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General Pig keeps getting sick, can't figure out why.

JJones

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Feb 24, 2012
Messages
10
I have a apox. 12 month old male pig who in his 12 months has had apox. 6 URI with the last one having a possible ear infection. He has been off of his antibiotics for about 7 days now and is showing signs of being sick again. Runny/stuffy sounding nose, eye crusty, lazy, quite.

Any idea what keeps making him so sick?

He is alone in a good sized cage, he's on fleece with towels underneath. He eats hay, pellets, fruits/vegs, treats and water with vit c drops. He's cage is also covered with a blanket to keep the draft off him.

At the vet he weights 2.0-2.1 pounds

I have tried different bedding (paper, aspen), different sized cages, etc I'm out of ideas to help him. He also came with his brother but his brother was adopted about 6 months ago.

His normal treatment from the vet is a shot, and 1/4 of a 22.7mg baytril twice a day for 7 days.
 
Not sure about the URI but Vitamin C drops aren't needed. The water deteriorates the vitamin c. Most people would recommend vitamin c tablets crushed up over their food.
 
Not sure about the URI but Vitamin C drops aren't needed. The water deteriorates the vitamin c. Most people would recommend vitamin c tablets crushed up over their food.

I will change to tablets next time I go to the pet store. Thank you.
 
Perhaps the strain of bacteria that he has is resistant to baytril. Maybe you should try another antibiotic?
 
Perhaps the strain of bacteria that he has is resistant to baytril. Maybe you should try another antibiotic?

The vet said they're were others he could try, but stated that Baytril was the safest for pigs. If my pig needs to go in again, I will ask for a different antibiotic. Thank you.
 
Ask about bactrim perhaps it would help. Also make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning the cage with some disinfectant as often as you can.
 
Chronic URIs are strongly indicative of heart problems. Read those Guinea Lynx links that got posted, and consider posting a chronological summary of his problems and treatments over there.
 
He may have an immune system issue (ie. compromised immune system, not sure if guinea pigs have a variant of HIV but if there is he could have picked it up at birth or perhaps he simply was born immunocomprimised. If there is a piggy version of AIDS do not worry I cannot imagine its contagious to anything else but other pigs in much the same way feline AIDS is feline only and HIV is human only, dogs don't have an AIDS virus). Has he had blood work to check his immune cell counts?

As mentioned it may be a strain of bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, or possibly even viral which wouldn't respond the the antibiotics. If he has been responding, if only temporary its like bacterial though, but with some degree of resistance. Has the period of time between infections been decreasing? That might signify that he's suffering from a resistant strain and you're slowly selecting for stronger resistance, each round of antibiotics is less effective as they become more resistant so less bacteria are being killed/put into stasis each time so the infection builds to a symptomatic level quicker after the antibiotics are removed.
 
Ask about bactrim perhaps it would help. Also make sure that you are thoroughly cleaning the cage with some disinfectant as often as you can.

I will and I normally change his cage once a week, wash it with dish soap. and launder his fleece and towels with laundry soap and bleach.
 
He may have an immune system issue (ie. compromised immune system, not sure if guinea pigs have a variant of HIV but if there is he could have picked it up at birth or perhaps he simply was born immunocomprimised. If there is a piggy version of AIDS do not worry I cannot imagine its contagious to anything else but other pigs in much the same way feline AIDS is feline only and HIV is human only, dogs don't have an AIDS virus). Has he had blood work to check his immune cell counts?

As mentioned it may be a strain of bacteria resistant to the antibiotics, or possibly even viral which wouldn't respond the the antibiotics. If he has been responding, if only temporary its like bacterial though, but with some degree of resistance. Has the period of time between infections been decreasing? That might signify that he's suffering from a resistant strain and you're slowly selecting for stronger resistance, each round of antibiotics is less effective as they become more resistant so less bacteria are being killed/put into stasis each time so the infection builds to a symptomatic level quicker after the antibiotics are removed.

No test have been ran on him other than an ear mite test last time I took him in. He seems to get better on antibiotics, but last time he got bad and had to have extra. The time between infection is decreasing, it was about several months apart, the several weeks apart, and now its almost instant after he stops the antibiotics.
 
Can the vet culture any of his fluids? Maybe there is a better antibiotic for him?
 
They're probably not going to do blood work on a guinea pig to check immune cell counts. Heaven only knows where they'd have to send the sample to get it tested, and that's after you do the very difficult work of getting enough blood from a guinea pig to even test it.

One possibility is to ask the vet to combine the Baytril with Doxycycline -- that has worked in some pigs. But be prepared to handfeed if you try it.

Some people have successfully treated their pigs by nebulizing them. You can make a box to put them in out of a small plastic container, and I think you can rent nebulizers. You could ask the vet about that -- it actually delivers the medication down into the lungs and is possibly more effective.

Also, go over the www.guinealynx.info and click on the Index. There are several things thing there about heart disease. I'd print them off, take them to your vet, and ask for a trial of heart meds. Heart disease in guinea pigs doesn't show up the way it does in other animals unless an enlarged heart is found on ultrasound. The diagnosis is made by seeing if the pig responds to the heart medications.

Bactrim is usually used for urinary tract infections rather than respiratory ones.

Another possibility is that his infection is fungal rather than bacterial, and requires an anti-fungal medication rather than an antibiotic. If that's the case, however, I would have expected him to actually get worse while on the antibiotic rather than improving until he's taken off.
 
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