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Thread: Pneumonia Information

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    Cavy Slave LuvCavysLuvCats's Avatar
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    Pneumonia Information

    I've been trying to find all the information I can about Pneumonia in guinea pigs but I haven't found too much and the stuff that I did find I wasn't sure was accurate, so I wanted to check in with you guys. This is what I want to know, I've sort of 'grouped' the questions into three sections.

    1. At what point do you know if a URI has turned into Pneumonia? If the URI keeps coming back or if there is fluid in the lungs or something else? Are URI's and Pneumonia always related? What are all the symptoms of Pneumonia and how is it different than a URI?

    2. What are all the treatments for Pneumonia? I read it can be hard to treat. What if Baytril and Bactrim don't work?

    3. Is it possible that having Pneumonia will weaken the immune system permanently resulting in a guinea pig that will go up and down throughout it's whole life? (As far as health goes.) Will having Pneumonia, even when it's gone, result in a shorter life expectancy?

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    Cavy Slave LuvCavysLuvCats's Avatar
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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    I don't think there was very many people on before so I'm bumping this up.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    Sorry, I missed this earlier.

    Upper respiratory infections and pneumonia are two different things. URIs are in the upper respiratory tract -- sinuses, throat, etc. Pneumonia is a bacterial or viral infection of the lungs (can sometimes be fungal, as well). URI's don't always turn into pneumonia, and you can have pneumonia without ever having had an URI.

    Long-lasting or recurring URIs happen because the organism that causes them doesn't get killed by the medicine, or because the pig gets reinfected somehow -- usually the former. This can be for several reasons -- the medicine wasn't effective against that particular organism, or it just never got to the organism. It's hard to deliver an antibiotic deep into the lungs. There's no blood supply into the tiny sacs in the lungs, just into the sac walls, so an infection can get established than an oral antbiotic can't touch. A nebulized antibiotic is usually used in that situation.

    Bactrim generally isn't used for URIs, except maybe as the first choice for a pup too young for Baytril. Baytril is the first drug of choice, but it may be combined with doxycycline, or doxy can be given alone. Gentamycin can be nebulized but not given any other way (at least, that I know of). And there are some other drugs that can be used, but those will usually do the trick.

    Having pneumonia will not necessarily shorten a pig's life span, nor harm its immune system. Untreated pneumonia, or one that does not respond to treatment, may cause lung scarring that can affect a pig's general health, but that's not the usual course of events.

    Do you think you have a pig with pneumonia?

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    Cavy Slave LuvCavysLuvCats's Avatar
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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    @bpatters Thank you so much!

    One last thing I was wondering, what are the symptoms of Pneumonia? Is the only way to know for sure a pig has it is by an x-ray?

    My Penelope has a vet appointment soon because her URI symptoms came back. Although no where near as bad as before.
    First she was on Baytril, that did nothing at all.
    Then she was on Bactrim with Bene-Bac and that seemed to completely get rid of it, until about two weeks later, which is now. I still have Bactrim so I'm giving her that again until the appointment, and she already seems better so it's definitely helping, but obviously not completely. I also started back on the Bene-Bac, which I continued for about a week after I stopped her meds but now I think she may just need them always. Same with extra vit. c which my vet also recommended.

    That was very helpful though, now I'm thinking she may need a nebulizer because even though the Bactrim got rid of most of it, it didn't get rid of all of it so now it's just coming back again. Do you think that's what's happening?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    I'm very surprised that the Bactrim is doing anything for it at all. It's designed to treat urinary tract microbes, not those in the lungs.

    X-ray is the definitive diagnosis of pneumonia. Or scans/MRIs, which they don't do on pigs.

    It could be that she needs nebulization. You can make the chamber yourself out of a plastic box, but you'll need to rent or buy the machine that nebulizes the medicine.

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    Alright, so she'll definitely get an x-ray then, just in case.
    How big or small would the box need to be? Is there any place that'll show me how to make the chamber?

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    You can poke around on the medical forum here and see if there are any instructions. I'm sure there are some at GL, but I don't know where.

    But if I were you, I'd wait until a vet prescribed something suitable for nebulization. You can't do just any medication that way.

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    Pnuemonia Information

    Oh I wasn't going to just do it without talking to my vet! I just like to have all the information ahead of time. :)

    Thank you so much @bpattersfor all the information!

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    http://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html

    Here's some info from Guinea Lynx.

    It's possible for pigs to have recurring URIs without it being pneumonia. It is also possible that a pig that has recurring URIs has heart problems.

    If it's another URI or pneumonia, see how the vet feels about prescribing two different antibiotics concurrently. Baytril and Doxy, like bpatters suggested.

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    Thank you @foggycreekcavy!

    Will the x-ray show a heart problem if its there? (God forbid)

    I'll ask about using two antibiotics but I am a bit concerned that since it didn't work the first time, it won't work this time. But maybe the Doxy will make the difference.

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    I've used two antibiotics at a time in several cases with no problems. The vet will know which ones work together. If you're worried about it causing stomach problems you can give a probiotic.

    An xray may or may not show any heart problems. Most heart problems in guinea pigs are difficult to diagnose.

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    Ferb was on Baytril and Doxycycline at the same time for a stubborn URI. The Baytril suppressed his appetite so his vet prescribed him a probiotic.

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    The Baytril never suppressed her appetite or made it upset, it just didn't work. I'm worried about prolonging this even further by putting her on something a second time that didn't work a first time, even if it is prescribed with another med this time.
    She's still so young, only 3 1/2 months. Before it finally kicked the first time she had been sick for a month and a half. That's long even for a human, forget a little baby guinea pig. I'm surprised she made it, and I definitely don't want her to go through that again. I'll discuss this worry with my vet though.
    Thank you everyone so much for your answers, it's greatly appreciated. I'll keep you all updated on this thread.

    @Rywen How long did it take Ferb to get better?

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    I hope your piggie recovers. I'm actually facing Pneumonia in my piggies right now as we speak. My oldest had a mild case of it a few months ago which caused her to make hooting sounds. According to the vet she's too young to develop heart problems persay, but is still possible. Her, and the others were treated for possible URI and were given bactrim, while my oldest was given Baytril. After about a week they showed complete signs of recovery and went back to their popcorning self. Now, my 7 month and 6 month have had a change in breathing and made hooting noises, followed by coughing and sneezing. Both were taken and x-rays showed no heart enlargement but suspected to have pneumonia. While I read Baytril may cause appetite loss, it isn't the case for my girls. I guess mine just love to eat despite the medication

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    Re: Pnuemonia Information

    Ferb was on the Baytril & Doxycycline for a month since it was his 2nd URI in a month.

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