View Full Version : Sick Possible System Failure, Any hope?

12-23-14, 02:00 pm
Good morning,
My oldest pig Spaghetti, an american shorthair, was just getting over a pneumonia, or so I thought. About 21 days ago it started with a quack/hack, then a grunty sound, and labored breathing. He was given an antibiotic injection at the vet and sent home with a 10 day course of baytril. He didn't show major improvement until 4 days on baytril, so they gave me a 2nd course for 10 days, a total of 20 days. He maintained a minimum appetite, never stopped eating, but very picky and selective, but mostly only wanted fresh grass from the yard. I now realize he was not pooping well while in the baytril originally and should have sought treatment then. His stools were tiny, hard and dry. Now fast fwd to last friday night, the last day of antibiotics I swear I heard him cough again. I sat and listened, but heard nothing again. The finally he did it again on sat evening right after the vet had closed. (CURSE ME!!) He became lethargic, lost interest in almost all food and just sat in the corner of his cage. I tried syringe water him, but he was just letting it run out of his mouth. Luckily I had some Subq fluids from a previous pet emergency on hand and small enough needle to give him some fluids. I managed to get approx 30ml in via slow drip in his neck. That gave him just enough strength to make it through the night so I rushed him to the vet on monday morn. He totally pulled the car at the mechanic move when we got there, other than being sluggish he didn't make any more wheezing, coughing or gurgling sounds like he had been the night before. The gave him more fluids and monitored him for about 6 hours and sent him home with the instructions to cal back the next day is he had not resumed eating. I brought him home last night and he still (pardon my french) just looked like shit, just like chester did right before he died. He could barely walk, cant lift his head very much and just kinda hobble jumped into the corner and buried his head. I made up a pellet slurry with extra vit c and syringe fed him over the next 2 hours, about 10 ml very 30 min. I may have overfed him, he sort of retched/dry heaved some of it up. I was freaking out, I though I had just aspirated him to death. I stopped the feeding immediately and just monitored him the rest of the night. he was quarantined to a special spot with a heating blanket, where I checked him through the night. He survived another night! But he looks even worse, just laying there still not eating. He sniffs the food, picks it up and then nothing, just leaves it there and doesn't eat it. We rushed back to the vet this morning. She noticed some things I missed while being hyper focused on the feeding and breathing issues. He also has sores on his both rear feet (could explain the hobble) and hair loss under his lip. AHH WTF if happening? why so many symptoms? He lives on fleece and his cage is super clean, I sweep 2-3 times a day and he has a kitchen box. The vet and I chatted for a few minutes about options I had read about like appetite stimulants, diuretics, b12 shot, anything I thought could help. He has lost a ton of weight, I dont the numbers in front of me, but at least 250 grams. He was heavy to begin with, but now I can feel his bones.

So, I know that is a lot of info and my brain is all over the place right now. I left him with the vet for xrays to see if he still has a pneumonia, or an enlarged heart. She could not hear a murmur, but I said please go ahead wit the xrays so I know if we have something that is even treatable or not. I feel like if its still pneumonia, he could take another round of a different antibiotics. But I still need to address his feet, lip and Gi tract.

His body is going into system failure, is there anything else I can do? The vet was concerned he is experiencing multiple system failure.

His cage mates appear to be okay for the mostly, with the exception of Cheese. Cheese lives in the cage below him with another pig (meatball), but also started quack/hacking on last week. I took him on monday as well and they gave him one hefty shot of baytril. I think I just heard pesto quack too and am thinking to take him with me when I pick up spaghetti for a dose of antibiotics as well. I dont want an epidemic on my hands on xmas.
If one of them was contagious, why would it take so long to spread, I am so confused. Should I have them run a blood panel on spaghetti while he is there before he dies? or one of the other pigs, or sit and wait......ahhhhh sorry I am thinking out loud and its getting messy. I am so anxious about this.

12-23-14, 05:09 pm
I'm sorry your piggie is so sick. When Ferb had a URI it took a combination of 2 antibiotics, baytril and doxycycline to clear it up. So that's something you may want to ask the vet about. I also had to use probiotics with baytril or the piggies stopped eating. How old is Spaghetti?

12-23-14, 05:23 pm
Did you use both antibiotics at the same time or back to back. Spaghetti is about 3.5 years old. Can I use human probiotics, I have really great one for myself that is free of the top 8 allergens, could I use that?

I also just got off the phone with the vet. She is rx'ing the doxycycline, plus an nsaid for his feet and whatever could be going on in his mouth. Mentioned he could be grinding his teeth from pain or a secondary infection. She said his xrays showed he still had fluid/infection in his chest, but no heart problems.

I am going now to pick up Spaghetti now, then to a specialty pharmacy for his liquid doxy.

12-23-14, 05:42 pm
Ferb was on the baytril and doxy at the same time, for 4 weeks. I use the Benebac for small animals probiotic (I buy it on amazon.com). You can use probiotics made for humans but they have to be lactose free, etc. I know bpatters has given info on using probiotics, so maybe search the medical threads for probiotic?

12-23-14, 05:52 pm
Cool, the probiotics I have are definitely lactose free because I am allergic to dairy.

