress and behavioural issues as you have experienced.
I think the rumble strutting is ok, as this is normal behaviour for guinea pigs, biting and drawing blood is obviously more of a concern. Are you sure that they are not grooming each other’s ears? This can just be a demonstrating of dominance in guinea pigs. I think I would be inclined to leave them in together(supervised) and let them sort it out if there is no serious damage being done. You could consider doing this in a neutral area as this may help.
You might also want to consider cleaning and re-organising the main cage so that there is no territorial behaviour when you re-introduce them. Sometimes buying new cage furniture can help to avoid conflict. I hope the reintroduction goes well.