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URI/Upper Respiratory Infection What can I do differently to prevent this in the future?


Cavy Slave
Mar 6, 2012
I'm a newbie guinea owner and I just recently got Moogle, a young guinea pig from Petco. After doing more research about guinea pigs,I now regret buying from a pet-store as opposed to adopting. I noticed yesterday that his right eye was a bit crusty and squinted and that he would sneeze occasionally. I took him to my vet, and he diagnosed him with a URI and prescribed a penicillan free antibiotic. I've read that certain bedding materials can cause a URI and I want to do everything possible to prevent this in the future. I am currently using Kaytee Soft Granule Pet Bedding but am considering switching to a fleece cage liner instead. Is another type of bedding better or should I just make the change to fleece? Any input or help you can give is greatly appreciated.
Bedding doesn't cause URIs -- they're caused by viruses or bacteria. Aromatic soft-wood bedding (like pine) that has not been kiln-dried can irritate the lungs (and feet and bellies) and make them more susceptible to infections, and very dusty bedding can also be irritating.

There's a ton of info on fleece in these forums -- read the bedding thread. Some people love it, some hate it. You'll also find other suggestions on what people prefer.
Thanks so much!
I switched to fleece and love it,strawberry does to.
Fleece, with an absorbant layer underneath, is actually both environmentally and financially friendly in the long run. Even Carefresh, made from recycled materials isn't as environmentally friendly as a few layers of reusable fabrics.

I cloth diapered my children. I plan on Cloth Bedding my piggies. It's just more responsible tbh...because with the Care Fresh, you need to take in to account the production of it, the greenhouse gasses it takes to bring TO the store, the gasses it takes to bring FROM the store, not just that, where you buy it from, if you buy it from PetCo, you're still supporting that awful place.

Fleece, It's reusable. You toss it in the wash, wash it, it's one extra load of laundry, If you have a HE Washer/Dryer then it costs literally pennies per week in energy costs to maintain.

This is also the reasoning I used to convince my husband to go cloth diapering with our kids (and he remembered so he was the first on board with cloth bedding the piggies)

FYI, with fleece/cloth bedding, you don't use fabric softener. It will total the wicking/absorbency of the cloth. If you use dryer sheets for your every day laundry there will be build up inside the drum of your dryer, and you will probably have to occasionally strip your bedding, bu putting it in a HOT HOT HOT water cycle with about 1c white vinegar. If you can, line dry your bedding to keep the absorbent/wicking propreties. :D

My cloth diapering experience has paid off in Piggy bedding advice lol.
I can see that lol, and thank you so much!
Well, I'm very very sad to say I put more faith in my vet than he deserved. I noticed last night that Moogle wasn't eating and I hadn't found any droppings since I changed his bedding. I called my vet as soon as they opened this morning and all they had to say was that the antibiotics "may have upset his tummy". So, I called another vet in town because I felt they weren't really helping me. When the new vet found out what antibiotic I was giving him, he told me to stop immediately . I thought the one my vet had prescribed was one that was safe for guinea pigs but after doing a simple search online as the new vet recommended, I saw that it was on the list for dangerous drugs for guinea pigs! He told me since I had only given him 4 doses there was a chance it hadn't done enough damage to be fatal but we would have to wait at least 4 days to start him on a new, safe antibiotic. So now, I have both the damage done from the harmful antibiotics and the URI going untreated for at least another 4 days to worry about. He advised me to feed him using a syringe until he starts eating on his own, and make an appointment 4 days from now.
Glad you finally found a good vet. And we'll keep our fingers crossed that your piggy will soon be better.
Thank you, I appreciate it.
So Moogle was doing wonderfully after we got his URI cleared up and he got his appetite back, then last night, as he was in his play area, I noticed his pee was almost pink. After checking the forum, I confirmed it was definitely blood in his urine. My boyfriend just took him to the vet and they said they were going to give him a bit of water and keep him for a few hours until they can do a urinalysis. It is not a good thing but at least I have more confidence in this new vet than the first. The vet did say that if it is a UTI, he would provide antibiotics but would also recommend that I give him vitamin C daily. I honestly thought he was getting enough in the fresh veggies that I gave him every day. Any thoughts on this? What has worked for you guys?
If he has a UTI then antibiotics will be the key. What are you currently housing Moogle on? To prevent future UTIs you could change bedding more frequently, move hideys around the cage daily so that Moogle isn't sitting in urine, and you could offer a little unsweetened cranberry juice daily. For the extra C you could give a section of a chewable vitamin C tablet from your local pharmacy.