12-23-14, 10:58 pm
Spaghetti is home for the night with 2 antibiotics, baytril and doxycycline, and the nsaid meloxicam.
I gave him about 60mg of vit c in water, from a crushed tablet with no dyes or sugars added, plus 15 ml pellet/hay slurry
They gave him fluids at the office today and said to do another 30cc tomorrow if he is still alive.
She also cleaned out his anal sac today, which I did again just now. There is definitely softer poop moving now compared to the little dry nuggets he was passing a few days ago, but its still not ideal. Its been almost 2 hours since his antibiotics, so I will give him some probiotics now.
He is is a special box where I can keep a close eye on him and put a heating blanket underneath to keep it nice and toasty.
I wish there was some magic answer :/ He still looks horrible, cant lift his head and shuffles his face along the ground to the nearest corner :( Hoping thats why his fur is gone and not another fungal infection or something. He is just teetering at deaths doorstep.

And how is his cagemate not sick?

12-23-14, 11:53 pm
Poor Spaghetti, I hope he feels better and recovers!

12-24-14, 08:45 am
I don't have any advice, but I'd just like to say best of luck with Spaghetti. It sounds like you're doing your best to help him, hopefully he will feel better soon

12-25-14, 01:56 am
Well by some miracle Spaghetti is still with us. He is a really great little patient, very easy to handle, doesn't fuss much.
Fluids 2x daily 30-40ml, action shot below. I am getting pretty good at poking my animals now, having a diabetic cat will do that. But I can really only handle the 23g needles.
extra vit c, b12, probiotics 2x a day
Syringe feeding pellet/hay mash 4-5x a day, 4-8 mls at a time.
His poops varied from close to normal, dry and almost diarrhea. I'll be more careful with the vit c and see if that helps with the D.
He has only received his 2nd doses of his current meds this evening, around 6ish. There has not been any major signs of improvement yet, other than the fact he is not dead. He is isn't worse, just the same crappy feeling. He still cannot walk, and really just tends to lay where he is, sometimes still, sometimes he flops from side to side real slow. Almost like he is trying to walk maybe? He scoots around his box a little bit, he is is a different spot a few times a day, but not much too movement. He will hold his head up for a few seconds if initiated for him, but he is pretty listless. He shows the mildest of interest in food tonight, after 4 ml of mash I offered him some pepper, carrot and cucumber. He tried to eat the pepper but really just gnawed on it, offered carrot and he tried to bite it, but no go. So I got some cucumber and cut it into easy to bite strips and he took 2 bites and then flopped over again. I dont know if I should be happy he wanted food or worried he wont/cant chew it.
Opinions from some more experienced owners appreciated, are these just advanced pneumonia symptoms or have we moved beyond that with the severe lethargy and listlessness.

This is a tough xmas, sigh.


12-25-14, 10:12 am
:'( spaghetti took his last breath around 7am as he laid in my arms. Horrible Christmas morning.

12-25-14, 12:32 pm
I'm so sorry for your loss:(.

12-25-14, 12:47 pm
What a wonderful cavy parent you have been! Godspeed, Spaghetti! Chester and Maya send their farewell over the Rainbow Bridge.

12-25-14, 12:58 pm
So sorry for your loss. You went above and beyond what most people would do for a guinea pig. I know he appreciated everything you did.

12-25-14, 01:32 pm
I'm so sorry for your loss :( you both fought so hard for each other.

12-25-14, 01:46 pm
Thank you for your condolences.

My other major concern now is do I have something contagious on hand?

12-25-14, 03:24 pm
so sorry to hear that he didn't make it. its rough to lose one

12-25-14, 03:46 pm
It wouldn't hurt to thoroughly clean out everything just to be safe in case it was infectious. Just monitor the other pigs closely for the next three to four weeks and if nothing shows up it should be fine.

12-25-14, 04:09 pm
2 of the other boys have quacked/hacked or sneezed in the last few days, not much, but I heard it. Spaghetti was sick for a month before he died and his very first symptom was the quack sound. Which I attributed to his voracious eating habits at first. One of the boys (Cheese) was given a Baytril injection a the vet, but I am worried baytril wasn't the right antibiotics. I guess I am really panicking that I have bordatella.

The cages have definitely been sanitized 2x since spaghetti got sick, but they will get get another one today.

Would you get a blood culture done still or am I over reacting?

12-25-14, 05:44 pm
Guinea pigs will sometimes sneeze or cough without actually being sick. For example when they are eating or got some hay dust in their nose. At least mine did whilst they were perfectly healthy. I don't blame you for panicking after what happened though. I'm not sure whether getting a blood culture is worth it at this stage. If you weigh them weekly, check to see if there has been any significant changes in their weight. Also check if they have any other symptoms aside from a sneeze once in a while. I'm not entirely sure what an acceptable frequency of sneezing is before it's concerning it depends but I wouldn't give them treatment yourself until you are sure they are actually ill because I can't imagine it would be exactly good for them to get medicine when it's not needed. If you are still concerned and notice changes in their appetite, decrease in activity, increase in the frequency of sneezes/coughs, other symptoms, or something just feels off about them, as in they aren't themselves you should get them looked at by a vet and go from there. It's better to be safe rather than sorry.


12-25-14, 11:03 pm
Oh no, I'm so very sorry for your loss. You were heroic in your efforts to get him well! RIP little Spaghetti.