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How long until a cold turns dangerous?

hysteria82

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About two weeks ago I bought 2 piggies from petco. Two days later they showed signs of an eye infections so I took them back so they could take them to the vet. They kept and treated them for 10 days. Other then the eye problem, at the time they both seemed fine (they were running around their cage pop corning, chasing each other, drinking water, eating their hay and food, etc).

Two days ago I got them back. The one was fully of piggie power, running around and playing, but the other one basically just wanted to hide in her cuddle sack. Having just gotten them back, I thought she was just scared (since she was drinking and eating normally) and decided to leave her alone for the day, but the next day I took them out to let them run around, and noticed that she seemed rather lethargic, especially compared to the other one who was running around like crazy. So I looked her over and her eyes seemed clear but there was a tiny bit of dried crust around her nose, so I decided that I would take her back to petco in the morning to have her checked out again by the vet, just to be safe.

This morning when I woke up, she was laying against the cage and she didn't respond when I poked her. She let me pick her up without any complaint. Her eyes were still clear and bright, but her nose had wet snot in the nostrils and when held her to my ear I could hear a slight rattling in her chest. I took her back to petco who promised they'd drive her to the vet within the hour.

My question is, based on the fact that she showed no signs of breathing problems two weeks ago and she's getting treatment today, will she probably be okay, or do colds his guinea pigs hard and fast? They said they'll call and tell me the results, but I just want to know what I should expect....
 

Sweet Potato

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I'm sorry they're giving you such a hard time. I have to admit it doesn't sound good guinea pigs hide their illness well so if she looked that ill she was probably very ill indeed. I'm no expert but I know repertory infections can be serious I just hope she pulls through and I'm glad you were able to get her to a vet so quickly.
 

Siikibam

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Guinea pigs don’t get colds. It’s a URI (upper respiratory infection). If I were you I would find an independent vet and charge them for the visits rather take them back there for treatment.

When they call you, ask them what treatment (medicine) she will be on for how long. Hopefully you have caught it quickly and the treatment will kick in soon. Do let us know how you get on.

PS I would double check to make sure they’re the same sex.
 

Wiebke

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About two weeks ago I bought 2 piggies from petco. Two days later they showed signs of an eye infections so I took them back so they could take them to the vet. They kept and treated them for 10 days. Other then the eye problem, at the time they both seemed fine (they were running around their cage pop corning, chasing each other, drinking water, eating their hay and food, etc).

Two days ago I got them back. The one was fully of piggie power, running around and playing, but the other one basically just wanted to hide in her cuddle sack. Having just gotten them back, I thought she was just scared (since she was drinking and eating normally) and decided to leave her alone for the day, but the next day I took them out to let them run around, and noticed that she seemed rather lethargic, especially compared to the other one who was running around like crazy. So I looked her over and her eyes seemed clear but there was a tiny bit of dried crust around her nose, so I decided that I would take her back to petco in the morning to have her checked out again by the vet, just to be safe.

This morning when I woke up, she was laying against the cage and she didn't respond when I poked her. She let me pick her up without any complaint. Her eyes were still clear and bright, but her nose had wet snot in the nostrils and when held her to my ear I could hear a slight rattling in her chest. I took her back to petco who promised they'd drive her to the vet within the hour.

My question is, based on the fact that she showed no signs of breathing problems two weeks ago and she's getting treatment today, will she probably be okay, or do colds his guinea pigs hard and fast? They said they'll call and tell me the results, but I just want to know what I should expect....
Hi!

HUGS

I am ever so sorry that you are going through this. Guinea pigs are small animals with a very fast metabolism. If there is an additional underlying factor in play that lowers the still not fully developed immune system further or they have caught one of the really nasty bugs, then guinea pigs can go downhill very quickly with truly frightening speed; at the worst in a matter of hours rather than a just a few days. :(

Once lethargy comes into play, it is generally a life or death situation with guinea pigs. The shop should have never sent her back in that state in the first place; a lethargic piggy is a VERY ill piggy indeed! I am ever so sorry to have to break this to you but please brace yourself for the fact that her body is most likely already well on the way of closing down if you can poke her not get a reaction. Concentrate on sending her your loving thoughts. :(

Has your piggy been support fed during treatment at the shop as the need to breathe comes before the need to drink and only thirdly the need to eat? Combine that with the fact that baytril (the basic standard antibiotic) does have a tendency to also affect the gut microbiome and can knock out the appetite so a piggy with respiratory illnesses often have to deal with a double whammy. :(
Please be aware that guinea pigs don't get viral colds like humans. URI (upper respiratory tract infection) is a bacterial infection with different symptoms to a human cold (which guinea pigs don't catch).
The problem with pet shop care is that you don't have any control over the level of care your piggy is getting (usually the absolute minimum). You can have her seen by vet of your choice and reclaim any fees from the pet shop if exposure and infection must have clearly happened at the shop as part of your customer rights of having been sold damaged ware. Pet shops are taking advantage of new owners not knowing their rights because it is a lot cheaper for them and the customer has legally a much less secure stand.

