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Sneezing New pig--bedding dusty?

Cavia Appia

Active Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Jun 22, 2012
Messages
39
Hey, everyone,

My pig was just brought home yesterday (yes, she's from Petco and I know it would've been better to adopt but this wasn't possible where I'm living--please understand that I usually do adopt pets).

She's currently living in a converted dog crate (35.5"x22"x24" with Paper Pulp and Hay Bedding--Looking to add a second level and switch to fleece/litter boxes). Immediately when I brought her home and opened up the litter I bought from the store (paper pulp which seems to be the same litter used there), MY allergies started going haywire with coughing and a tight throat. I suspect there was dust in the bedding or that it wasn't properly processed (never buying the same brand again--never had this problem with Carefresh with my mouse).

Anyhow, my GP immediately started sneezing and has continued yesterday and today. Her eyes are bright, clear, and clean and her nose isn't runny. She's been doing laps around her cage like a happy piggie, so much so that I've temporarily put up some balsa wood around the outside of the cage to keep the litter in (until I can get to Home Depot tomorrow for some Coroplast, which Hobby Lobby didn't carry and I couldn't find at Lowes online.) She was sneezing long before the balsa wood came into the picture, and I really think it's either the hay or the litter.

I've bought some aspen wood shavings to change out half the litter today and half tomorrow (the cost of wasting all those paper pulp pieces makes me SICK but what can you do?). She has the 15-day period of vet assistance from the store, but I'd rather not stress her out more and take her to the vet unless it's absolutely necessary. She's just settling in from her trip home and is still skittish.

I'm looking to start using fleece, because that's the only real long-term solution I can see. Has anyone else had a problem with sneezing due to paper pulp litter? Do you think she needs to see a vet this week? Would you use the aspen chips in a litter box once I switch to fleece?

She's been nearly completely silent since I brought her home--the whole ride home, only wheeked once when I picked her up. She bubbled very slightly earlier after I was petting her. Her teeth have been "chewing" a little (not gnashing or clattering), but not really making any squeals or squeaks. It was super hot in the store and she was lying on her side and belly sleeping (all the critters in the store were doing that, poor dears! The heat index yesterday was 100 here!). My house is very well air-conditioned, so she's not having heat issues right now. It's about 70-72 F in here.

Like I said, though, she's been doing laps around the cage periodically and even a few popcorns! She really likes the space. She's been eating fresh fruits, veggies, and her pellets, lots of hay, and drinking water. She eschews the orange bits in favor of apple slices, and she's been getting lots of Romaine lettuce and a few red bell pepper pieces and a few carrots (not a huge fan of these).

Does this sound like a sick pig, or a dusty pig? My allergies are settling down a little now that the hay and litter have settled, so I wonder if maybe hers will, too? Especially if I switch to the aspen and then, in a couple days, the fleece?

Thanks!
 
It might be URI. Piggies hide there illnesses. I don't know a ton, but guinealynx has a good deffenition of URI.
https://www.guinealynx.info/uri.html


Do you have a vet in your area?? I would take her to a vet just to get her checked out- URI or not.

I would remove the bedding that is making you sick. And switch to somthing different or put her on a towel until you have fleece.
 
Welcome to the forum! We'd love to see a picture.

Sounds like a dusty pig to me, but I'd watch her very carefully.

You need to read the diet and nutrition sticky on what can be fed and when: https://www.guineapigcages.com/threads/22156/. Fruit is only an occasional treat, some pigs have trouble with sludgy urine on romaine lettuce and have to be switched to red or green leaf, and the equivalent of one baby carrot per day is plenty.

Also take a look at the Home page of this site before you do anything with fleece. Your cage is smaller than the recommended minimum for one pig. And pigs do much better with a buddy, so you may want to think about adding another, which will mean they need even more space.
 
Thanks for the kind replies.

