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Very Poorly Young Guinea Pig, Please Advise.

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Raff :-)

Junior Guinea Pig
Jan 2, 2015
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Warwickshire, UK
Hello Snowflake my 3 month old guinea pig has very poorly breathing. Today should have been a lovely day as we moved our two guinea pigs from their 120 cage into their new c&c 4x2 cage last night. Snowflake has always been smaller than Sven but today when we went downstairs to see them snowflake was breathing very hard and almost flattened to the floor.
I weighed him and he had only put on a 1g of weight. We went straight to the vet and the kept him in and started antibiotics and supreme recovery. They let him out 7 hours later saying he hadn't got any worse but it would take 48 hours for the antibiotics to work and be prepared just in case.
I have been feeding him frequently and my daughter managed to give him a thin slice of cucumber to eat. At the moment he has climbed out of his snuggle had a walk around and snuggled up the arm of my dressing gown. He has washed himself just too. Is it a good sign that he has eaten the cucumber , moved around and washed, I'm clinging to hope it is. I'm sleeping downstairs with him tonight.
Also Sven, Snowflakes piggie companion, looks like he his missing his friend and our usually speedy, but nervous piggie is just sitting in the middle of his new cage.
Sorry I'm rambling but so worried about both of them. Any advice will be greatly welcomed. Thank you
Sending you my vibes! I agree with helen that having Sven with Snowflake is better; it will stress him out less. A healthy piggy is usually able to fend off URI - if it is that.

Are Snowflake's sides heaving when he is breathing?
Hi thank you for replying.
The vet didn't mention if there was any mucous, but did say his chest is very bad and crackly, so that could be the mucous. On the bill there is 0.05ml convenia sc is that the antibiotic? I am syringe feeding him and got more sachets to carry on tonight and tomorrow. I read the hand feeding link which was very useful.
I read somewhere on one of the links about steam in 5secs exposures is useful, but I don't want to make him feel worse.
@Wiebke am I right in thinking there have been issues on here with Convenia?

Yes, steam therapy is good, the 5 second thing is if you have a steam inhaler but if not you can place a bowl next to the cage with boiling water and 2 drops of Olbas oil.
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I cannot believe they have sent him home if he is still poorly.

Is he still being given a course of antibiotics? I hope the vet has not just sent him home without medication. Make sure he is being kept hydrated as if they are poorly sometimes they do not eat or drink much. He needs to keep hydrated so that his body can fight the illness. Also make sure he is getting enough to eat to keep his strength up. Critical care food will be needed but you have to be so careful when they cannot breathe very well and you are syringe feeding. If he has any favourite foods, make sure he gets those to encourage his eating.

Make sure that he is kept warm and not stressed. A new cage may stress him out too much at this stage, if he is ill. They do like familiar surroundings. A bigger cage may also be stressful to his cagemate when his companion is not with him. More space is not always good when they are poorly as they like the familiar. Maybe he could be put at the side of his cagemate in his old cage? You will have to make the decision what is best for his comfort whilst he is so ill.
Also keep him in a quiet area so reducing stress again. Guinea pigs can go downhill so quickly if they are stressed and poorly. They also do a good job of covering how ill they are, so I would still treat him as though he is very ill, until he starts eating and drinking normally for himself.

I hope everything picks up soon. It is good that you are keeping a close eye on him overnight. Best wishes to Snowflake and Sven.
Yes they do heave and he makes a funny click occasionally. He is walking around a little more now and he is starting to lick the supreme recovery, from around his mouth.
I have just copied this from the European Medicines Agency "It would be dangerous to use Convenia in other animals such as guinea pigs and rabbits (it is not licensed for use in these species)." I wonder why the vet used this drug, when there are others?
@Wiebke am I right in thinking there have been issues on here with Convenia?

Yes, steam therapy is good, the 5 second thing is if you have a steam inhaler but if not you can place a bowl next to the cage with boiling water and Olbas oil.

Yes, there have been concerns reported about adverse reactions to convenia in guinea pigs, but as it is not a frequently prescibed antibiotic, there is not yet much official information pro or contra about it. If in doubt, please seek a second opinion.

The heaving is an indication of a build up of fluid in the chest, either with a bad URI/pneumonia or a heart insufficiency, which your expression "pancaking" would tally with. If you can, please ask a vet for a diuretic to help ease the congestion.

I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed for Snowflake! I am very sorry if we are upsetting you further with our concerns about the medication you have been given.
The antibiotic he was given was a long lasting one that stays in his system. I've put Sven back in his olds cage and Ive put t Snowflake in and area Ive partitioned off so his more boisterous friend can see him but not get to him. I'll sleep in the room so I can keep an eye and hopefully keep feeding Snowflake. Hopefully I'll have better news tomorrow. :(
Please try to ease the breathing with steam; that is something that you can do now. It is going to be quite a round-the-clock battle for you, especially during the lonely night hours and once lack of sleep is hitting home, but you are doing your best for Snowflake.

No I've read just read the info about the drugs too, don't know why tht was given, looks like the poor Snowflake will have more to cope with than just his illness! I'll contact the vets in the morning and ask some questions!
Convenia is a long term injectable antibiotic. I would proceed with caution, and go to another vet for a second opinion preferably an exotics vet. They should ideally both be on a course of antibiotics.

Sorry I'm not huge help here.

Side effects of convenia relate to kidney issues/blood in urine - please monitor his wee and observe his behviour at 2hrly intervals. If he goes downhill in any way then please take him immediately to a vet as an emergency and mention what he has been given.

The fact he is not suffering side effects already leads me to believe he should be OK - but keep a watchful eye on him.
Just to expand on the info:
Convenia has been used in some rabbits and guinea pigs successfully.
It is a penicillin/cephalosporin-type antibiotic that normally is NOT recommended for piggies and rabbits. However, because it is given by injection as opposed to orally, it "allegedly" circumnavigates the harmful issues of gut flora imbalance normally associated with this type of antibiotic when given orally.
Nevertheless - we are aware of case histories on this forum where piggies given this drug by injection have had very bad reactions to it.

As @Abi_nurse has said - proceed with caution and be very vigilant
Thank you that has made me feel better. Snowflake appears much better, I've let Sven come in and snowflake is sitting in his hay box munching on hay and a slice of cucumber and telling Sven not to come in. Fingers crossed.
Good morning. Snowflake looks much better this morning, he seemed to get better and better through the night. His breathing is much calmer and less laboured, he's moving around and when I'm syringe feeding him he's pushing me away now instead of being limp. The steam worked very well and really helped. I haven't seen any problems with his urine still monitoring closely. He's having a cuddle with Sven in one of their houses at the moment.
I'm glad to hear that snowflake seems a bit better and hope it continues in this way, what a worrying time for you
Sending healing vibes snowflakes way! I hope he continues to improve!
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