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Guinea Pigs/Smelly Boars.


I have 2 boars. Elvis is about 3 to 5 months. Mick is 2 months. I clean their cage often. Just in the last couple of days the urine smell has become very strong. It wasn't like that at first. I have not found them to have signs of having a UTI. They are eating, drinking, and being very normal. Is that a normal thing for the urine to get stronger? Or should I be worried about a UTI? They are both very active and gaining weight. I notice Elvis rumble strutting, purring, and rubbing on Mick more these last few days. No fighting or anything like that though. Is there  something that will help keep the smell down some? I use fleece with towels underneath. I also use care fresh in some areas of the cage. It is a 2x5 C&C cage with a 2x2 upper level, and a pet store cage is connected with tubes and used as a hay loft with care fresh. Any help wwould be appreciated.
Thanks Tonya

First of all are you sure that Mick is a male? The rumblestrutting that Elvis is doing is because he thinks he's found a love mate. Of course even if Mick is another male Elvis is just reaching his sexual maturity and is like a teenage boy with an overload of hormones. He's not too selective at this point.

The odor you are smelling may be the 'eau de sex' odor that is emitted by the male when he senses a potential opportunity to breed. Apparently the girls find this attractive while we humans find it nearly repulsive. All animals have a unique odor they emit when they're on the prowl and are ready to breed.

It's doubtful you're pigs have a UTI. Because Elvis is doing so much rumblestrutting he is probably the source of this bad smell. There's no way to reduce the smell and the only way to eliminate it is to separate the two of them completely. Elvis is reacting to his hormonal drive and because he's young he doesn't know or care that his 'love interest' is another male. He'll figure it out eventually, but in the meantime you're stuck with this overpowering odor that the girls find so enticing.

I'm not a fan of fleece bedding because of the lack of absorption of urine and the smell factor. I've always used pine shavings with a layer of hay on top. The hay helps keep the cage sweeter and even if the shavings are wet they're underneath the hay so the pigs always have a dry layer to lie on.

I realize this isn't practical for an inside cage as you'd be sweeping hay and shavings constantly. With fleece you find yourself doing laundry on a daily basis. Carefresh is an excellent product but unless it's all over the cage it minimizes its usefulness.  If you have a window fan that can pull the air out of the room that helps to keep odors down. If you're living in the midwest or east coast the weather isn't permitting that for you yet.

Your cage space is adequate for the two pigs. The odor problem I'm afraid will only be reduced by putting Elvis where he can't continue his quest for a mate and that means separating the boys.

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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