Here is more information on URI and on emergency/crisis care:
New guinea pigs: Sexing, vet checks&customer rights, URI, ringworm and parasites
Emergency, Crisis and Bridging Care until a Vet Appointment (you may want to bookmark this link in case of a severe illness or accident; it is one stop information thread for urgent crisis care and how to find a vet in a hurry).
 

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I’m so sorry that you are going through this. What is the news from the vets?
 

hysteria82

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Thanks for the well wishes. I'm still going to hope for the best, but it sounds like I need to brace for the worse. /sigh

All I can say about her treatment is they she was kept for 10 days, during which her eyes were treated with an antibiotic ointment. I don't know how well she was eating while with them, but I know yesterday she was eating both her pellets and her hay, as well as drinking water. Activity wise, yesterday she had tossed her toys around a little, and when out in the play area, had followed her piggie pal around for a little bit and nibbled on a box, though she had mostly sat in the corner. While in the cage, she was mostly hiding in her cuddle pouch but was able make it up and down the ramp to get to her food several times... It wasn't until this morning that I was worried about how unresponsive she was... I'm just hoping the fact that she was eating and moving around some yesterday means she still has some strength left to fight it.

I'll be calling before closing tonight to make sure she made it to the vet. I'll post an update once I know more.

Also, are upper respiratory tract infection contagious? My other piggie has been with the sick one for the past two days, plus I have two free range rabbits who have had contact with them through the cage bars, and I need to know if I have to worry about them getting sick.

I have thrown away the used toys, washed and soaked the food dish, water bottle, and litter box in hot water twice, and have washed all all of bedding, pillows, and lining with hot water in the washing machine, and dried it on hot in the dryer, so hopefully everything has been properly disinfected.
 

Siikibam

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It can be but doesn’t necessarily mean she would catch it. Don’t separate them when your other girl comes home as she’s already been exposed.

Please be aware that rabbits can pass on (serious) illnesses to guinea pigs. I would try and keep your piggies and bunnies separately if possible.

Hope it’s better news later, 🤞🏾for you.
 

Wiebke

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Thanks for the well wishes. I'm still going to hope for the best, but it sounds like I need to brace for the worse. /sigh

All I can say about her treatment is they she was kept for 10 days, during which her eyes were treated with an antibiotic ointment. I don't know how well she was eating while with them, but I know yesterday she was eating both her pellets and her hay, as well as drinking water. Activity wise, yesterday she had tossed her toys around a little, and when out in the play area, had followed her piggie pal around for a little bit and nibbled on a box, though she had mostly sat in the corner. While in the cage, she was mostly hiding in her cuddle pouch but was able make it up and down the ramp to get to her food several times... It wasn't until this morning that I was worried about how unresponsive she was... I'm just hoping the fact that she was eating and moving around some yesterday means she still has some strength left to fight it.

I'll be calling before closing tonight to make sure she made it to the vet. I'll post an update once I know more.

Also, are upper respiratory tract infection contagious? My other piggie has been with the sick one for the past two days, plus I have two free range rabbits who have had contact with them through the cage bars, and I need to know if I have to worry about them getting sick.

I have thrown away the used toys, washed and soaked the food dish, water bottle, and litter box in hot water twice, and have washed all all of bedding, pillows, and lining with hot water in the washing machine, and dried it on hot in the dryer, so hopefully everything has been properly disinfected.
Please read the green links in my first post! They will answer your question in more detail.

URI is contagious at close quarters but it typically only affects the young, the stressed (new pet shop piggies fulfill both of these, which is why they are extra vulnerable to it), the pregnant, the frail or old. Healthy piggies with a fully working immune system can usually fend it off and don't need quarantining. Separation is yet another added stress factor. Your companion has already been exposed to the bug for a number of days anyway.

However, when your baby was returned to you, she was clearly not quite right if she was noticeably less active than her mate, so that is factor #3 against her.
You can also not control the food intake by eye. Hay is making around 80% of what a piggy should eat in a day, but you need some kitchen scales to monitor the true food intake because you can see a piggy nibbling on a little hay or chewing on crud and miss entirely that they have hardly eaten anything. It is a common trap that new owners fall into and is discussed in better detail in the emergency care link. :(

Please take the time to read the green links in my first post. You will hopefully find them helpful as you are currently unfortunately in for a rather steep learning curve. Do your homework now while you are waiting to hear back as you need to keep busy anyway and it may help you save lives down the line - especially if the companion has also caught it. Hopefully they are stronger and can beat it off. ;)

I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed that your little girl can make it through but I prefer not to raise false hopes as that is going to be worse for you when it comes to the inevitable soul searching and feelings of guilt. Please pray for her but brace for bad news. You are quite obviously a caring owner who is confronted with a situation they they are not yet really equipped for.
 

hysteria82

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I just got a call from petco. They took her to three vets. The third one found fractures. How the hell did she get factures?! I mean, she was running around 2 weeks ago when I had her and she has been acting odd since I got her back, so doesn't that meant it happened on THEIR watch?! Sadly, the vet recommended that we have her put down, and I am pissed because this happened because I took her in for what should have been a simple eye infection and I get her back with a respiratory tract infection and broken bones?! Poor little Nifty deserved so much better then that.

