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Thread: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

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    Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    So, as some of you already know, I'm adopting a new piggy named York.

    York's current owner tells me that the pet store she got him from said his loud, abnormal breathing is allergies. She hasn't taken him to the vet, but she has had him for about 6 months--this leads me to believe that it probably isn't a URI (though I'm taking him to the vet first thing anyway).

    My question is if it turns out York actually does have allergies, how do I go about treating him and alleviating the suffering of it? Do allergies in GPs cause any other problems or shorten their lifespans?

    Any advice you may have would be very useful, because I know nothing about GP allergies--in fact, I didn't even know GPs could have allergies! I've searched the web for info on this topic, but the only sites I can find deal with people who are allergic to GPs. I know it's not good to take in a special needs GP without knowing upfront how to properly care for him--that's why I'm asking you guys before I go get him.

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide!

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Ly&Pigs's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    Guinea pigs can suffer from allergies although it's rare. The best thing would be to take the pig to a cavy savvy vet and let the vet diagnose any conditions/illnesses the pig may have. It may not be allergies at all but could be something else such as a heart condition.

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    I'm definitely going to take him to the vet, but it'll be the week after this one before I can--gotta wait on payday. Just wondering if you know anything I can do to keep him comfortable in the meantime if it is indeed allergies. I'm almost certain it's not a URI, as she says he has had this "noisy breathing" problem since she got him 7 months ago. She also says he's active and doesn't display any other symptoms. So, I guess I just want to know what I can do until I can get him to the vet, in the event that it is allergies.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator Ly&Pigs's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    What type of hay are you currently feeding? What brand of pellets and what type of veggies, how often and how much? What do you use for bedding?

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    I have one of the rare "allergic pigs" as diagnosed by a very cavy savvy vet. She advised me to get an air purifier and set it up near their cage. This has helped tremendously!

  6. "Thank you, pignewton, for this useful post," says:

    wiggley_narco (02-01-08)

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    Quote Originally Posted by Ly&Pigs View Post
    What type of hay are you currently feeding? What brand of pellets and what type of veggies, how often and how much? What do you use for bedding?
    I don't have him yet--I'm going to get him today. He is currently eating Pedigree Lab Diet pellets (never heard of it, but current owner says its what she feeds her "show" pigs).

    She said his bedding is "shredded recycle pastel colored paper." She also says she's tried corncob, pine, and newspaper (not the best choices...). I keep my boys on aspen.... wonder if that would make a difference? Or maybe carefresh? Hmm..... what do you think?

    She doesn't feed them veggies or even *gasp!* hay! Are you starting to see why I'm rescuing him...? When he's with me, he'll be getting timothy hay (he's a year and a half old, so no alfalfa), romaine lettuce, green/red peppers, cilantro, grape tomatoes, cucumber, corn husks/silk, the occasional apple slice or grape, parsley as a treat.... any suggestions/modifications? This is what my boys get, but I want to make sure they get the best also--so any suggestions are welcome.

    Thanks :)

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    Quote Originally Posted by pignewton View Post
    I have one of the rare "allergic pigs" as diagnosed by a very cavy savvy vet. She advised me to get an air purifier and set it up near their cage. This has helped tremendously!
    Thanks for the suggestion! That'd probably help me with MY allergies, too. Hahaha. Any idea where I can get an inexpensive one?

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner Jenni_Feathers's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    I am pretty sure that I have an un-daignosed alergetic pig, my Charlie. He can't be on kiln-drien pine bedding, it is the wierdest thing. I had used it for a bit but then he started exhibiting URI like symptoms(sniffeling and wheezing) so I seperated him from Chewie, other pig, right away and put him in a temp cage with towels as bedding and after an hour or two, he was fine. It was so wierd, this had happened twice before I realized it must be the bedding. So I switched to fleece, I do use the kilndried pine in the hay box, but the small amount and not being on it fully doesnt bother him. He also seems to be a lil sneezey/sniffely/wheezy when there is high humidity (which Missouri unfortunatly has a lot of!) I am not sure if it is the humidity it self or the other junk it stirs up though.

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    You can get an inexpensive one at Walmart, K-Mart, etc. Do check out the price of filters though. It may make more sense in the long run to purchase a costlier purifier if the filters are a lot cheaper for it.

