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View Full Version : Sick 2 new young piggies, somethings wrong with both of them



mishele
01-30-11, 10:11 pm
Hi, this is my first post. I have only been a member for a few days and haven't had a chance to post my intro. I have 2 male piggies. I have had the first one for 3 weeks, his name is Gandolf (because he is a satin albino puruvian). The other is named Frodo, he is a brown American, and I have had him for about 1 1/2 weeks. I got them both from our local feed store/pet store. It is locally owned, and they get their piggies from a local person, so I assume they both came from the same place. I know now, after reading on this forum, that buying from pet stores is bad. But, I really didn't go out looking for them. I bought Gandolf because I had seen him there 2 weeks earlier with 3 other piggies and thought he was such a neat looking guinea pig, and the day I bought him he was all alone. They told me a "creepy snake" guy bought him and another one but brought them back because his "snake died". I got Frodo to be his friend 1 1/2 later. They are in a 2x4 C&C cage.

All has been fine with the little guys, who, I am guessing are around 12-13 weeks (Gandolf) and 6-7 weeks (Frodo). They hit it off immediately and were very vocal. Yesterday, I was holding Gandolf, which I hadn't done in about 2 days because he doesn't like it much. I noticed a lump about the size of a small grape under his chin, between his lower jaw bones. It seems like it may be more on the right side, but it is mostly centered. It is hard and doesn't seem to bother him when I touch and palpate it. I have searched this forum and I understand it can be a cyst/abscess, a swollen lymph node, an enlarged thyroid. After reading that an abscess can burst and is highly contagious, I put a divider in their cage to seperate them. He is not acting sick in any way.

Frodo, I assumed because he is so young and so small, is more timid than Gandolf, but he is very calm when being held and seems to enjoy it. Because he is easily handled, I do so more often. This morning, when I was holding him, he was unusually calm and he was making slight wheezing and gurguling sounds. One eye had a tiny amount of stuff in the corner, but his eyes and nose are generally clear. I put him back and watched them throughout the day and noticed no talking at all, no interacting, nothing. Frodo stayed in his cave. Gandolf comes out for treats.

Of course, this stuff ALWAYS happens on the weekends! Why is that anyway!? I am calling my vet first thing in the morning, though I am not sure if they treat Guinea Pigs. If they don't, I have a backup vet nearby who does treat exotics and small animals. I guess my main questions are this:

1. Is it possible Frodo had a URI when I brought him home that he gave to Gandolf that is manifesting itself as the lump?

2. Since they have been living together for 1 1/2 weeks and whatever they each have, if it's contagious, has probably already been spread, do they need to be seperated. I ask this because Gandolf "broke through" the divider and now they are both active and eating and seem happier. I don't want to stress them out by being seperated if I don't have to. I assume both will be treated for URI.

3. How urgent is it I get them to the vet ASAP? This is for my husband who thinks the vet can wait until Tues.

It is just so frustrating and scary to have only had them for such a short time and now I am afraid of losing them. Thanks for the help, and sorry this is so long.

SFailed186
01-30-11, 10:21 pm
I am very sorry that your piggies are ill. I am going to try and help by answering what I can.

1. Is it possible Frodo had a URI when I brought him home that he gave to Gandolf that is manifesting itself as the lump?
- As far as I know, a lump is not a symptom of a URI. I am personally thinking an abscess, but it could be any of the things that you have already found.

2. Since they have been living together for 1 1/2 weeks and whatever they each have, if it's contagious, has probably already been spread, do they need to be seperated. I ask this because Gandolf "broke through" the divider and now they are both active and eating and seem happier. I don't want to stress them out by being seperated if I don't have to. I assume both will be treated for URI.
- Dividing the cage won't do anything to prevent the spreading of an illness. If you were going to quarantine, it would have to be in separate cages, in separate rooms, behind closed doors. But if I read correctly, they came from the same place (correct?), so what one has, the other has, if it is contagious.

3. How urgent is it I get them to the vet ASAP? This is for my husband who thinks the vet can wait until Tues.
- It is very urgent. Guinea pigs can go downhill extremely quick. What might not look like a huge deal can actually be much worse than what it appears. Guinea pigs are not able to get better on their own and they require vet care quickly. I would get them to cavy-savvy vet immediately. In the meantime, however, watch out for other symptoms (ie. not eating/drinking/going to the bathroom, lethargy, coughing, sneezing, wheezing, and anything else out of the ordinary).

