URI - Sneezing/Wheezing - Dandelion & Burr (first pigs)

User avatar

Post   » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:31 pm

Is there any mustiness in the basement? Do you see mold on anything? If you're using fleece, there should be no dust.

I was trying to determine if there was anything in the environment causing this though a bacterial infection is much more likely (what you have been treating for).

User avatar

Post   » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:06 pm

I have been wondering the same thing Lynx -- except that despite the fact the AB's haven't killed the sneezing, they DID kill the coughing, and they DID help with the snuffly/sniffly noises and the very wet sneezes.

The basement is moist, and there have been some water leakage problems -- but the leaks were cleaned up immediately and a dehumidifier has been run, and I spend most of my time there. I don't see any mold, but the room hasn't been inspected.

SO, it's possible that it is an environmental thing -- but more probable that it is an illness. We'll see if that fourth AB doesn't do the trick, and I'll talk to my vet about environmental factors or ways to prevent future environmental issues.

Will update in a few weeks. If anyone sees anything that stands out to them, any feedback is welcomed and so appreciated! You guys are awesome.

User avatar
Supporter in 2014

Post   » Tue Jun 28, 2011 6:26 pm

Wishing you all the luck with this two little handsome guys.

I don't really have any feedback, but this reminds me of the situation I had when I first got Arnold. He was a gift bought from a breeder. He had a terrible cough for months. My vets weren't guinea pig knowledgeable at all, but they thought it was pneumonia, as he had cloudy lungs on an x-ray.

He was treat with baytril, and I'm not entirely sure it worked, as he seemed to get better as he grew up. I'm not sure if he grew out of it, or if the medicine worked.

I really hope you're able to find some better results than I was able too.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:53 am

Well - we are at 3 weeks on ABs and STILL sneezing.

I am a little concerned about Burr. His name is "Burr" because he's always been a very vocal pig, which means he was rumbling all the time at everything when he first came home.

The "burr" sound he'd make was mostly in response to new sounds.

NOW he is rumbling every time he is picked up or stroked. (esp. if petted for a length of time, and esp. if he's touched anywhere besides behind the ears).

Between the rumbling noise, which is short and softer than his normal "dominant pig" rumble, he will make squeaky pig noises. They sound like a combination of the happy gurgle/clucking noises and an actual pit curly-tailed pig's squeal.

I have read on other people's threads that extra rumbling can sometimes mean pain? He doesn't bite, but he has NOT liked to sit still at all recently, is very very squirmy, and won't sit on my lap or chest any more. This has been going on for the last two or three days, with yesterday being "super-rumble-Wednesday" it seemed.

He's about 5 to 6 months old. Prior to this he had recently started mounting and humping Dandelion, so I am wondering if this is primarily hormonal? Is he just being sassy because he's becoming a big boy now?

I will try to get a video or a soundbite of his noise-making tonight.

Regardless, due to the fact that both pigs are still sick, I called my vet to tell her what was going on. Waiting on a call back. Any thoughts?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:09 am

Yes, to me this may indicate pain.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Jun 30, 2011 4:41 pm


I've talked to my vet. She knows about the rumbling. I'm to keep an eye on him and if it continues or gets worse, or if I notice any signs of a urinary tract infection, I am to call her immediately.

She is switching my ABs from Baytril (we've been on it 3 weeks) to Chloramphenicol , she said it is in a different family of ABs and since we haven't had luck with Baytril or Bactrim, that she thinks this is the next step to try rather than adding the doxy to the baytril we're already taking.

We're scheduled for a re-check in two weeks if they're still sneezing. We'll go in sooner if there is no change in Burr's behavior, or immediately if it starts to get worse.

I'll also work on getting a video so you all can see what I'm talking about. Maybe you'll notice something about his vocalizations that I don't understand yet being so new to piggies.

Is there something safe to give over the counter for pain if I need to, if there is pain? Is there any way to "test" for pain so that I can be sure that's what's going on here? Should I just wait and see how he is in 24/48 hours with the new meds?

We're still eating, running, sleeping, pooping, weeing, and gaining weight.

EDIT: Also, has anyone been on Chloramphenicol before? Any specific common or dangerous side-effects I should look for?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Jun 30, 2011 9:56 pm

The best products are prescription items. I would ask your vet about meloxicam.

