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Thread: Congestion?

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Question Congestion?

    Can anyone tell me their experiences with congestion in guinea pigs? My girl Freya was very sick almost 3 months ago, wasn't eating, wan't really going to the bathroom, but surprisingly I was able to get her back to health with many visits to the vet, bactrim, vitamin c, and a load of syringe feeding. She gained all her weight back and then some, and has been about 90% ever since. That missing 10% being that off and on, ever since the sickness, she has seemed to get a little bit of a crusty nose, but is still eating and acting normally otherwise.

    However in the past few days I'm noticing her breathing is not that great because of what seems to be phlegm in her nose/somewhere, though her nose is not crusty right now, she's gotten a little bit of a runny nose. Obviously she must have some lingering sickness in her system. But I can hear her breathing, sounds just like when people have a runny nose and trying to breathe through it ... it's almost like if she gave one good sneeze it could be out of her, but I'm hoping it's not in her lungs or anything. (Hoping not a URI, though I'm assuming that's the most likely case of what's going on) But she isn't acting any differently or eating less or losing weight.

    I still have a decent amount of Bactrim leftover from when she was sick last, so I'm giving her that now and for the next few days and hoping I'll see some improvement with this congestion. This girl is really a fighter!

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator! VoodooJoint's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Have you had her checked for nasal polyps? While not all that common in GPs it can cause congestion type symptoms, wheezing and discharge.

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    It's not necessarily related to her illness previously. What she had before sounds like something going on in the gut, whereas this is more of a respiratory issue of some sort. I wouldn't assume they're related.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    I still have a decent amount of Bactrim leftover from when she was sick last, so I'm giving her that now and for the next few days and hoping I'll see some improvement with this congestion. This girl is really a fighter!
    I would be very cautious giving medicine without the guidance of a vet. Pigs develop resistance to antibiotics very easily, and very quickly, so rather than give the pig a medicine she might not need, I'd wait and get her in for a checkup to see what's going on.

    I recently had a similar situation, my pig was wheezing, had watery eyes, but was eating well and not losing weight. His lungs sounded clear but I took him in anyway, because the wheezing and watery eyes was quite concerning. Turns out, he has allergies and my vet described it as something similar to hayfever. In that case, if I'd started him on antibiotics, I'd have started him on a medicine he didn't need, and could have done more harm than good by doing so. My vet gave us eye drops and some oral benadryl, and my pig's symptoms have cleared up wonderfully. I'd strongly recommend a vet visit before making any assumptions and putting her on an antibiotic without knowing what's really going on.

    Best of luck to you, and to Freya!

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by VoodooJoint View Post
    Have you had her checked for nasal polyps? While not all that common in GPs it can cause congestion type symptoms, wheezing and discharge.
    Nope, don't know anything about nasal polyps. Bringing her to the vet right now is not a possibility, still paying off my $500+ bill from last time. I'll see if the Bactrim helps again (thinking it should!) and if not will have to try to collect some money and bring her next week when I get paid.

    Question - I've kept the Bactrim in the fridge to preserve it (I have no idea if not refrigerating would be good/bad, but figured fridge is better) -- is it okay to give it to her cold like that or should I let it sit out for a bit before giving it?

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    It's not necessarily related to her illness previously. What she had before sounds like something going on in the gut, whereas this is more of a respiratory issue of some sort. I wouldn't assume they're related.

    I would be very cautious giving medicine without the guidance of a vet. Pigs develop resistance to antibiotics very easily, and very quickly, so rather than give the pig a medicine she might not need, I'd wait and get her in for a checkup to see what's going on.

    I recently had a similar situation, my pig was wheezing, had watery eyes, but was eating well and not losing weight. His lungs sounded clear but I took him in anyway, because the wheezing and watery eyes was quite concerning. Turns out, he has allergies and my vet described it as something similar to hayfever. In that case, if I'd started him on antibiotics, I'd have started him on a medicine he didn't need, and could have done more harm than good by doing so. My vet gave us eye drops and some oral benadryl, and my pig's symptoms have cleared up wonderfully. I'd strongly recommend a vet visit before making any assumptions and putting her on an antibiotic without knowing what's really going on.

    Best of luck to you, and to Freya!

