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Is this normal or abnormal breathing?

Katie A

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Hi everyone!

I'm a new guinea pig owner of two boars named Leo and Odi. I have been to the vet 3 times over the past 2 weeks (two different vets). Both vets agreed he had a slight URI and he took antibiotics for 2 weeks. His energy and appetite improved after the antibiotics, and he's only been off them for 2 days. I still feel he breathes heavily compared to my other piggie. The vets say he "looks great" and they've listened to his heart multiple times each vet visit and can't find anything that seems off. However, this is my first time having guinea pigs so maybe I just don't know what is normal or not. Currently, his appetite and energy are fine. His weight is stable. I just don't like his breathing, but maybe it's nothing.

Two videos while eating.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UgsaWw88oBQH8M5M184pj57JuARNojwb/view?usp=sharing

https://drive.google.com/file/d/13i0-OfoW9jnLELAyecPw1uvZFU4gDP44/view?usp=sharing

Resting

Can you please keep the volume off on this one! There is a lot of background talking. Sorry!

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1OwxfGCCdl2imcpUpJXK_DDx2suEcB78N/view?usp=sharing

In this one he is also making a noise that I'm not sure what it is. He makes this noise a lot while sitting alone.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1XT48DXTti3oCZHk3lVOZyuAWc8S5Uc5n/view?usp=sharing

Thank you!
 

tabelmabel

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Oooh i dont know but i have a worrying breather too and i have had pigs for years.

I *think* they should be silent when breathing. All my other pigs have been silent and now i have a snuffler whose sides pop in and out like your Leo's.

I personally dont think it's normal but I'm not a vet and my story is similar to yours.

I'm nebulising. But i dont know if it's helping!

I will be interested to see what more experienced members and the forum health experts think on this one
 
D

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The last one I'm pretty sure is teeth chattering. They do it when annoyed and when they are in pain. Probably the first annoyed at something
 

Siikibam

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Have you made sure there are no irritants in their room? Such as perfumes, scented candles etc? And their hay isn’t too dusty?

I see his chest seems to move quite a bit when he’s breathing. Is it accompanied by any wheezy sounds? I’ve no experience so not sure how you can move forward. If both the vets are experienced then I don’t know that seeing another would be of benefit. What did they say about his breathing?

I’ll tag @Wiebke @VickiA
 

Katie A

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Thanks for the replies everyone!

There are no irritants in the room (they are in my bedroom). I wash their fleece with unscented detergent. I change the fleece every 2-3 days with smaller fleece pee pads that I change daily. I do wonder about the hay dust. I buy 2nd cutting Timothy hay in 20 lb boxes. I just finished one box and opened a new one this morning so we'll see if that makes any difference. I also keep an air purifier next to their cage and try to vacuum every few days.

I have not noticed any wheezing noises. He used to cough a lot, but that seems to have calmed down after the antibiotics. I still hear it every now and then but not nearly as much as before the medicine. The vets were just not too concerned with the breathing. They both said his heartbeat was "really fast" but that it was probably because he was nervous at the vet. Overall, neither seemed too concerned about it. On Tuesday, the vet gave me a anti-inflammatory/pain med to try for 5 days to see if that helps any. I have not noticed any difference but it's only been 2 days.

Oh, the main vet is really anti-fleece. He keeps saying to put them on newspaper? He says fleece has dust, but I don't see how fleece is dusty? He also said he does sound a bit congested when compared to Odi, my other piggie, but still said it is fine to stop the antibiotic. Another thing is Leo's size. I got Odi and Leo at the same time and Odi has gotten huge! Leo looks like a baby compared to him. But maybe he's just tiny. I did send all those videos to both vets but haven't heard anything back yet. Mostly I'm just left feeling overly anxious about them as they say he "looks great and healthy." I've had them almost 3 months and I think his breathing has always been like that, but I just didn't notice at first till he started getting lethargic right before the antibiotics.

Oh, and as for the teeth chattering. Hmm....I don't know what could be irritating him? He seems to only do that when he goes into his cube for resting. I wish he could tell me. haha!
 

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Siikibam

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Are the vets experienced in treating guinea pigs? Regarding the fleece comment, it may be that’s what the vet is ‘used’ to. I hope whatever it is stops or you can get to the bottom of it.
 
D

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I have had a pig in the past that had constant crackly breathing from his nose, it would go away with a course of antibiotic and then weeks later it would come back. I can't remember what the vet said in the end fully, but it was some sort of chronic rhinitis type problem that was caused by the previous owner not treating a uri fast enough. Not sure how true this is because it wasn't a Guinea pig specialist vet who told me this and it was a long time ago. Anyway I had this pig (pip) from age 2 and he lived to a good old age of 6
 

Katie A

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Yep, the vets seem to be pretty experienced with guinea pigs/exotics. They have a whole website page dedicated to them and most of the google reviews are about exotics. One even has a separate entrance/waiting room just for them. Hmm....that is really interesting about the chronic rhinitis. Do you remember if you just quit giving the antibiotics all together? Yeah, I hope I can find some solution for him! I hate to see him breathing so hard all the time. :/
 

Katie A

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**Update**
So yesterday afternoon I started to notice that Leo was getting quiet again and his appetite was going down and he was starting to hide again. Talked to the vet this morning and he wants to do 3 more weeks of antibiotics. He was starting to feel so much better till we stopped the antibiotics on Tuesday. Hopefully this next round will knock this out.
 

tabelmabel

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Fingers crossed it works @Katie A - my 4 month old was on 6 weeks anti bs. 2 weeks septrin and 4 weeks doxycycline.

