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Sneezing Sneezing/nipping

Murk21

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Feb 5, 2012
Messages
129
This morning when I was giving veggies, one of my 3 month old boars Templeton would make this little puffing noise every couple of minutes. It doesn't seem like a full blown sneeze (like me or even my dog does), more like he's just just puffing a little air out of his nose. There's no wetness or crustiness around his nose. I heard it a couple more times when I'd walk by the cage.

I'd like to say everything else is fine, however in the last two of days, when I've picked him up he's been nipping at my hands and nipping/pulling at my shirt. I didn't think a lot of it when that happened as he is young and a little feisty. But now, with sneezing (if you can call it that), I'm wondering if he's not feeling well. He ate his veggies this morning without hesitation, but I will weigh him tonight when I get home from work and check on his weight.

The only other factor that has changed in the last few days is that we got some new 3rd cut timothy hay from KMS. This is a lot softer than the pet store brand that I'd gotten originally and seems to have a lot of tinier, finer pieces in the mix that go everywhere. The piggies are in a 2x4 CC cage with fleece and I use one of those utensil holders for a hay rack. The other day they tipped the hay rack over and drug a ton of hay out into one of the cage corners. I've seen how other piggies love to play in the has so I left some down... knowing that this week's cage cleaning isn't going to be as easy when trying to to pick up all those tiny pieces of hay, and thinking that I might look into a little littler box in the corner if they liked the hay like that...

To make a long story short, could the new hay be bothering Templeton or is it time for a vet appointment?
 
Anyone have any thoughts? Thanks!
 
I am in no way an expert. Only owned guinea pigs now for 5 weeks. Sadly Shadow passed away a couple days ago. When we got her she was 4 months old. I noticed she would sneeze and rub her nose . I never thought much of it. Then she nipped at my sister and my son but I thought it was because she got startled or smelled food on their fingers. It was a few weeks after this she stopped eating and I had her to the vet. She was diagnosed with URI. I really don't know if the sneezing had anything to do with this or not. But to be on the safe side I would take your piggy to the vet. Best of luck!
 
Thanks for your reply. I'm so sorry about Shadow. :( It sounds like we should take a trip to the vet. Much better to be safe than sorry.
 
Nipping may be a sign of mites. I would at least get him to a vet if all of these behaviors persist.
 
I just spoke with the receptionist at the vet and while scheduling the appointment she also brought up mites as well. He hasn't been scratching much but the nipping seems out of character for him. Does my other pig need to be treated at the same time or only if he exhibits symptoms?
 
If they are housed together they should both be treated. I would treat them regardless, if possible.

I wouldn't jump to conclusions. Guinea Pigs do itch a bit, it's just them. But if they lose hair, THEN you should begin to be on high alert.

The nipping could just be a "phase" It seems though as if my Abby, Big Sis', only nipped for about a month and then it stopped. She is an Abby though, and they don't like their coat touched the wrong way. Like, if you touch it against the rosettes, they may nip. Is your piggy an Abby? This could be the sign of the nipping. Try brushing out any knots/mats in the hair, if so. This may help Templeton stop nipping.

So, if your pig starts losing hair I would take him in. Otherwise, just keep an eye out for him.

I still don't know about the breathing, though.

:)
 
They are both short haired (Americans) and there's not been any hair loss so far. I originally thought the nipping might be a phase too. It was only after the little sneezes that made me wonder. There's a lot of extra debris from the new hay and I wondered if that could be bothering his nose.
 
They are both short haired (Americans) and there's not been any hair loss so far. I originally thought the nipping might be a phase too. It was only after the little sneezes that made me wonder. There's a lot of extra debris from the new hay and I wondered if that could be bothering his nose.

I doubt it. All hays have a bit of debris. As long as it isn't piling up into the cage and floating in the air that shouldn't be doing it, though it is a good point, haha. All hays do that. 3rd cutting is the BEST hay to get, and I have 2nd cut, so I am assuming that my hay would have more crumbs than yours. Well, cutting doesn't make a difference in crumbs, but it shouldn't have to many more crumbs compared to other types of hay. Also, hair loss from mites is often in a "V" shape. Look for that.

