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Respiratory Problems - sick piggie

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Leigh P

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My 3 year old piggie, Fudge, has been off colour all day. This morning I noticed that he hadn't come out of his bedroom to eat breakfast, so checked on him. He seemed quiet but no noises etc, so I thought that maybe he was just a bit cold and didn't want to move from his warm spot. When I got back from work this afternoon, I cleaned out the hutch and made sure it was really dry throughout, then gave Fudge some hay water from a syringe just in case, then he ate some grass, spinach and chard. I thought the eating was good to keep his strength up, but noticed that he coughed once and sounded snuffly. In my experience, when my other piggies suddenly got these symptoms they went downhill fast.

I am not sure what to do now. I am going to bring in the hutch overnight to keep him from getting cold, and will give him some more water before bed, but apart from that is it just a waiting game? The last piggie that I took to the vets with the same symptoms was given an injection but the vet said (in hushed tones as my daughter was there) that she didn't think he'd make it... why the injection then? He died the next morning.

If anyone can give me some tips on what more I can do myself for Fudge over the next few days, then I'd be really grateful.

Also, I always buy my piggies from P@H as its the only pet place around here, but all my piggies have only lasted till about 3 years old. They are fed really well (I grow lots of stuff for them), but tend to get respiratory problems. Could this be an in-bred problem? They are cleaned out regularly (fully twice a week and new hay put in the bedroom every day). They are also in a hutch which sits inside a purpose built shelter, so hopefully not many draughts in the winter.... what am I doing wrong?!

Thanks, Leigh & Fudge
 

Laura-CCC4

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Sorry to hear Fudge doesn't seem well. It does sound like a respiratory infection is possible, allergies are possible but given the weather I am most inclined to believe an infection is more likely.

I would advise bringing him indoors, and I would strongly recommend keeping him indoors all winter for various reasons. The bedding needs to be a safe one - no woodshavings/sawdust as this can and probably will aggravate a respiratory condition.

Do ensure he keeps eating, worth weighing him daily, starting tonight, so you can be sure he is eating enough and is not losing weight.

I would advise that a vet visit is the next step. Respiratory infections are treatable if they are treated early and correctly. An antibiotic at the very least is needed - Septrin, Doxycycline, Zithromax, or as most commonly prescribed Baytril.

A secretolytic *may* be useful if mucus is involved (e.g. runny nose), in which case Bisolvon can be given alongside the antibiotic.

Finally, if the vet believes there is fluid in the lungs, or if Fudge worsens despite being given safe antibiotics, the administration of a diuretic should be discussed with the vet.

Any chance your vets is a late opening? I believe some practices have appointments as late as 8pm.
 

Leigh P

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Hi
Thanks for the info.

I will need to see if the vet is open tomorrow evening till about 6.30 cos thats the earliest I can get there (that's the problem with only having one car in the family!). Fudge and Chip are indoors now, but I can't leave them in permanently as I live in a really small house and at the moment they are on the kitchen work surface (with three cats on top of the hutch!).
I think we will try to clear some space in one of our sheds tomorrow so that at least they're not out in the weather in the daytime, but will still bring them in for the night when the temperature drops. Typically snow is forecast for the weekend.. what timing.

I nursed Fudge back to health from ringworm on his face and head (really bad case), and also from a virus when I thought he was a goner when I kept on feeding him watered down pellets and hay water, cutting grass etc... within a few days he had gained strength and made a comeback... I'm not giving up on him now!

Thanks again
Leigh
 

Laura-CCC4

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Bringing them indoors overnight and then back out during the day isn't really advisable I'm afraid, as the temperature fluctuations are too great and will predispose them to illness, especially respiratory infections.

If they are to be outdoors then a sheltered area is essential as you know, and I would advise having a read through this thread:
http://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=54309
 
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