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Thread: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

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    Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Hello, we have an 8ish month old female piggy who I thought had developed a fungal infection. She was losing hair and developing scaly/scabby skin beneath one of her eyes. We've treated our other piggies for very similar symptoms before, so assumed it was just that. We've been applying coconut oil + betadine to the area for a few days, which seems to have helped the initial area (hair starting to grow back, scabs healing), but it also looks to be spreading. I'm thinking that might just be because we didn't quite catch it early enough though.

    However, now I've noticed what looks like brownish-green discharge below one side of her nose (same side as the fungal). I'm not sure if that's more fungal or possibly the start of a URI, or possibly something else? We were worried that one of the other pigs might have been biting her, so we've put her in a separate cage for now. Could it possibly be an infection from that?

    She doesn't seem to be acting strangely. She's eating and drinking fine, pooping fine, breathing fine, moving around/wheeking/playful.

    I've resolved to schedule a vet appointment on Monday at our local exotic vet (they're not open on weekends, unfortunately), but was hoping that someone here might be able to give us any ideas as to what this might be and how we should be treating it. I tried a mildly warm salt-water/betadine mixture this evening to try to remove the "discharge", but it wasn't coming loose and I didn't want to hurt her. It almost seems like a scab, but brownish/greenish, which leads me to worry that something is infected. :(

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Look at http://www.guinealynx.info/cheilitis.html and see if that's what it look like.

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    It does look quite a bit like that actually. It's not around her lips though (yet). A staph infection? I haven't been able to get a good look inside her mouth. Is there anything we can do from home, or are we just going to have to wait until the vet visit to get some antibiotics?

    I'm not sure what could have caused it. We feed them Oxbow hay and pellets, and veggies rich in Vitamin C, so I can't imagine it's diet-related. Should we keep her separated from the other pigs until we're able to get it under control?

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    In my opinion, separating pigs for illness doesn't really help anything unless whatever they're sick with is likely to kill them. By the time you notice any symptoms, everybody has already been exposed. And the stress of being apart can just make things worse.

    It's not likely inside her mouth. And there's no way to know what caused it. There are pathogens everywhere, and it's usually just an accident that a pig, or another other creature, will be susceptible at a particular time.

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    So I took Tot to the vet this morning and wanted to post an update.

    They think she has ringworm + a secondary infection. They did a skin scraping (to rule out mites) and a fungal culture to be sure. They won't have the culture results back for about a week, but I was given griseofulvin (for the ringworm) and trimethoprim sulfa (for the secondary infection) in the meantime. They also gave her a partial dose of Revolution, I guess just to be safe in case she has mites and they didn't see them.

    They recommended I keep her separated for at least 24 hours while the Revolution sets in (so the other pigs don't ingest it) and also until the infection clears up, but I don't think separating her from them now will do much good (after the 24 hours for the Revolution), since she's had this for a week or so now and has been with them nearly the entire time.

    I've read that griseofulvin can be particularly harsh on guinea pigs. The infection on her nose looks pretty bad though, and the topical treatments that I was giving her weren't really helping, so maybe it's necessary?

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    You're exactly right about not separating them. All pigs have been thoroughly exposed to whatever any other pig has, and separation now is pointless.

    Any oral antifungal is harsh on anything that takes it. I'd much prefer treating topically than orally.

    You just started the topical treatments three days ago. That's not really time enough to know if they're working. It takes a long time to clear up a fungus.

    FYI, scraping for mites is painful for your pig and for your pocketbook, and misses the mites 50% of the time. If you suspect mites, and the area on your pig that has the lesion is NOT where you usually find mites, it's better to just go ahead and treat them for mites. And a partial dose of Revolution is nearly useless. It may kill some of the mites, but not all, and the pig still has mites.

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    You just started the topical treatments three days ago. That's not really time enough to know if they're working. It takes a long time to clear up a fungus.
    Sorry, I don't think I was very clear with my timeline. I started treating the fungal a little over a week ago. I only noticed the secondary infection a few days ago though, and that's been getting progressively worse despite treatment. When treating my pigs for fungal in the past, I saw noticeable improvement within a week. I'm finally starting to see some improvement in the fungal with Tot, but not the secondary infection beneath her nose. If it is staph, I suppose it might make sense that the treatment I've been doing topically wouldn't help, as that's a bacterial infection and I've been treating for a fungal infection.

