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Consistent sneezing and nose rubbing despite anti-inflammatory treatment

KoalaGuinea

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Hi everyone,

I have recently become the proud mum of two wee guinea piggies - Boogie and Rolo - who are now around 3 months old. We've had them both for around 4 weeks and since we brought Rolo home, she has been sneezing quite frequently. From our research we realised that sometimes with the stresses of moving/new environments this can trigger sneezing episodes. They are both from Pets at Home and had only arrived there three days before we took them home so lots of upheaval in a short space of time. We called our local vet and they prescribed an anti-inflammatory medicine for Rolo to take for 5 days. She completed her treatment around 2 weeks ago or more and is still sneezing lots. She also rubs her nose after sneezing and I've noticed some green crustiness around her nose and a little discharge (clear and watery) in one of her nostrils. The discharge doesn't always seem to be present and her breathing has been fine. The sneezing is quite loud sometimes and mostly sounds like she's blowing a puff of air. I'm not sure what to do next as she seems ok in herself - running around, playing with her sister, and eating and drinking well. I considered that it may be the timothy hay but we use the burgess excel one which is dust extracted. I did buy both the plain version (long stem feeding hay) and the one with dandelion and marigold. I'm currently using the plain one as I'm trying to figure out what is triggering the sneezing but nothing is really working. They also get a small pinch of oxbow alfalfa hay in with their nuggets twice a day and have 1/2 cup of fresh veggies twice a day. I had a look at the threads on environmental triggers and I don't think any of these should be a concern for us as the piggies have their own wee space in the living room with no candles burning or perfumes etc. They also have fleece liners in their C&C cage which they seem to really like. Otherwise they are both settling in really well and we love them to bits already! Just looking for any advice on what to do next/any tips on what I can be doing at home to help with the sneezing? Boogie has a very occasional sneeze but it's no where near as regularly as Rolo (Rolo sneezes on multiple occassions every day). I just hope it's not an URI as I know piggies can mask their illness until they get really unwell and of course I would be devastated for her to get to that stage.

Another wee question was about nail clipping as we've noticed (as Rolo is a wee burrower!) that their nails are very sharp and appear to be touching the cage base when they are sitting, particularly on the back feet. Is 3 months too early to start trimming nails?

Many thanks! The threads on here are fantastic and helped me lots when I was doing my pre-guinea piggie research!

All the best,
Kerry
 

Siikibam

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:wel: You need to get your girl in for a hands on vet check. Just to rule out a medical issue. They should be weighed weekly as part of their lifelong health monitoring, but I would consider weighing her daily at the same time.

Did you double check their sex when you brought them home? We’d love to see photos 😚
 

KoalaGuinea

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:wel: You need to get your girl in for a hands on vet check. Just to rule out a medical issue. They should be weighed weekly as part of their lifelong health monitoring, but I would consider weighing her daily at the same time.

Did you double check their sex when you brought them home? We’d love to see photos 😚
Hi there!

Many thanks for your quick reply really appreciate it! Yeah we had them out this morning for cuddles and veggies and wee Rolo's nose is looking a bit more crusty so will give the vet a call first thing tomorrow morning. I could also hear her breathing - like a squeaky ball sound if that makes sense - so will get her checked over tomorrow. I did consider ringing the emergency vet but her breathing has since become a bit more settled now she's back in her wee house. Think I'll monitor them today and not stress Rolo out too much by taking her out for cuddles later. Also emptied out their hay bag to get any dusty bits at the bottom out and popped fresh blankets in for them. I wonder if the vet will want to check Boogie over as well just in case?

I didn't double check their sex - could ask the vet about that too as they'll know more what to look for - I heard it can be rather tricky to tell gender in wee babas!

I've mostly got videos of them as they run about so fast but managed some non-blurry photos this morning...

Thank you again for your advice!

All the best,
Kerry

BoogieRolo1.jpgBoogieRolo2.jpgBoogieRolo3.jpg
 

KoalaGuinea

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:wel: and :agr: they do need a hands on vet check.

They really don’t need alfalfa at all at their age though. Alfalfa is really only necessary for pregnant sows and babies before they are weaned
Hi there!

