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Wheezing Progression of URI's.


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
May 22, 2011
Hi All,

My pig Charlotte, was making a funny sound this AM but behavior, eating and pooping all normal, eyes not crusty or closed or watery. It sounded sort of crackly and when I watched her for a long time, I could see that it corresponded to her breathing. She did also, eventuallly cough a few time. So, seems as if it's an URI. I called emergency vet to be sure exotics MD was on duty and ready to take her in and isolate her from the other pig, BJ. I picked her up and put her to my ear and, by that time, the sound had ceased and she was as ornory as usual butting my hand with her head when she didn't want me to pet her. Now she seems "normal". I'm heading out to a meeting for a few hours, will have housemate watch her and text me if there are any changes and if it starts up again.

So, first question is about how the progression of URI's goes when it is a URI? I imagine if they are really sick they don't recover on thier own? or can they? I have antibiotics at home for other reasons, Orbax, but wouldn't assume that this is the solution and wouldn't diagnose on my own and prescribe without a competent vet coming to a proper conclusion about a diagnosis and the best treatment for about $90 when it's the emergency vet, yikes!

Is it sometimes some congestion that they clear on their own, like when she coughed, just like people? or will it not go away on it's own?

Any info from your own experience or expertise is much appreciated.

If it's an URI, it's pretty much guaranteed not to go away on its own. And piggies can crash very quickly with one.

In your case, the coughing wouldn't worry me as much as the crackly breathing. She could cough for other reasons, but the crackles indicate something going on in the chest, and it's quite likely an URI.

If you can't get her to the vet now, I'd say watch her like a hawk, and be prepared to go if she shows any other symptoms of a URI. If she doesn't show any today, it still would be a good idea to get her to the vet tomorrow and let someone listen to her lungs.

Thanks so much. I just wanted some confirmation from an experienced pig owner. I will watch her all day, or my roomy will for a few hours, be prepared to take her to emergency whenever and if all goes well today will call my exotics vet in the AM and take her in there if that is the best course of action. Then I can have her checked out for less $$$ and by the vet that I already have a relationship with.

One other question, not necessarily related:

The other pig, BJ, sometimes makes some funny noises that I can only describe as sounding like whooping and, when it progresses, like a monkey. So, she does the whooping thing for awhile and, sometimes, but not always, she will cough at the end and then it's over. Other times, it will sort of escalate and then sound monkey-like and it wouldn't necessarily end with a cough or I may not be there to witness the whole progression if it is related to a cough. Again, everything else is normal, she just does this from time to time. Wondering if anyone else has heard this iteration of possible pig sounds?

Pigs with heart problems sometimes make hooting sounds. I'm not sure that's what you're describing. Listen to this and see what you think: Guinea Pig Hooting - YouTube.

If you think that's the sound, then go to Guinea Lynx and read this article: https://www.guinealynx.info/heart.html. Often the only way to definitively diagnose heart problems is to put the pig on a trial of heart meds and see if it improves.

Thank you again for good information. Yes, BJ's sound is similar to that hooting sound but she's much more robust and active in her sound. Then, it can escalate exactly the way we think of the stereotypical monkey escalating sound. I'll bring this to the attention of my vet and see what her thoughts may be. Great resource, Youtube, I didn't realize that there are other places to go to check out their sounds. Now I realize what I thought was a cough is very likely a sneeze.

In the meanwhile did go and took Charlotte to the emergency vet and it was exactly as I suspected. She has an URI but it's not very far along. I was commended for bringing her in so early. She was hardly making the congested sound for the vet at all. And, yes, she suggested antibiotics as I thought she might.

Just for everone's info, I have Orbax at home as I have used it for both pigs at times for different reasons. My vet is very lenient about stopping it abruptly when the condition for which it used improves or is gone. This emergency vet was thinking of Orbax as more of a heavy duty type of antibiotic and, origianlly, wanted to prescribe something milder, she said that there is a lot of resistance to antibiotics developing. When I told her about my vet's casual take on her use of Orbax, she, the emergency vet, agreed to just use that until I contact my vet in the AM. So, just thought it was worth noting for everyone for their consideration for future use if you are in a situation and have to use antibiotics for you pig. Emergency medicine is different and it's interesting to see that different vets have come to very different conclusions about many things.

thanks again,
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