    I thought an antibiotic, if not needed, would do nothing? (Like that it wouldn't do harm.) and I thought if there is a URI, that bactrim is a safe medication. I see what you're saying about going to the vet, but at this point I can't bring her because I have no money and still paying off the hundreds from last time.

    Do you really think it's possible that she'd get allergies, when she's already almost 3 and never had any issues like this before? I suppose, like people, that their systems could change over time, but it doesn't seem likely to me. (But I'm not a vet.) - I'm going to see how the Bactrim works for now, I'm giving a small dosage.

    If I see she starts to lose any weight or any other weird signs I will take her to the vet. Argh, so frustrating that the vet trip always seems to be the only answer when it comes to GPs.

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    Cavy Champion, Previous Forum Moderator! VoodooJoint's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    I'll see if the Bactrim helps again ...I've kept the Bactrim in the fridge to preserve it
    Do not use that antibiotic. Liquid antibiotics go bad after about 10-14 days even if they are refrigerated. Once an antibiotic is mixed with liquid (most start as a dormant powder) they have a VERY limited shelf life. You need to throw it out.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    I thought an antibiotic, if not needed, would do nothing? (Like that it wouldn't do harm.)
    If it's gone bad it can kill her.

    Giving antibiotics when not medically called for is a really bad idea. It creates a resistance to it's effectiveness and the overuse of antibiotics have led to the evolution of bacteria into virulent and resistant strains. Recent studies show the likelihood that in about 10 years most antibiotics now available will be useless (at least in humans).

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    I thought an antibiotic, if not needed, would do nothing? (Like that it wouldn't do harm.) and I thought if there is a URI, that bactrim is a safe medication. I see what you're saying about going to the vet, but at this point I can't bring her because I have no money and still paying off the hundreds from last time.
    It's a safe medication, that's not the issue. It's that giving the same antibiotic over and over again tends to build up a resistance to it. And intolerance, which is a more immediate concern. I had a pig who developed intolerance to baytril after only three rounds of it.

    And it's very important to have some sort of fund available at all times Unfortunately, when things go badly, it tends to happen fast, so it's important to have some kind of plan for getting them in when they need to go.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    Do you really think it's possible that she'd get allergies, when she's already almost 3 and never had any issues like this before? I suppose, like people, that their systems could change over time, but it doesn't seem likely to me. (But I'm not a vet.) - I'm going to see how the Bactrim works for now, I'm giving a small dosage.
    Tupper is two and a half and had never had symptoms of allergies, yet that's what it turned out to be, so yes, I think it's very possible.

    Again, best of luck to you and Freya.

  8. "Thank you, Paula, for this useful post," says:

    SandyF (08-17-10)

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paula View Post
    It's a safe medication, that's not the issue. It's that giving the same antibiotic over and over again tends to build up a resistance to it. And intolerance, which is a more immediate concern. I had a pig who developed intolerance to baytril after only three rounds of it.

    And it's very important to have some sort of fund available at all times Unfortunately, when things go badly, it tends to happen fast, so it's important to have some kind of plan for getting them in when they need to go.

    Tupper is two and a half and had never had symptoms of allergies, yet that's what it turned out to be, so yes, I think it's very possible.

    Again, best of luck to you and Freya.
    Yes, I've heard the "emergency pet fund" thing before, and I do my best to care for my pigs at all times, but am in a very bad place financially right now, having an "emergency living fund" is the most important thing right now. But I wish people would stop giving out the vibe that not having an emergency pet fund must mean you don't care or aren't responsible. I'm sure that's not how people mean it, but that's how it comes across, so it only adds to the frustration of the situation.

    I won't continue with the Bactrim as others have said. The fleece I am using is old at this point and I think it might be wise to get them new stuff, so the cage is totally fresh... I'm wondering if maybe it's just smelling bad to them... i'm due to wash it all tomorrow, so maybe there's some issue there.

    Will keep everyone posted.

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    Cavy Slave GuineaLove's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Please do not give your guinea pig old medicine. It is not safe for her.

    I know it can be frustrating when your guinea pig seems ill. One of my guinea pigs Izzy was very ill when I got her and now according to my vet she is prone to respiratory infections. Sometimes it seems like I am always at the vet with her. One of our major worries is that one day she will develop an immunity to antibiotics and they will no longer have the ability to make her well.

    A knowledgeable vet will be able to tell you if your guinea pig needs medicine at this time. If she does not need it, it is dangerous to give it to her. If she develops an immunity taking a medicine when in is not necessary, it will not work for her when she is ill and really needs it.