Many thanks for your reply! Absolutely I'm going to call the vet first thing tomorrow morning. Ah right, we stopped giving them the alfalfa yesterday to see if that helped Rolo. I thought it was good for young piggies under 6 months (as the nuggets say for young piggies you can give unlimited amounts) which is why we gave them a small pinch of it morning and evening but it's no bother to stop giving it or even just give as an occasional treat? Thank you for that advice!

Many thanks.
All the best,
Kerry
 

Piggies&buns

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It’s only difficult to tell the sex of very small babies, but by two weeks of age things can be a lot easier, so definitely at three months its easy very easy to tell.

Please don’t go by what the nugget packet says - they are trying to sell a product and the information they give is not the recommended dietary information. They do not need nor shoud they have unlimited nuggets beyond weaning age (3 weeks) .
If you are feeding young piggy nuggets (which usually already contain alfalfa), then it is just one tablespoon of nuggets per pig per day (depending on brand, it equates to around 6g per pig per day). At four months they can go onto normal adult nuggets, again just one tablespoon per pig per day.
If you feed normal adult pellets, then they can have two tablespoons per pig per day until four months of age and then dropping down to one tablespoon per pig per day from four of age.

Too many pellets (or alfalfa) gives them too much calcium and too much calcium can lead to health problems.
I would not even bother alfalfa as a treat. It’s just not needed.

I hope all goes well at the vet check.
 

KoalaGuinea

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It’s only difficult to tell the sex of very small babies, but by two weeks of age things can be a lot easier, so definitely at three months its easy very easy to tell.

Please don’t go by what the nugget packet says - they are trying to sell a product and the information they give is not the recommended dietary information. They do not need nor shoud they have unlimited nuggets beyond weaning age (3 weeks) .
If you are feeding young piggy nuggets (which usually already contain alfalfa), then it is just one tablespoon of nuggets per pig per day (depending on brand, it equates to around 6g per pig per day). At four months they can go onto normal adult nuggets, again just one tablespoon per pig per day.
If you feed normal adult pellets, then they can have two tablespoons per pig per day until four months of age and then dropping down to one tablespoon per pig per day from four of age.

Too many pellets (or alfalfa) gives them too much calcium and too much calcium can lead to health problems.
I would not even bother alfalfa as a treat. It’s just not needed.

I hope all goes well at the vet check.
Hiya,

Ah right that's really helpful I'll give that a read and have a go! Really hoping I have two girls!

I'm feeding them the Science Selective Naturals Grain Free nuggets - I read the really helpful info sheet on one of the threads here and found it really useful to compare different foods as there are so so many to choose from! I did ultimately end up narrowing it down to either the Versele-Laga Cavia Complete Guinea Pig Food or the SS nuggets but the Versele-Laga weren't available online at the time. I was aware about the dangers of feeding too much calcium so don't give them a whole lot of nuggets, I just give a wee handful and top up when there's next to none left. They seem way more interested in the hay to munch which is great but I'll definitely keep an eye on the nugget side of things and be strict in amounts! I've been feeding them veggies 1/2 cup between the two of them, twice a day (so 1 cup total per day for both piggies) - do you reckon this is a good amount?

Thank you so much for your help!
All the best,
Kerry
 

Piggies&buns

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Hiya,

Ah right that's really helpful I'll give that a read and have a go! Really hoping I have two girls!

I'm feeding them the Science Selective Naturals Grain Free nuggets - I read the really helpful info sheet on one of the threads here and found it really useful to compare different foods as there are so so many to choose from! I did ultimately end up narrowing it down to either the Versele-Laga Cavia Complete Guinea Pig Food or the SS nuggets but the Versele-Laga weren't available online at the time. I was aware about the dangers of feeding too much calcium so don't give them a whole lot of nuggets, I just give a wee handful and top up when there's next to none left. They seem way more interested in the hay to munch which is great but I'll definitely keep an eye on the nugget side of things and be strict in amounts! I've been feeding them veggies 1/2 cup between the two of them, twice a day (so 1 cup total per day for both piggies) - do you reckon this is a good amount?