Deb's4Pigs
01-30-11, 10:28 pm
Take them in the morning because they can go downhill fast. Is the vet cavy savvy? There are antibiotics that are deadly to guineas.

foggycreekcavy
01-30-11, 10:40 pm
Start calling around for a good vet tomorrow. It's more important for them to go to a cave vet than just anyone you can get ahold of.

Weigh them now, and again tomorrow. If anyone is losing weight you will want to handfeed.

mishele
01-30-11, 10:54 pm
Start calling around for a good vet tomorrow. It's more important for them to go to a cave vet than just anyone you can get ahold of.

Weigh them now, and again tomorrow. If anyone is losing weight you will want to handfeed.
I weighed them today for the first time. I will do it again in the morning. I will only take them to my regular vet if she treats guinea pigs regularly. I am most worried (right this minute) about Frodo because a URI can progress so quickly. But, at the same time, I think that will be more easily treated than Gandolf, who will either have to have an abscess lance or a tumor removed. For that, I only want someone who is experience in treatment. I know they can only take certain antibiotics, and I will make sure to mention that to ANY vet I take them to. I did just see Frodo eating and drinking, so that is good news. Gandolf is very active right now.

Deb's4Pigs
01-30-11, 11:09 pm
That's good. Sounds like they are doing well.

Deb's4Pigs
01-31-11, 08:27 pm
How are they doing? Did they go to the vet?

rabbitsncavyluv
01-31-11, 09:27 pm
It may be a swollen lymph node but lumps under the chin can be CL too which is highly contagious if burst.

mishele
01-31-11, 09:30 pm
I took them both to the vet. They are treating both with the same antibiotics, baytril and another one. They couldn't tell if Gandolf had an abscess or a swollen salivary gland without aspirating it, so they did and he has an abscess. So, $215 later, I am told to bring him back on Thurs. and they will lance the abscess, for $455. I have to be honest here. I don't think I can do that. I love my piggies, but almost $700 to treat them, that is just way more than we can afford. I am going to give them their antibiotics faithfully, and pray that the abscess will drain and heal on its own. I am hoping that now that they have created a "drainage point" by aspirating it, it will do just that. He hasn't shown any sign of illness, so hopefully he is a strong boy and can fight this off with the help of the antibiotics.

mishele
01-31-11, 09:31 pm
I took them both to the vet. They are treating both with the same antibiotics, baytril and another one. They couldn't tell if Gandolf had an abscess or a swollen salivary gland without aspirating it, so they did and he has an abscess. So, $215 later, I am told to bring him back on Thurs. and they will lance the abscess, for $455. I have to be honest here. I don't think I can do that. I love my piggies, but almost $700 to treat them, that is just way more than we can afford. I am going to give them their antibiotics faithfully (14 days), and pray that the abscess will drain and heal on its own. I am hoping that now that they have created a "drainage point" by aspirating it, it will do just that. He hasn't shown any sign of illness, so hopefully he is a strong boy and can fight this off with the help of the antibiotics.

foggycreekcavy
01-31-11, 10:03 pm
Guinea pig pus is very thick and doesn't really drain. Usually it needs to be flushed out. If the opening where they did the aspiration is large enough for a syringe to get in, you could try flushing it yourself with a saline solution.

Most of the abscesses I have experience with needed to be removed, or lanced and flushed. Very rarely have they gone away with antibiotics alone.

Perhaps you can "price shop" with other exotic vets? Lancing and draining would only be around $100 from my vet, depending on how much anesthetic is used.

mishele
01-31-11, 10:49 pm
Well, it would be about $150 if I forgo the bloodwork, the iv and fluids. Of course, the vet "highly recommends it". I only have bloodwork done on my dogs and cats when they are more than 4 or 5 years old. My husband and I got into a huge fight when I came home because of how much todays visit costs. He said I am not using comon sense, and that the vet is taking advantage of us because they treat exotics and nobody else does. $60 for each piggie for todays visit does seem high, plus the antibiotics and aspiration. He is a huge animal lover, but right now, money is very tight. I undersand what he is saying, but they are the ONLY vet in our community who does treat them. I will call the only other vet I could find in a near by town tomorrow and see what they charge, but I am guessing it wont be much less. Then I worry, if he got an abscess this young, how many other absesses is he going to get? How can an animal get an infection just from eating? Is there anything I can do to keep this from happening again?

