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Wheezing Wondering about a well established infection??

schavarry

Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Mar 24, 2012
Messages
1,050
I'm piggy sitting for the mother and sister of my two guinea pigs. The mother (Lily) has been sneezing and sickly since her owner bought her from PetSmart. *Lily was purchased sometime in December I think - age unknown*

Their owner dropped them off Friday afternoon and by Sunday I didn't know if Lily was going to make it until Monday because she was sneezing, wheezing and she is down right scrawny (skin and bones, less than 500g)

I took Lily to the vet the Monday after my friend dropped them off which was June 25th. The vet diagnosed her with a URI, prescribed an anti-biotic a pro-biotic and told me to keep her in a separate room from all other GPs

A week later (July 2) she was still breathing heavy, wheezing, sneezing, etc. - so back to the vet we go and she was given another antibiotic. After 3 days of being on the new anti-biotic in addition to the other two she's been on for the past week and a half, there seems to be little to no improvement.

So here's the question:

If there is a "well-established" infection before treatment is started, and it doesn't get under control, what are your options? If the piggy isn't going down hill, but isn't getting better either and is in a perpetual "sick limbo" is it fair to keep the piggy alive? (I will NOT euthanize someone else's pig unless it is entirely necessary and she asks me to do it while she's gone! But I want to be knowledgeable so I can give the best advice to her...)
 
Other questions:

I'm kinda worried about how this separation will affect Lily's cagemate/daughter Gertie. Gertie has been chewing on her pigloo a lot (somehow she's chewing on the inside of the top), she's eating normally and doesn't seem too depressed to have her mom gone but what if things don't get better with Lily? I'm afraid for what will happen if she goes back to her owners house without her mom and doesn't have my piggies in the same room to keep her "company". She's not in the same cage as either of my pigs (it's pig city in their room with 3 cages) but she can hear them and see them when they get floor time so she's not completely alone.

And then if Lily gets better (when she gets better, I don't want to think of her dying), am I going to have to do introductions? She's been out of the cage for over a week so I'm guessing Gertie is taking it as her own and I'm not sure what she'll do when Lily is re-introduced. Lily used to be the top pig but she's so skinny now and Gertie is at least 300g heavier, I'm worried about them not sharing food and Lily wasting away...

Am I worried for nothing?! I know worrying won't do anything, and I won't have an answer until Lily gets well enough to go back in Gertie's cage or until their owner returns at the end of the month and she gets to deal with it... I really hope Lily is better by then because I doubt her owner will give her the care she truly needs... As I've said before, she's always been kind of sickly and hasn't been to a true exotic vet until I took her to find out what was WRONG!

Ok I'll stop rambling now :)
 
Here's my $.02 worth.

If a pig has a potentially curable condition, I think it's the owner's responsibility to do everything they can to see that it's adequately treated. "Everything they can" is constrained by the availability of knowledgeable vets/medicines/equipment, the amount of money the owner has to spend, etc.

In the case of Lily, a respiratory infection that she's had for months and that hasn't responded to two different antibiotics may never respond with that same sort of treatment. However, some owners have had very good results with nebulization chambers and other antibiotics used in them. I wonder if Lily might not respond to something like that. And it sounds like she needs supplemental hand feeding at the very least, if not actual force feeding with a syringe and something like Critical Care or Critter Be Better. I'd want to try nebulization and supplemental feeding before I considered putting her down, if she were mine.

If the condition isn't curable, then humane euthanasia is the kindest thing to do when the pig is suffering or has lost the will to live. Some pigs with serious or terminal illnesses have lived for weeks or months with good care and attention from their owners.
 
However, some owners have had very good results with nebulization chambers and other antibiotics used in them. I wonder if Lily might not respond to something like that. And it sounds like she needs supplemental hand feeding at the very least, if not actual force feeding with a syringe and something like Critical Care or Critter Be Better. I'd want to try nebulization and supplemental feeding before I considered putting her down, if she were mine.

