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Thread: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Hello everyone. I posted about my new piggy a few weeks ago on the pregnancy sub-forum because she had an early miscarriage. Turns out she was pregnant when I got her. She also started showing signs of a URI so I took her to the vet. The vet put her on antibiotics and a pain/inflammation reducer. She just finished up with the antibiotic and is now doing worse. She was better for awhile there but now (as of the last two days) she is very lethargic and is off balance, with her head tilting to one side, and she’s not eating well. I took her to the vet for a follow up (exotics vet), and the vet suspects that she has E. Cuniculi. The only real option was to give her a steroid and a med for parasites daily for the rest of her life. The meds cost $60 a month! Even with that they said she might not make it, and they had no real way to confirm the diagnosis. I am still pretty shocked because I assumed it was still just a URI that moved into her ear, which has caused the head tilt and balance problem.

    I am wondering if any of you have had something similar with your pig? How did things turn out? According to the internet this condition is rare in guinea pigs, more common in rabbits, so I am wondering if the vet is mistaken. I would like to get a second opinion but they are THE exotic vet in the area. I really wish they’d offered to do another round of antibiotics to see if it’s just the URI turning into an ear infection. Do any of you know of a way I can get a refill on the antibiotic without going through that vet?

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    I forgot to mention, the vet gave me a small bag of food to feed by a syringe. So far my piggie Sadie has eaten quite well.

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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Im so sorry about your sick piggy!

    I have no advice, but I hope you can find the answer. It’s good that she’s eating by the syringe. Hopefully a good sign.

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Thank you. She ate the critical care food pretty well earlier around lunch time, but hasn’t wanted any since. She very lethargic and just laying on a blanket right now. Sadly I don’t think she will make it through the night.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    I do hope your girl turns around. The Critical Care food is for force feeding when your pig doesn't want to eat, and if she won't eat willingly you will need to do just that. It's heart wrenching but she must eat on a regular basis if she won't on her own, because a pig that isn't eating is a pig that's dying.

    If she were mine, if she makes it through the night I would be back at the vets doorstep in the morning.

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    I tried to force feed her the critical care and she started making a pained noise and thrashing around. I thought for sure she was going to go right then ��.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    The antibiotic may not have been effective against the organism, and so didn't do any good. I'd want to try another one before I concluded it was e. cuniculi.

    What did the vet recommend giving her?

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    A parasite med for the EC and a steroid. Honestly it didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me since she started off the visit saying she thinks she’s septic from a retained fetus that wasnt expelled during the miscarriage. She said I’d have to give her both meds for EC for the rest of her life, and she’d likely only live two years (she’s just a baby). I suppose she thinks the EC brought on the miscarriage. I felt she was unclear honestly.

    I just tried again to force feed her using the tips on this site. I was able to get .3ml in her, but she fought it and screamed. It literally made my 9 year old son cry to watch me do it. I had to send him out of the room. I don’t know if I ought to keep trying, or if it’s cruel and just prolonging her suffering. She weighed 387g two weeks ago, 365 about two days ago, now she only weighs 310 and feels so skeletal. It’s so sad how quickly they go downhill, she was just running around playing with my son on Friday and I thought she was getting much better.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    I'd see another vet, but I'd definitely keep force feeding her. She MUST eat, or she'll die. How are you doing the handfeeding?

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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Quote Originally Posted by MidwestSteph View Post
    Hello everyone. I posted about my new piggy a few weeks ago on the pregnancy sub-forum because she had an early miscarriage. Turns out she was pregnant when I got her. She also started showing signs of a URI so I took her to the vet. The vet put her on antibiotics and a pain/inflammation reducer. She just finished up with the antibiotic and is now doing worse. She was better for awhile there but now (as of the last two days) she is very lethargic and is off balance, with her head tilting to one side, and she’s not eating well. I took her to the vet for a follow up (exotics vet), and the vet suspects that she has E. Cuniculi. The only real option was to give her a steroid and a med for parasites daily for the rest of her life. The meds cost $60 a month! Even with that they said she might not make it, and they had no real way to confirm the diagnosis. I am still pretty shocked because I assumed it was still just a URI that moved into her ear, which has caused the head tilt and balance problem.

    I am wondering if any of you have had something similar with your pig? How did things turn out? According to the internet this condition is rare in guinea pigs, more common in rabbits, so I am wondering if the vet is mistaken. I would like to get a second opinion but they are THE exotic vet in the area. I really wish they’d offered to do another round of antibiotics to see if it’s just the URI turning into an ear infection. Do any of you know of a way I can get a refill on the antibiotic without going through that vet?
    Hi Steph, how did your piggie go?

    Mine had similar symptoms a year ago and made it through with intensive force feeding with Critical Care. And an oral steroid.

    He sometimes gets unwell, but never as bad. Has never needed critical care or medication again.

    He had lethargy, weight loss, dehydration, pain on urination, and a swollen testicle. Sometimes he goes wonkey.

    I really understand the struggle. If my Guinea didn't get better within the two weeks, I was preparing myself for saying good bye. I agree that suffering is not fair, as somethings are futile. I grew up on a farm. Very sad reality for some animals with certain injuries. But it's our responsibility to do what's best under the circumstances.

    But if she gets better...

    The meds are expensive. Its time consuming. If you end up needing them all the time. If you don't feel able to keep up with all that, but she didn't die, maybe surrender to a pet rescue. Let them take over. Somone might be prepared to adopt. Might give her a chance. Let them make the decision for you.

    Best wishes.

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    Cavy Slave MidwestSteph's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Cathryn, I am glad to hear that your guy pulled through. Our girl passed on New Year’s Day. It was very very sad. I’m glad that at least we gave her lots of love here while she was in our care.

    We ended up adopting two girls, sisters, on Tuesday. NOT from a pet store this time though. Two little Abyssinians.

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    Cavy Champion Guinea Pig Papa's Avatar
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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    I'm so sorry for your loss. I was hoping she would pull through.

    It makes me happy that you found it in your heart to find a couple of little girls to give your love to. I'm sure they need it very much.

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    Re: URI, done with antibiotics, now not eating and tilting head, loss of balance

    Steph, I’m so sorry for your loss. You did so much for her. It’s so good of you to take in two little ones and give them a home.

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