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URI/Upper Respiratory Infection Stubborn Upper Respiratory Infection

piggymom1997

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Hello, I am looking for some additional advice on how to treat a stubborn upper respiratory infection.

My 3.5 year old guinea pig, Tootie, has a history of upper respiratory infections (I rescued her knowing she had a reputation of getting sick and felt ready to take on the responsibility of a pig needing some extra care.) Throughout her life she has had over 4 respiratory infections and her latest one is being extra stubborn.

Almost all the times she has been administered Baytril (enrofloxacin) except for once she received TMS. This time she is on Baytril again and I noticed it wasn't clearing up so I got her Gentamicin nose drops to be able to deliver some form of antibiotic more directly to her respiratory tract. I am thinking that because she has used Baytril several times that she has developed a tolerance to the antibiotic so I am meeting with a vet tomorrow to discuss the TMS again.

In the meantime I have an air purifier set up next to her enclosure to help eliminate any extra dust particles that could cause more irritation. She is eating, pooping, drinking as per usual and her energy levels have not overall decreased. She is getting daily vitamin C (twice per day in the proper amounts) in the form of bell peppers and the occasional small orange slice (not too much because I know the sugar content is high) as well as vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, kale, and cucumber. She is on fleece bedding - except for a small litter box in her enclosure which has Kaytee minimal dust bedding where I position her hay rack and her home is cleaned 3-4 times per day.

I am posting this to see if anyone has advice on ways to increase her comfort level with her congestion. I know that the proper treatment for a URI is antibiotics and am giving them to her, however, I would like to see if there is anything else I can do at home to aid in her recovery, increase her comfortability, and help her kick this stubborn URI. I've heard that bringing her into the bathroom with me with the shower running can possibly help her breathe better but I'm not comfortable doing so until I have more information.

If you've read this far I thank you immensely and any advice is appreciated. Thank you.
 

piggymom1997

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I forgot to mention that in addition to her antibiotic I am also giving her a probiotic in the middle of the day several hours between doses so that she can maintain a healthy gut bacteria.
 

bpatters

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If you can get hold of a nebulizer (some vets lend them out), you can make a breathing chamber with a plastic box and a thick towel over it. Gentamycin given via nebulizer will be much more effective than nose drops because it will get into the lungs where it will do some good.

You might also get the vet to double the length of time she's on the antibiotics, assuming her gut tolerates them OK. Or, the AB's can be "pulsed" -- give one for 10 days, and another for another 10 days. Some bacteria are just stubborn. It's also possible that what she has is a fungal infection, and AB's won't do a thing for that.

I'd suggest giving the probiotic about an hour after the antibiotic. That gives it time to replenish in the gut long enough to do some good.
 

piggymom1997

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Thank you for the advice! The vet decided we should put her on doxycycline starting Tuesday (they have to call it in monday to have it made at another local lab) and to continue the probiotic. Unfortunately, Im not able to give the probiotic an hour after her AB because I have to go to work. But I come home on my lunches several hours after her AB and give it to her then.
I'll ask them about the nebulizer and look into making a home chamber if the vet will lend me a nebulizer. Thank you!
 

bpatters

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The chamber is really easy. I used a plastic box about 10x12 inches with walls about 12 inches high. I just ran the tube from the nebulizer down in it, put the pig and some veggies in, and laid a folded towel over it. If you use a clear box, you can see what the pig is doing inside. Mine just ate.
 

piggymom1997

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Awesome! I got a nebulizer from the vet and a tank to put her in, the vet suggested some saran wrap over the top to insulate it. My only concern that I'm looking more into now is that she is prescribed such a small amount of Baytril (0.32mL) and I'm worried it wont be enough for the nebulizer to use. I have looked into adding a little more of a dilutant like sterile water or saline solution. Did you encounter a similar issue when using a nebulizer where your pigs were on such a small amount of an AB?
 

bpatters

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The Baytril should be given orally, with another med put in the nebulizer. And yes, there should be way more than .32 ml of any med in the nebulizer. I can't remember exactly how much I put in, probably 10 ml or so, and the mist would last 10-15 minutes.

My vet put either gentamycin (stronger antibiotic that can't be given orally to guinea pigs) or a steroid in the solution for the nebulizer, sometimes both. I suspect that your vet doesn't know how the nebulizer box works. The saran wrap isn't necessary at all if you use a thick enough towel layer, and there won't be enough nebulized mist to make any difference at all if the total amount of liquid going in it is so small.

If you were using a hand-held nebulizer yourself, you'd hold a cone over your nose and mouth, and all the medicine would be inhaled into your lungs. But with the pig running around in the box, you have to fill the whole box with mist, and with enough of it for the pig to inhale quite a bit.
 

piggymom1997

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Ok I understand, thank you so much for that information!

We discontinued the Baytril because she had been on it for 2 weeks (I looked at her medical history and found it interesting that in all instances her Baytril dosage ranged from about 0.32 - 0.35ml which is definitely different from the 10ml, but the small dosage of Baytril had worked wonderfully in the past!)

I did some more looking into the nebulizer situation and talked with some exotic vets and they recommended nebulizing a sterile saline solution to try and help break up the congestion she has and the couple of times I've done it with her I've seen some major improvement in her breathing. I brought up the towel over the nebulizer box and their only concern was that the towel fabric would absorb the mist at a higher rate than a plastic top.

Going forward I have her on doxycycline and gentamycin drops in her nostrils. She hasnt been on doxycycline before so I'm hopeful that she will be less resistant to this AB and I've read quite a bit about guinea pigs being switched to it if they have developed a resistance to Baytril. I'm diligent in giving her a probiotic while shes on this new medication to ensure her gut bacteria remains functional and healthy.
 
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