I agree - if it's curable it should be cured... I'm just not sure if this is something that is beyond curing...

I'll start researching nebulization chambers (I have no idea what they are or that they could treat this but I'm glad to hear there's something other than just antibiotics!)

She will devour anything you put in front of her veggie wise and she eats hay like a horse but she's not too fond of pellets, or at least she isn't fond of my KMS pellets. Can I get Critical Care or Critter Be Better without a vet prescription? Is it safe to give her if she's eating on her own?

I'd feel bad adding something else she has to take by syringe each day (she already has 3 meds 2x a day) but if it will help her put on weight I'd do it!! She's not my piggy but I still care about her well being and I want to do what is best for her to the best of my ability.

Thank you for your input, I really appreciate it!!
 
You can get Critter Be Better from pet shops, I believe. Critical Care is usually available from a vet.

A nebulization chamber is usually just a small plastic tub with a hole cut in the side for the tube from the nebulizer. You'd have the get the vet to prescribe an appropriate antibiotic -- several people have had good luck with gentamycin. And then you need the nebulizer itself, which can be rented from a pharmacy or medical supply store, or you might be able to borrow one from someone who's had a kid who needed one.

I'd suggest going over to Guinea Lynx and use the search feature in the forums to search for nebulizer. A lot of folks over there have had experience with it.
 
@Kelsie - thanks! I really feel badly that she hasn't gotten the care she's needed. Some of the stuff her owner does drives me INSANE - like feeding her inapproperiate food... I try to teach her and lead by example, and I've made some progress. Anyway I hope she gets better too!!

@bpatters - I was able to buy a bag of Critical Care from the vet who neutered Lightning (different vet than I've been taking Lily to - farther away but more skilled in GP surgery). I plan on feeding her some Critical Care with a syringe but I need to figure out exactly how much to feed her since she's only 490g and you're supposed to feed 3 Tbsp/kg. (So if my math is right I need to feed her 1.5 Tbsp - per day?)

Thank you for the info about a nebulization chamber. After reading your post I felt like an idiot for not connecting nebulizer to nebulization chamber - I understand now! If she's not better by Monday (& I doubt she will be), I'm supposed to return to the vet once more, and I will be armed with this information so hopefully I can get the supplies so I can try this out!
 
hmmmm... mumble, mumble.... Yes, 3 Tbsp per kg. is what the package says, but that doesn't sound like much for an adult guinea pig to me. However, if she's eating hay, pellets, and some veggies, it might be enough. I'd start with that, and if she likes it and will take it, I might try to squeeze in an extra feeding of it per day.
 
Ok, thanks!! Will an eye dropper work? Or do I NEED a syringe?

All the syringes I have, have either been in an adult mouth with salt water for washing out tooth holes, OR they've been used for medicine... I know where I can get an eye dropper close by but the nearest walgreens that will still be open when I can go get it is 10 miles away... Not that I'm not willing to drive the 10 miles, just wondering if an eye dropper will work.
 
I would think an eye dropper would be hard to use. For one thing, you need a larger syringe to load the smaller ones with. And the slurry would have to be pretty watery to come out through an eye dropper.

Have you tried feeding it to her with a spoon? Some pigs will take it that way.
 
I got lucky and my hubby found a syringe for me last night! I made the slurry this morning but she wasn't very fond of it... I'm going to try feeding more of it to her tonight. I gave her about 1/2 a TBSP in the syringe but it wasn't fitting into her mouth well and the slurry was coming out stuck on the outside of the syringe so I fed her a little bit more from a spoon - she kinda got the idea and ate some off the spoon but got bored with it before it was all gone...

BTW - 1.5 TBSP of Critical Care plus the water you mix with it creates about 1/4 C of slury which is a lot more than I originally thought it was going to be, but I don't plan on forcing her to eat all of it because she's still eating hay and veggies too. Maybe I can get her to finish the 1/4 in her feeding tonight and first thing tomorrow (supposedly it's good for 24 hours).

