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Thread: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

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    Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    Hi! I have two guinea pigs that I got some months ago from Petco (I know that was my first mistake, I promise that now that I know some rescues in my state, if I ever get another (2) guinea pigs, they will be adopted from a rescue, rather than bought from a pet store.) When I got them they were still young and smaller than they are now. I got one healthy guinea pig (it was alone at the store), and then a few weeks later got her a playmate once the store got more female piggies. (I searched those two weeks at various Petco's and Petsmarts, but they all were either out of stock, had only males, or had females that were a lot bigger than mine, and I read I should get one that's around her size & age to have a likelier chance of them getting along). Once I got the second guinea pig, I realized after a couple days that she was sneezing and had goopy eyes that stuck closed. My other guinea pig started sneezing too, so I took them both back to Petco to get healed (because they give a 30-day health guarantee in which you can bring them back if they get sick). They were getting treated at Petco for a good two months, first for the URI's, then one was getting treated for Bumblefoot, then they were both getting treated for Ringworm. A few days ago I finally got to bring home the second guinea pig I adopted, but the other one is still being watched to make sure the Ringworm has gone. I cleaned and disinfected her cage, her igloo, and her food bowl. I also got her a new, larger water bottle, just because the older one was small and got emptied in a day (I didn't want to risk having them dehydrate during the night if they emptied their bottle when I go to sleep and go through the night thirsty). This is where I think I made a second mistake. I'm not 100% sure how URI's can be transmitted, because I know they can be contagious from pig to pig, through sneezing. I don't know if they can also be transmitted through items they have both touched, and/or water bottles they have drunken out of. I realized my piggy hadn't tried drinking water from the larger, new water bottle so I got worried that it was too big and she didn't know how to use it, so I put the old water bottle back in. It was filled with new water of course, but it wasn't cleaned or disinfected. She drank out of it once, and then a while after I saw her drink from the bigger one, so I took the small one back out. Thinking of it now, there's also a corner litter-tray that I kept in the cage, and i'm positive the bowl part was disinfected when I redid the cage, because I like to clean off all the waste possible, but I don't know if the wall part was disinfected, if that makes sense?

    Anyway, my guinea pig has started sneezing almost only a day after I brought her back. I thought I was paranoid at first, but she keeps sneezing and I don't want to pass it off. She did come with another 30-day guarantee but i'm hesitant to bring her back to Petco only a few days later. They sold me a sick piggie, and then she got treated and I brought her back and I think she's sick again. I don't want this to just become a cycle. I looked up what the treatment for guinea pigs with URI's is, and I saw that the most common were Bactrum or Baytril. I've seen good reviews about Bene-Bac (which came up for Bactrum, so it's the same, right?) in a gel form that you syringe orally. Can I use that to treat URI's? I would like to get her healthy in my own home, so there's no bringing-her-back-home-and-her-getting-sick-again situation. I'm more than willing to buy Bene-Bac, and treat her myself. My concern is, would this really heal her? How much should I give her and how often, and for how long? Is there another medicine that's better, or a medicine that I have to give along with it? Any other advice, precautions, or something that i'm doing wrong? She deserves a much longer and healthier life than this, and i'm not going to let her die without doing everything I can. If my idea sounds wrong, I will send her back to Petco to get healed again and do a much better job of replacing everything in the cage that they have infected before. But if I can do it this way, I would really appreciate the advice! Thank you <3

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    Cavy Slave Shieme's Avatar
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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    My advice, take her to a vet then quarantine them. Make sure they are healthy before doing reintroducions. I know others might have better advice. I wish you well. Do not take them back to petco unless you don't ant them anymore because you are just repeating the cycle of sickness.

  3. "Thank you, Shieme, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    Bene-Bac and Bactrim aren't even close to the same thing. Bactrim is an antibiotic usually used for urinary tract infections, and also for URI's in very young pigs who can't yet take Baytril. Bene-Bac is a probiotic given to stabilize the gut when a pig is taking antibiotics. It will do nothing for a URI.

    Your best bet is to take her to a good exotic vet yourself and then try to get Petco to reimburse you. They don't have very good record at getting animals healthy. We've even had reports from Petco staffers that some of them aren't taken to the vet at all -- just warehoused in the back. If they get better, the owner can buy them back. If not, they die.

    URI's aren't that contagious, and they can't catch a URI from anything in the cage -- normal cleaning will do. You do have to clean and disinfect for ringworm.

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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    Thank you for clearing that up for me! I had no idea that the Bene-Bac wasn't the correct antibiotic at all! I will definitely be getting the actual medicine prescribed to me then. I just got off the phone with several exotic animal vets in my area, and they all said I should just bring her in to get evaluated and then they'll give me the necessary medications. I will be doing that.

    That's awful about Petco! Thankfully, I surprise visited my guinea pigs a couple times while they were being treated in the back area of Petco, and they actually showed me the medicine they were giving them and talked about whatever the vet had last said. I hope chain pet stores soon stop selling animals or start to get their animals from better places/rescues.

    I'm glad my guinea pig probably didn't catch it from the items in the cage! Do you think they simply gave her back while she was still sick? Or maybe there's something wrong with my set up? I have a 4x2 c&c cage, so it's definitely ventilated, and I use fleece, so it's not from dusty/old bedding. I put hay in the litter tray so they mostly poop in there, and sit and eat hay there, maybe breathing that in is bad for them?

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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    URIs can be difficult to clear up, and it's not unusual to have a pig on meds for weeks, alternating between one AB and another.

    Breathing what's in the litter tray is not a problem unless it's not changed frequently enough. It's actually more common for pigs to get UTIs from the litter tray because they sleep in their own pee and poop.

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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    What do you think I should do when my other guinea pig comes home? She might come back sick like my first one. Should I keep them in separate cages? If they're both sick, would it be okay to keep them in the same cage and treat them together?

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    Re: Guinea Pig URI treatment at home?

    I'm not an advocate of separating guinea pigs. If they're used to have a cage mate, it stresses them out. And most things just aren't terribly contagious. I'd probably put them together, but if they've been separated more than a day or two, you'll have to do full reintroductions again.

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