    Also antibiotics go bad very quickly. You could be poisoning her by giving meds that are too old.

    I know you love your guinea pig. They are impossible not to fall in love with. I also believe you want what is the best for her. There are some very knowledgeable people on this site who also want the best for your guinea pig. They created this site for that very reason.

    If you still do not trust their judgment, call your vet and see what they think about your old medicine. I hope you have a very guinea pig savy vet who can help you make the best choice for your guinea pig.

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    I have her out on my bed now and she peed on the sheets, gross but I don't care at the moment as I'll be washing them in a few, but I just noticed ... unless this was something that was already on my sheets, that on the pee mark is a small amount of white grainy looking something or other. And her poo, while still firm, seems a little softer than it probably should be.

    Sigh, looks like another vet place is in order then. Is this sounding like a URI afterall?

    (She does seem to breathe better on my bed than in the cage, though, so I'm not quite understanding that.)

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    Cavy Star Lorvoll's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Just a quick note.. Please do not throw out your Bactrim that you have on hand without checking the expiration date first, especially if your funds are low and there's a chance that you may have to give it again. From direct personal experience (as in having my prescription directly in front of me) the shelf life can be up to a year. My veterinary version, and my pediatric version, both have 1 yr shelf lives.

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lorvoll View Post
    Just a quick note.. Please do not throw out your Bactrim that you have on hand without checking the expiration date first, especially if your funds are low and there's a chance that you may have to give it again. From direct personal experience (as in having my prescription directly in front of me) the shelf life can be up to a year. My veterinary version, and my pediatric version, both have 1 yr shelf lives.
    That's what I thought, I would expect there to be some sort of shelf life to the medication, especially with having refrigerated it - but people here are saying it goes bad after 10 days? (That seems unbelievable) - however I've already thrown it out ... if more than one person is saying that I could do more harm than good than I don't want to take that risk.

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Just an update to say unfortunately I still have not been able to bring Freya to the vet. I'm sure I will be torn apart for this by people who think I don't care about her, but the funds just aren't there. There hasn't been any real improvement over the past week or so, but no signs of it getting worse either, though I know there is something wrong. Last week she was getting a crusty nose with heavier breathing -- the crusty nose has stopped, but there's still the heavy breathing.

    From others experience, could this be something with her lungs, could it be something that will pass? I know I need to bring her to the vet, I guess I was thinking if I saw it get any worse I would find some way, go into the negative in my bank account or something, but I'm worried that if it gets any worse it might be too late.

    For all of you who have financial issues and might see things from my point of view, the last time I took her to the vet when she was noticeably sick, I spent over $500 at the vet when all that was really needed was a week or so worth of Bactrim and syringe feeding. The vets here are insane and charged everything under the sun to see what was wrong with her, and I'm sorry I do not have the means to go through that again. Wish I could say that without seeming like an insensitive, cruel person. I just don't know what to do and wanted to get some advice on what could possibly be wrong with her with the heavy breathing. If I have a firm idea of what could be wrong with her it would help me when I do go to the vet to tell them instead of playing a guessing game with the doctor like last time.

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    And NOW my problem is, I'm trying to get her to a vet in my area, and the vet I would normally go to doesn't have an exotic pets vet there today. They're the closest to me, I don't have a car and will have to take a cab there, and I can't even bring her because they're telling me they don't have anyone there that would know how to treat her. AWESOME!

    *banging head against desk*

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    Pigaholic Extraordinaire Paula's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    Just an update to say unfortunately I still have not been able to bring Freya to the vet. I'm sure I will be torn apart for this by people who think I don't care about her, but the funds just aren't there.
    Why must you make comments like this? I'm sorry, but it rather seems to me that you're the one looking for a fight here. No one has ever said, or in my recollection, implied that you don't care about your pet. The point has been raised, and you took particular offense to it, that it is important to always have some sort of vet fund available, for this very type of situation. That point is still one worth making, and I'm sorry you feel it's a personal attack, or affront, that you need to ward off before giving anyone a chance to make a comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    From others experience, could this be something with her lungs, could it be something that will pass? I know I need to bring her to the vet, I guess I was thinking if I saw it get any worse I would find some way, go into the negative in my bank account or something, but I'm worried that if it gets any worse it might be too late.
    The truth of the matter is, it could be something with her lungs, or it *could* be something that would pass. It's also very likely that it could be something that will get worse without treatment, and yes, it could be too late at that point.

