View Full Version : URI/Upper Respiratory Infection Dwindling Piggies

02-08-13, 07:20 pm
Hey all. My two new piggies have been diagnosed with URIs :( I noticed a few days ago that Scabbers was sneezing and Hedwig had a little bit of a squeaky nose. I made a vet appointment and she could hear a lot of congestion in Scabbers, while Hedwig's nose had a lot of fluid. She gave me Orbax to administer twice daily, .5ml, for ten days. What's concerning me is that they aren't getting any better. It's the second day on the Orbax, and Scabbers is eating a ton less than he was a week ago. Both are still eating somewhat and drinking, still running around in their play pin. Both are also a lot more lethargic than usual.

Am I being an over-concerned parents and not giving the Orbax enough time to work, or should I be calling the vet?

02-08-13, 07:27 pm
Did they give you Critical Care at the vet?

Make sure you weigh them daily and if they aren't eating/drinking, you will need to force feed them. My Marshmallow went through this on his antibiotics for his URI and I ended up having to force feed him for a few weeks and at times force water. You will need to watch them very carefully as they can go downhill very quickly (within 24 hours) if they are not eating.


Read over this, it will help.

02-08-13, 07:35 pm
You may need to force feed Critical Care if they continue to refuse to eat. Guinea pigs can go downhill extremely fast so keep an eye on them.

02-08-13, 07:36 pm
It sounds an awful lot like what happened here with a pig on Orbax. http://www.guinealynx.info/antibiotic_intolerance.html
It's possible that they are overly sensitive to that particular antibiotic. You might talk to your vet about switching to Baytril or Bactrim.

Did your vet also give a probiotic? Usually probiotics are taking in turn with antibiotics. Many times, without the probiotic, the pig can have the symptoms you are describing.

02-09-13, 12:55 pm
The vet did not give me any critical care. Last night, neither Scabbers nor Hedwig touched their food. They are drinking and eating timothy hay. We got hit very hard last night by the blizzard and are snowed in completely. Nothing is open. The piggies are alert, Hedwig more so than Scabbers. I'm soaking some of their pellets in water to make into a paste to try and feed to the two of them. I'm mashing some banana to see if they'll try that. If they don't eat I'm going to force feed them.

It's day three of the antibiotics. I'm going to call the vet Monday if I don't see any improvement. Do you guys have any suggestions to what else I should try?

02-09-13, 01:22 pm
I'm trying to force feed but they won't take it no matter what I try. I don't know what to do anymore.

02-09-13, 01:32 pm
When you talk to the vet, ask about getting a probiotic with the antibiotic and don't let the vet tell you that you can use yogurt as the probiotic. Guinea pigs are lactose intolerant.

I would also ask about getting your pigs on either Bactrim or Baytril.

02-09-13, 01:36 pm
Are you using a syringe? If you are, the easiest way I found was to hold their head firmly and place the syringe on the side of their mouth and back until up against their teeth. Then I squeezed a small amount in, a bit at a time, and they would usually chew it up and swallow. I ended up having to do many meals over short amounts of time, once/hour at some points to get him to eat enough but without food, the outcome is not good. It may seem cruel or they may be unwilling to be force fed but you must have them eat, it's not an option.

If you don't have a syringe, I would try using a straw or anything that you can make a make-shift tube out of and try either sucking up some food into it and releasing into their mouth. Any way you do it, it will get messy. You can also try wetting the pellets and pureeing them in a blender or food processor to try to get it to a smoother consistency with some fruits or veggies. Anything at this point to get them to eat will work.

And see about those probiotics when you call the vet on Monday. Feeding won't wait until then, so just do what you can to get it into them. Good luck!

02-09-13, 02:01 pm
My piggy was just on Orabax for 14 days. He tolerated it fine, but was also on a probiotic (Bene-bac) from Day 1. The runny nose has just come back,but that's another story...

02-09-13, 02:53 pm
I seem to recall that banana isn't the best choice. I'll see if I can find more info on it.

02-09-13, 06:36 pm
Good news! I was able to give Scabbers a little bit of sludge (pellets, mashed banana, a little bit of juice all mixed in water). I put out some Romaine lettuce in hopes that they would nibble and they ate the WHOLE leaf! Not in the clear yet, but I'm feeling like things could get better.

02-09-13, 06:46 pm
That's excellent news!

02-09-13, 06:51 pm
One of my pigs currently has a URI, even though she is still eating we have to give Critical Care.
Hopefully he starts eating again, and that is excellent news. But you need to give him Critical Care.

02-09-13, 06:58 pm
About how long does it take for a piggy to bounce back from a URI. Is there anything I can do to prevent them from getting another? We have no other pets in the house, and they both have fleece bedding.

As soon as the city plows the snow out of the streets I'll go pick up some Critical Care.

