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rjramer06
07-13-09, 02:00 pm
I need some advice for possibly two sick guinea pigs. We are taking them to the vet but unfortunately the only vet where we live that sees guinea pigs won't be in until Wednesday.

One of our pigs seems to be breathing hard. The other kind of seems to be sneezing a lot but we can't tell for sure. I don't really know what to consider "a lot" since I will sneeze almost everyday anyways. Idk if it's just a regular sneeze (kind of like what a dog or even a human would do) or if it's something more.

For the one that's breathing hard, he's also acting really lethargic. I'm almost certain he could be sick. Anyone know of any "home remedies" to help him out until we can see the vet on Wednesday?

Jojojo
07-13-09, 02:18 pm
What kind of bedding are they on? One of my piggers had an infection a few weeks back and whilst I was giving him the treatment the vet suggested I changed from woodshavings to recycled paper bedding. Turns out that the woodshavings were causing my pigs to sneeze. The new bedding is very expensive in comparison but it is worth it to keep my babies healthy.
I know a lot of people use fleece as well.

Peggysu
07-13-09, 04:04 pm
Wendesday? Once you start seeing symptoms chances are they have been sick for a while. There are no home remedies. They need anti-biotics if it is a URI, therefore they need to see a vet. Do you have any other cavy savy vets around? Have you been weighing them weekly? You need to start weighing them daily so you can see if they are losing weight!

Paula
07-13-09, 04:43 pm
Ditto Peggysu. There really aren't any home remedies and it would definitely be wise if you could get them in sooner than Wednesday. They go downhill very fast.

Are there any emergency vets in your area that could see them?

Pigs don't really have a "regular" sneeze, and certainly they don't with the frequency with which you're describing. Hearing them sneeze every once in a while is one thing - hearing it every day or more is definitely a sign that they need vet care right away.

However, I'm a bit more concerned about the pig with the heavy breathing and lethargy. You need to hand feed him and make sure he's getting enough water, as dehydration is a very real possibility at this point. That might mean syringing him water. Make sure and keep him warm. One thing you can possibly do is start a hot shower and close the door and take him in so it's kind of like a steam bath for him. It might loosen up congestion in his lungs and help him breathe a bit.

None of this is a substitute for veterinary care and you need to get him in as quickly as you can. I'd call the vet back and see if they can recommend anyone else who can see him. Make sure they understand that this is a pretty dire situation at this point and hopefully they will work with you to get him in.

akstrohm
07-13-09, 05:51 pm
In addition to what everyone else has said, please see Guinea Lynx for information on URIs. If you can see a vet that does not normally see guinea pigs sooner, be sure to print off the list of antibiotics that can be harmful to guinea pigs and take it with you.

rabbitsncavyluv
07-13-09, 08:13 pm
Is there an ER vet near you? I consider this an emergency. They need medicine asap.

rjramer06
07-13-09, 08:56 pm
Thanks to everyone who applied. We called all around at the vets nearby us and only 1 (the first one we scheduled for) could look at guinea pigs. I was getting more and more worried about them so called the vet back to see if there was any way they could squeeze us in at all. Luckily they were able to! We went in asap and got both of our boys looked at. I am so glad that we got in today. One has a lower respiratory infection; the other an upper respiratory infection. Both are on antibiotics. The one with the lower infection was also given a special formula that we are feeding him from a syringe. I just hope we were not too late in noticing the symptoms. I will feel so bad if one of them dies. :(

Luckily too we were also able to purchase a small scale and will be able to monitor their weight everyday now.

rjramer06
07-13-09, 08:58 pm
What kind of bedding are they on? One of my piggers had an infection a few weeks back and whilst I was giving him the treatment the vet suggested I changed from woodshavings to recycled paper bedding. Turns out that the woodshavings were causing my pigs to sneeze. The new bedding is very expensive in comparison but it is worth it to keep my babies healthy.
I know a lot of people use fleece as well.

To answer this: No wood shavings are used. We use a fleece bedding and some CareFresh in their litter box. I thought I saw that other people use CareFresh too so I figured it was ok.

akstrohm
07-13-09, 09:09 pm
Carefresh is fine to use.

Now that they are on antibiotics, they have a good chance of recovery. You should see improvement pretty soon. Make sure to hand feed them if they don't eat on their own (water as well). Guinea Lynx has a good section on handfeeding.

