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Sick Pig With A Uri - Anyone Have Advice?

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alli081

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Hi everyone,
I only just joined on here but I have a very urgent question.
I'm from Queensland, Australia, and I have 4 rescue pigs (2 boys and 2 girls - they don't mix with each other).
One of my male pigs Cosmo has got a lung infection. He wasn't eating much on Friday and wasn't out in the cage with his cage-mate like he usually is, and he had crusty eyes and was breathing abnormally.I didn't have time to call the vet as I had to go to school but I checked him when I got home and he seemed the same.
We took him to the vet on Saturday and she diagnosed him with a lung infection and prescribed 0.25 baytril (twice a day), and another antibiotic I can't remember. She said that there was little to no chance of survival as he is already quite a way through the illness. We also were given 2 satchels of Critical Care (up to 15ml a day) as he wasn't eating. We are currently syringe-feeding him the Critical Care mix 4 times a day, as well as baytril and the other antibiotic twice a day also by syringe. We also are giving him vitamin C. I woke up every hour on Saturday night to check on him and he slept in my room.
We decided to keep him and his cage-mate upstairs for observation over the weekend. By Sunday, he was eating some vegetables willingly and was taking the Critical Care without a fight. He was also more active but still a lot more lethargic than normal. One of his eyes also had some crust.
By today, he is eating celery and corn husks, and we fed him the Critical Care this morning, but everyone in my household works so there is no one at home with him. We put him in his outdoor cage for the day with fresh hay and no sawdust as I thought that might aggravate his lungs.
Does anyone have any advice/experience with URIs?
His cage-mate (Ice Cream) isn't sick and neither are my other two.
 
D

DM030819

URI's can kill if they're not treated but you've got him on antibiotics and are looking after him, so he has a good chance of survival.

It can take a few days for the antibiotics to take effect but you should start to see improvements from today, and by your post he sees to be getting better already.

Monitoring his weight and making sure he's eating, drinking, peeing and pooping is essential. If he's losing weight then you need to increase the hand feeding, if he's eating on his own then you can ease back a bit.

Baytril can sometimes affect appetite so it's worth giving a probiotic about 1.5 hours after the meds.

It would be both swapping the sawdust bedding to something like woodshavings as sawdust can get up their nose and cause issues.

How long has he been prescribed Baytril for? I've had pigs that have taken about 21 days of Baytril to recover fully so you may need a recheck and another lot from the vet.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

You are doing great! Your dedicated care is making all the difference.

The need to breathe comes before the need to drink and thirdly the need to eat. Please keep in mind that around 80% of the daily food intake should be hay, so weigh him once daily and continue to top him up with syringe feed, as much as he will take for as long as necessary. The more he can eat in one go, the less often you need to feed. Also offer him as much water as possible.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Keep a bowl of steaming water next to his cage to help ease the breathing or steam up your shower and use that as an improvised nebuliser. It may be worth asking your vet for a diuretic to help drain the lungs and some mucus-thinning bisolvon powder to clear the airways. It may take more than one course of antibiotic to clear a bad URI or pneumonia, but you are moving in the right direction; it is very encouraging that your piggy is reacting to the antibiotics.

You can also give him exta vitamin C to help boost his immune system. If you don't have oxbow vitamin C tablets, give an extra 1/8-1/4 of a human tablet by syringe dissolved in a little water.

Generally, healthy, well kept adult companions can fend off a bacterial URI; stressed out shop babies whose immune system has not yet fully developed when their lives are upturned and they are several times separated from their groups are most liable to pick it up if there has been exposure.
 

alli081

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Hi everyone, he's not doing any worse today, although I think he's starting to get sick of the Critical Care. He is eating some vegetables on his own, particularly lettuce and celery leaves.

His poo today has turned mushy, and I did some reading and found that it's a side effect of Baytril or could be an antibiotic intolerance, I'm not sure if he needs an alternative like Bactrim.

On Saturday the vet said that guinea pig poo is often rich in probiotics and to feed him with his healthy cage-mate's poo (it sounds awful when I say it like that) which I've been doing crushed up and mixed with warm water and some critical care.