Thank you so much for your help!
All the best,
Kerry
Dont top up nuggets - just give them their one tablespoon and then no more until the next day. Ensure you use an actual tablespoon measure rather than just estimating via a handful - far too easy to overdo it! A tablespoon of those nuggets amounts to around 10 nuggets per piggy (if ive remembered correctly).

One cup of veg per pig per day is absolutely fine.
 

KoalaGuinea

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Dont top up nuggets - just give them their one tablespoon and then no more until the next day. Ensure you use an actual tablespoon measure rather than just estimating via a handful - far too easy to overdo it! A tablespoon of those nuggets amounts to around 10 nuggets per piggy (if ive remembered correctly).

One cup of veg per pig per day is absolutely fine.
Hi there,

I've reduced the nuggets to two tablespoons per day and wow they're munching them down now they're in shorter supply! Have been very strict and I'd say they're enjoying munching more hay which is fab. I've also weighed them daily and their weights were 428g (Rolo) and 445g (Boogie) on Monday and since then they've both been gradually increasing so I'm really relieved that they're both gaining weight well. I called the vet on Monday and they recommended that (as the snow is really bad where we are) we try some more anti-inflammatory for Rolo as well as just washing their fleeces and things with water only and gently wiping Rolo's nose with cooled boiled water. These wee steps have made quite a difference and Rolo is way more vocal now. We're getting to see more and more of her personality which is amazing. She's still sneezing from time to time so we're still booked in to see the vet for a health check tomorrow afternoon. I've not been brave enough to try to determine their gender but I'll maybe recruit my partner to help with that later this evening! We've also not given them any more alfalfa hay.

Many thanks for all of your help and advice, it's been really helpful!
All the best,
Kerry
 

Piggies&buns

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That’s good, the more hay they eat the better their health will be.
Let us know how things go with the vet check.
 

KoalaGuinea

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Hi there! Apologies for the late reply! I took my two wee ones along to the vet a couple of weeks back and the vet recommended that we didn't proceed with antibiotics as Rolo was well in herself. She said that antibiotics in piggies, especially young piggies, can upset their digestive system and as Rolo is so well in herself, we don't want to upset things. The vet advised us to wash her fleece and things with plain water and a little vinegar, in case there is a sensitivity to the laundry detergent. She believes that it is more of a sensitivity problem than an infection which is fantastic news but makes it tricky to figure out what it could possibly be! Has anyone else experienced anything similar with their piggies? Boogie was totally fine and they were both pretty much given a full bill of health. Since then, Rolo is still sneezing and I'm wiping her wee nose with cooled boiled water and a cotton bud. I'm hoping that it's something that she will perhaps grow out of as she gets more exposure to any potential sensitivities.
 

Siikibam

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What soap are you using? To be honest you’re not going to be able to clean the fleece properly without soap.

Antibiotics can upset the digestive system but it’s not just in young piggies that this happens. If she still has discharge when she sneezes I’d have that checked out. Be careful when wiping her nose. Do you only wipe the outside?
 

KoalaGuinea

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Not using any soap at all just some vinegar and water in the washing machine. Yeah she still has a little from time to time and when it's there I gently wipe with a damp cotton pad on the outside - never up the nose don't worry!
 

KoalaGuinea

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Does anyone have experience with a piggy that had hay stuck up its wee nose? I feel that Rolo isn't really improving, still very sneezy but Boogie is grand. Rolo is also really active and eating and drinking well but I can hear it when she sniffs that there is obstruction - be it hay or nasal secretions - in her nose. Just wondering if there is anything else to look out for/do?

Thank y'all!
All the best,
Kerry
 

Siikibam

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If you think there’s something stuck up there then you should get her to the vet. The sneezing can be looking into as well.
 

KoalaGuinea

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When I took her to the vet before they said it would be really tricky to tell if there's something stuck up her nostril and they wouldn't want to do too much about it as she's so young and her airway is so small. She's still very sneezy- sounds like a baby's sneeze if that makes sense - so just don't know what to do for the best!
 
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