View Full Version : URI/Upper Respiratory Infection Should I visit the vets or hold tight for a little while?

09-02-13, 01:26 pm
Hi all,

My Abyssinian, Ernie, has had crusty eyes for the past three weeks or so. Now, before you say I'm super neglectful and plain cruel, this isn't like eye-obscuring massive wads of discoloured gunk. It's a very, very small amount- kind of like a small amount of the "sleep" we get in our eyes in the morning. I've been wiping it away with a cotton pad and it usually takes around four-five days to come back. His appetite is fine, he still popcorns and runs around, and he doesn't look or behave like he's unwell.

Recently however I'm a little more concerned as I've noticed he is coughing slightly. Now both my guineas sneeze now and again- I think it's the fleece detergent, so I'm not sure if this is just normal for him or not. He's also drinking a lot of water- or at least I THINK he is. I say "think" because he's recently (last week) transitioned from being in an outdoor hutch to my bedroom in a CC cage, so I have no idea if he's drinking a huge amount of water or if this is what he drinks all the time. >.< On a similar note, he seems to be napping frequently- but again, I have no idea if this is regular for him or not. It's all very frustrating and worrying!

The vets are going to charge 21.70 PER Guinea Pig to check them over, so I have two main questions for you guys:

1. Do you think I should bite the bullet and send my little guy to the vets, and,
2. Do you think I should get both guinea pigs checked over? Are URI's likely to infect both guinea pigs?

Thanks in advance for any and all help.

EDIT.: The last part of my title, IE. "Possible URI", seems not to have been posted; my keyboard is a fail. >.< Apologies to any moderators who think the title needs edited.

09-02-13, 01:38 pm
I would say that the "crusties" are probably more cleaning fluid than infection if they've been happening as you say. He could be sneezing a little and coughing from change in environment, but I would be concerned if you feel he is drinking larger amounts of fluids. I would say it is time to take him to the vet. If they've been housed together then yes, it is likely both will come down with it, but not necessarily always what happens. I have two pairs that are housed together, and have had only one of them end up ill. I did separate as soon as I noticed symptoms though! I'm glad you've decided to bring you piggys inside! They will be so much happier with you I'm sure. Have your piggys been to a vet at all?

09-02-13, 01:45 pm
Is the crusty stuff white or colored? If white, it's probably just the cleaning fluid they use to groom themselves. If colored, it's more likely to be an infection of some kind.

Drinking more water can possibly be a sign of diabetes, but more often is a sign of nothing. I have one that drinks like crazy for a couple of weeks, then goes back to normal. Nothing has ever been wrong with her related to that.

If he's eating/sleeping/peeing/pooping normally (and now that he's inside you should be able to observe him more carefully), and if he's not coughing a lot and doesn't have any nasal discharge, then I would watch for a few days and see what happens with him. But if any of those things occur, or he seems to be getting worse, then take him to the vet.

If the other one isn't showing any symptoms, there's no need to take it in except for moral support. If your one pig winds up on antibiotics, many vets will allow you to call and report any similar symptoms the other one has and give you the medicine without having to bring the pig in.

09-02-13, 01:50 pm
I'm not sure if it is excess fluid intake or if this has always been how much water he has drank; do you think it's worth monitoring for another week to see? His appetite etc hasn't diminished and in my paranoia I've been giving him lots of vegetables for extra vit c. Also, I always intended to bring them inside: they were a surprise birthday present, and the boyfriend bought them an outdoor hutch because he thought they were outdoor animals. I'm so happy to have them indoors (and much less concerned!) XD. Yes, they were pet shop piggies so after two weeks of having them I took them both for a check up. The woman checked their heart rate, weighed them, checked their teeth and claws and their skin etc; they were both perfectly healthy.

They both have shiny eyes, their skin looks healthy, their coat looks healthy, their appetite is 100% normal- I've started weighing them from yesterday to see if they're losing weight, too, just in case.. My only concern really is just Ernie's eyes and his water drinking/sleeping (and, occasionally, Bert's sneezing, too)! They were both sneezing now and again before they received their check-up, and the vet didn't pick up on anything worrying when she looked at them.

edit: The crust is white. Not pure, dazzling, brilliant white. It's literally like the crust I get in my eyes in a morning. xD And good idea about taking both but only showing one, maybe that'll save money.

