View Full Version : Sick Pneumonia with no signs of improvement.

04-14-19, 08:38 am
I have a very sick male guinea pig his name is Skippy. Monday night I noticed he was not eating, had crusty eyes, and was very lethargic. He also had heavy breathing with crackling sounds. I was able to get him into the vet on Wednesday morning. They kept him all day placing him on oxygen therapy and giving him a vitamin C shot along with an antibiotic. The vet diagnosed him with pneumonia and sent me home with doxycycline and enrofloxacin. Both antibiotics are given twice a day the doxycycline is .08mg each time and the enrofloxacin is .13mg. He showed signs of improvement Wednesday night and all day Thursday eating small amounts of lettuce and celery. His breathing was also better with no crackling. Then Friday came and the crackling came back. I started syringe feeding him but he does not like it at all I only got about 2ml of baby food in him. I also gave him “poop soup” with my other pigs poop which was one ml an hour after his nightly dose of antibiotics. Yesterday was a very bad day. His breathing was heavy all day and he had no energy at all I gave him about 3 ml of the baby food. He is still peeing but his poop is very tiny and happens at most twice a day which I expect since he will not eat. I am out of ideas and feel horrible watching him struggle. He just sits in the same spot and will not even lift his head. He has been quarantined since Monday. And the other pig, Jiffy is doing good.

04-14-19, 09:07 am
His poop is tiny because he's not getting enough to eat. A guinea pig that's eating nothing else needs 100 ml of Critical Care or a pellet slurry (not baby food) for every kilogram it weighs, every day, split into 6-8 feedings around the clock. You adjust up or down according to the pig's weight, and down if it's eating anything on its own. So he should be getting roughly 15-20 ml of food about every 3-4 hours. Guinea pigs are wired to need food passing through their systems at all times, and can die pretty quickly if it isn't.

I hope it isn't too late, but you have to force feed him. It doesn't matter whether he wants it or not -- he has to have food or he'll die. See https://www.guineapigcages.com/forum/threads/115000-Handfeeding-a-guinea-pig for more info.

If he perks up, ask the vet to lend you a nebulizer and give him a stronger antibiotic, like gentamycin, with some steroid added. That may help his lungs.

Good luck, and let us know how he gets along.

04-14-19, 05:21 pm
I started syringe feeding him but he does not like it at all I only got about 2ml of baby food in him

Baby food by itself is virtually useless. You need to get some Critical Care either through your Vet or order it from Amazon. It takes practice to mix CC to just the right consistency to be able to pour it into a syringe and feed it. It thickens quite a bit and it just takes practice.

Go to almost any pet store and ask for a "small animal feeding syringe" that is 30ml capacity. It is large enough that you can remove the plunger and pour the CC into it. Get another 10ml one to feed liquids along with the CC. Buy some generic unflavored Pedialyte and use it to mix the CC instead of water. I then mix the Pedialyte with some water and syringe it about every three bites of CC to simulate how a cavy alternates eating and drinking water. This is especially important if you mix the CC too dry......your cavy won't be able to get it down without a liquid chaser.

You may have read that I use baby food as well? I often add a small amount of baby food to the CC mix to vary the taste. My boys have favored the taste of carrot, kale, apple, corn & pumpkin.

There's a reason that they call it "force feeding". You undoubtedly outweigh your cavy by quite a lot and can easily overpower him. No, he won't like it but you are saving his life! My boys have learned to tolerate syringe feeding quite well. I managed to put a good deal of weight back on a piggy with dental problems, so it can be done. When you take Skippy out of the cage to feed him, take Jiffy out as well. Remember that the best food is what is in the other pig's mouth, so it may encourage Skippy to eat.

Pneumonia is extremely serious in a cavy and can take their life in a heartbeat. Do you have a small vaporizer or humidifier? If so, place it in the cage or else alongside the cage where it will blow into the cage. Then take a sheet and cover the top of the cage to form a makeshift steam tent. I've done this in the past when I had a cavy with pneumonia to help ease her breathing.

Hang in there and do your best. Please keep us posted!

04-14-19, 08:13 pm
Thank you both for your advice. Skippy sadly passed away this morning. His breathing kept getting worse. It was horrible to watch but I am glad I was there for him. I just didn’t notice his symptoms soon enough. Jiffy seems to be doing fine as of now but I am going to keep a close eye on him. They were together for a little under a year. And now what do I about a cage mate? Should I wait to see how he handles being alone or look to adopt another as soon as possible?

04-14-19, 08:49 pm
I'm so sorry that he didn't make it. Their little lives are far too fragile and too short. As I said, pneumonia will take them in a heartbeat. When my girl came down with pneumonia, she was dead before the antibiotics could work despite all my comfort moves.

I recommend that you get another cavy sooner rather than later. Cavies don't grieve as we do.....they just know that their buddy is gone. One of my boys died two weeks ago today so I'm in the same situation. My remaining boy is very bonded to us, but I can tell that he is lonely. We're doing all we can to give him extra attention, but that will never make up for losing his "brother". Due to my insane schedule at the moment, it's going to be a couple of weeks or so until I can get a new furball.

You can't replace Skippy, but I just know that there is enough love in your heart for some lonely boy out there. Wishing you the best!