    FYI, scraping for mites is painful for your pig and for your pocketbook, and misses the mites 50% of the time. If you suspect mites, and the area on your pig that has the lesion is NOT where you usually find mites, it's better to just go ahead and treat them for mites. And a partial dose of Revolution is nearly useless. It may kill some of the mites, but not all, and the pig still has mites.
    I learned this the hard way, unfortunately. The test came back negative and they gave her the treatment anyway. I would have had them skip the test if I had known that. I could hear her crying in the other room. It was dreadful. :( I didn't suspect mites, and in hindsight I feel kind of like that was just a way to get more money out of me (especially now reading you say that a partial dose is basically useless), but I suppose we'll see.

    Do you think I should discontinue the oral treatments all together? Should I discontinue the antifungal, but continue the antibacterial for the staph? Will the topical treatments that I've been giving her (coconut oil + salt water/betadine solution) help the staph eventually, or do I need to be doing something else for that? If I just stick to topical treatments, how often should I be applying it? I've just been doing it once in the evening, should I be doing it more often?

    Sorry for the million questions, and thank you so much for all of your advice. I'm just not sure where to go from here and I want to do what's best for my baby. :(

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Sorry, I misread your original post.

    Coconut oil won't do much for a fungal infection that's well established. Cold pressed coconut oil does have antifungal properties, but once the infection has set it, the oil is useless. And what you're doing won't help a staph infection -- you need an actual antibiotic for that.

    Can you post a clear, well-lit, close-up picture of the area?

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Sure, Hopefully these work for for you. Let me know if you need me to get any different angles/closer up/whatever else.

    Here's a view from the top of her head. This is starting to look a bit better, maybe, but the hair loss has also spread, so maybe not. It started out just beneath the pictured eye (where it looks like hair is growing back in).
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here's what looks a lot to me like the staph infection that you linked my to earlier. This started as one small spot above her mouth and has progressed to what it is now. :(
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by edikit; 02-07-18 at 09:11 pm. Reason: a word

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    The stuff around the mouth definitely looks like cheilitis to me. I'd treat that with a triple antibiotic cream, applied sparingly twice a day with a q-tip, and rubbed in well.

    The stuff on top of her nose looks like a fungus. I'd get either Lotrimin or Nystatin, and apply it the same way as the antibiotic cream. And if she were mine, I would not give the griseofulvin unless the topic treatment didn't work. You can give the trimeth sulfa if you want, just watch for any digestive upsets. But I'd probably hold off even on that until the antibiotic cream has had a chance to work. She might not need the oral antibiotic.

  11. "Thank you, bpatters, for this useful post," says:


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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Thank you so much, I'll start with those rather than the oral treatments. I was surprised when they gave me the oral antifungal after I mentioned several times that it was starting to clear up. I wish I would have been a little more assertive about asking for topical alternatives, but I'm glad that I checked here before administering any more oral treatments. I didn't feel all that confident about this place to begin with, but they're the only exotic vet within a 100-mile radius, unfortunately. I should have known when they asked me what type of cage I had her in, but had no idea what a C&C cage was when I told them!

    Anyway, thanks again! :)

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    Hello!

    It's been about a week, so I just wanted to give an update. Tot is doing infinitely better. :) The triple antibiotic kicked the cheilitis practically overnight. The fungal is looking much better as well, although we're not quite out of the woods yet. I'll take a few pictures this evening to show how much she's improved, but I was hoping you could give me one more piece of advice.

    Her vet called this morning to get an update from me about her condition and to give me an update on the fungal culture (negative as of now). They asked me to email pictures and wanted to give her another dose of Revolution (not happening). My first instinct is to email them the pictures, but to also tell them that I did not administer the oral treatments that they prescribed (and explain why). I know this will probably irritate them though (no medical professional wants to hear that their patient trusted the internet over their own advice), and I don't want to create bad blood with them in the event that one of my pigs ever needs urgent veterinary care (god forbid). They're the only exotic vet anywhere near me.

    On the other hand, I don't want them to use her drastic improvement as a testament to how well griseofulvin and trimethoprim sulfa works, since those aren't what I used to treat her, but especially because I don't want misinformation spreading about the "benefits" of using griseofulvin. I believe they write articles about their "success stories", so I absolutely don't want bad info to be circulated.

    I feel like the right thing to do would be to tell them that I did not use the oral treatments, but I'm worried that I might burn a bridge (although, that might not be such a bad thing with this particular vet). What do you think I should do?

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    Re: Treating pig for fungal, worried she might have developed URI too?

    I'd just say that I decided to use a topical treatment rather than oral. You don't have to say why.

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