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General New here! Guinea pig problem :(


Cavy Slave
Jan 1, 2012
I am new here and Happy New Year's everyone! To start off, I have two guinea pigs, Gizmo and Teemo, and I have two problems. So first off our friend Teemo is coughing and sneezing a lot and it started when it was with lavender bedding but we took it out for the paper one I believe. It is just brown and very simple bedding and he I think slowed down a bit with the sneezing and coughing but our other friend Gizmo is also sneezing and coughing but not as often. I hear about colds and I hear about allergies but I don't know how to be sure so if anyone has any idea that would be awesome. We have had them for maybe 2 weeks or so... it might be too soon but Gizmo has really warmed up to us whereas Teemo has not. He is a lot more against us and I am wondering if that is normal and how long should I expect him to warm up to us. We take them out and give them everything they want so I am curious. Another question but not a problem is should we give guinea pigs baths every month or so. I am talking about us as my girlfriend and I so sorry for any confusion that may have caused. Thank you so much for whatever advice you have!

Edit: Sorry if I am posting in the wrong spot. Pretty new here :(
Welcome Shawn! So glad you have found the forum.
First off, sneezing is a sign of a URI. Upper respiritory infection. Being both your guys are sneezing it would not be a bad idea to have a vet see them. A URI can be serious in guinea pigs. Guinea pigs hide sickness very well and can go down hill very quickly if not treated. They will both need to be on antibiotics if they have URI's

There is a whole section on bedding and c&c cages. check it out. You do not want to put your pigs on pine, cedar or any perfumed bedding. If you use pine it needs to be dried klin shavings as the oils are taken out. It is the oils that make the pigs sick. Many here use fleece with padding underneath for their cages.

Your pigs do not need baths. Bathing them monthly will dry out their skin and cause dry skin problems. They bath themselves like a cat would and are very clean about it. If their cage is kept clean from excess urine and poo you should not have a problem.

Pigs are prey animals. To them you are a giant that is going to eat them. It takes time and patience for them to trust you. Each pig is different . Some trust and are more affectionate than others. Just give your guy time and he will come around.
Again welcome to the forum. We are here for you and your pigs. Ask all the questions you need and know we love pictures.
Welcome. Suzi is right. They do hide sickness very well. I had a pig pass around 48hrs after I got her. She never once acted sick, but apparently was. Her friend coughed a couple of times so I took her straight to the vet and she had a URI. She took the meds no problem and got well.

I just switched to fleece last night and I can already tell a difference in my piggies. Plus it looks so nice compared to paper bedding. I never realized it until I put the fleece on, but the paper bedding made it look like they lived in a trash heap!

I found that sitting on the floor near the cage and talking very softly to my girls while feeding them bell peppers helped. I held my hand very still and let them come to me and sniff my hand as long as they needed to. They don't mind being picked up or held now. :) So hang in there, I know its tough, but one day you will earn their trust.

(Any mods feel free to correct me if I am wrong on anything. Just stating what has worked for us since I am a newbie too!)
Thank you for the advice you two. My girlfriend and I have been thinking about taking them to a vet but I worried about the cost of it. I know that seems like a terrible thing to say but I'm not exactly swimming in money but I love animals and do not want to see them hurt. I will call tomorrow and see if I can do it. I had a feeling I might have had to take them at one point. They have been sneezing and coughing for a while though. I wasn't neglecting them but I wasn't sure really. (broken link removed)That is the bedding I use currently. Is that good and what is a fleece exactly?
Fleece is a fabric used to make a liner. fleece cage liner - Guinea Pig Cage Photos Like this. Note, this is not my photo, I just looked it up and posted it because it was easier than taking a photo of mine and waiting for it to upload and all that. :) Hope the owner doesn't mind. :)

You just sweep the poop and food off the liner daily and wash everything every 5-7 days. Some have said they can get up to 9 days, but I am a newbie to it, so I don't know.

Just wanted to say, if you got them at a pet store they really do need to go to a vet. This isn't me bashing you if you did, just speaking from experience. I got my first two at a pet store (Yes, I know, very bad) and withing 48hrs one passed and the other had to go to the ER vet. I have heard many others who have brought home very sick piggies from a pet store. The living conditions are not suitable for them and usually when you bring them home to clean cages and proper food its like a shock to their systems. At least that's how the vet explained it to me. Honestly, if you can spare the money, it would be worth having them checked out. Like Suzi said, they are prey animals, so they are used to hiding pain and illness and usually when you notice symptoms, its time to take them to a vet.

I know its scary because they seem to get sick when your suddenly tapped for cash. It cost me $80 for the vet and the meds together so it was not terrible. A lot cheaper than it was for our dog and cats. We had to pay over $200 just to be seen, not including tests and meds for the dog and cats. Most will give you an idea of how much it costs if you call. They care about your pets too and are not there to make loads of money off of your sick piggies.