Her chest infection cleared but she stayed noisy in the upper respiratory tract. Off anti bs one week and then subdued again.

Back to vet, chest clear apparently.


I'm nebulising F10 and she has actually picked right up again but i dont know if she will ever breathe quietly.


Please let us know how leo goes - i really hope he makes a full recovery and breathes silently after all the anti bs are finished!
 

Katie A

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@tabelmabel Thank you so much! Happy to hear that your little piggie is feeling somewhat better despite the noisy breathing. It is so sad to watch them not feeling well. Is the nebulising something your vet recommended or did you decide to try it yourself? I need to read more about it as I'm not entirely sure what is involved with that. I'll let you know how he's doing. Hopefully the antibiotics will perk him up some. :)
 

tabelmabel

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@Katie A - initially when i took ebony to the vet, she didnt have a chest infection and the only symptom was noisy breathing.

So the vet thought it was an environmental cause and nebulising would help (as well as hay and bedding changes)

When it progressed to pneumonia and she went onto anti bs, nebulising wasnt advised by the vet for that but i had read about it on this forum i think and had seen about the antiseptic F10 that can help kill bugs in the upper airway.

So i asked my vet and he said i couldnt do any harm nebulising F10.




I dont know if it helps - all i can say is that ebony loves it! Initially i tried putting her in a carrier and making a nebulisation chamber but she seemed scared in there.

So i just hold her on my knee and use the mask - she thrusts her whole face right in there! In all honesty, i cant see that it brings any instant relief but she does like it in there.

I do twice a day for 20 mins each time so it is time consuming on my knee.


The stuff i use is F10 antiseptic (not to be confused with F10 detergent which is for cleaning cages and not ok to nebulise)


It needs diluted at one part f10 to 250 parts water.

Hope that helps
 

Katie A

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@tabelmabel Thank you so much for explaining that! I'm in crisis mode with him right now. He quit eating entirely yesterday so I've been syringe feeding him (my first time ever doing this). I'm only managing about 5mL per session. :( I'm going to try to do it every 2 hours or so today. He's really having a hard time breathing. I put some steaming water next to his cage. He's on the antibiotic and the anti-inflammatory. Hopefully the meds kick in soon.
 

Katie A

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When do I know if he needs emergency care or not? He is on the meds and getting syringe fed. His breathing is just worrying me, but I know that won't clear up until the antibiotics start to work.
 

tabelmabel

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Oh dear - sorry to hear this. Have you got pro biotics too? These can make a massive difference in keeping the gut flora going. They can be added in with your critical care syringe feed but need to be given either an hour before or an hour after the anti biotic.

(Otherwise the anti biotic kills off the probiotic)


What anti biotic have you got? And what dose?


I'm not a heath expert on the forum. Maybe @Wiebke can look in and offer some tips for the best outcome.


I did have a pig in the past that had a very acute uri, sides sucking in and out, not eating, had baytril and made a good recovery. Once the anti b kicks in, it can be incredible.


In the meantime, keep leo with his cagemate. Dont put them outside no matter how good your weather, keep leo indoors draught free. A cozy hidey so he can recuperate and rest up.


It is such a stressful time. Will keep my fingers crossed that he pulls through.

@Siikibam will also know better than me about when to dash leo back to the emergency vets
 

Katie A

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Thank you so much! He is about 5 (maybe 6) months old. He is taking SMZ/TMP antibiotic at 0.35 mL twice a day. He weighs about 1.45 lb which I think would be around 679 g? He is also taking meloxicam at 0.2 mL once a day. It is the same antibiotic he started a little over 2 weeks ago. After about 3 days on it he started feeling great again. I hope that is the case this time. I started it yesterday, so he's only had 2 doses so far. Thank you for the advice on the probiotics! I just got some Bene-Bac (I think is a USA only brand), and I'll start giving that to him tonight with his critical care feeding.

His cagemate, Odi, is super worried about him. He keeps sleeping right in front of his hidey. Usually they sleep on opposite ends of the cage. I'm still only managing about 5 - 6 mL of syringe feeding at once. Any more and he starts fighting it. I've only gotten up to maybe 25 - 30 mL in the last almost 24 hours. I'm going to do it every 2 hours today. Last night he was eating it off the spoon, but today he is less interested. I'll keep you posted!
 

VickiA

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When was he last seen by the vet and when is he next due to see the vet?
 

Katie A

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He was last seen on Tuesday, which is when the vet said to stop the antibiotics because he was feeling better. Wednesday he was fine. Thursday he started to get bad again. I called the vet yesterday and that is when they re-prescribed the antibiotics for another 2 weeks and extended the anti-inflammatory for an extra week. I don't currently have a follow-up scheduled, but they want to finish the 2 weeks of antibiotics before seeing him again.
 

VickiA

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If you feel that he is deteriorating I would ask the vet to see him again. He may need a different antibiotic.
 

Katie A

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Hmm okay! It has now just passed 24 hours since re-starting the antibiotic, so hopefully by tomorrow he will start to feel a bit better. Thank you! :)
 
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