Weigh them daily until they are better. After that, once a week is good.

I hope they get better soon, and I'm very glad you got them the care they need!

rabbitsncavyluv
07-13-09, 09:11 pm
Submit your vet bills to Petsmart. If you make a big stink to management and corporate, they usually pay to shut you up. They sold you sick pigs (as usual).

rjramer06
07-14-09, 04:20 am
Submit your vet bills to Petsmart. If you make a big stink to management and corporate, they usually pay to shut you up. They sold you sick pigs (as usual).

Should I take the bills to the store or try to get a hold of someone up higher than the store manager? I'd like to let them know (and possibly get them to pay the bills since I may have to take them back and pay again for another check-up).

They may have sold me sick piggies, but I will be trying my hardest to make sure they get better soon. I love these little guys so much already.

rjramer06
07-14-09, 05:22 am
I am very sad to report that Bantam, our smallest and sickest of the two, passed away this morning. We were working to try and give him the special food the vet gave us, and I think the stress was too much on him. We looked to find an emergency vet that could see him, but again there seems to be NO ONE around us that can look at guinea pigs. We will be calling his vet later on today. She was very kind and caring with him, and we are hoping that once our other guy, Maipo, is better that we can get him a new friend. Bantam will always hold a special place in my heart, but I know Maipo can't be alone for too long. We are very lucky to have found out that our vet rescues sick/unwanted guinea pigs and as of right now has 25 or so at home. We would love to rescue a baby that needs a new home. While we didn't have Bantam for long, he still had a big lasting impression.

We will also be going to Petsmart and giving them hell later. NEVER again will I buy a single pet from them. The ONLY money they will ever get from me again is if we need something for our babies that we can't find anywhere else. I understand now why everyone is so against pet stores, and am just sad that I had to learn the hard way why they truly are bad places to buy pets from.

SnowFlower
07-14-09, 05:28 am
I am so sorry you lost your piggy.

I understand your wish to get your remaining one a friend, when you do adopt a friend for him please be sure to quarantine the new pig for the 3 weeks. Read up on quarantine to get a better idea of this.

Again, I am sorry for your loss :(

rjramer06
07-14-09, 05:34 am
I am so sorry you lost your piggy.

I understand your wish to get your remaining one a friend, when you do adopt a friend for him please be sure to quarantine the new pig for the 3 weeks. Read up on quarantine to get a better idea of this.

Again, I am sorry for your loss :(

Well I know we can't get a new one until our other guy is better. Thankfully he is acting fine and only seemed to have the equivalent of the sniffles. But we know we couldn't get one until he is better (and I will make sure the vet checks him over again before we get a new one). But do you think we'd have to quarantine since we are (hopefully) getting a new friend from the vet herself? I will be sure to talk to her about it and get her advice.

Thank you for the condolences. I knew everyone on here would understand. These guys are so much more than just a "little pet". They popcorn and squeal into your hearts.

akstrohm
07-14-09, 07:26 am
I'm very sorry for your loss.

A quarantine is always a good idea, for the sake of both pigs. Sometimes moving them to a new environment can cause them to get stressed, and a hidden illness can pop up. Basically, it can't hurt. The only reason not to do it is if you need to take your pig to your vet to do introductions there if having the pigs not get along is a big concern.

Also, don't rule out an adult. I'm guessing your pig is pretty young, and a younger pig and older pig generally get along well. Two younger ones will hit puberty at the same time, and that can cause problems (although not always).

Again, I'm sorry you lost your pig. I know you tried your hardest to get him the care he needed. I hope your other pig feels better soon.

rjramer06
07-14-09, 10:19 am
I'm very sorry for your loss.

A quarantine is always a good idea, for the sake of both pigs. Sometimes moving them to a new environment can cause them to get stressed, and a hidden illness can pop up. Basically, it can't hurt. The only reason not to do it is if you need to take your pig to your vet to do introductions there if having the pigs not get along is a big concern.

Also, don't rule out an adult. I'm guessing your pig is pretty young, and a younger pig and older pig generally get along well. Two younger ones will hit puberty at the same time, and that can cause problems (although not always).

Again, I'm sorry you lost your pig. I know you tried your hardest to get him the care he needed. I hope your other pig feels better soon.