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    Well, I went and got York today.

    Honestly, I wish she just would have met me at the door with him instead of inviting me inside, because it was horrible. In the living room of her run-down house, she had 23 guinea pigs. Most (including York) were in separate cages not really big enough to turn around in; others were stuffed 3 to a pet store size cage. I couldn't see the bedding in the cages for all the crushed, trampled poop--layers upon layers, although she claims to clean the cages out once a week. I just happened to come "the day before they get cleaned." Other cages had mesh bottoms--the kind with grids GPs get their poor feet stuck in. They all had water bottles, but who knows when the last time was that the water was changed. The food bowls were empty except for the poop in them. She said she fed them sweet feed and calf manna--no veggies or hay. The smell that punched me in the face when she opened the front door about killed me. There were flies everywhere... and to top it all off, there was a mousetrap in the floor!! I said something about it, and she said she had a problem with mice that she was trying to get rid of.... and not 10 minutes later she started talking about how one day one of her GPs got out of his cage somehow. I was like, "WHAT IF HE HAD STEPPED ON THE MOUSETRAP?!" She looked horrified--she'd never thought of that possibility. The conditions were simply disgusting and horrible. And I really don't want to talk about the 50 (yes, FIFTY) rabbits she had in a shed outside.

    What I don't understand (other than the obvious) is the following. This woman is such a sweet old lady. She's as nice as can be and broke into tears when I took York out of her arms. She seems to care about her animals in some weird way. But if so, how can she if she keep them in such conditions?!? I honestly think it has to be pure ignorance rather than intentional cruelty. I just... I don't know. I made some suggestions about different bedding (she's using pine and corncob), bigger cages (C&C to be exact), better food, and a few other things... but she said she has been on disability for 15 years and money is tight so she couldn't do any of that. She also doesn't take any of her animals to the vet, as that also costs money. She's such a nice old lady. But I wanted to punch her in the freaking face (and then report her to Animal Control, PETA, the health inspector, and anyone else possible)!

    Anyway, I'm just glad York is out of those disgusting conditions. She was definitely right about his breathing. It's incredibly loud and raspy, but has been this way his whole life--so probably not a URI She may be right about it being allergies. I'm going to get an air purifier soon and get him to the vet just as soon as payday rolls around. For now, he's in a temporary quarantine--a 1.5'x3' cage. It's not the biggest thing in the world, but it's a whole new world compared to what he's been living in for the past year! When I know he's not a health danger to my other two boys, I'll try introducing them and adding on to their current cage.

    Anyway, so that's the story on getting my little York--or I shouldn't really say little, he's huge! Much bigger than Wiggley and Narco. He's a year and a half old. Below are some pigtures of him I took about an hour ago after he got settled into his new place. :)

    By the way, can anyone tell me about Ivermectin (sp?) Should I go ahead and get that for him now, or wait on a vet to diagnose him?

    On with the pics:


    Hiding... he's camera shy!


    The poor boy had never eaten veggies before... he dug in!



    This is his temporary home during quarantine.

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    One of my boys is prone to URIs and I found that keeping him on a non-dusty bedding is the best, so no carefresh, wood shavings, etc. I would imagine that this type of bedding (towels, fleece) would help your little guy too. It's also alot easier to clean and cheaper in the long run. I also shake out their hay so that I get rid of as much of the dusty little bits as I can before I give it to them. A dirty cage, with its urine fumes, can irritate the poor babies too. Maybe just being in a cleaner environment will help.
    I'd wait on the vet to give him any meds.
    We, me and my boys, wish you much success and joy with York. He's a beauty.
    Last edited by Toadies; 01-26-08 at 09:51 pm. Reason: Additional thought

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    http://www.geocities.com/wigggley_narco/yorkbreathe.wma

    Copy/paste this link into your browser to hear his breathing... I was holding the mic right up to his face... and yes, it's loud all the time, not just because I had the mic up to his face. It gets louder depending on what he's doing.

    Tell me what you think.

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    Re: Guinea pig with allergies... help!

    Well, I got a small air purifier for York today. I set it up right next to his cage.... we'll see what happens.

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