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Thread: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

  1. #1
    Cavy Slave
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    URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    I volunteer at a shelter and today someone brought in a guinea pig who was born yesterday because he wouldn't nurse and couldn't walk. all the vets were gone for labor day weekend and wont be back until tomorrow morning. one of my three pigs was a URI baby who i raised on critical care, so i figured i had the best chance of helping him, and i took him home for the night. i can hear the clicking in his lungs, but he's doing pretty well now that i've got some food in him, he's inquisitive, his eyes are bright and open, and he squeaks and cleans his face. i'd say he has about a 50/50 chance of making it through the night.

    thing is, he still can't walk. he can only kind of stand. and when i put the food in his mouth, while he swallows it he shakes his head back and forth, like he's saying "no."
    and occasionally while he's sitting up, he'll suddenly flail to the side or all the way upside-down and start waving his feet around, like a bug that got stuck on its back. (im calling him BugBug for it.)
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    (excuse my face.)

    the shelter is really not equipped to deal with severe neurological damage, and if he doesn't improve he'll probably be put down even if he does survive the night. any chance this is a reversible ear infection as a result of the uri, or anything i can do to help little bugbug? or convince my mom to let me get a fourth piggie instead of letting him be euthanized?

    also, ideally how often should i be feeding him? i'm trying to as often as possible, esp. since its mostly water but im going to have to sleep eventually.
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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    Thanks for trying to save this pup.

    I doubt that his problem is an infection. He wouldn't have been born with an ear infection, and it's doubtful that one would have developed in such a short time. It's more than likely a neurological problem. The clicking sound you hear may be a heart problem, rather than lung, but it would take an x-ray or an ultrasound or other diagnostic test to tell.

    How soon after he was born was he taken from the mom? It can take pups 24 hours to nurse for the first time, especially if there are other pups for competition, and/or if it's the sow's first litter? I'd worry that he was taken away too soon, and that he might have stood a better chance of surviving if someone had just taken him and the mom out of the cage every few hours and put them somewhere that he could nurse in peace.

    What are you feeding him? You can make a very thin pellet slurry by grinding pellets in a blender and feeding him with a syringe. If you could get 4-5 cc at a time down him several times a day and through the nights, he might stand a chance of making it.

    But, with as many things as he's got going wrong, it just may not be in the cards for him to survive. If that's the case, and you get to the point that nothing is working and he's not responding, you may want to have him humanely euthanized so that he won't be suffering.

    Good luck to you, and let us know how you get along.

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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    Thank you. It's disheartening to hear that it's not something that could be resolved with medication, though

    and i'm feeding him critical care!

    unfortunately it looks like it may be the case that he isnt going to make it... poor baby. i wish i could do more, but right now all i can do is keep him fed and warm, I guess. and upright. he sure does try to walk.

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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    I'm happy to report that BugBug easily survived the night, with me feeding him at 11, getting up for a feeding at 3 AM, and then at 6 AM. He became more and more willing to take the critical care the stronger he got. The clicking sound decreased a little too, and he's not sneezing so much, so I think his lungs are a bit better. He certainly doesn't seem to be in pain.

    Unfortunately his neurological symptoms don't seem to have improved. He can bear weight on his feet if you stand him up but he falls over soon and can't right himself. One of the staff at the shelter is keeping him for an additional 24 hours now to see if he can gain function since he's stronger, and I've made sure she knows what he likes and everything I did that helped him improve so much. My guess is he probably will be euthanized in a day or two anyway, but at least he is comfortable and healthy for now and won't suffer.

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    Cavy Star, Photo Contest Winner pinky's Avatar
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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    Why doesn't someone take him to a vet?

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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    We did this morning, the shelter has staff vets and one saw him this morning, that's when we were advised to give him another 24 hours or so instead of euthanasia. The vet expected to be euthanizing BugBug this morning but he had improved so drastically that he advised giving him more time instead, especially since he's not in any pain.

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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    Quote Originally Posted by jaycriae View Post
    We did this morning, the shelter has staff vets and one saw him this morning, that's when we were advised to give him another 24 hours or so instead of euthanasia. The vet expected to be euthanizing BugBug this morning but he had improved so drastically that he advised giving him more time instead, especially since he's not in any pain.
    That's good. Keep in mind that shelters don't always have exotic vets on staff. Sometimes they're only trained to treat dogs and cats and not small pets so I'd consider having him checked by an exotic vet, too, if you can find one in your area. Someone who specializes in small pets might be able to assess him better. The animal shelter near me often can't even figure out if guinea pigs are males or females. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that your little one will make it.

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    Re: URI? Ear infection? Neuro? trying to save a baby

    Yeah, there is an exotic vet at the shelter although I believe the one who was on staff this morning was a general vet who only had a medium amount of experience, mostly with other shelter pigs. I think that's part of why he didn't want to make the call to euthanize, he could tell that BugBug was relatively healthy but had neuro issues and wanted to wait for an expert. Which, I mean, I could have told him, but it seems to be working out okay. The baby is getting more time to work on his strength and coordination, and at the very least he is comfortable and loved during his short life.

    And wow, that's a little scary. I've never understood how people have trouble sexing adult guinea pigs, whenever I pick up an unfixed male I go "ew..." for a second because I can feel his squishy bits.

    I'm sure BugBug appreciates the thought. He's a real sweetheart and a lot of people are pulling for him.

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