Thank you for the advice. I will be sure to talk with the vet and see what she feels is ok to do. I just hope she is willing to part with one though (although I'm sure she is since she is just a rescuer I think). We hope to get a new one soon for Maipo's sake. In some ways I feel bad, like I'm just "replacing" our piggy that passed away. But I know Maipo needs a new friend to be happy and I love the idea of helping another piggy find a good home.

akstrohm
07-14-09, 10:39 am
In some ways I feel bad, like I'm just "replacing" our piggy that passed away. But I know Maipo needs a new friend to be happy and I love the idea of helping another piggy find a good home.

Think of it instead as adopting a new pig in need in memory of your old pig.

rjramer06
07-14-09, 10:46 am
Think of it instead as adopting a new pig in need in memory of your old pig.

What a wonderful way of looking at it. I'm still a little teary and whatnot today but am doing better than I was this morning. We will be burying our little guy here in a few hours when we can get a shovel from our friends.

On a different note concerning pet stores: The manager at our local Petsmart did the right thing I believe. He refunded us for both of the piggies, since they were both sick. We used to money to buy new supplies, as I found out I wasn't using good pellets or alfalfa hay (our guys are only 3 months old or so, and the vet said alfalfa hay would be good until they were about 6 months old). And since we took our piggies to the vet and found out why they were sick, they didn't make us bring him in or anything. I was relieved since I wanted to bury him close to where we live. Never again will I buy a pet from a pet store like that. Supplies, yes; but only because we have nothing else around that sells that kind of stuff. I have learned the hard way why everyone was so against pet stores selling pets, and will be sure to share everything I've learned with other new pet owners.

My aunt just got 2 female guinea pigs a few days ago. I was talking to her about what all she needed (appropriate size cage, veggies every day, hay every day, etc.). I don't think she's doing ANYTHING right. I offered to build her a C&C cage this weekend. She said she spent $50 on a pet store cage that I am almost certain will be too small (and I haven't even seen it yet). I will be giving her a link to this site as well. I have learned so much from everyone here. Thank you all.

rabbitsncavyluv
07-14-09, 11:53 am
I'm sorry for your loss. Unfortunately this story is too common and why we support adoption only. It's good you found a good vet.

You can order supplies online or find a feed store or supplies only store near you.

Even the money that goes towards supplies in petsmart goes to the same place. They usually make more money off selling supplies than live animals.

You can feed alfalfa hay but you still need to feed grass hay as well.

Are they paying your vet bills too? They should. Make it unprofitable for them to sell animals.

RainbowPiggy
07-14-09, 12:41 pm
We're all very sorry for your loss. You know, the EXACT thing happened to me. Before I knew about this website or the TRUE stories behind pet stores, I bought my first 2 guinea pigs from Petco, Cookie and Cocoa. About 2 weeks later, Cocoa was looking very skinny, breathing hard, and acting very lethargic. We we're going to take her to the vet the next day, but she didn't even last the night. The next day, we went back to Petco and we told them that she died and they told us to bring in the dead pig. (What the...?) So we did, and they gave us our money back. Then we bought Reesie. (Ugh, LAST pig I'll ever buy from a petstore.) But now Cookie and Reesie are healthy. Then I found this site, and was amazed. I will now adopt all my future piggies, and I am actually going to be buying a C&C cage very soon.

Peggysu
07-14-09, 12:46 pm
I'm so sorry for your loss. People wonder why we are so against supporting pet stores. This is why. People post about their piggies that were purchased from a pet store and then they pass away all to often. These stories make me angry. Once again I'm sorry and I hope you chose not to give any money to those corporations or pet stores. It's simple to order online and also to find stores that sell strickly supplies.

rjramer06
07-14-09, 12:55 pm
I'm sorry for your loss. Unfortunately this story is too common and why we support adoption only. It's good you found a good vet.

You can order supplies online or find a feed store or supplies only store near you.

Even the money that goes towards supplies in petsmart goes to the same place. They usually make more money off selling supplies than live animals.

You can feed alfalfa hay but you still need to feed grass hay as well.

Are they paying your vet bills too? They should. Make it unprofitable for them to sell animals.

I'll try to see what feed stores we have around. I found out the vet sells Oxbrow pellets (and for way cheaper than Petsmart). But as far as hay, I don't know any other place to buy from. I live in West Lafayette, IN if anyone knows a good place to go to. I don't think I could order online since I don't have my own mailbox to leave stuff at if I'm not home, and I probably couldn't afford the shipping costs time after time.

