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Antibiotics

Bluebell

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I've seen various antibiotics prescribed for respiratory problems, is there one that currently is thought of as being the most effective?
 

PigglePuggle

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Different bacteria will respond better to different antibiotics, and without lab tests that take several days to complete no vet or doctor will know which is most effective in a particular case. Most vets would prescribe baytril immediately at any sign of a respiratory infection, in much the same way as a GP would routinely prescribe penicillin for a human sore throat (piggies cannot have penicillin) as baytril is very safe, easily available, and often effective for many minor infections.
If baytril doesnt work, other antibiotics may be considered, though these may be "off label" and not officially licensed for guinea pigs, though some are safe and effective where baytril hasnt cleared an infection.
 

Wiebke

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I've seen various antibiotics prescribed for respiratory problems, is there one that currently is thought of as being the most effective?
There is a whole host of different issues that come under the label of 'URI', starting with a range of bacteria to other bugs (bordetella, streptococcus, pneumococcus, viruses (rarely, and no Covid-19) etc.

Most vets will treat with baytril as the standard and in most countries only licensed antibiotic for guinea pigs. If that doesn't work, then they
can either send a nasal swab for lab testing as to which antibiotics there is a response (not cheap and very quick but ultimatley most effective) or trial and error any safe but unlicensed antibiotics in the hope of finding one the problem responds to.
 

Bluebell

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Thanks, I was interested more in the 'go to' prescribed ab, as in before any special tests to isolate the particular sort needed. I had been under the impression certainly that it had usually been enrofloxacin -(Baytril) but had noticed several different ones currently being used. I know medication use is a constantly changing scenario.
Seems that with many of them sadly the side effect is a loss of appetite, which is not helpful with gpigs.

I've been lucky and never had any respiratory troubles before, but currently have a case in a guinea with poor genetics (pet shop lines and therefore compromised health) hence my interest in which of those commonly prescribed were not only effective, but perhaps less drastic on loss of appetite side effects! I did see doxycycline being mentioned as one that seriously effected appetite.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks, I was interested more in the 'go to' prescribed ab, as in before any special tests to isolate the particular sort needed. I had been under the impression certainly that it had usually been enrofloxacin -(Baytril) but had noticed several different ones currently being used. I know medication use is a constantly changing scenario.
Seems that with many of them sadly the side effect is a loss of appetite, which is not helpful with gpigs.

I've been lucky and never had any respiratory troubles before, but currently have a case in a guinea with poor genetics (pet shop lines and therefore compromised health) hence my interest in which of those commonly prescribed were not only effective, but perhaps less drastic on loss of appetite side effects! I did see doxycycline being mentioned as one that seriously effected appetite.
Can I just correct you on your impressions:
Firstly, any antibiotic that is used in guinea pigs is well tolerated by the vast majority of them. A bad reaction can (and sadly does) happen to any of them, but it is on individual basis.
Baytril is somewhat heavier on the guts but when you ask long term forum members, they will tell you that in most cases the worst they have experienced were slightly softer poos than normal; that is also my own experience.
However, since baytril makes the vast majority of prescriptions worldwide, the number of bad reactions is of course flooding the internet. When doing your online research you always need to correct for the fact that what you get is all the horror stories and the miracle cures but pretty much nobody will post about the vast majority of perfectly unexceptional recoveries; those are taken for granted.

The problem why respiratory illnesses are such a problem lies in their very nature. Guinea pigs have very narrow and small airways comapred to their body size; most of their body is given over to the digestive system. They also don't breathe much through their mouths (unlike humans). Add to that that the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat. This means that loss of appetite is a major problem with any serious respiratory illness. An antibiotic acting on the gut microbiome as well as on the respiratory bacteria will acerbate the problem and lead to loss of appetite much more often and much more quickly than in any other illness - and of course even a partial action of the antibiotic on the gut will have a much stronger impact in this situation.

I hope that this clears the situation?
 

Freela

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I've found that reactions to antibiotics are very individual, even the time-tested, common antibiotics. I had one pig on long-term Baytril who had no ill effects at all and two who clearly had stomach issues as a result (one of which basically went nuts trying to eat non-nutritive items for the entire course- things like my carpet, my drywall, her sister's fur, etc.) Really, there is no 'best' antibiotic (it really depends on what bacteria is the cause of the illness) and there's no guarantee how a pig will react. There are, however, unsafe antibiotics for pigs, so make sure a vet prescribing has guinea pig knowledge! I think through the years we've had Baytril, sulfatrim, chloramphenicol.... Baytril probably caused the most side effects for my pigs, but was also probably the most prescribed so we've had more 'test cases' to observe, if that makes sense.
 

Bluebell

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Thanks, yes much as I would like to think there is a way of finding the best options, it is so often trial and error and up to the individual animal. From what you say Freela, (which is just the sort of info I was hoping for) it can be totally different even between "family" members.

Sadly mine would be added to the list of instant inappetence as a side effect, though he is an atypical example, so I'm trying not to to judge them all by him! (I'm really hoping I DON'T get the chance to find out how my others react!)

It's just so frustrating when youe head knows you are doing the right thing, but your heart feels like the original illness has just been compounded!
 
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