What You Need To Know About Antibiotics
- What Is Antibiotic Intolerance?
- Is It The Right Antibiotic?
- How Do I Know If It's Working?
- How Long Do I Give Antibiotics?
- What Are Probiotics?
What Is Antibiotic Intolerance?
For a few guinea pigs, safe antibiotics (like Baytril) affect the appetite and they may stop eating.
- If a loss of appetite, diarrhea or lethargy develops while on the antibiotic, it may be an indication that the pig is intolerant to it, or the infection is resistant to it, requiring a change in medication. If the pig remains on a drug it is intolerant to, the results could be fatal. -- Pinta
If your guinea pig develops any of these signs, call your vet! And if your pet is not eating and losing weight, you must hand feed (see Hand Feeding advice). Weighing your pig daily while on antibiotics will help alert you to any problems.
Pinta's article on Antibiotic Intolerance provides more information and describes her experiences and those of other people's pigs who have been intolerant of medications.
Is It The Right Antibiotic?
Ideally, bacteria should be cultured to ensure that the correct antibiotic is being used.
- If a culture is taken, the bacteria can be identified and the appropriate antibiotics suggested. Labs will list all drugs and their sensitivity but it is up to your vet to make sure the drugs listed are safe for guinea pigs. -- Pinta
This can be especially helpful with an abscess or infection where more than one bacteria may be present, requiring treatment with multiple antibiotics. With a respiratory bacterial infection, there may be no time for a culture and an antibiotic must be prescribed for treatment in the hope it will be effective.
How Do I Know If It's Working?
Ask your vet how soon you should see results. In general, once the pig is on medication, you should be able to see an improvement within 2 or 3 days (especially important if your pet has a respiratory infection).
- Sometimes you will see an improvement as quickly as within 12 hours. The pig should NOT get worse. -- Pinta
If your pig is not responding, have the vet SWITCH TO ANOTHER DRUG.
Do not take no for an answer!
In treating pigs, time is of the essence. Often the vet will have to take an educated guess at which drug to prescribe and just as often the infection can turn out to be resistant to the drug selected.
- Review the article on What the Vet Will Do before you see the vet.
How Long Do I Give Antibiotics?
Most vets will provide you with sufficient medication for a course of treatment and ask that you give the full amount. Baytril is typically prescribed for no less than a week at a time. When treating a urinary tract infection, antibiotics may need to be given for 2 or more weeks while the infection heals. If signs recur after completing a course of treatment, contact your vet immediately. In some instances, an antibiotic like baytril may even be prescribed for two consecutive days a week for an extended period of time to prevent a problem like a urinary tract infection from developing.
What Are Probiotics?
Probiotics are substances which contain live microorganisms that are thought to restore the balance of microflora in the digestive tract.
- Read more: Probiotics