I don't think it happened on my watch based on the time line but is my cage safe? I made it based on online recommendations but I can take down the second shelf if it's unsafe.

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Wiebke

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BIG HUGS

I am so very sorry! You can send a written complaint to the shop manager because it must have clearly happened at the shop - perhaps she has made a blind freak jump or has been accidentally dropped when being treated? Poor mite! :( :( :(

Can you get to one of the rescues in your or a surrounding state to find her a companion there instead of that shop?
This link contains the highly recommended non-kill good welfare standard rescues that have passed some pretty rigorous vetting criteria to make sure that you are in very safe hands and will only rehome a piggy that is properly sexed, guaranteed not pregnant and that has been brought back to full health.
Unfortunately anybody can call themselves a rescue (or a breeder) without licensing or control. Most US shelters don't provide any medical care and with any other petfinder rescues you are on your own to check their standard of care.
Here is the link Guinea Lynx :: US Guinea Pig Rescue and Shelter Organizations

Here is our information on what you can do for bereaved companions in the immediate and longer term. It also contains a human grieving guide to help you make sense of the often extremely strong and confusing emotions that are common for the onset of the grieving process - anger at a death caused by somebody else's fault can be one of them but at some point the adrenaline will run out and leave you feeling very blue.
Death, Dying, Terminal Illness, Grieving and Bereaved Companions: Information and Support for Owners and Their Children

You may want to think about some railings for the shelf and the ramp, especially with lively young piggies.

PS: I would however enquire after the name of last vet; they sound like you may want to use them in the future when you need to. Please save up for vet care as part of their weekly/monthly living cost.
 

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I am so sorry to hear what you have been through. This must have been so upsetting. My thoughts are with you.
 

hysteria82

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Does a tiny bit of snot mean upper respiratory infection?

I was tickling my remaining piggy's nose and she sneezed and a very tiny bit of snot came out onto my hand. Considering what happened with my other pig I'm taking her to a non-petco vet for a check up to be safe, but I need to know if a tiny bit of snot means I have to rush her to the emergency room or if a normal appointment should be fine.

She's eating, peeping, playing, drinking, and popcorning, her nose looks dry and her eyes are bright and she looks very healthy, but after just loosing her sister, I'm paranoid.
 

Piggies&buns

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Does a tiny bit of snot mean upper respiratory infection?

I was tickling my remaining piggy's nose and she sneezed and a very tiny bit of snot came out onto my hand. Considering what happened with my other pig I'm taking her to a non-petco vet for a check up to be safe, but I need to know if a tiny bit of snot means I have to rush her to the emergency room or if a normal appointment should be fine.

She's eating, peeping, playing, drinking, and popcorning, her nose looks dry and her eyes are bright and she looks very healthy, but after just loosing her sister, I'm paranoid.
Call the vet and explain the situation to them. An occasional sneeze can be because of something irritating the nose but given she has been exposed to the bacteria, then they may wish to see her. You will need to continue to keep an eye out for symptoms though

I know siikibam has mentioned it, but please don’t let rabbits anywhere near guinea pigs. They shouldn’t share the same air space. Rabbits can pass on some very serious illnesses to guinea pigs.
i keep rabbits and piggies and have to be incredibly careful to never let them be in the same air space together, no equipment cross contamination etc and also make sure I deal with the piggies so I don’t ever risk transferring anything from the rabbits to the piggies
 

Sweet Potato

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sorry for your loss. the cage looks ok to me, the ramp is a similar set up to mine but my piggy's are quite used to using a ramp. If you're worried you could add some sort of barrier along the side of the ramp to stop them jumping as they don't have great depth perception and can hurt themselves just by being clumsy little monsters.

I think it's a good idea to get your other piggie checked out anyway. I'm no expert on this subject but I wouldn't be too worried until they start showing other symptoms.
 

hysteria82

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An occasional sneeze may be normal, but is having a tiny bit of snot normal? or do they normally only have snot when sick?

And thanks for the info about the bunnies. I read up about keeping bunnies and piggies together before I got them, but the article only mentioned that it was best to keep them sperate due to food requirements and size difference... might have tried a chinchilla or rat instead if I had know that... I'll be sure to make sure to keep them apart.
 

Piggies&buns

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An occasional sneeze may be normal, but is having a tiny bit of snot normal? or do they normally only have snot when sick?

And thanks for the info about the bunnies. I read up about keeping bunnies and piggies together before I got them, but the article only mentioned that it was best to keep them sperate due to food requirements and size difference... might have tried a chinchilla or rat instead if I had know that... I'll be sure to make sure to keep them apart.
It would be best to have any nasal discharge checked out particularly if further symptoms come to light given her exposure.
 
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