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Thread: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

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    Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Hi

    I have a piggy with what sounds like nasal congestion. Hes currently on his second round of antibiotics (chlorpalm both times) that dont seem to be working. The breathing noises come and go with no discernible pattern- when it starts it will last hours but then hell go 12+ hours with nothing before it starts again. Hes otherwise acting normally - hes eating, asking for treats, and shows no change in his activity level. Im wondering about nasal polyps and was wondering how they are diagnosed and treated in guinea pigs. He is under vet care (hence the antibiotics) but Im looking for other things to suggest we test for/rule out since its not seeming like a URI. Weve also tried an inhaler in case of a reactive airway process to no effect as well as a 5 day trial of lasix to check for CHF.

    Id be very grateful for any input or suggestions!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    He may have allergies. What kind of hay are you using? Timothy is the worst offender as far as types of hay go -- orchard, meadow and blue grass much less so.

    Dusty hay can also be a problem. If you're buying it in small bags at a big box store, it's much more likely to be dried out and dusty than if you buy from a reputable online place.

    Either way, you can try rinsing the hay and seeing if it makes a difference. If you give it to him wet, you MUST pull it up and throw it away with a few hours, as it molds quickly. If you can dry it in the sun or with a fan and get it completely dry, it will last a while longer.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    He was eating the oxbow mix of Timothy and meadow grass hay. In case it was the hay I bought a new bag of Timothy grass and a bag of oat grass to mix together but that hasn’t helped. Interesting about the Timothy grass being bad for allergies- I assumed that that would be less problematic since that’s what pellets are made from. I’ll switch out his bedding and try rinsed off meadow grass to see if that helps! Thank you!

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Radiographs or CT scan possibly. Has he had any xrays? If the vet suspects CHF, it would be helpful.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    He may have allergies. What kind of hay are you using? Timothy is the worst offender as far as types of hay go -- orchard, meadow and blue grass much less so.
    I tend to agree with @bpatters (I usually do) regarding hay. My husband is highly allergic to timothy and we have generally used bluegrass or orchard with no problems.

    One of my current boys, Rascal, has had breathing issues all of his life, and when I first got him at 5 weeks, I had him at the Vet within the first three weeks. He sounded constantly congested, displayed symptoms of a URI, and sneezed and coughed a great deal. The Vet could find nothing overtly wrong, but put him on a two week trial of antibiotics as a precaution. He did improve somewhat, but it didn't totally resolve the problem. The Vet opined that he believed the problem stemmed from the turbinates (look it up) in his nose being enlarged or malformed. As he has gotten older (he's now 19 months old) he has improved, but I still think that he has allergies of some sort.

    Why do I think allergies? He tends to sleep in the litter box which has a layer of litter (SoPhresh from Petco) covered by a generous layer of hay. I have never previously had any issues with the litter which has baking soda for increased efficacy. I have switched from the crumbled paper to paper pellets which seems to have helped some. I may need to go to an entirely different type of litter as winter and decreased ventilation become the norm.

    And, I encourage you to buy hay in bulk so that you have a reasonable assurance that it is fresh. I recommend Small Pet Select, Chewy, or KMS.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    He had a chest X-ray when this first started. It showed some haziness in his right lower lobe so he was prescribed antibiotics for pneumonia. He hasn’t had a repeat xray but the his lungs sounded clear on his last exam. The vet did say it’s hard to assess heart size in guinea pigs on an X-ray so said we might want to consider an echo. He is scheduled for repeat xrays of his chest and skull xrays this week though should the second course of antibiotics not work (we’re on day 9 of 10 to no great affect).

    If it was CHF though, after over a month of breathing noises and being largely untreated except for a 5 day trial of lasix, would I be seeing a decline in his appetite and behaviour by now? I’m just wondering if heart problems are becoming more unlikely as time goes on without him acting “sick”?

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Thanks for your reply! I’m leaning more towards allergies as well. I started rinsing his hay (mostly orchard grass with some oat) and it seemed to be helping a bit- he went nearly 24 hours without noisy breathing. My bf then gave him some unrinsed Timothy hay this morning while I was sleeping and now he’s sounding horribly congested again. It does come and go so this might be a coincidence but the timing is really suspicious. As far as bedding, we use the guinea dad liners (unscented laundry detergent) but I’m going to change that a bit more frequently going forward as well.

