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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 20632
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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Hello I bought 2 guinea pigs from Pets at home on 26/04/2014

Customer Question

Hello

I bought 2 guinea pigs from Pets at home on 26/04/2014 they are a couple of months old each, both female. One of them Geno sneezes constantly. I was worried that she may have a URI so i took them to the vet who prescribed baytril antibiotic in liquid form. This lasted a week and while she was on this my other guinea Scruffy started sneezing a few times a day. I thought Geno may of passed infection over with them being in the same cage so i went back to the vet who has given me another weeks worth of antibiotics for both of them this time. I am due to start giving them today. I have also removed the hay bedding - we had meadow hay as bedding and timothy in the rack. I have no replaced the bedding with vet approved fleece bedding and we have blocks of excel hay that has timothy and lots of vitamin c and nutrients they need in it. They have fresh water every day and fresh vegetables. However I have read somewhere online that you shouldn't give them veg from the fridge. I have been doing this and intend to stop that today - could this b causing the sneezing? what should i do if they are still sneezing after antibiotics have finished? should i take them to a different vet for a second opinion? I am really worried I am not sure what to do. Their cage is on top of a table by a window - that does not have any direct sunlight ever and the windows are newly fitted triple glazed so no draft whatsoever. I have put a pet microwaveable pad in the cage and Geno seems to like this alot - she always has cold feet. Does this mean she doesn't feel well or just likes the warmth? I'd appreciate your input. Many Thanks
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.

Good morning Laura,

I can assure you that chilled veggies won't be affecting the girls lungs or causing those sneezes. The reason we tend to give room temperature foods is just to avoid any chill or cold shock to those important GI bacterial that digest their food for them. So, we'd not be too worried here unless they had poor appetites, gas, or belly pain. That said, its not a bad idea to make sure their veggies are room temperature before offering.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX's love of the heating pad, it is possible that her motivation is due to a bit of both. So, at the moment, we want to continue to offer it but once she is well you can see if she still loves to warm her feet (and if she does then she may just been keen on warmth like some people are). The main consideration with this behavior is just whether she is less active or eating less when doing so. If that were the case, then we'd have to consider that heat seeking may be a sign that she is feeling under the weather.

Otherwise, I would say that if both lasses are now sneezing, it does make a URI much more likely as opposed to allergies (since it is uncommon to see both cavies have allergies unless the bedding was really dusty). And in that case, it is ideal to be treating both so they don't pass this back and forth.

In regards XXXXX XXXXX question regarding potential lack of treatment response after this course, I would say that it depend on your vet's comfort level with this species. Potential avenues for further diagnostics/treatments could include xray, scoping her airway, and/or culturing an airway sample to determine what is present and what drugs would clear it for them. If you vet is comfortable with cavies, then this may be the next steps for them (if they don't respond to treatment). That said, you could consider a second opinion with an exotics vet. If you wished to do so, you can check AEMV (HERE) or Guinea Pig Lynx Database HERE . If you are struggling also check here the rabbit database (http://rabbit.org/vet-listings/) as rabbit vets often see our wee pocket pets as well. You can also check RCVS register (LINK). using the advanced search option and clicking on the correct specialty to find one near you.

Overall, your supportive care sounds good and the vet's broad spectrum treatment is appropriate at this stage. That said, if they don't settle, then further diagnostics may be indicated and if your vet isn't a guinea pig specialist, then you might want to consider a second opinion for them.

All the best,

Dr. B.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you for your advice. I think I will take them to a different vet if these antibiotics dont seem to work. The last 24 hours they have both seem to got diarrhea also - could this be related to a URI?

Expert:  Dr. B. replied 3 years ago.
You are very welcome, Laura.

The diarrhea is quite a concern and an unwelcome complication for your wee ones.

We'd usually not expect this to follow with this antibiotic since it is well tolerated by guinea pigs. Still, we do have to be concerned here (be it a secondary infectious agents taking advantage of the girls' compromise or the antibiotic affecting their delicate GI bacteria) . As long as their appetites are good just now and they are hydrated and drinking, consider decreasing fresh veggies/fruit and increasing their roughage/hay. The extra fiber should help their feces to form. Otherwise, we can supplement roughage with Pro-fiber Pellets (LINK) or Fiber Plex (LINK), which is a fibre paste supplement. The paste might be ideal here, since you can administer it directly to slow the diarrhea (the should be available over the counter at your vets).

If you try this over the next 12- 24 hours (since its nearly the weekend, I'd say by Saturday am in case your vet doesn't have weekend hours past morning surgery) and the diarrhea doesn't slow, you will need to ring the vet and let them know the situation. (sooner if they have any appetite decline). They may want to change the medication or lower the dose they are giving. Otherwise, further supportive care would need to be considered to help address this for the girls.

Take care,
Dr. B