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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Board Certified Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 27786
Experience:  General practice veterinary surgeon with extensive experience in a wide range of species.
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He has a funny cough and off his food - think it’s a

Customer Question

Hi - he has a funny cough and off his food - think it’s a respiratory infection and needs antibiotics but can’t get to one on a Sunday
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What sort of animal are we talking about?
Customer: Guinea pig
JA: Coughing can be worrying. The Expert will know what you should do. What is the guinea pig's name and age?
Customer: Rolo 2.5 years old
JA: Is there anything else the Vet should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: I’ve been feeding him critical care food as he’s been off his normal food and been making sure he has enough water
Submitted: 13 days ago.
Category: Vet
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 13 days ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you today. I do apologize that your question was not answered before. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online, read about your situation, and wanted to help.

Oh dear, this isn't good. It may be that the cough possible infection or secondary to heart disease) started Rolo's signs but if he is off his good, this is more serious and not something antibiotics alone likely will fix. This is b/c being off food in this species often causes the gut to slow or stop leading to gastric stasis -- one of the few true emergencies for this species. So, with these signs, we need him seen now by a local or ER vet before this can progress.

I have to say that I am so glad to see you are already syringe feeding, keep that up (hourly) as that is so important here. But again this should not be blindly treated (and legally antibiotics would need to come from a vet who's care he is under), as he likely also needs to be on gut safe pain relief, pro-motility drugs, +/- antibiotics. So, again this is a case you dont' want to sit on. And while I appreciate its Sunday, I would note that we are quite lucky in this country. Many vets do have Sunday hours, so do ring around local practices. Else most practices have contingency plans for emergency care even when they are closed. Therefore, it is worth ringing the practice. If they are open, you can get in today. If they aren't, then they will likely have a message to direct you on contacting their out of hours service. And if you don't have a vet, you can find a local one via the RCVS Register ( or Vets Now ( who are open all nights/weekends. In any case, if you wanted to get this checked out sooner then there are options to do so.

Finally, just further to syringing food, if he is off fluids, do make sure to address that angle as well. He will get some in what food slurry you feed but if needed you can also try tempting him with pedialyte (fruity flavors are best tolerated) or diluted Gatorade (50% diluted with water). A typical dose for animals is 4.8mls per 100 grams of body weight per day (obviously divided over all day drinking). This is his maintenance rate and it is a good starting place for supporting him against dehydration.

Kind regards,

Dr. B

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Yes he has been seen by a local vet for being off his food etc but where we live they are closed on a Sunday.
He is on an anti inflammatory dose of 0.35mls per day at the moment but we need him to get antibiotics, hence why I came on here as I was under the impression you can prescribe such things.He is being fed water every hour with his critical care food but time is of the essence and I need him to have some antibiotics - Baytril looks like it is what’s needed.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 13 days ago.

Hi again,

Yes, it is Baytril that we use for these cases but unfortunately, that is illegal to prescribe for pets we do not see in person/who are not under our care. So, again even if they are closed, there is a legal obligation for them to offer (or contract) out of hours services. So you should still be able to ring their number and see which is the case. If out of hours is provided by in house vets, they should be able to dispense this out of the practice, else they will have contact details for the local ER.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 13 days ago.
Ok thanks
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 13 days ago.

You are very welcome,

All the best,

Dr. B.