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Sneezing Possible URI?


Cavy Gazer
Feb 23, 2017

I am new here :) So, I have a question or thought that has been hounding me. Sorry for the long post.

I recently purchased a Abyssinian Guinea Pig - about 10 weeks of age from a local pet store. I fell in love with her from the get go and couldn't purchase her until the following day as they had a hold on her. So, long story short following day came went to go purchase her to find out she had been OUT all day at a school for show and tell with little kids (over 8 hours). Which, to me, is quite hilarious considering touching them the previous day was a huge NO! And young kids = germs.

So, I did ask if they treat the pigs when they come in or get them checked out to be told they were healthy, etc. I didn't get to look her over prior to purchase or I would've.

Bring her home to find out one of her ears is crusty on the flap on both sides, she has dandruff, she was just scratching so profusely which prompted me to immediately examine her instead of letting her settle. She also had a scab on her back, my heart was just sinking.

So, I called the vet the following morning and couldn't get in 'til this past Monday. Took her in, had some tests done to find out she is negative for mites but to go ahead and treat her with Ivermectin as it wouldn't hurt either way. But, she was prescribed fungal medication for the skin condition which is .2 ml every day for 4 weeks. Otherwise her heart, lungs, eyes all looked good. Wednesday, I noticed her sneezing, constantly every 2-5 minutes, sometimes longer in between up to 20-35 minutes. I did look at her nose with a flash light and removed any "boogers" gently from there and only notice her nose is wet after she sneezes so no constant running as I can tell as of now. I did hold my ear to hear and she was chattering so was difficult to tell if her breathing sounded normal. Her eyes look clear. But breathing may be quicker. She still eats hay/pellets/vegetables/drinks.

I am racking my brain thinking if it's anything I could've done? She's in a 2x5 cage. Her cage consists of chloroplast bottom, with u-haul padding and fleece on top. She does have a litter pan as I would prefer to potty train (and she's doing quite well with few incidents) but, the litter for the bedding is paper pellets.

Her cage is dry, non drafty, she has a ton of sherpa lined fleece facing upward, along with sherpa lined tunnels to sleep in, etc.
Now, I do turn the over head fan on from time to time, but I do not believe that would cause enough draft for her to become ill.

I wash her bedding with hot/cold mix in the washer with free/clear of dyes/fragrant so nothing to irritate. I don't use dryer sheets.

I also confine her hay as I don't like the idea of hay being dragged around, especially on fleece, or them urinating where they eat.

I am puzzled. I do plan to call the vet first thing in the morning to try and get her back in today. But other than that I am completely lost. I did get her a giant willow tunnel but once I noticed the sneezing, I promptly removed that as well JUST IN CASE but I don't think that would cause issues?

Seriously worried, any info is helpful!
An exotic vet would most likely be able to see any sign of issues in the lungs/trachea by taking X-Rays. Having X-Rays done is the best possible choice, as it can also detect problems in the stomach and bladder - common undetected problem areas. Getting X-Rays done is also a good choice because it can help determine the medication that's appropriate for the level of infection. If your pig gets to the point of not having an appetite, recovery is much harder.
I agree that a visit to an exotic vet would be in order. Don't bother with a small animal vet -- that means dogs and cats.

And FYI, don't ever let a vet do a skin scraping to test for mites. It's expensive for you, painful for the pig, misses the mites half the time, and the end result is the same as if you hadn't had it done -- treat for mites.

You also can't potty train a pig. If you've got one that's cooperative, you may be able to put a litter pan where she pees and poops the most, and catch most of the output. If she's no cooperative, she'll go where and when she pleases, and there won't be anything you can do about it. If she does choose to use a litter pan, be sure she doesn't sleep in it -- that's a recipe for a bladder infection.

Here's some reading material for new guinea pig owners:

She was almost certainly already coming down with it when you got her, your setup sounds fine. She got sick either from the pet store, the breeder before the store, or being out with the children so long.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thanks for the responses :) Much appreciated.

This isn't my first rodeo with piggy's. I've never had as many health problems before though with a pig as I have her. Maybe because she is from a pet store and normally I do rescue from shelters or a rescue group but after moving to a new location this place didn't have any in the shelter, and no rescue that takes them in locally. It's also been a few years since I've had the pleasure of being a pig parent.

I did look extensively for a vet that is cavvy savvy before taking her to the initial vet she saw first time around. Which I do feel comfortable as they did ask my knowledge of things to use/cage size/appropriate food/vegetables/brands. The way they treated her was comforting. I did give her a round of Ivermectin topically as vet thought even if they aren't seen (through a swabbing of most problematic area), it's best to treat any way as it won't hurt her or interact with her current oral medication. So she had her round of Ivermectin on Tuesday and will repeat in 7-10 days once more.

But, I called first thing this morning and they are having to squeeze me in to get her seen later this afternoon. (Fingers crossed NOT URI). Even if I may have some thinking I am a little silly by wanting to be safer than sorry around me... that's just what I am going to do. Sneezing this often to me isn't normal and considering she wasn't doing much sneezing if any before hand arises my concern. Plus I already love her little self more than I thought I would.

I did have somebody tell me maybe she's just "adjusting" to new environment. But, I'm not using anything that would cause her to sneeze so much and the sound of the sneezing doesn't sound right.

To JayCriae - That is what I was thinking as she was out all day, and kid's are notorious for not washing their hands - especially when at school.

To Bpatters - I know all to well that most pigs go wherever they please, no matter how hard you try! :D But, I've been quite lucky so far with her. She normally comes out of her sleep sack or breaks popcorning/zooming (when she feels better) to actually go to her pan to go (broken link removed) ... (broken link removed) though is mostly where ever (especially where she sleeps) but I do my best to keep THAT picked up and if she does go (broken link removed) where she sleeps, it usually wickers away but I do change the fleece so far every 2-3 days (the areas which have been soiled from urination). Which is Okay?

Anyway guys, the responses are much appreciated and taken to help my little one. I will definitely post back once I hear from the vet.
Sorry for the late reply in updating.

She did end up having a URI. She was prescribed SMZ-TMP at 0.13 CC every 12 hours for 7 days. But, it's been a couple days now of doses and there has been no improvements that I can see.

Still sneezing/rubbing her nose and her breathing is still clicky.

Becoming quite worried as I figured since I caught this early enough (or so I thought) I would of seen improvements by now.

Really thinking about contacting the pet store as I did before her 1st initial vet visit to inform them. As they did swear she was healthy to begin with and she wasn't. Now she's got a URI which could of came from other litters being put in with her or the all day daycare trip with kids. Feel they should be held liable in some form???

Thanks for all those who replied. Appreciated.
The antibiotic you were given isn't the most effective one for a URI, but it's used for young pigs because the better one, Baytril, stunts growth.

There's no way to hold the pet store liable. The only way to protect yourself from that kind of situation is never to buy a pig from a pet store. They're bred and raised in horrible conditions, and are frequently sold sick, missexed, and with parasites.
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