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Congested Breathing Sounds, Should I Worry?


Well-known Member
Cavy Gazer
Mar 20, 2012
I've been paranoid about Mufasa getting an URI ever since I bought him at a pet shop and subsequently learned how bad that is on all levels. The day after I brought him him, I thought his nose was a little runny and he had a very small amount of crust in the corners of his eyes, but that promptly cleared up. Almost two weeks passed without incident, other than some very infrequent sneezing. No more eye crust; I thought his nose might be runny because occasionally I'd see hay dust stuck to it, but I never caught it actually wet/running. Through all this, he's been active and eating like a horse.

Earlier this week I was back at the pet store (only place to get certain cat supply) and noticed two more piggies were gone, but all the remaining piggies looked healthy. Today (his two week anniversary) I noticed that I can hear Mufasa breathing. It's not wet, but more like a very quiet little click. It's scaring me a lot, but there are no other signs. Eyes are bright, nose is dry (but stuff still occasionally clings to it), and maybe one sneeze all day. He's as active as ever and eating normally. He's on Carefresh, so that shouldn't be congesting him.

I don't know whether to take him to the vet for a check-up or keep an eye on him. The nearest trustworthy exotic animal vet is about an hour away, so it would put some stress on him to take him. There's a cavy savy vet tech at the animal hospital near my home, so that might be an option (although I don't think the vets themselves have cavy experience).

Hopefully I'm just being paranoid, but my guilt in getting Mufasa from a pet store is making all sorts of scary scenarios run through my head. I know they hide illness, so that's why I'm worried even though he's not showing blatant symptoms and is acting normally.
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A quick update...he's not making the breathing noise at the moment so it seems to be intermittent. Hopefully maybe just hay in his nose, but it's still worrying me.
Got Vet? Please take it to a vet instead of 100 posts here
Unfortunately it's Saturday night here and the two emergency vets in the area are not experienced with exotics. That's why I'm trying to assess the urgency. If Mufasa were struggling to breath, sneezing, or had crusty eyes, I'd be busy finding an appropriate emergency clinic. To me, the sporadic nature of the breathing sound seems like it could wait till Mon. but I'm trying to double check that with those with more cavy experience in case I'm misjudging.
Sorry if that sounded harsh but you have posted several threads along the same panicked line, it seems a call for attention to me, not reality.
It's nice to see that you are a concerned piggy parent and keeping a close eye on him. Although he sounds healthy to me, and I don't think you should worry so much. It will help to get a scale and weigh him often, if he is losing weight and/or eating less I would make a vet appointment. You may want to take a look at guinealynx.info/uri.html
Thanks for the link. I found something similar to that list when I had my first worries (the sneezes when I first brought Mufasa home). It eased my mind since he's nowhere near having all those symptoms, but the breathing thing tonight freaked me out a bit because it's Sat. night. Hopefully he just got hay up his nose, but between the pet shop horror stories, the piggy I had briefly as a kid that died of a URI, and a veterinary crisis with our asthmatic cat a few days ago, I'm overly sensitive about potentially sick pets at the moment.
I'm not saying you have nothing to be worried about but my pig also had a click, after taking her to the vet the vet said she was fine and guinea pigs naturally make a noise that can sound like a click. Just keep an eye on him.
I can relate, when adopted my first pair of piggies I took them to the vet because they had bald spots behind their ears haha. I'm grateful this site and guinealynx has saved me stressful, unnecessary trips to the vet since then.
As long as he is eating normally, and is bright eyed and active, and not losing any weight, I would just keep an eye on him. It certainly does not sound like an emergency. You could weigh him daily for a bit.
Unfortunately it looks like he really is sick. Labored breathing this morning, lethargic, seems to want to eat when I put him by food, but can't. Of course on Sunday with no good exotic emergency vet. Don't know if it's URI since he still sounds congested, but no prominent runny nose and just one sneeze today.

Why can't it be Monday? I'm going to be a nervous wreck all day. I'm definitely paying the price for getting a pet store piggy.
You will need to handfeed if he's not eating. Start weighing him daily. Is he visiting the water bottle? Keep the area warm and free from drafts.

I'd call around and see if you can find a vet open. I was surprised to find one not too far from me that's open on Sundays--it's a drop-in cat and dog vet but if you take in a list of safe antibiotics they should be able to at least prescribe some meds.
Thanks, I'll look up hand feeding because I think he's going to need it. Literally the only thing he's eaten today is one bite of fresh pet grass. He hasn't touched any water, neither in his bottle or his dish, and no interest in his favorite veggies. I'll call around and see if one of the emergency places is willing to prescribe piggy antibiotics. I've already been online researching them this morning, so I know what's good and bad.

He's in a warm spot under his platform (totally enclosed area), and I put in some extra bedding and a towel. Now to do some vet research. If I can't find anyone, I'm going to try the really close vet first tomorrow morning (with the vet tech who knows pigs) and see if they're confident enough to check him out and prescribe the drugs.
I've finally composed myself to post. I researched how to feed Mufasa and went to his cage to get him, and he was gone. He was laid out on his side, with blood coming out of his nose, so I wonder if there was something else wrong besides just a URI. He never had any other symptoms besides the nose, which wasn't even that snotty, the few and far between sneezes, and the weird breathing at the end. No eye problems, no massive amounts of sneezing, and he literally went downhill like a rock within 12 hours.

I wish I'd taken him to the vet on the second day when I noticed the nose thing, but my husband thought I was nuts and I thought I was just paranoid because other than that he was the picture of health for two weeks. I wish I could scream from the rooftops, "Never ever EVER EVER buy an animal from a pet store." He weaseled his way into my heart, and my husband's too, in just 14 days. The only thing that consoles me is knowing we tried to give him the best, most enriched life possible so he had a good life for as long as we could give it to him, even though it was so short.

He'll be buried under our evergreen where he can rest in peace, and ADOPTION is my new mantra.
@ Cavyness HAHAHA I sooo did that!!!! LOL I searched for hours on why was she losing patches behind her ears...and called the vet...LOL Love it...
I am so so so sorry for your loss. He was loved a lot in the short time. The same thing happend when my husband and son suprised me with one from the pet store...she died within 3 weeks. I hope you can find an adoptable companion, you sound like a great home for any Cavy....so sorry!
Thanks Charliespet. I know we didn't see eye to eye in the other threat, but I appreciate the sentiment. You're a pet owner who has lost animals, too, so I know you understand the deep hurt.
@mufasa - Oh gosh, I'm so sorry about little Mufasa. Unfortunately, they often will hide any symptoms of illness until it's almost too late. It's instinct so they don't appear weakened in any way.

Sleep well, little Mufasa.
Thanks, CavyMama. I'm still reeling with how fast this all happened. He literally went from acting fine but having weird breathing last night to not wanting to eat this morning to dead in the afternoon. I was all set to feed him and get him through the night so we could get to the doc first thing in the morning. It still hurts so bad that we never had the chance and that I didn't take him to the vet right after we first got him, when I had my first suspicions. At least I know he had a good life for two weeks, but it hurts so much to fall in love with him and have it suddenly cut short.
I am so sorry he's gone.
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