@go_ellie: I will definitely keep an eye on her until Monday, when the vet will be open. I do want to take her in after reading about URI. I followed go_ellie's advice and removed the bedding and replaced it with a towel (there were PILES of dust under all that bedding! Poor piggie! I wiped the plastic bottom down), but when I replaced her hay (Kaytee brand), I noticed a lot of dust coming off of the hay, as well. Is this unavoidable? Will all hay entail lots of dust? :-( I pooper-scooped her towel and will replace it tomorrow morning with a fleece I bought. That should hold her until I come home from work and can buy a litter box and more fleeces/wash the towel.

@bpatters: I used to keep piggies as a young teenager, and while I understand they prefer to be in herds of two or more, I'm in a difficult living situation right now (long story short: graduated from college with a biology degree, couldn't find a job, moved home with parents and live in small childhood bedroom the size of a bathroom and am restricted to only one GP, max. And here I am, 25 years old, being told how to live.) The dog crate was a last minute effort--the cage that was in the basement was inadvertently thrown away. I make minimum wage, so money's an issue, hence it's dog crate or C&C, but I'm having trouble obtaining the coroplast for the C&C. I will be going that route this week, though, at least with the upper tier of the cage. The problem with making a bigger cage is that the one I have already takes up 1/4 of my room, my desk takes up another quarter, my bed another quarter, and finally my bureau the final quarter. There's hardly any sitting or walking room as it stands now. I can build the cage UP, which may be the best option for a C&C replacement cage. For right now, though, the piggie is pretty well able to run at a full gallop around her current cage and I'm cleaning it twice a day.

As for veggies, well, I hadn't heard that about the Romaine lettuce. I will definitely read that link! Thanks so much! I've been giving a bit of fruit with each round of lettuce (a slice of orange or slice of apple), but I will cut it back. :) It's good to have such well-informed posters! Thanks, guys!

I'll let you know as soon as she goes to the vet what the verdict is. Hopefully, she can hang in there until Monday or Tuesday (I need to check which day my alternating work schedule will allow for a vet trip during business hours). She continues to eat, drink, and poo like a champion and her eyes look clear and bright, still. No diarrhea and no notable lethargy. Still sneezing, though. I'm thinking it's the hay, but I don't want to risk not taking her to see the vet.
 
Why wasn't it possible to adopt?
 
Kaytee hay is not a good brand. I suggest ordering from kmshayloft.com or Oxbow.
 
Yes, Kaytee is a horible brand for hay. I find it hard, stale, and dusty. KMS or Oxbow are much better.

What petstores are around you? I am aganst buying from a petstore, but Petsmart and Pet Supplies Plus carries Oxbow.
 
@FoggyCreek and @Haymonster: I couldn't adopt because, quite frankly, my father is against pets in general. He tolerated my dog that I had until 3 weeks ago, when she had to be put down at a tragically young age due to self-injurious behavior during thunderstorms (even on medications and with years of trying to retrain the behavior). My father would never have agreed to sign the adoption forms that all require each family member to sign off. My mother agreed that I could get a guinea pig, but we didn't let my father know until after the fact, at which point he couldn't really prevent it (he's still quite unhappy, though).

It upsets me that I didn't do the responsible thing and adopt, and I know this isn't the best situation to have a pig come into one's life maybe (so little room to build a habitat/cage, etc.), but I had piggies as a young teen and so I know how to care for them, and she's really helping to fill the loneliness that the dog's passing has left me with. No more nightmares since she arrived, and the cuddling has made me much more relaxed. Today, she started chirruping and purring a little during snuggle time and when I come into the room. And, of course, for hay and veggies morning and night.

Update on her health: I called the Petco and they're paying for her trip to the vet (tomorrow or Tuesday, whenever the vet can see her). She's on fleece or towels now, and still sneezing. The hay is still dusty, but she sneezes when she's on my chest, so I think it's more than that. I'm keeping a close watch on her condition. Hopefully, it's just allergies. Otherwise, antibiotics will be on the way in a couple days! She's still eating (lots) and drinking quite well, and of course peeing and pooing like a little machine.

At the very least, since I didn't adopt, with me as an owner she'll get all the medical care she deserves and needs. That's more than she'd maybe get at the store, where nobody noticed her sneezing. :-( And now, of course, she has love.
 