I don't know, maybe I will just do the drainage without all the extras and take the chance. I really want to do the responsible thing, but that also applies to my family. I am really having a hard time with this. I don't even want to tell my coworkers about this, they will give me a rash of you know what for spending the $200+ I spent today on "a rodent".

I was thinking about the money aspect of this on the way home today. What is the determining factor in how much we spend to keep our pets healthy? Is it the price we paid for them initially? Is it they type of animal they are, i.e. cats, dogs, horses, etc? Is it how long we have had them? How attached we are? Or is it the responsibility we took when we got them to give them the best life we are capable of, and what if we aren't financially cabable of doing what needs to be done? This sucks!

maines pigs
02-01-11, 12:04 am
I'm so sorry you are going though this right now. I will keep you in my prayers and have hope for you.You are a very good owner to your guinea pigs and i hope every with them gets better.

SFailed186
02-04-11, 07:54 am
What I am about to say is not meant to be rude nor mean, but in my honest opinion, if you cannot or will not spend the money on the proper care and treatment of your pets, don't even bother having them. They deserve the best, nothing less. I don't know much about abscesses because I haven't had an experience with them yet, but I am sure that it is causing some sort of discomfort... No, you don't NEED to have all of the bloodwork done, but you really should get the abscess lanced.

blackarrow
02-04-11, 08:59 am
The answer is likely to be different for everyone, of course, but personally, I think it is an acceptable thing to go ahead and get the abcess lanced minus the bloodwork and fluids, and keep going with the antibiotics. My thinking behind this is that cavies are fairly delicate creatures - if there is a problem with the bloodwork, or he loses so much in the way of fluid during the surgery that he requires them, his chances for survival are already very low.

I hope the vet is able to give you some idea of why the abcess formed in the first place (i.e. tooth issue, someone bit him and caused the abcess from the outside, etc.) That may give you some indication of the likelihood of recurrence.

Good luck.

Onetwo
02-04-11, 10:17 am
Absesses usually dont have anything to do with health or genetics. You are spending so much on the guinea pigs now because you got them from a pet store/breeder where they dont get vet care when they need it, they are kept in dirty and crampped conditions. This is probably why he has the absess is he got injured and they were in a dirty crampped cage and it got filled with puss and healed close. If you had got them from a rescue they would have gotten a vet check. Usually guinea pigs are equal in price at a shelter than at a pet store except they are kept in much better condition AND you are not contributing to the over population of that pet by selfish breeders and profit driven petstores...

I really hope because of the issues that you don't give up on them. You can have them drain the absess without any other thrills. Depending on where you are located vet costs can be crazy. Maybe if you give your city and state other members here can suggest a different vet. Also many here travel 2+ hours to get to a knowledgable vet so you might want to look outside of your city/town....

Please be sure to give your guinea pigs a probiotic 1 hour after you give them the antibiotic. Because the antibiotic kills all bacteria (good and bad) and the probiotic will keep the good bacteria up. Heres some basic info on antibiotics...

http://www.guinealynx.info/antibiotic_advice.html

You might also want to search on the forum about absesses and probiotics.

You can find a bottle of probiotics in the pharmacy section of your local store. Acidophilus is what you want. Take 1 pill and cut it into 3 pieces, crush one piece and combine it with a tiny bit of apple juice and syringe feed it after the ABs. Make sure they keep eatting as ABs can cause stomach upset and if they dont eat for 6 hours you need to hand feed them pellets mixed with water (or critical care).

mishele
02-04-11, 10:46 pm
Thank you all for the feed back. First, I have to address the comment from SFfailed186 implying that if you aren't willing to spend whatever is necessary on an animal than you shouldn't have it. I am an big animal lover. I have 2 dogs, 2 cats, 12 chickens and a rat. I have spent thousands of dollars on my animals over the years, and because I don't have human kids, my pets are my kids. I don't take animal ownership lightly. I am doing, and intend to keep doing, all I can to make him better. I understand the frustration and anger of people who see pet owners of small pets (and sometimes cats, dogs, etc) as disposable when faced with a vet bill. I feel the same way, but I am not that person.

As I mentioned in my original post, buying Gandolf was not planned. He was supposed to be snake food, and would have been but for a dead snake. I don't know the conditions in which he was born, but I know the conditions of the place I bought him (and Frodo) and it was not crowded or unkept. It is possible he was injured (maybe when he was waiting to be fed to the snake), and that is why he got an abscess. The vet didn't know what caused it, but did say that they can get food stuck in their gums.

