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Respiratory Infection Advice Please

Discussion in 'Health & Illness' started by Elsie's pigs, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. Elsie's pigs

    Elsie's pigs New Born Pup

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    Hi, I need some advice please.

    I have never owned guinea pigs before and I admit that I do tend to worry! I have 2 indoor pigs who are around 6 months old. One of my pigs (Ginger's) breathing had been noisy for a few days, I took her to our usual vet and he said her lungs were clear and he thought it might be an allergy (I had changed to hay from a local farm which in hindsight did seem a little dusty). I have since cleared all of the old hay from their room and have replaced it with hay from dustfreehay.com. The evening before Easter Sunday I noticed a little yellow snot/mucus like stuff around Ginger's nose. The day after I took them out for lap time and Ginger had a small wet patch around her nose, my other pig (Pickles) sneezed and some clear fluid came out of her nose too. I took them to the emergency vets on Easter Sunday as I was worried that it may be a respiratory infection.

    The emergency vet gave them both Baytril 2.5%. 0.2ml each twice a day for 5 days (they are both around 750g). I was slightly concerned when he said that I could put in in their water (and this straight after a discussion about them never drinking much water!). I opted for syringing! My worry is that as an emergency vet he hasn't much piggie experience. They have now finished their prescribed course, Ginger's breathing is better but still a little noisy. They are both eating and behaving normally.

    - Is a 5 day course really enough? I do have some of the Baytril left over, should I continue to treat them so they have a seven day course then review?
    - We are away all Saturday and a dose will be missed, can I double the morning dose to make up for it?
    - Pickles seems fine but does she need treating while Ginger still has the infection?
    - Are they old enough for Baytril at 6 months? Ginger is a Rex and I believe that they grow for longer than a normal pig, is this a consideration?
    - What are the chances that it really is an allergy or even a heart condition?

    Sorry for all the questions, I just want to make sure that I have the right information if I need to go back to our usual vet. Our vet was chosen on the recommendation of a pig owning member of staff at Pets At Home (recommended over the store's own vets). On their website guinea pigs are mentioned quite a lot but I notice that he is not on this sites list of vets. How can I tell if he knows his stuff about guineas?

    Thanks for any help or advice you can give me.
     
  2. Lady Kelly

    Forum Donator 2015/16

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    First things first, do not treat on spec and do not double up on doses.

    Unfortunately baytril tends to be the most commonly prescribed yet least effective antibiotic. I would be booking a vet's appointment asap for further investigation and treatment. If you don't trust the vet try the vet locator in the top bar otherwise visit your usual vet and ask them outright how often they treat guinea pigs. Is it several a day, week, month or less often. I find picking up on whether vet's know their stuff comes from experience and the more times you visit
     
  3. Elsie's pigs

    Elsie's pigs New Born Pup

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    Thanks for your reply. I have called my usual vet, via a nurse he says that there is no need for him to see the pigs. He has extended the course of Baytril just for Ginger and says that it is the only antibiotic available for guinea pigs. Does this sound ok?
     
  4. Wiebke

    Wiebke Moderator
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    Please complete the course of baytril as prescribed. Do not double up for missed doses. If there is a deterioration during the time (the breathing becomes worse and your piggy is suddenly apathetic) please see a vet asap. If you are worried, have your piggies checked again at the end of the treatment to see whether the airways are clear.

    If the poos are soft or the appetite is affected, then please give a pinch pf probiotic about 1-2 hours after the antibiotic, either on a bit of veg or syringe it dissolved in 1 ml of water. Don't give more than a quarter of a syringe at any time (in adult piggies it is about half a 1 ml syringe full) and allow them time to swallow and process any food first. This is about a mouthful. Especially with respiratory issues you do not want to risk anything going down the wrong way.

    Baytril is about as horrible tasting as it can get. If you struggle, mix the baytril with the same amount of ribena to help cover the taste.

    Baytril is unfortunately still the only officially licensed antibiotic in guinea pigs, but there are more antibiotics that can be safely used. You may need to sign a form if you use unlicensed medication on your pets. However, baytril is still by far the most used antibiotic in guinea pigs and it is still the most used for respiratory problems, which are unfortunately not at all rare in stressed young shop piggies whose immune system is not yet fully developed when their lives are upturned several times in short order.

    A vet who says that baytril is the only antibiotic for guinea pigs is generally a general vet; some general vet chains have access to an exotics/small animal specialist affiliated with their chain online these days.
    P@h have hooked up with a low budget vet chain, so you wouldn't have got any better prescription. You can still reclaim your vet cost if exposure to the infection has happened at the shop and the infection has cropped up shortly afterwards.

    There are good vets our there, and there are new vets all the time. On our vet locator on the top bar we have listed those vets we can be sure that you are in competent hands, but we simply do not have the resources to go round and check every vet in this country out as to how piggy savvy they are nor is that our primary aim!
    It is often potluck how good vet care is in terms of guinea pigs in your local area. Guinea pigs are official classed as an exotic pet, but they are not exciting enough and too common for many exotics vets, so they are unfortunately still falling a bit in between chairs even though vet care has improved a lot in recent years and is continuing to improve, but its very nature, it is gradual and patchy. :(

    If you want to see a piggy savvy vet, you may need to travel. I certainly have to; my general vets are OK (and they are the best in the city), but anything potentially dental or requiring an operation I am taking my piggy to another town, having learned the hard way. My local vets are thankfully OK with that as the head vet has admitted that he is would be rather out of his depth with most of the problems I have taken to a vet who specialises in guinea pigs.

    Our list of recommended vets may be incomplete, but it is the best we can do; we try to update where possible as recommendations from members whose experience/judgement we can trust come in. Beyond that, you have to rely either on local recommendations, your own research/experiences - or travel.
     
  5. Elsie's pigs

    Elsie's pigs New Born Pup

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    Thank you so much, you have really put my mind at ease. I haven't had my piggies for long but I really do love them!

    Shropshire doesn't seem to have too many exotics vets and although I am happy with our usual vet for more common things, I would certainly travel to see a specialist if they needed it (hubby might think differently but he knows where he comes in the hierarchy!)

    Thanks again for your help
     
    Lady Kelly and sport_billy like this.
  6. Lady Kelly

    Forum Donator 2015/16

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    Vets can be so hit and miss which isn't helpful. My usual vet is a vets4pets practice which aren't known to be good but I followed my vet there from another practice. They have 2 very good small animal vets and one fairly good one too. They have also told me that another local vets4pets branch nearby has been set up by an exotics specialist who knows a lot about piggies which is useful. When I had problems with dental and respiratory problems for one of mine I drove the hour down the motorway to see Simon in Northampton. Sometimes the travel just has to be done for our furbabies :)
     

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