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Am I doing the right thing? Please help

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Hannah Boo

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I've posted on here a few times about the problems I've experienced. I lost two pigs in the space of 6 months (at 2yrs old and 2.5yrs old). After I lost the first one (Maggie) I introduced 2 Teddy baby pigs from a breeder I've known for years to Muffin who had been left on her own when Maggie died. By the way Maggie and Muffin were originally from Pets at Home (I took them in from my husbands Auntie who wanted to rehouse them). I've always got my previous guinea pigs from a local breeder who shows guinea pigs and have never experienced problems in the past with my pigs living between 5 and 7 yrs old. Crumpet and Doughnut are from this breeder - so I'm wondering if Maggie and Muffin had some kind of illness because they were pet shop pigs which when I introduced the baby pigs from the breeder it passed to them (possible maybe?)

A few weeks after introducing the baby pigs (Crumpet and Doughnut) to Muffin, Crumpet started sneezing and had wet nose. Muffin then started getting slightly wet nose. It was very rare to see Doughnut with a wet nose, and I haven't seen her with one for months now. Muffin progressed into having congested nose and this was noisy 'snorty' sort of noises. Even after treatment of baytril I think this progressed to pnemonia as her breathing sounded very wet and she had sticky wet closed eyes the morning I rushed her to the vets. I had to have her pts as she didn't improve, couldn't feed her critical care as liquid was coming out her mouth and she was making strange heaving noises like she was coughing up the critical care/ liquid.

I have to stress all piggies had been on baytril two or three times. I never wasted anytime with Muffin and on a different occasion when she stopped eating she spent a whole day at the vets having critical care and they pulled her through that time.

Muffin was put down in February as she had lost masses of weight wasn't eating or drinking and was very weak with very laboured wet breathing.

I moved my two remaining Teddy pigs (Crumpet and Doughnut) indoors just over a month ago as I was scared the cold winter might pish Crumpet over the edge (she has had on and off wet nose/ occasional sneezing) ever since I got her in August 2009. Doughnut I would say is fine. A week or two ago I noticed that Crumpet was starting to sound a little bit croaky/ congested - not as bad as Muffin had before she had to be pts, but noticeable all the same. This has calmed down again this week but if I sit and listen to her when she eats there is a very very slight noise at the moment - bit clicky but nothing too loud.

Understandably I panicked when I started hearing her 'clicky/ congested' noise. I thought straight away I'd lose her like I did with Muffin. But I was aware that I had used baytril in the past from the vets and it didn't seem to help Muffin or Crumpet. So I thought I'd email a few people on the internet - vets/ rescue places and ask them to recommend a vet. Although I had been taking my pigs to a very nice vet in Romsey who has written a book on piggy illness, I felt that if I went there again I would just be given baytril. I was scared as it hadn't helped before. I had a couple of replies from my emails giving me the name of a vet I should go and see.

So I emailed him and then had a conversation over the telephone. He asked me to bring Crumpet to him. I went last night. He looked at her - with difficulty as she was going bonkers as she's quite a lively pig. He looked in her mouth and listened to her chest. He said it sounded like there was fluid on her chest (I can't remember his exact words as I was stressed because Crumpet was stressed). He knows from my email that I want to get to the bottom of the problems I've experienced, so he's going to take action. He has asked me to take Crumpet to vets on Friday (6 days time). He will have her in all day. Give her x-rays, put a little camera down to see whats going on, take a swab from her nose to see what they're dealing with, and then go from there. He said it will be under GA - by gas. It will cost around £200.

The money isn't too much of an issue, I just want re-assurance that this is the right route to take. I'm terrified about GA as she is a small animal and I don't know how Guinea Pigs deal with this. I don't want to put her through all this trauma for nothing. But then again, I'm stressed that if I don't do anything she might go downhill somewhen in the future and end up like Muffin and I will feel terrbile that I didn't take this route and find the correct treatment to cure her.

Any advice would be appreciated I don't know what to do for the best. Has anyone else gone through this, how did your Piggy cope with GA? Do I have any other option? By the way she is happy in herself, good appetite (slight weightloss - but then again so has Doughnut, but nothing to cause great concern). They are both around 950g. They live indoors now with newspaper and meadow hay as beddding (they were on woodshavings, newspaper and meadow hay up until a week ago) - but I took out woodshavings in case it aggrevates her nose. Last summer I bedded them on carefresh only but this didn't seem to make any difference so I'm pretty certain it is nothing to do with bedding, but more likely some kind of contagious URI perhaps.

