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View Full Version : Any home remedies for treating a uri?



JocelynsGoobies
03-20-17, 05:38 pm
Now before you go jumping to conclusions, I am not taking my Guinea pig Milton, to the vet. Of course I would want to, but my parents don't want to spend 100+ dollars on him to take him to the vet. Now you're probably thinking why do you have a Guinea pig then if you can't take him to the vet when he needs to? I got Leon my 3 year old because the lady that gave him to us could no longer take care of him and I wasnt going to put him in a shelter. I got Milton for Leon because I don't want him to be lonely. Milton is 3-4 months old I would say. I got Milton 3 days ago and he has some of the symptoms for uri. He is sneezing, wiping his nose more than normal, crusty stuff on his nose, and he's breathing fast. So far what I've been doing to help him is putting a humidifier in our room and I hold him above the humidifier for a couple of minutes. When I do that he starts to sneeze and gunk comes out of his nose. I also use vix vapor rub for him to sniff for about 3-5 minutes and I do that a couple of times a day. He's not very lethargic, he's eating, DEFINITELY pooping a lot, and he's drinking. I'm pretty sure he's scared right now and he's still getting used to his new home. I've made sure to quarantine him away from Leon as I separate my c&c cage so Leon doesn't get it . I've giving him romain lettuce, cucumbers, carrots, a slice of an orange a day, and celery. I was wondering if there is any pet store medicine I can give to him like oxbow urgent care or maybe bene-bac. I don't know much about these products or how much I should give my little milton but I hope maybe you guys could give me some useful information about anything I could do or use to help this besides going to the vet. I imagine people back then who didn't have vets, could cure this stuff without a vet. There must be a cure. Either way if I did take milton to a vet, he could react in a bad way with the antibiotics that the vet prescribes because I know there's some vets out there that don't give them the right meds. There's always a risk. Also, if you're going to comment how bad of an owner I am, then please dont waste your time. Anyway, thank you for your time reading this.

bpatters
03-20-17, 05:57 pm
Sorry, but if you can't take your guinea pig to the vet, you need to rehome him to a shelter or someone who can. Medical care is as much a part of responsible pet ownership as food, water, and bedding. Your pig depends on you for everything, and it's not fair to him to not give him medical care. Having warm and fuzzy feelings for a pet isn't enough -- you need to be able to provide care, ALL the care your pig needs.

If your pig truly has a URI, there's nothing really to be done for him except get him to a vet for an antibiotic. If he has something else, like a reaction to dusty hay, he may be ok.

JocelynsGoobies
03-20-17, 08:35 pm
Ok but say if you had no money, would you not have any pets at all because of that?

JocelynsGoobies
03-20-17, 08:42 pm
Also I forgot to mention, my mom called the vet and they said that they can't give him medicine because he's too young and could cause weak bones and slow growth.

bpatters
03-20-17, 09:02 pm
To answer your first question, no, I would not have a pet if I couldn't afford to take care of it. It's not fair to the helpless animal to do a poor job caring for it. There have been periods in my life when I couldn't afford a pet, and chose not to have one. Having a pet is a privilege, not a right, and when you choose to have a pet, you sign up for taking care of it. It's a life that you choose to be responsible for. No one should do a half-hearted job of it.

Your mom probably called a small animal vet. They treat dogs and cats, not exotic pets. Guinea pigs need an exotic veterinarian, because small animal vets get little or no education and training in the care of exotics.

Very young guinea pigs CAN be, and often are, treated with antibiotics. It is true that the antibiotic most commonly given for respiratory illnesses, Baytril, may stunt the growth of very young pigs. But there are plenty of others that can be given, such as doxycycline or Bactrim or even nebulized Gentamycin and steroids.

JocelynsGoobies
03-20-17, 09:07 pm
Well I can't take him to the vet. I asked for home remedies, not a lecture on how I'm such a terrible owner. There's no point in yelling at me if you're not going to give me the advise I have originally asked for. It's either give me advise on how to help him in my situation, or don't say anything at all.

bpatters
03-20-17, 09:29 pm
But I did give you the advice you asked for. You just didn't like my answer, which was, there are no home remedies for upper respiratory infections in guinea pigs. They're fragile animals, and they can go downhill very quickly. We've unfortunately seen many guinea pigs on this forum go from barely sick to dead in less than 24 hours. Some conditions just require a vet for treatment, others can easily be treated at home. A URI is not one that is suitable for home treatment. Parasites, skin infections and other things like that, yes, we can tell you what to do, and you can probably do it as well as a vet can. But we can't treat a bacterial infection in the respiratory tract, and neither can you.

