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Thread: How to make sure my other guinea pigs STAY healthy after this infection?!?

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    Question How to make sure my other guinea pigs STAY healthy after this infection?!?

    Hi,

    I'm a teenager and I'm quite anxious so please bare with me.

    I unfortunately lost my guinea pig the other day to a URI. His name was Baelfire and he had to be put down.

    The vet said that what he had was contagious, but she did not specify how contagious and she didn't specify what it was. She said that she was looking for pneumonia or something but his breathing was too rattly to be pneumonia, which is more liquid-y. Anyhow, she did say that it was contagious so I knew that I would have to clean things.

    I did get Bae from a petshop but this was before I knew any better.
    Now that I know, I really know and since I lost my little companion I have felt quite salty towards these petshop chains and I am devastated about the whole thing.

    I have buried him with his bowl and thrown away his bottle. I have used Virkon to clean his hutch and I have done that three times. I have also used Virkon to wipe out his travel case and I did that once. I dipped things like my communal bottle brush, dustpan & brush, scoop and grooming brushes in the Virkon as well.

    Obviously losing one piggie to this infection has been heartbreaking and I want to make sure it doesn't happen again if I can help it. Is there anything else I need to clean? I have seven other piggies I need to keep safe.

    One thing that is worrying me quite a bit is before we took Baelfire to a vet we didn't think that it would be a contagious infection, in fact we were advised that it may be a congenital problem as he was very abnormal. For this reason, I didn't treat him like he was sick, I just treated him like my others. I didn't even do him last. I was still cuddling him and then cuddling healthy guinea pigs. I cannot describe how cross I am with myself and how much I have been beating myself up over it. Another problem is, I had some very young guinea pigs in a different hutch but in the same shed (my guinea pigs live outdoors but in a shed). Could they have caught it?

    Another worse problem is, when Baelfire stopped drinking, I thought it was his bottle so I gave him a new one but then I realised that his old one was working fine. Then my Mum got a young guinea pig because she used to have lots of purebred red dutch when she was younger so she got one and he lived in a different hutch but I realise now, and I should have realised before, in all the muddle my shed was in I gave him Baelfire's old bottle. He had it for about a week before I realised, and then he had had it for a week and a half by the time I managed to go out and buy a new one (I live in a rather secluded area and the nearest shop for supplies in a forty minute car drive away). I'm so worried that he's going to get sick. Is he very likely to? And how long before I will be able to notice, please? Does it take a long time or will I know pretty quickly?

    Last question, when I used to not know Baelfire was ill I obviously used to handle things and then touch other things in my shed, like drawer handles and bottles of shampoo, my vegetable knife and chopping board. Do I need to clean all of these things or is it just things that he has had direct contact with? Is there anything else that I have not mentioned, basically, that you think I should clean?

    Sorry for all the questions.
    Thank you.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: How to make sure my other guinea pigs STAY healthy after this infection?!?

    I'm so sorry you lost your pig.

    But I think you need a new vet. I assume Baelfire was put down because of a respiratory infection, and that's NOT the usual course of treatment. Most pigs survive URIs just fine with treatment, and even if they don't, they don't need to be put down.

    Also, while URIs are contagious, they're not wildly so. I've had multiple pigs in the cage ever since I started owning guinea pigs, and I've never taken a pig out because it had a URI, and have never done anything out of the ordinary as far as cleaning the cage. In fact, you don't have to do a massive cleaning of anything, just normal stuff.

    So relax. If your other pig isn't sick yet, it isn't likely to get sick. But if you do notice signs of illness -- runny eyes/nose, loss of appetite, lethargy, sitting "puffed up" in a corner, etc -- then quickly get your pig to an exotic vet so it can be treated early (and more cheaply!). Small animal (dog and cat) vets get very little education in the care of exotic pets, and what they do get covers everything from gerbils to giraffes. You need to find an exotic vet who knows how to care for these little critters.

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