    I think a visit to the vet is likely to be your best hope of an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    For all of you who have financial issues and might see things from my point of view, the last time I took her to the vet when she was noticeably sick, I spent over $500 at the vet when all that was really needed was a week or so worth of Bactrim and syringe feeding. The vets here are insane and charged everything under the sun to see what was wrong with her, and I'm sorry I do not have the means to go through that again. Wish I could say that without seeming like an insensitive, cruel person. I just don't know what to do and wanted to get some advice on what could possibly be wrong with her with the heavy breathing. If I have a firm idea of what could be wrong with her it would help me when I do go to the vet to tell them instead of playing a guessing game with the doctor like last time.
    I suggest you be honest with the vet - explain your situation and let them know that you can't afford extensive and unnecessary tests but that you need some sort of treatment options for your pet. Make sure they know to consult you before doing anything to run down prices. There's nothing wrong with being direct and up front about your situation, and in all honesty, it will help them know what they can and can't pursue from the get-go. It doesn't make you seem insensitive, it gives them an idea of what your parameters are going to be. There's nothing wrong with that, but you need to be telling THEM that, rather than us.

    Unfortunately, at this point I think the only suggestion to be made is to get her into a vet, somehow - some way.

    Quote Originally Posted by urockstar View Post
    And NOW my problem is, I'm trying to get her to a vet in my area, and the vet I would normally go to doesn't have an exotic pets vet there today. They're the closest to me, I don't have a car and will have to take a cab there, and I can't even bring her because they're telling me they don't have anyone there that would know how to treat her. AWESOME!

    *banging head against desk*
    Is she at a point where she has to go to the vet? If not, consider waiting until your regular vet is in. If it's imperatave that you get her in today, I'd suggest looking for an emergency vet. I'm sorry, I realize that's not likely the answer you want, but unfortunately in situations like this, it's really the best we've got. This community as a whole is an amazing resource and can offer tremendous knowledge, but there's not anything we can do for a pig that needs veterinary attention. It sounds like you're in that boat, and I'm sorry to hear that, but I do urge you to find a vet and get her in. Maybe print out the info you can find from GL on URIs and safe/dangerous meds if you aren't sure how savvy the vet you're seeing might be.

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    Cavy Slave Heady's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Urockstar, I totally get the "emergency living fund" thing as I'm in the same situation. I've overdrafted before for Dora (cat) but thankfully I didn't have to take the boys to the vet. I wanted to suggest Care Credit to you, though. Not sure if you can get it...I couldn't (hence the overdraft)!! But my vet's office said a lot of people are approved. It's for human medical and for animal medical...something to check into.

    Sorry you're going through this...since I don't know anything about your piggy's problem, I can't offer any more suggestions, but I do think Paula's suggestion of printing out the care sheets from guinealynx to give to your/a vet is a very good idea.

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    Cavy Slave urockstar's Avatar
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    Re: Congestion?

    Quote Originally Posted by Heady View Post
    Urockstar, I totally get the "emergency living fund" thing as I'm in the same situation. I've overdrafted before for Dora (cat) but thankfully I didn't have to take the boys to the vet. I wanted to suggest Care Credit to you, though. Not sure if you can get it...I couldn't (hence the overdraft)!! But my vet's office said a lot of people are approved. It's for human medical and for animal medical...something to check into.

    Sorry you're going through this...since I don't know anything about your piggy's problem, I can't offer any more suggestions, but I do think Paula's suggestion of printing out the care sheets from guinealynx to give to your/a vet is a very good idea.
    Hey, thanks Heady - I actually do have CareCredit but only a $500 limit and that's now run up from the last emergency visit when I brought her a few months ago.

    I wanted to add that I had Freya on Bactrim for the prescribed 10 days, she hasn't lost anymore weight and is still eating on her own (for 2 or 3 days at the start I was syringe feeding her because she had dropped a few ounces) but after the Bactrim treatment she is still having a hard time breathing it seems, though not as bad as it was.

    Any suggestions on what the problem could be, if not a URI? Obviously I'm no vet, but I don't really think it's allergies, what are possible other issues? Just a respiratory problem in general? Arghh.

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