We're all about the guinea pigs on this forum. The whole website, and the forum, and dedicated to providing the best knowledge and care we can for sick guinea pigs. If there are people who don't want to hear that, we can't do anything other than encourage them to rehome their pet, or find a way to provide for the pet's needs. We're not going to pat you on the back for giving substandard care.

Soecara
03-20-17, 10:43 pm
There is nothing you can do for him at home.

A URI is caused by an internal bacterial infection. The only treatment for a guinea pig with a URI is antibiotics, but antibiotics are regulated drugs meaning you can't get them without a prescription. A vet is the only one able to provide a prescription for a guinea pig.

Without treatment the infection will continue to spread as the bacteria multiply, a guinea pig's immune system is not able to fight off the bacteria that cause URI's so an antibiotic is always needed. The longer the bacteria is allowed to continue to spread the harder it will be to cure and the more likely it is the infection will result in the death of the animal as the infection spreads to the lungs, heart and/or brain.

Younger guinea pigs can not be prescribed Baytril which is the most effective drug for URI's, meaning it is even more important to catch the URI and get treatment as early as possible to give them the best chance at survival.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 07:28 am
Wow you guys sure are giving me hope on saving him... You guys are like robots, you keep saying the same thing.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 07:37 am
If I use oxbow urgent care would that help him?

lissie
03-21-17, 08:07 am
Oxbow Critical Care will not get rid of his infection. It is a mashed food to be forced fed when the guinea pig cannot eat on their own.

Soecara
03-21-17, 08:45 am
Wow you guys sure are giving me hope on saving him... You guys are like robots, you keep saying the same thing.

I'm sorry but that is because this is simply a situation where there is no other option, and no other answer to give. If there was something anyone could do to cure a URI in a guinea pig at home I would have no hesitation in sharing that information, but there simply isn't.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 08:50 am
Ok thanks for letting me know.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 08:52 am
Well the stuff I've done can help it. I bet you didn't know that because you don't look up remedies because as soon as your Guinea pig has a little sniffle you race her/him to vet ASAP.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 08:54 am
Also if I were to take milton to the exotic vet I would have to drive 3+ hours to get there...

bpatters
03-21-17, 09:40 am
Stick around, JocelynsGoobies. Not only will you learn something, but you'll find that we often recommend against vet visits when it's something that the person can treat at home.

A lot of us live quite a distance from exotic vets.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 09:41 am
Also if I were to take milton to the exotic vet I would have to drive 3+ hours to get there...

Unfortunately, that's the price of owning a guinea pig in most cases. Exotic vets may be few and far between in your area, and this needs to be taken into consideration when adopting such an animal. My vet is only 30 minutes away, but it's still a hassle to get there because I'm in school most of the day and I have a job, so there are hardly any days where I can make it to the vet.

In the past month I've been to the vet at least 5 times for one pig. My bills racked up to $450 total. My parents paid up front and I'm making money to pay them back. if the issue is that your parents don't want to spend money on a guinea pig vet bill, offer to pay them back for it. That's the responsible thing to do, and your guinea pig will get the treatment it needs.

bpatters
03-21-17, 09:44 am
Stick around, JocelynsGoobies. Not only will you learn something, but you'll find that we often recommend against vet visits when it's something that the person can treat at home.

A lot of us live quite a distance from exotic vets. But based on your IP address, I doubt that you're three hours away from one.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 09:56 am
Ok I don't have a job so.... How can I pay them off?

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 09:57 am
Uh why do you doubt that??? Its true!!! Are you calling me a liar??

Soecara
03-21-17, 09:59 am
Well the stuff I've done can help it. I bet you didn't know that because you don't look up remedies because as soon as your Guinea pig has a little sniffle you race her/him to vet ASAP.