As for the treatment I am giving him now, I did cancel his surgery (for now), which was scheduled for yesterday. Both him and Frodo are on duel antibiotics for 14 days (Frodo's URI seems to have cleared up, and he seems to be feeling much better, btw). I have been holding a warm compress on his abscess every evening for about 10 min (or until he cant stay still anymore). The owner of the feed store was very concerned and asked me to bring him in. She gave me a bottle of Vetericyn, which is supposed to help heal wounds, and told me if I needed anymore antibiotics, she would give them to me (I brought what I got from the vet, so she knows what they are taking). I have been putting the Vetericyn on his abscess twice a day for 2 1/2 days now. The abscess is shrinking and is softer and seems to be pulling away from his throat. I rescheduled the surgery for next Friday (so I could take the day off) if his abscess is still there at all, but will move it up if it gets worse. The surgery will be done without bloodwork, since that is almost half the $455, and frankily, I wouldn't do it on my dog or cat either if they were under 4 or 5 years old. I appreciate the info about the probiotics. I am going to get some tomorrow, but I wasn't sure what kind (or how) to give to guinea pigs. They seem to like their antibiotics, so maybe giving them a little treat in the form of apple juice, via the syringe, will be a nice surprise.

Again, thank you all for the support and advice. I will be sure to post updates on Gandolf and Frodo.

sdpiggylvr
02-04-11, 11:15 pm
I'm glad to hear things seem to be improving a bit!

Unless someone else can prove me wrong, I want to caution you against using apple juice. In most apple juices, there are a lot of preservatives, chemicals, and other non-natural ingredients that could potentially be harmful to a delicate guinea pig system. Instead, a small slice of apple about the size of your thumb would be a nice treat.

Good luck!

pinky
02-05-11, 05:09 am
I've had a guinea pig abscess treated from a bite from another guinea pig and my male developed an abscess after his neutering. I didn't have them surgically removed but cleaned out the "pockets" by flushing them and cleaning them with a Qtip while they were on an antibiotic and probiotic. It takes patience and a lot of attention to keeping it clean, but in both cases, my guinea pigs healed nicely. If you don't flush it out or keep that pus from building up, the skin might heal over it and it can worsen.

foggycreekcavy
02-05-11, 11:27 am
Be careful accepting antibiotics from anyone but your veterinarian. I googled Vetericyn, not having heard of it before--it's basically an oxygenated water product and so should be fine to use. However, it would be a good idea to let the vet know you are using it.

I never get the blood work done on my guinea pigs before surgery.

Onetwo
02-05-11, 12:12 pm
Sdpiggylvr- The apple juice is just a mixer in a tiny amount (1-2ml) for the probiotics as they can be bitter. Its not something she is giving them for just a treat but in combination with a med.

Ly&Pigs
02-05-11, 12:38 pm
Probiotics are best given 45 minutes to an hour before the antibiotic. This way they will keep the good bacteria from being destroyed in the first place.

If one is going to use apple juice as a mixer, it would need to be pure, no sugar added stuff. Not the typical type that you find on the grocer's shelves chocked full of sugars and preservatives.

cetd27
02-05-11, 12:41 pm
I have heard that you could use a little organic carrot juice in a syringe right before giving the antibiotic and then a little more right after the medicine. I found this out through the rescue I got my boar from. If this is not correct, please say so, I wouldn't want to give out bad advice so please check first.

mishele
02-05-11, 01:57 pm
This morning when I took Gandolf out for his meds and compress, I noticed the abscess had opened. I tried using a compress of warm water and epsom salt but had a hard time softening it up. So, I put him in the bathroom sink with warm water, and I was able to extract a bit of pus. There is still a pocket in there, I can feel it, but he had had enough man(woman)handling for the morning. I flushed it a little with a syringe filled with warm saltwater, and then sprayed the Vetericyn on it (I did tell my vet about it when he called to check on them, he seemed familiar with it). I will do it a few times during the day and again tonight. He doesn't seem at all bothered by it, he went straight for the vegi's when I put him back in his house. He doesn't really like apples, so I am going to get some vegi juice at the health food store to mix with the probiotics.

I think I am also going to switch to fleece bedding today, I think it will be more sanitary than the carefresh bedding I am using. Now I need to read up on how to use it.