If the vet can't confirm UTI, I would request an xray for bladder stones. X ray is the best diagnostic tool for stones in pigs.
I've been using a bedding called Soft & Cozy ( I think that's what it's called) and changing it once a week, sometimes removing soiled areas and replacing with new during the week as well. I haven't been moving his house around though, so I will definitely try that. I'm hoping that it isn't bladder stones :(
If you use non-fabric bedding, is sludge less detectable? I can't imagine finding gritty urine spots on paper mulch-type bedding or shavings.
The usual antibiotic for a UTI is Bactrim (also called Trimeth Sulfa). Bed him on light colored towels or fleece for a few days, so you can monitor if the bleeding has stopped. If it hasn't in a few days, you'll want to go back to the vet.

As for the vitamin C, most vets don't realize how many greens and veggies we feed. That said, I do usually supplement sick pigs with some extra C--between 25 and 50 mg.
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When I picked Moogle up that day, the vet said he did have a UTI but he wanted me to try unsweetened cranberry juice and vitamin c before trying antibiotics. He wouldn't eat anything that had the vitamin c powder on it and didn't care for the water with cranberry either. Last night I noticed that he was squeaking in pain while pooping and peeing and poop was a much lighter color than usual. It wasn't odd shaped or runny though. I called the vet this morning and he said he wanted to move on to a liquid antibiotic form of Baytril starting today. I'm planning to get some Bene-Bac as well. Any advice on what else I could do would be wonderful.
I just got back from the vet with his new antibiotic and because of the nightmare I went thru with my old vet and the dangerous antibiotics, I thought to do some research on this one. It's called Orbax and I've gotten mixed information so far. Some things I've read show that guinea pigs can be intolerant to it but other people have said they've used it in small doses for a short period of time with no problem. I did explain the incident with my last vet to my new vet and he said he did look into it and it should be fine for his UTI. I'm very hesitant to give it to him for obvious reasons but does anyone know anything about or have any experience with using Orbax (Orbifloxacin)?
An apparently knowledgable user on GuineaLynx, Josephine, said the following about Orbax:

There is a new fluroquinolone called Orbax (orbofloxacin) that doesn´t cause safety problems in young, developing animals. Efficacy is greatly diminished and it doesn´t effect Pseudomonas sp. This one is strictly for the trash.

Quote pulled from the original post in the following thread: https://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2111

The fact that it doesn't touch any Pseudomonas is enough for me to not bother wasting my time on it. Orbax is safe but doesn't sound like a good choice. Could you contact your vet about getting some Bactrim instead?
I definitely could. Do you think it would even be worth trying the Orbax for a few days?
I wouldn't start it unless you intended to finish it off.

Did the vet consider that he may have a stone?
You could try printing out some of the info on here and Guinea Lynx for the vet to consider and back up your arguement for a different AB. Bactrim IS the preferred AB for a UTI. My vet has been very great about talking options with me and looking at what i print out for him. He changed Diesel's Doxy dose from the normal vet under-doseage of 2.5 to 5 mg/kg, which is the dose that Pinta describes as having worked the best in their experience. If you haven't looked at the info on GL, check it out, they have TONS of great advice and talk about all the commonly used ABs. Good luck!!
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