I have stopped putting sawdust in their cage, I'm now only using newspaper and Oxbow hay. I am however, still using sawdust in my girls' cage as they are all healthy and have a habit of eating newspaper.

Jaycey, the vet said he should be on it for 10 days, but I'm taking him back to the vet tomorrow as his laboured breathing isn't getting any better and will ask for another bottle then.

Thanks for the advice Weibke, I have some Oxbow vitamin C but he absolutely refuses to eat or even go near them, whole or crushed up. I'll try using some human ones instead.

I attached a photo of my gorgeous boy taken a while before he got sick.

Photo on 25-05-2015 at 6.42 pm.jpg
 

Swissgreys

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Nothing more to add medically, but just wanted to offer some encouragement.
You are doing a brilliant job, and your boy is just beautiful.
 

Wiebke

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Hang on in there!

Apart from 'poo soup' (always use fresh healthy poos from a companion; it mimics natural behaviour from recovering guinea pigs) you can additionally give a pinch of probiotic powder from a pet shop either 1 hour before or after the antibiotic, which not only works in the airways but also on the gut fauna. Ideally you give caecotrophs (redigestible poos), but they are not at all easy to get hold of as this is the way guinea pigs run all their fibrous food through the guts twice to get the best nutritional value out of the hay and grass. But even normal poos still contain plenty of the "right" stuff! It sounds like your vet is well up on guinea pigs and you are in good hands!

I would also offer some very rough fibre in the form of brown cardboard; guinea pigs whose guts have gone out of balance seem to crave it to help rebalance them.
 

Tiamolly123

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Hi & Welcome to our friendly forum.
You are doing all the right things at the moment, I'm sure your piggy will be back to good health in no time.
 

Stewybus

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I hope your boy is responding to treatment. If he's on Baytril please ask your vet for some Cisapride as this will help against the harsh effects it can have on some piggies tummies. I have recently (last 3 months) been using a nebulizer for treating URI's and this has proved far more effective that a week or more on antibiotics. At the most just 2 x 20 minute sessions & it's gone. With some piggies just one session is enough. Ask your vet if they have one but in real terms they are well worth their weight in gold. The one I have plus the fluid cost about £60 (not sure what that is in Aus $)Rhubarb - Nebulizer 2017-01-16.jpg
 

alli081

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Thanks for the advice on cardboard Weibke, they all love cardboard even when not sick.

Thanks for the support tiamolly123, and thanks for the suggestion Stewybus.

He isn't any better today, his breathing is worsening, he now isn't eating the critical care even with a syringe, he is storing it in his mouth and not chewing. He did eat a little bit of lettuce this morning and he did 3 very small, non-mushy, singular poos. We're taking him back to the vet this afternoon, so we'll see what she says then
 

alli081

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Hi everyone. Cosmo passed today on the way to the vet. It was horrific, I won't go into details. The vet said he passed peacefully. He crossed the rainbow bridge in my arms and with his cage-mate. We buried him near his cage and said some words. On the weekend we're going to get a small tree or plant to put over the grave.

It was the most awful experience in my life and I haven't stopped crying all evening. I also cut some of his hair to keep in a plastic bag. Although I didn't know what to do, I feel responsible. I feel like I should've done something. I think I'm going to go to counselling.

We put Ice Cream (his cage mate) back in the outdoor cage. Our vet suggested castrating him and putting him with our other 2 girl pigs for a trial, and if that doesn't work then getting a younger boar. Now, I'm focused on him and keeping him happy.

Thanks for the advice everyone. He had a predisposition to lung infections as he always had a little cough, and I guess that made him really vulnerable to respiratory infections. He had a long life (around 5-6 years). I hope I made him happy in the time I owned him. It was terrible watching him suffer, and I'm glad he's not in pain and not struggling to breathe anymore. I will always remember and love him.

Happy to keep this thread open for anyone who wants to read.
 

Gem789

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Hi everyone. Cosmo passed today on the way to the vet. It was horrific, I won't go into details. The vet said he passed peacefully. He crossed the rainbow bridge in my arms and with his cage-mate. We buried him near his cage and said some words. On the weekend we're going to get a small tree or plant to put over the grave.