Plese help me, I want to make the right decision and I definitely do not want to lose another Piggy :)
 

nutmeg

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You must be really worried, I'm sorry I can't give much in the way of medical advice, but a couple of thoughts
When a guinea pig is on Baytril, it is always good to give a probiotic alongside as the AB can upset gut flora and the PB will help balance this out. The upset tummy can put pigs off their food and cause some weight loss.
I don't think the place where you got your guinea pigs from would play much part in how long they live. However, if you get a guinea pig from a rescue they will have been quarantined and come with a clean bill of health/or details of any medical issues. Maybe if you get more pigs from either breeder or pet shop you could quarantine them for 2 weeks before introducing to your existing pigs.
There is a lot of opinions about Shavings/Carefresh etc. I use good quality shavings and have never had a problem, even with Jeremy who is a snuffly pig. Carefresh made him worse. Although I have no experience of this happening many will say that shavings can make respiratory problems worse, rather than cause them, so maybe consider this, as it sounds feasible to me.
Hopefully Laura will be on soon and she will be able to give you information about ops and GA
Best of luck, hope everything works out well for you. x
 

Hannah Boo

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hi thanks for replying :) yes the vet always gave me probiotics to put in their water bottle. I'm not sure how effective it is though once in the water bottle x
 

Laura-CCC4

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Hi Hannah. I think the main thing that comes to my mind, that I would want the vet to consider, is a heart condition. Stubborn/recurrent URIs, fluid in the lungs both point to this. And I suspect to a point heart conditions could be genetic, as it is in other species. although I don't know this for a fact. You might find it useful to have a read of the heart info on Guinea Lynx, see if anything rings a bell?

http://www.guinealynx.info/heart.html

Is the sound in the following link anything like the noisy breathing you have heard from your pigs?
http://www.guinealynx.info/records/viewtopic.php?t=42

If there is any chance the vet would do an x-ray without GA? I would ask if they could do so and see if that shows anything before doing the rest, sometimes heart enlargement is visible on x-ray. Sometimes it is not, yet the symptoms still suggest a heart condition, in which case further tests are carried out or the vet takes a leap of faith and prescribes a trial of heart meds. I had a piggie diagnosed with a heart condition earlier this year; she had a muffled sounding heart (indicating pericarditis, fluid around the heart), she was treated with diuretics which did clear the muffled sound - but not for long. The fact the fluid kept returning despite use of diuretics sealed the deal that she had a heart condition, and this is just based on her response to the diuretic, and then her positive response to the heart medication - no x-rays, no ECGs etc.

Swabs, fair enough, it will show if there is something bacterial going on there. Camera down the throat, must admit I have not heard of a vet doing this for a guinea pig so I've no idea what they could find by doing so, if anything.

It is possible that I am on completely the wrong track here, but from what you have said so far, and from your previous posts that I remember reading, there is also no reason to assume the idea of a heart condition is irrelevant.
 

Hannah Boo

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Hello,
thanks for the links. No it doesn't really sound like a hooting noise. It sounds like she has a blocked nose. Or a little click very occasionally when she is eating or breathing. It doesn't really sound like the video clip.

I'm actually even more worried today as Doughnut has lost 37grams in 3 days. She was 951g 3 days ago, and now she is 914g. In september she was 1035g.
Doughnut actually shows no other symptoms of any illness, she hasn't had a wet nose for months. So now I'm worried about both of them!

x
 

Hannah Boo

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Oh and I might be wrong about camera down the throat, he said that they would do something and I didn't know what it was. My husband says he thinks its using a camera, but we are probably wrong.
 

Laura-CCC4

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Thanks for explaining more. Doughnut's weight loss is really very little, that being said I do understand your concern over it as at 914g she can't afford to lose too much. Generally speaking, a loss of 30g is neither here nor there, it is only equal to one ounce and in many cases means nothing. It's a trend of losses (e.g. 30g+, three weeks in a row) or a drastic loss (more than 60g) that usually indicates a more urgent illness.

Apologies if I've missed it, but how old are they?

Another line of thought, since it is more like a congested sound, is back to the bedding and the environment. Good move with taking away the woodshavings. Some pigs can also be sensitive to Carefresh, some batches can be dusty, and I have had pigs that are sensitive to Megazorb as well - not all piggie-safe beddings are right for all pigs. There is a chance it could be the hay, almost all hay tends to have some degree of allergens on it, even those that have been dust extracted, so it may be worth shaking each handful of hay in a cardboard box prior to putting it in for the pigs.

More thoughts on the allergies idea is in this thread (particularly post #3):
http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=57920
 

Hannah Boo

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Hi they are both about 1 year and 3 months old plus or minus a month or two...

So still very young. I know that it is only a small weight loss for Doughnut over three days... but she was 1035g back in September and now she is only 914g to me that seems a lot, and she doesn't seem to be eating as much as Crumpet. When Muffin was ill she was losing weight over a few months (I could tell she was losing weight but as she was 1.5kg at her heaviest I thought that she needed to loose some) - and also I thought it was down to the fact that there were now two pigs with her instead of one. At the time Muffin was losing weight she looked and seemed pretty healthy, which is why I'm not worried about Doughnut. I can keep a good eye on them now that they live indoors. Crumpets clicking noise hasn't been noticeable the last few days so now I'm worrying whether putting her through the GA, xrays and nose swab is worth it.

I don't think I'll be able to keep any more Guinea Pigs after Crump and Dough, as I've been through too much with them and my previous 2 pigs. I care too much and it is making me feel ill with all this worry about what the right thing is to do. :(
 
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