I hope you can find a caring Cavy Savvy vet in your area and your piggies get well soon.
The carefresh you are using is fine.
In the gallery of pictures you may have noticed colored flooring on the bottom of the cages. That is fleece. It is a material used for throws alot. It has an absorbant quality like a diaper. It pulls the urine down and away from the top of the fleece so it stays drier. Underneath is an absorbant type of material. towels, uhaul pad, puppy pads. There are many many threads on using fleece and a section under bedding that deals with all sorts of bedding. If you scroll down the main page in the forum you will find it.

You will need what is called an exotic vet. Many vets only handle dog and cats. Exotics are trained to handle the other type of pets like guinea pigs. At the very top of the page is a find section. It is in dark grey. A find vet is there to help you find a vet in your area.
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Thank you two so much again :) $80 doesn't seem too bad. I think I will take them to the vet. Hopefully they're fine. I love them because they're so damned cute. They make all the noises and you instantly fall in love with them. Thank you all again. I appreciate it and yes I did get them from a pet store. We got them from 2 different pet stores when we found out they were best in pairs. I will post pictures of them maybe in this thread one day.
My vet charges $31 for an office visit. It all depends on the vet and where you live. Make sure your vet is an exotics vet because regular vets don't know which meds are dangerous for guinea pigs and don't always diagnose properly when they try and treat small animals.
If its uris they need to be seen by a vet that knows guinea pigs. Baytril is the best antibotic for uri. My vet has a flavored baytril that a guinea pig will take orally. Don't forget a probotic if they are on an anitbotic. Print off a list of safe drugs for your vet just in case. you can find this on the guinea lynx site. I am lucky and have an awesome vet that knows piggys 10 minutes from here. It is always best to never use scented anything around these little guys.
Back! They sent me home with antibiotics. They sent me home with this red cherry stuff and a paste. It was an infection for one of them but the other doesn't have discharge the way one does. They should be good now. They were both really scared but one more than the other. They're adorable even though they took a piss on my girlfriend and I 5 times and pooped a lot. Still love them! Here's a picture of the cute little guys.
. New here! Guinea pig problem :(
They are precious! My piggies are all on antibiotics right now for URI's as well. Good luck and congrats on your new piggies!
they are adorable! Glad you took them in and that they are going to be okay.
Thank you :) They were too precious not to capture in that moment.
What sweet itty bitty little piggies. So cute. I'm glad you were able to get help here and get them to a vet before they got seriously sick. We have two baby pigs as well. One is 6 weeks old and one is 4 weeks old, we didn't get them from a pet store though. Good luck with your new little guys and I hope this site provides a bunch of good info for you to take great care of them. They're adorable!
Between the two of them the bill was a lot. I mean sheesh. 150 for them. Worth it but still.
Your pigs are really cute. I'm glad you got them to a vet. Now you can join the long line of people who've bought pigs from pet stores only to discover that they were sick and required an expensive vet visit. :sad:

I just lost one of my piggies (Patch) tonight due to URI. He (Patch) exhibited signs of illness early Saturday and unfortunately, the only exotic vet in my area was't open during the holidays. I was able to get him to vets today since they reopened, and within hours of arriving home after the visit, a dose of Baytril, and rehydration, he passed away in my arms. Needless to say, I was torn because it seems as though he got totally worse after the visit and the medication. I'm not sure, but I think he may have also had a stroke considering his posture deterriorated almost too quickly as he was leaning up against his carrier trying to hold himself up prior to his passing.

I wish your pigs a quick recovery and hope you have better luck than I did. Never underestimate the severity of any symptoms these little wonderful creatures exhibit. At whatever cost, seek immediate care at the vets because they go downhill fast.

Here's a good reference site to bookmark in addition to this wonderful forum. https://www.guinealynx.info
I have a vet about fifteen mins away from where I live that we've been going to for about 15 years, he used to be a large animal vet but know hes mostly for cat and dogs But he loves animals and he cuts use deals all the time cuz he knows were not made of money. When my Bunnie Chester got sick we took it to him right away and he said he has had about three other bunnies that year with the same problem come in. he kept it real with me the hole time. i could ether put him down know or wait and give him the meds and run the risk that IF he gets better he'll be mean ): He strongly advised use to try the meds and we did for about 2 weeks and we didn't see any improvement, at the time i was in school and having to sleep with Chester at night to keeping from turning was takings its tole on my grades. It was also really hard seeing he couldn't eat on his own or drink and when i left him during the day there was no one to keep him from flipping. so we ended up making the disunion to put him down. )': the hole thing all together cost about 150, if that. I'm happy your pigs are safe and sound though, but if i were u id try and look around your area for a smaller vet office (i find there cheaper and its all around a better experience) i just took my momma pig riley to the vet for URI and i only paid about 45 all together with that.
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