I'll be sure to feed both types of hay. I currently have alfalfa hay and an orchard hay mix by Kaytee. Are these ok? (The alfalfa hay is from Oxbrow).

Petsmart didn't offer to pay for the vet bills, but they did refund us for BOTH of the pigs. They have this small fine print on their pet contracts that say vet bills are the responsibility of the owner. But at this point I don't care. I just don't want to deal with them anymore. All I care about now is getting our Maipo better (and he seems to be doing well) and finding him a new friend once he's ok.

NicholsS10
07-14-09, 01:13 pm
I'm sorry to hear that your pig passed.

In regards to hay, kaytee is not a good brand. The 3 brands that we recommend for hay are: KM Hayloft (which you have to order on-line), Oxbow, and Sweet Meadow (which I believe you also have to order on-line). I use to use oxbow, and do if I run out of my KM while waiting for more to be shipped to me, but since I started using KM, I haven't looked back.

As for not being able to order on-line for not having a mailbox to leave to the stuff at, and for the shipping costs consider this: 25 lbs of orchard grass costs $15 from KM, with shipping and tax it's about $38. So that's 25 lbs of quality hay (most of which will be eaten) for $38. If you by kaytee (I use to at walmart for $2.50 a pound), that's $62.5 BEFORE taxes for 25 lbs (and with kaytee there are lots of stems and parts that the pigs won't eat), so overall you are saving money.

As for the whole mailbox thing, do you have a neighbor that stays home all the time could take the package until you get home from work? If so, that could work.

Paula
07-14-09, 01:46 pm
The next day, we went back to Petco and we told them that she died and they told us to bring in the dead pig. (What the...?) So we did, and they gave us our money back.This isn't the least bit surprising. They don't see them as living, breathing animals with feelings and rights like you and I do. They see them as merchandise. All your dead pig is to them is a piece of defective merchandise that needs to be replaced. This, in a nutshell, is the problem with pet stores and their policy on selling live animals.

rljr1001, I'm sorry you lost your pig and I hope you're able adopt a pig for his surviving cage mate in the near future. Hopefully this experience has taught you the value of quarantine and swift vet care at the first indication of illness as well as why this forum and its members are so strongly against pet stores that sell and treat these animals with no more respect than they would a box of Milkbones.

akstrohm
07-14-09, 02:37 pm
Kaytee hay doesn't have anything harmful in it (like their pellets do), but it is generally low quality and dusty. It will also be much more expensive than KM in the long run. KM can seem expensive when you order it, but you can buy it in bulk, so you don't have to do so very often. Oxbow and Sweet Meadow hay are other possibilities, but if you can order from KM I would recommend doing so. If you can find some other kind of local hay in a feed store, that will work too as long as it is horse quality.

rjramer06
07-15-09, 02:06 pm
Hopefully this experience has taught you the value of quarantine and swift vet care at the first indication of illness as well as why this forum and its members are so strongly against pet stores that sell and treat these animals with no more respect than they would a box of Milkbones.

I knew NOTHING about quarantine until after my 2 pigs were already together. And as for swift vet care, I called a vet the MINUTE I could tell something wasn't right. I already know it's important to act quickly when a pet is sick. I feel like I did the best I could for them based on the information I had at hand at the time.

You have to have experience before you can truly understand why other people have the views they do. In some ways I blame myself for everything but at the same time I can't since I did not know any better about the pet stores. Before all of this, I thought they were an ok thing.

Other issues: Ok looking at how you laid out the whole costs issues about ordering on-line, I will seriously consider ordering online. But no one around us has a real mailbox (we live in an apartment complex and everyone just has small boxes). So I might be able to work something out as far as picking up the package every time from the post office (With 2 pigs, we shouldn't have to buy a ton of hay all the time). For now, I am using Oxbow alfalfa mix plus orchard hay. I just switched over to Oxbow pellets as well, since I found out that what I bought before was crap.

akstrohm
07-15-09, 03:50 pm
The hay definitely does not fit in a mail box, regardless of what kind of mail box it is.

It will last several months so you would only have to pick it up from the post office a few times per year. Does your apartment complex not allow you to accept packages? That seems really strange.