    Thanks also for the suggestions of hay to purchase- I’ll look into availability of those brands where I live:)

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    You can also try taking the hay outside in a large container or garbage can, and pulling it apart, shaking it, and fluffing it up to get the dust out. I've had some hay that seemed dusty and this helped while still keeping the hay dry.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Personally, and this is just my two cents, do a trial switch to Oxbow orchard grass hay and use only that for a couple of weeks. I'm probably going to switch to that permanently myself for a couple of different issues.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Agreed, Guinea Pig Papa. I'm doing the same. I find that timothy varies regardless of the brand, and sometimes the bag seems to be nothing more than coarse stalks. I've read in a few places that timothy is recommended for rabbits, but not guinea pigs. The stalks can splinter and lodge in their gums and around their teeth. So guinea pigs should be fed soft grass hay. The Oxbow orchard grass has been consistently good quality and also doesn't have the dust and settling in the bottom of the bag.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Quote Originally Posted by ItsaZoo View Post
    Agreed, Guinea Pig Papa. I'm doing the same. I find that timothy varies regardless of the brand, and sometimes the bag seems to be nothing more than coarse stalks. I've read in a few places that timothy is recommended for rabbits, but not guinea pigs. The stalks can splinter and lodge in their gums and around their teeth. So guinea pigs should be fed soft grass hay. The Oxbow orchard grass has been consistently good quality and also doesn't have the dust and settling in the bottom of the bag.

    This is EXACTLY the discussion I had with my vet tech a couple of days ago. I have had a couple of good, nice green and soft bags of Timothy from Oxbow lately, but I had not so great hay all summer with a lot of splinters. And as I thought about it, I wondered if the splinters that I have been getting in my fingers could jam in a guinea pigs gums and cause pain, and eventually malocclusion. And I feel like the answer is yes, and I would even go so far as to say that I feel that its exactly what happened to Punkin and Scooter. That would explain how they both got sick so close together.


    She agreed that it was definitely a possibility that makes sense. And because the splinter would be SO thin and tiny it would be almost undetectable. It makes me wonder just how many times something like that might have happened. It makes me very sad to think that if that IS what happened to my boys that I could have prevented it, and that it ultimately would have been my fault.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    I hear you. A few weeks ago I had to say goodbye to Lacey, who was just over 5 years old. I noticed sometimes she would chew on the side of her mouth like she had something caught, then it would resolve. I had a week of hand feeding, then she felt better. A month later she had some gastric disturbance and when that resolved she gradually had more trouble eating.

    I found a guinea pig savvy vet who was wonderful. She did full lab work, x-rays of her head, teeth, jaw, ear and sinus canals. Two mouth exams, one while she was sedated and one while she was anesthetized. This included a thorough rinse and swab of her mouth and movement of her jaw. The vet couldn't find anything wrong. Gradually Lacey was unable to eat hay and I was feeding smoothies made of hay, carrot, corn husk and critical care. It was like she was only nibbling, like a mouse, when she ate and it took her a long time to eat. Overall, I hand fed for a month and she had meds for pain while we tried to find the answer. She continued to lose weight and just sat around puffed up so I made the difficult decision to put her down. The vet thought it might be something neurological, but I've always wondered if it was a sharp little piece of hay that caused this. It's just heartbreaking to think it could have been something I was feeding her when I was so careful.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    I am so very sorry, @ItsaZoo. I had no idea you had lost Lacey. My sincere condolences from myself, Leo, and Simon.

    I have made the switch. I ordered a 10lb box of bluegrass hay from KMS through Amazon. Wasn't cheap but it'll be here this week. My boys are worth it.

    I apologize for hijacking your thread somewhat, @Kat123.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    @KAT123, if you are looking to switch to orchard grass, you might want to try the GuineaDad hay. Their hay goes through a dust filter which helps tremendously. For me, the only drawback is that it is compressed, with very short strands. I personally like the long strands but I'm not the one eating it and the piggies seem to be fine with the short strands. I've just used the last box in the first order and put in a new order.

    I've been buying Oxbow botanical hay to add into the orchard hay as the piggies seem to love it. Well, I didn't bother to read the ingredients and recently found out it is timothy hay with 4 different herbs. I'm allergic to timothy and that might be why I started sneezing and eventually came down with a sinus infection. Probably will have to wear my KN95 mask in the future, when using the botanical hay.

    @ItsaZoo, I am very sorry to read that Lacey has passed. I've always love reading about her exploits and looking at the different cage arrangements you had for her.

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    Re: Info please about nasal polyps in piggy with presumptive URI

    Thank you for the kind words. I miss Lacey, she was a sweetheart.

    I adopted a 5-month-old who was seized by Animal Control and her name is Gidget.

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