Sure what you have done may help ease the symptoms of a URI, but it is very far from a cure. Treating the symptoms will not cure the illness, steam and Vics might help clear the mucus from the airways, but it won't kill or inhibit the bacteria that is the underlying cause of the mucus in the first place nor will it stop the spread of the bacteria to other tissue.

Just for reference sake, I did already know steam can help ease some of the breathing difficulties caused by a URI, so it is erroneous to assume this is new information. I only recommend steam treatments to ease the breathing difficulties while waiting for an antibiotic to take effect or in the short interim between the noticing of symptoms and the vet appointment, as you need to tackle the underlying issue not just the symptoms. I advise against the use of Vicks vaporub as there is little to no information on the effect it has on guinea pigs so in my opinion the potential damage (possible irritation to the eyes and possible irritation to the already irritated airways) outweigh the potential benefits.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:03 am
Do I need to repeat myself again? I. Am. Not. Going. To. A. Vet. So stop telling me to! No one in my house hold has that kind of money just to spend. I guess I'm supposed to be depressed and not have ANY animals at all because I can't take them to the vet.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:05 am
Also I've heard that people used Vicks before when youre introducing Guinea pigs so I didn't think it would be harmful to them.

lissie
03-21-17, 10:11 am
More info on URI:
http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html

If he has URI, your guinea pig will die without treatment.

If you cannot afford a vet, surrender him to a shelter or rescue who can treat him.

lissie
03-21-17, 10:12 am
Also I've heard that people used Vicks before when youre introducing Guinea pigs so I didn't think it would be harmful to them.
Wherever you read that, it's harmful. I would not trust any info from that website.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:19 am
I am NOT giving any of my Guinea pigs away.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:23 am
Yeah because YOU never heard of it. so you assume that it's harmful.

Soecara
03-21-17, 10:25 am
If there is absolutely no way to take him to/pay for a vet and you cannot convince your parents to take on those responsibilities on your behalf, then you have the options to take him to someone who can get him medical care or let him suffer from a curable illness that has an extremely high mortality rate if left untreated.

Part of being responsible is about doing what is right even if it is emotionally difficult for you. At the current point in time and at your current point in life it is clear you can not provide for all aspects of his care on your own, partially because of factors beyond your control, and you do not have the support of those who could provide those aspects of care. The responsible thing to do would be refrain from taking up the care of animals for whom you cannot provide complete care, until you reach a point in time when those factors are different. This doesn't necessarily mean no pets, it just means no pets that your parents are not willing to pay for vet care for until you reach a point in time when you are more financially independent, but for now perhaps there are other kinds of animals they would be more willing to provide medical care for.

While you may not be able to provide medical care for him now, perhaps in a few years your situation may change, unfortunately those are a few years he will not have without medical care. In the here and now the responsible thing to do is to make sure he gets the care he needs, even if it means you have to do something that is very painful for you in surrendering him to somewhere that can provide for him where you cannot.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:28 am
If you want me to go to the vet then you give me the money to because I don't have it..

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:30 am
Is there a way I could give him to a shelter and they cure him but I can still have him?

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 10:33 am
If you want me to go to the vet then you give me the money to because I don't have it..

A pet is a privilege, not a right. You're not automatically entitled to have a pet because you really want one. At this point, your refusal to see a vet is simply negligence.

It's much better for you to be 'depressed' and to 'not have any pets' if you don't have the money for vet visits. It's not fair to the guinea pig for you to refuse him vet care.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 10:36 am
Is there a way I could give him to a shelter and they cure him but I can still have him?

Doubtful. You'd have to try to re-adopt him from the shelter, and I don't even think shelters allow people to re-adopt pets that they gave up in the first place. Also, if you couldn't afford vet care in the first place, they won't allow you to adopt the pet from them.

Besides that, usually shelters have an adoption fee. If you can't afford a vet visit, I don't think your parents would pay an adoption fee, either.

Soecara
03-21-17, 10:36 am
Honestly it depends on the shelter, in most situations the answer to that is no as once care has been relinquished the only way to regain the animal is to apply to adopt them, often there is a clause in the surrendering agreement that you cannot regain custody of the animal, in other situations because you needed to surrender him in the first place you application to adopt is likely to be denied.