02-09-13, 07:02 pm
Don't do the banana. It can cause constipation, and if the gut is already a bit off from the antibiotic, you could make things worse. Also be very careful with the juice... not too much as the excess sugar is not good either.

Canned pumpkin is a much better choice. Or try puréeing lettuce or a bit of carrot with the pellet mash. Really monitor eating and drinking and pooping very very closely. You want to ensure that there is food intake at least every few hours to keep the digestive tract moving.

02-09-13, 07:06 pm
As soon as the city plows the snow out of the streets I'll go pick up some Critical Care.

You will need to get this from the vet, if they are open. If you have an emergency exotics vet, they would have it on hand.

Most stores will have the canned pumpkin (often in baking area, make sure only ingredient is pumpkin). They may eat it for you without syringing. If you need to syringe it, add some water. The pumpkin is a good choice because it's high in fiber, and when adding water with it, you are keeping them hydrated, too.

It can take a few weeks to recover, but you should see some improvement quickly.

02-10-13, 10:56 am
Scabbers and Hedwig are doing much better this morning. Still watching them VERY closely, but they've eaten all their Romaine lettuce and have been picking at their pellets. Definitely an improvement. They are still iffy about other foods, like carrots, but we'll see if that changes in the next few days.

Absolutely nothing is open right now because of the blizzard, so I can't get to the vet or a store. I still have watered down pellets, I'll food process some lettuce and other veggies and give them that. We're on Day 4 of the antibiotics. I'm feeling very hopeful now.

02-16-13, 11:20 am
Some of you may have read my previous thread about my little guys having URIs. I stopped by the vet again to get them rechecked, and while their lungs have cleared up, they are still not eating enough and aren't very active. My vet told me to stop the Orbax (they were on for 7 days 2x a day) and gave me Critical Care to syringe 2x a day until they start eating again.

My concern is that Scabbers has starting pooping these very wet, dark tear-shaped poos. Is this normal? They have been on the Critical Care for three days now.

02-16-13, 01:29 pm
It could have been the Orax that's disturbing his digestive system. I believe Critical Care has a probiotic in it, but read the ingredients to be sure. If it doesn't, I would add a probiotic to the slurry.

02-16-13, 01:32 pm
Critical Care didn't use to have probiotics, I believe. I don't know whether it does now or not. Critter Be Better does have a probiotic added.

02-16-13, 01:32 pm
That's great that they are doing better! My Marshmallow actually took awhile after stopping his antibiotics to fully adjust to eating normal again. I had him on a probiotic along with his critical care but his tummy was just not right for about a week after. He slowly got back to normal and is healthy and happy now, but it wasn't an overnight thing. The whole overall process from diagnosing the URI to him being 100% healthy and eating right took about 4/5 weeks for us.

02-16-13, 01:52 pm
Could I give him a non-dairy human probiotic?

02-16-13, 02:16 pm

Here is a link on probiotics that might help, i don't know the human versions but I believe there is one. I have on hand pet acidophilus that I used.

Somebody else should be able to point you in the right direction for exact names though.

02-16-13, 02:34 pm
I bought a probiotic that's pure lacto acidophilus. I've done a little research, and that's generally what a pig needs in a probiotic. I hope it's okay.

02-17-13, 12:56 pm
I've noticed that Scabbers has been drinking an awful lot of water. Just yesterday, he went from drinking about half a bottle, to finishing almost the entire thing. Hedwig doesn't drink much water at all. Should I be concerned?

02-19-13, 01:17 pm
Has their activity level and eating returned? The excessive water consumption is not good. How large is the water bottle he has (in oz) and are you sure he's not playing with it, causing it to drip out?

Excessive water consumption can be a sign of pain or tooth problem. I would monitor this very closely, and continue to weigh daily. If it continues or he is losing weight, I'd be back at the vet for a recheck.

02-19-13, 01:55 pm
Activity and eating has gone back up. They popcorn and wheek now when I bring out their hay bag to refill their hay racks! Scabbers is running laps in his cage right now, lol. The bottles are 8oz. each. Scabbers drinks about half the bottle every day on average. Hedwig drinks maybe a fourth a day. I rinse and refill the bottles daily.

02-19-13, 02:05 pm
That's good that they have improved, hopefully they're on the mend! We're all sending *healing vibes* to your pigs. A x

02-21-13, 06:32 pm
So my piggies have started sneezing AGAIN. They're doing really well, running around and popcorning, and their appetite has gone WAY up. But the sneezing has also increased. I'm pretty OCD about cleaning, so there's no dust where the cages are, no candles or scents either. They are on fleece that I spot clean every day, and completely wash and change fleeces once a week.

What's going on with them? :/ They completed 7 days of Orbax and the vet said their lungs had completely cleared up. Could they have gotten sick again? We have no other animals, however I was sick with a cold last week. Could I have gotten them sick?