Anybody know if I should warm it up when giving it to her tonight (?) because I'm keeping it in the refridgerator per instruction on the package.
 
I've always had better luck with the 1cc syringes, cutting off the little nozzle at the end. I just draw the slurry up into it and fit it into the side of the pig's mouth.

I usually warm it up a bit as well, at least to room temp.
 
I took Lily to the vet yet again today, she has improved some but not much. I got new syringes so I can try Critical Care again tomorrow. The vet also prescribed a different med to hopefully make Lily better!

While I was there I asked about using a nebulization chamber with gentamycin - she said that's the next step if this next med doesn't work but she didn't want to jump to the nebulizer because that is more for pneumonia type illness and she didn't think it was fluid in the air space of the lungs, but instead some type of fluid surrounding the lungs. I'm not sure if an x-ray should've been done for the diagnosis but I have a feeling the vet was doing as much as possible to save me money since Lily isn't my guinea pig and yet I'm footing the bill...

When I went to go pick up Lily's meds from the pharmacy they asked what flavor I wanted it in o_O I replied "I don't know that it matters, it's for a guinea pig..." Well they made it in tangerine, and if nothing else it made her breath smell sweet!! When they gave me the instructions for giving the piggy the meds (dosage and stuff) they asked what guinea pigs eat, and what would be best to flavor it?! (I'm not a vet!) She suggested using V8, I said I thought that would have too much sodium. After I got into the car I realized I should've said carrot flavor!! Or wheat grass!
 
So here we are, 3 weeks later, and Lily still has days when she sounds like a percolating coffee pot! :/

I'm going to call the vet again on Monday (tomorrow) and see what they say, if I should bring her in again or just keep giving her the meds she's on for right now...

At this point I'm not sure it's fair to keep her from her daughter, since they were bonded and had been living together for the past 5 months until I got Lily, realized she was sick and quarantined her to keep the others from getting ill. If what Lily has isn't something curable, should I move her daughter and their C&C cage so they can at least be in the same cage together? I don't want to risk Gertie's (daughter) health, but it seems kinda mean to keep them separated, although maybe it's better if Lily ends up needing to be put down...??

I'm just speculating this all because Lily isn't my guinea pig, and her owner looks at it from the perspective of "well she's always been sick, and she's still alive, so why do I need to take her to the vet or separate her from Gertie..."

I guess I'm just thinking "out loud" so to speak, but any input would be greatly appreciated!!
 
How frustrating!

I think I would probably put them back together, if they are happier that way.
 
I'm sorry that I don't have any ideas to add, but I just wanted to let you know how much I admire you for caring so much about this piggie. The fact that she belongs to someone else and yet you are doing so much for her. My prayers go out to her that she will recover and be able to be returned to her cage with Gertie.
I agree with Kelsie. I think you are awesome too since it isn't your piggie!!! They are just so loveable, aren't they?
 
How frustrating!

I think I would probably put them back together, if they are happier that way.

Since they've been separated for over 3 weeks, do I need to do introductions when I put them back together?
 
I would, just to be on the safe side.

I had a mother who rejected her grown daughter after they had been separated for a month. We couldn't get them back together!
 
I would, just to be on the safe side.

I had a mother who rejected her grown daughter after they had been separated for a month. We couldn't get them back together!

I really hope this doesn't happen! But as sick as Lily is, she's still really feisty (she bit me 3 times this morning when I was trying to give her veggies and meds) so it could :( I'm not sure what my friend is going to do if she can't have them in the same cage...
 
Poor piggy... I have a vet appointment for her tomorrow at 11:30 and I'm glad I do because she is wheezing so loud right now I can hear her from about 3 feet away :( Hopefully tomorrow's update will be better!!
 
Good luck at the vet today.

Can you remind me of what you've done for Lily so far? Like what antibiotics and the duration of each.
 
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