However do keep in mind as painful as it is to have to give them up, it is much worse to have them die under your care from something that could have been cured. The pain of loss from either death or surrendering is great, but when you surrender you have the hope that they can get better and live a full and happy life even if that life is not spent with you.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 10:41 am
Ok well Im not taking him away and that's final.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 10:46 am
Ok well Im not taking him away and that's final.

Then you need to take him to a vet. Otherwise you're just being selfish by refusing to get him medical care and not giving him up. He relies on you for his health and survival.

CavyHouse
03-21-17, 10:52 am
I'm sorry that you've adopted a guinea pig who looks like he may have a URI. That's so sad. You got him 3 days ago. Was it a PetSmart or Petco?

The medical advice you've been given here is good. I run a guinea pig rescue and there are things I treat myself, but a URI is one thing I know you can't treat yourself with home remedies. They need antibiotics for a URI. These little guys can go downhill very fast, so you need to figure out how to get him the help he deserves quickly. Since you and your family can't provide the help, you need to get him to someone who can. Just think of this from the guinea pig's side. He needs help. How does he get it? Is it fair to keep him if you can't get him the help? He's depending on you to make the decisions to save his life. So what are your piggies best options?

Lissie suggested surrendering your piggy to a rescue or shelter. That would be the best option for your piggy. They could give him the treatment that he deserves. If you post the county and state where you live, perhaps someone could suggest a rescue or shelter near you.

Another option, but not as good, is returning him to the store, since they sold you a sick guinea pig. But, I don't have a lot of faith in some of these stores getting help for the piggies. Some PetSmart stores have Banfield veterinarians onsite that treat their guinea pigs, but if they don't have exotic training, they could prescribe the wrong antibiotics but at least they'd have a chance.

I have to turn down some people wanting to adopt guinea pigs because they only have enough money for food and bedding - no vet care. It's really hard to say no to people who really want to love these critters, but it's much harder having to rescue so many guinea pigs from shelters who were surrendered because the owners couldn't even afford the most basic vet care. And then the rescues get stuck paying for the bills to rehabilitate the guinea pigs and going through the heartache when they can't save them. These piggies deserve good care.

I understand you wanting pets. They are wonderful and can provide a lot enjoyment. Everyone needs to wait though until they can provide not just the housing and food but medical care if needed. I would suggest seeing if perhaps you could volunteer with a shelter or rescue, or perhaps foster animals for a shelter. Many shelters are looking for foster homes and can provide the veterinary care if needed. You'd be providing a benefit to the animals. You'd be surprised how rewarding it can be. Some will have minimum age requirements.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 11:17 am
How many times do I have to say it?! I can't take him to the vet because I have NO money. I am NOT going to give him away. If he gets worse maybe I can try to convince my parents to go to the vet, but that's highly unlikely.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 11:21 am
When milton sneezes when I hold him above the humidifier, does that mean the gunk is getting out of his system? Is that a good thing? I'm sure you guys are going to say the worst thing possible.

CavyHouse
03-21-17, 11:23 am
If you're old enough to get jobs babysitting, walking dogs, being a mother's helper or something, perhaps you could set up an agreement with your parents to take him to the vet now and you'll pay them back through these jobs. If that works out, then keep getting these jobs and save up some money for future vet bills.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 11:31 am
My. Parents. Don't. Have. Any. Money.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 11:32 am
When milton sneezes when I hold him above the humidifier, does that mean the gunk is getting out of his system? Is that a good thing? I'm sure you guys are going to say the worst thing possible.

Everyone here has given you the best advice possible; take the pig to the vet or give him away. If you refuse to do so until his condition turns critical, it’s very likely that your guinea pig will die. URIS can turn south very quickly.

The dehumidifier may clear his airways a bit, as Soecara said further back, but it will not kill the bacteria. You’re prolonging his suffering by waiting until he’s on death’s door to get help. I’m sorry to be so blunt about it, but as I said before, pets are a privilege, not a right. Just like a phone or a car, if you can’t afford to pay for it then you don’t get to use it. Obviously animals are not used so much as owned, but the same principles apply. You’re giving him the best care that you can without veterinarian intervention, but in this situation your best simply isn’t enough.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 11:32 am
My. Parents. Don't. Have. Any. Money.

Then why in the world did you get a guinea pig in the first place? How are you paying for food, veggies, bedding, etc., if they don't have money?