:)
 
I think I'm going to watch him for a few more days at this point. The sneezing noise has stopped. There's no hair loss and he'll sit still and let me pet him in his cage or on the floor, so I leaning towards the nipping being because he's being a little ornery and wants me to put him down. I'm going to monitor his weight closely and watch him, but I'm postponing the vet appointment for now...
 
Well, Templeton has been acting fine all week. No weight loss or sneezing, but today I came home to a snotty nose. The exotic vet I was referred to was closing and therefore referred me to an after hours vet. I didn't want to risk waiting so I took him tonight. The vet has guinea pigs of his own and I was a little surprised at some of his answers. He prescribed bactrim as he felt the was a more general antibiotic that covered the widest spectrum of ailments. After reading so much about probiotics, I asked about them and he said that was more "old school" when they were giving guinea pigs penicillin which would give them gut rot. The vet was really into giving vitamin c in their water and didnt feel the vegetables were an important part of the diet...

Obviously this won't be our normal vet. I'm just glad my little guy is on antibiotics. I was just a little surprised at some of the advice coming from a vet who has guinea pigs himself. One thing he said that I'd be interested in hearing others opinions is that he thinks 6 inch coroplast sides are too high and wont allow the ammonia smell to escape the cage and could cause URIs. What do you all think?
 
Hi Murk21, I'm in Eugene, actually. I'm no expert by any means but this guy doesn't sound as if he's all that swift about guinea pigs at all. That last comment about coroplast and URI's sounds like the wild guess and assumption of someone who really don't know anything about it. I would stick to an exotics vet who seems credible to you for your information. Best of luck with everything.

I have not experienced coughing sounds in my two girls but have had crackling breathing which freaked me out and sent me to emergency vet on one fine weekend. I went home and treated Charlotte with the antibiotic that I have on hand; Orbax, and she was fine. Later when one or the other of them had crackling again, my exotics vet suggested that I wait and see a bit before dosing with antibiotics and turns out it went away on it's own quickly. My vet said it isn't necessarily a URI and can clear on it's own.

So, I'm not trying to suggest anything about what you are experiencing, just to say, it can be hard to tell and judge. I always err on the side of caution which means, with all of my animals, over time, I am a frequent user of the emergency animal hospital:).
 
Hi Murk21, I Hope your piggy is doing well. I take preventative action for my pigs, and use a natural approach. A couple of times a week, after washing their veggies in water, I then place 5 drops of grapefruit seed extract, a natural antibiotic and source of vitamin C, into a couple tablespoons of water in a cup, and swish their veggies around in this, prior to dishing up. I sprinkle some of the liquid in their bag of fresh grass too and shake it around.

I have used grapefruit seed extract mixed with aloe vera gel to successfully and rapidly deal with a fungal infection Pumpkin had on her nose.

I know the natural approach is not to everyone's liking, but when used wisely can prevent or heal many conditions and also prevent trips to the vet or doctor.

When I saw the list of contra-indications on the box of mite treatment pipettes, I was very nervous about applying it to my pigs and waited till a day when I could be home all day to keep an eye on them. Happily all went well.

For those interested grapefruit seed extract can also be used in the garden to prevent/treat infestation by caterpillars, aphids etc, by mixing approx. a dozen drops in a 10L watering can and watering and spraying on the plant.
 
The bactrim is a reasonable choice because young pigs shouldn't have baytril.

Otherwise, this vet is off the mark. Vitamin C in water loses its effectiveness very quickly, and can change the taste of the water so that the pigs won't drink it. Six inches of coroplast is not too high at all (but I do agree about lower being better -- I can see the pigs and they can see me over the four inch walls in their cage).

There are differences of opinions among vets about probiotics. Some say they're useless, others recommend them all the time. As a person who had a months-long bout of diarrhea with huge weight loss that was cured by probiotics, I'm a firm believer in them.

There are synthetic preservatives in grapefruit seed extract whose properties are unknown. I'd be hesitant about giving those to my pigs. Vitamin C is just ascorbic acid, whether you find it in fruit, vegetables or pills.
 
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