It was the most awful experience in my life and I haven't stopped crying all evening. I also cut some of his hair to keep in a plastic bag. Although I didn't know what to do, I feel responsible. I feel like I should've done something. I think I'm going to go to counselling.

We put Ice Cream (his cage mate) back in the outdoor cage. Our vet suggested castrating him and putting him with our other 2 girl pigs for a trial, and if that doesn't work then getting a younger boar. Now, I'm focused on him and keeping him happy.

Thanks for the advice everyone. He had a predisposition to lung infections as he always had a little cough, and I guess that made him really vulnerable to respiratory infections. He had a long life (around 5-6 years). I hope I made him happy in the time I owned him. It was terrible watching him suffer, and I'm glad he's not in pain and not struggling to breathe anymore. I will always remember and love him.

Happy to keep this thread open for anyone who wants to read.
I'm very sorry for your loss, you really did your best for him xx
 

Lorcan

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Hi everyone. Cosmo passed today on the way to the vet. It was horrific, I won't go into details. The vet said he passed peacefully. He crossed the rainbow bridge in my arms and with his cage-mate. We buried him near his cage and said some words. On the weekend we're going to get a small tree or plant to put over the grave.

It was the most awful experience in my life and I haven't stopped crying all evening. I also cut some of his hair to keep in a plastic bag. Although I didn't know what to do, I feel responsible. I feel like I should've done something. I think I'm going to go to counselling.

We put Ice Cream (his cage mate) back in the outdoor cage. Our vet suggested castrating him and putting him with our other 2 girl pigs for a trial, and if that doesn't work then getting a younger boar. Now, I'm focused on him and keeping him happy.

Thanks for the advice everyone. He had a predisposition to lung infections as he always had a little cough, and I guess that made him really vulnerable to respiratory infections. He had a long life (around 5-6 years). I hope I made him happy in the time I owned him. It was terrible watching him suffer, and I'm glad he's not in pain and not struggling to breathe anymore. I will always remember and love him.

Happy to keep this thread open for anyone who wants to read.
I am so sorry, losing him after putting in all that effort probably feels like a slap to the face, but you couldn't have done any more than you did. If this thread is anything to go by you gave him a great home and a great life, and that's all anyone can ever hope for.
 

Tiamolly123

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I am so sorry for your loss alli, everything was going so well,
Sleep tight little Cosmo,
Run free over the rainbow bridge :luv:

You didn't fail him, you did everything right, sometimes despite your care they leave you.
Crying all the time its normal you ask anyone on this forum including me, & we have all broken down Hun. Sending lots of love to you, remember the good times you had, & the nutty things he used to do,you will do once you have finished mourning.
I think I would have your other one indoors he will go through a period of mourning too. He will want his mum
Take care.
 
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Freela

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I'm really sorry for your loss. It sounds as though you did everything you possibly could. Unfortunately, sometimes their bodies are not able to fight it off in spite of our best efforts. Many ((HUGS)) to you.
 

alli081

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I am so sorry, losing him after putting in all that effort probably feels like a slap to the face, but you couldn't have done any more than you did. If this thread is anything to go by you gave him a great home and a great life, and that's all anyone can ever hope for.
Thanks Lorcan xx
 

alli081

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I am so sorry for your loss alli, everything was going so well,
Sleep tight little Cosmo,
Run free over the rainbow bridge :luv:

You didn't fail him, you did everything right, sometimes despite your care they leave you.
Crying all the time its normal you ask anyone on this forum including me, & we have all broken down Hun. Sending lots of love to you, remember the good times you had, & the nutty things he used to do,you will do once you have finished mourning.
I think I would have your other one indoors he will go through a period of mourning too. He will want his mum
Take care.
Thanks for the beautiful words and advice.
We did have him indoors but when we buried Cosmo under the trees near the cage (my mum was holding him) he seemed very eager to get back into the outdoor cage, squirming and wriggling like he always does. He seemed alright when we put him in there. Plus the 2 girls are directly underneath him so he can hear them talking.
I'm also having the day off to spend with him today. I just can't believe Cosmo's gone.
 
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