The vet is getting her in at 12:15 Eastern time today! Hooray!

Last night, I really started to notice her not feeling well. She bit me when I picked her up for snuggles, and then when I was petting her, she was burring at me. When I stuck to just stroking the top of her head, she just laid her little head down in the palm of my hand and half-closed her eyes, like she wasn't feeling well. She wasn't a happy piggie, and she felt hot to me, like she's maybe running a fever.

She's still running around this morning and ate some lettuce and pellets. She's been drinking water. Hopefully, some antibiotics will be prescribed today and she'll get well soon. The vet said that Petco had brought in some piggies for treatment for URI. What a surprise (/sarcasm). If the worst comes to the worst, which I sincerely hope it doesn't, and this little love doesn't make it, I will definitely be adopting my next piggie and all subsequent piggies. I feel like I'm in a nightmare of my own making, and the guilt is horrific. :-(
 
The vet is getting her in at 12:15 Eastern time today! Hooray!

Last night, I really started to notice her not feeling well. She bit me when I picked her up for snuggles, and then when I was petting her, she was burring at me. When I stuck to just stroking the top of her head, she just laid her little head down in the palm of my hand and half-closed her eyes, like she wasn't feeling well. She wasn't a happy piggie, and she felt hot to me, like she's maybe running a fever.

She's still running around this morning and ate some lettuce and pellets. She's been drinking water. Hopefully, some antibiotics will be prescribed today and she'll get well soon. The vet said that Petco had brought in some piggies for treatment for URI. What a surprise (/sarcasm). If the worst comes to the worst, which I sincerely hope it doesn't, and this little love doesn't make it, I will definitely be adopting my next piggie and all subsequent piggies. I feel like I'm in a nightmare of my own making, and the guilt is horrific. :-(

Goodness hun, please don't beat yourself up over it. You can't change the past, and you sound like you're willing to do the right thing. There are people who wouldn't go to half the lengths you are now for their piggies. I'm am happy to see you are willing to adopt from here on out, but don't overcome yourself with guilt and stress. It's not good for you! Just get your baby better and keep asking questions if you're ever concerned, or to share pigtures.
 
Update: So, Lemon Pipsqueak went to the vet yesterday and she does have a URI. The vet said her lungs sound clear, so it hasn't gone into pneumonia yet, thankfully. He gave her an antibiotic and Benebac, which is beneficial bacteria to supplement the flora in her intestines when the antibiotics kill them off. I am syringing the antibiotic (it cracks me up that the vet mixed it with strawberry daquiri mix to make it piggie-palatable!), but she usually ends up wearing some of it down her throat and chest when I do (she's a part-pink-piggie now). She licks the Benebac off my fingers...I guess she likes how that one tastes. She's not a huge fan of the antibiotic daquiri, though. Who knew I'd get a temperance pig? XD

I did miss her second dose last night, as I got home from work super late and my father was in the kitchen guarding the fridge where I keep her antibiotic (he doesn't believe that small animals should go to the vet, so he doesn't know she was there. Petco did end up paying the bill, after all, much to their credit). Here's hoping one missed dose won't set back her treatment too much. She's already had her first dose today, and she's sneezing less than before she started treatment.

The vet said she has no discharge with her sneezing and her eye look clear, so I'm hoping this will clear up quickly for the little darling.

Thanks for all the advice, guys! I never knew piggies couldn't get viruses and that it was always bacterial!
 
Update: Well, the little squeaker finished her medicine about half a week ago. She's still sneezing a bit, but I chalk that up to the dust in the Kaytee hay. When that's gone, I'm buying Oxbow. Overall, she's feeling much better. I treated for mites and that has made her much more easy to hold and cuddle. She doesn't feel feverish anymore, either, which is good, and overall her mood is much better. She's become quite the noisy little wheeker!

Thanks for all the advice, everyone! The antibiotics really seem to have done their job! She definitely needed them, and hopefully the remaining sneezes are harmless allergies. Thanks again!
 
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