09-02-13, 01:54 pm
If they've been to a vet, then often if one pig is seen and the other develops the same problems the vet can just prescribe something as bpatters said. I was going to suggest weighing so good job on keeping up with that! I would just continue to monitor for changes in appetite and weight loss if it was me. If you notice any nasal discharge, wheezing, crackling sounds when they breathe or they begin to not want to eat then I'd contact a vet.

09-02-13, 02:13 pm
Both of the vets I see won't prescribe an antibiotic for a guinea pig that has not been seen in the last year. I'd call and ask for a group rate since it won't take as long to see two in one visit as it would in two. That way, they can both be checked at the same time and possibly the second will nip a URI in the bud before it gets worse.

09-02-13, 03:05 pm
Okay guys, I think I'm going to go ahead and try and get both of them to the vets. I guess a little money will be worth it, as opposed to living in constant stress for the next few days. Thanks for your advice about a group rate, Pinky- though I think 21.70 per guinea IS the group rate for my vets. >.<

I'm thinking about moving on and getting a new vet anyway, as although when I inquired I was told my veterinary practice treats a lot of piggies, the vet who saw me advised me to put vit C supplements in the water. Everybody online who knows anything about guinea pigs has always recommended you don't put supplements in the water, so that comment made me a little suspicious.

I'll keep you posted guys and let you know whether B&E turned out to be okay or if my fears were worthwhile. I'm going to try and get an appt for tomorrow, so you'll hear back shortly. Thanks for all your help.

09-02-13, 03:17 pm
White crust is cleaning fluid and is nothing to worry about.

09-03-13, 10:55 am
Update: Took both piggies to a (different) vets, who was 100% more knowledgeable and made a much more thorough check on them- weight examined, body examined, skin examined, eyes and teeth and heartrate, ears etc. She said both were the epitome of health, and although Ernie's breathing through the stethoscope sounded louder than Bert's, she attributed it to the fact he is a chubbier pig (Bert is 12-14 weeks and only 700g; Ernie, by comparison, is 890g). She said due to their healthiness she was reluctant to prescribe Baytril, but if there was a sign of consistently laboured breathing etc, she would prescribe it for me then without the need for another consultation.

Thus, two healthy piggies (although most of you advised that anyway). To make it even better, I only ended up paying 15.00 to see both of them! Thank you all so much for your help!

10-17-13, 01:15 am
Okay, guys, I'm just going to add to this thread as I'm quite concerned about Ernie again.

Since around four o'clock this morning (it's eight now), he has been making a strange vocalization when he moves. His breathing sounds the same as normal, but this strange sporadic noise - it sounds a bit like a raspier chut, but it's not coming from his lungs, it's definitely vocalised- keeps coming. It's as if he has a "sore throat" because this seems to have replaced the usual noises he makes.

I've trolled the internet and found something as similar as possible (my camera isn't working at the moment), except it's not even marginally as rhythmic as that. The sound is very similar, though.

I weighed him Tuesday and he gained 20g since last week; he's still eating regularly, and I'm going to check to make sure he's peeing regularly (on that note- any ideas how to monitor this properly on fleece?). It's not a noise he makes while peeing, though, because he made it when I picked him up to examine him too. No abnormal crusties / nose mucus / lethargy, just this VERY strange noise.

10-17-13, 01:28 am
I've just researched "hooting" and the sound is almost identical, should I take him to the vets? :( Very worried!

10-17-13, 05:52 am
I'd get him to the vet to be checked

10-17-13, 07:16 am
Okay, so I took him to the vets this morning as I was very panicked. By the time I'd taken him to the vets the sound he was making had completely stopped and it looks like there's no sign of it returning. The vet listened to his chest, told me she couldn't hear anything abnormal and there was nothing wrong with his heart / no fluid in his lungs (both of these she ascertained through use of a stethoscope). She suspects he's probably mildly aspirated or choked on food through the night and that's why it has cleared up. However, to make sure he's not at the beginning of a URI, she has prescribed Baytril for a four day period. He's only about five months old. Has my vet done the right thing - do her actions sound like she knows what she's doing? I don't want to believe her blindly and end up with a pig who has heart conditions I'm ignoring.

10-17-13, 07:23 am
I would do as the vet says for now, but if the sound returns or other symptoms occur I would take him back and look into the option of having a scan taken as a scan should show if there is any issue in either or both the lungs and the heart.

Also don't forget to give a pro-biotic seeing as he is on an antibiotic.