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 11:40 am
They have money for that, but not 400+ dollars to spend right now

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 11:44 am
They have money for that, but not 400+ dollars to spend right now

Whenever you get a new pet, you should be prepared for emergencies immediately. Right off the bat, both of my guinea pigs needed to be taken to the vet, and I’ve had additional visits multiple times.

I honestly can’t understand why your parents would let you get a pet and then refuse to pay for its medical bills, but you need to step up here and insist that your pig gets to the vet. You’re a parent now, and as such you need to vouch for him.

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 12:01 pm
Well I don't know what to do Im not taking him to the vet or the shelter

JocelynsGoobies
03-21-17, 12:04 pm
And I just asked my parents and they said they can't afford it, like I said a million times.

DisneyQueen
03-21-17, 12:07 pm
Then we can't offer you any further help. I sincerely hope your guinea pig gets better.

Your parents should have known better than to get a pet without being able to pay for emergency vet visits, but you're also at fault for refusing to give him up to someone who can actually afford to care for him. It's plain selfish to put your desires to have a pet over his well-being.

CavyHouse
03-21-17, 12:22 pm
If you just got your guinea pig, there may be a health guarantee. For example, the contract may say it's guaranteed healthy for two weeks. If so, whoever you bought it from might treat it for free. Call and ask.

if you can get your guinea pig past this, then go out and start earning some money doing babysitting or whatever so the next time something happens, you can help him.

You mentioned not having 400+ dollars to treat him it shouldn't be nearly that much. More complicated issues in the future might.

Good luck to the little piggy.

CavyMama
03-21-17, 03:34 pm
Where did you get the guinea pig? If from Petco or PetSmart, they work through Banfield and have an agreement that within something like 30 days, if the animal gets sick, they will treat it and return it to you. So if that's the case, that might be an option. Short of that, I would call around to vets in your area and just get a quote for URI treatment. Cost will vary by vet and it might not be as expensive as you are thinking. It's worth checking into.

JocelynsGoobies
04-17-17, 08:34 pm
Well if anyone's wondering it's been almost 2 months and Milton is kinda acting the same if not, he's gotten a little better. I've notice he doesnt have much nose buggers or discharge latley. He's still pooping, peeing, eating, and drinking still. Latley at least once a day he has his annual run around the cage to get some exorcise. But maybe 3 times a week he does this thing were he starts to popcorn and then make this hmpf noise and while he's doing it he kinda moves back and forth. As soon as I pick him up he stops. So I don't know what his deal Is.. People have been saying that if your Guinea pig has uri he'll die within 48 hours or a few days but Milton's been acting the same. So I don't know what his deal is. I still haven't introduced Milton to Leon yet because I don't want to risk Leon getting it if Milton does have it. Does anyone have any idea what he has?

grace&piggies
04-18-17, 07:59 pm
Milton may be be allergic to something in/nearby his cage. He might be sneezing or at least be irritated to a fragrance or other stimulant. Make sure the area you keep him in is well ventilated.
What are you using as bedding in his cage? What are you using to clean his cage? How often?

JocelynsGoobies
04-18-17, 08:59 pm
Milton may be be allergic to something in/nearby his cage. He might be sneezing or at least be irritated to a fragrance or other stimulant. Make sure the area you keep him in is well ventilated.
What are you using as bedding in his cage? What are you using to clean his cage? How often?

Ive been using a fleece cage for Milton. I clean his cage every 3 days. I was thinking it could've been allergies but I wasn't sure because of the weird hmpf noise hes been making. I was thinking that since Milton, is a new Guinea pig maybe in his old cage he was allergic to the cedar but I would've thought that maybe he would be already over the cedar allergy within two weeks.

grace&piggies
04-18-17, 09:11 pm
What do you wash the fleece with? Perhaps it's a laundry detergent or dryer sheet?

If his ears, eyes and nose are clear, he's looking bright-eyed and active, and he is eating/toileting normally - he's probably okay. Probably. Reading back through this thread, I think you know exactly how you could confirm that.

bpatters
04-18-17, 10:05 pm
Problems with cedar don't usually show up immediately, except maybe for foot irritation. But inhaling the phenols from cedar can cause lung and liver damage, but it takes months, even years, to show up.