There will be cautions for handling the chloramphenicol. You will also want to read gl/antibiotic_advice.html if you're not familiar with it (don't remember if I already posted it).

User avatar

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2011 9:46 am

OKAY. Clearly, I must be doing something wrong -- because we've been on Chloramphenicol for two weeks and symptoms seem to be coming back. I heard a cough or two, unrelated to eating, yesterday -- sneezing has not stopped and is still frequent enough that I notice it *every* time I'm with them, and now Dandelion sounds like he has the snuffles again.

Still no discharge. Coughing is not frequent.

Here's my only other thought -- we live in the basement, it's kind of like a studio apartment in that I live down there. In the mornings, I get ready on the other side of the room and sometimes use perfume. There are also scented candles in the room that are used infrequently (read less than once every two-three months).

Nothing has given me the impression that these things are having a direct effect, since the symptoms seem consistent and respond to medication (at least they did respond to Baytril and a Zenequil, which apparently breaks down to Baytril?).

That said, it's probably been about two plus weeks since I've used anything scented, save for perfume on the opposite side of the room. That's the most consistent environmental factor, since I get ready for work M-F daily.

I have a vet appointment today to get them looked at. She'd be able to notice Dandelion's breathing I hope and tell me that I'm not hearing things or crazy.

If it is environmental, would an air filter help? Should I remove scented candles even if I do not burn them? Would wearing essential oils instead of a commercial perfume work better? I keep thinking of @Jaycey's Arnold. I think Burr was the one who brought this illness home, as he had been in the back with some sickness before he came home with me. Whatever we have sure is antibiotic resistant. Else, I'm really doing something wrong and can't figure out what. :(

User avatar
Supporter in '15

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:21 am

Personally, I would ask for doxy to be added to the baytril. One of my pigs needed this combination (after trying two weeks each of bactrim and baytril) before he cleared up.

After adding the doxy, he was on the mend, no more sneezing or rattling, in a matter of days.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2011 11:18 am

Basements are sometimes moldy. What's the humidity down there? Has there EVER been a bunch of mold on objects down there? (look carefully) I would consider moving to another location. Ditto on the possibility of another antibiotic working.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2011 1:45 pm

Back from the vet!

We are back on Baytril with the added Doxy and doses adjusted to match their now larger size (They've grown a lot in the last month).

The vet also gave me some bene-bac (I have been giving Acidophilus) for each pig too.

She listened to Burr's lungs and said it sounded clicky (meaning some form of congestion in the lung area), and said if it gets worse or he still sounds this way when we come in for a re-check in two weeks, that she'll take a look at his lungs (assuming x-ray).

I'll do a visual check for mold, plus I'll see if there isn't some testing that I can do. I think for safety's sake I'll just take my perfume upstairs and stop using it downstairs.

Thanks folks, and @iastate09 -- I think you're right, and I am hoping that this will be what does this nasty bug in.

User avatar

Post   » Fri Jul 15, 2011 10:21 pm

Do a sniff test. Pick up objects, look everywhere. Look at baseboards near the floor (where it is cooler and mold likes to grow).

User avatar

Post   » Wed Aug 31, 2011 11:31 am


Both pigs are doing MUCH better. We've just (on Monday) finished about *two months* worth of Baytril/Doxy combo, as well as a full mite treatment just in case (because of significant behavior and health improvements after the mite treatment, my vet said that perhaps they may have even had nasal mites that were contributing to the sneezing).

Dandelion is now at a whopping 1120 grams (holycrap!)

And Burr is at about 915g. He is not growing near as fast, and actually lost a bit of weight this week (he was at 930 last week this time). My vet says she wants to see him if he isn't gaining. For most of July he's been hovering at the 890-915 mark and doesn't seem to be increasing much.

But Dandelion... oh my god he's a big pig!

All symptoms are gone. Now is wait-and-see time, and I am going to keep a close eye on Burr's weight.

My only concern right now is Burr. He likes to sit around in his cage out in the open and is really easy to catch. He rarely runs from me (but if he decides to run, he is like a little rocket). I can't tell if he's just brave, bossy, and social, or if this is indicative of some medical issue. So far, besides the URI, there have been no signs of heart trouble.

Judging by how talkative and curious he is, and how much he loves ear and chin scratchies, maybe he's just very friendly? Dandelion is the opposite. He's always on the look out for eagles.

Thanks again everyone for your help this summer! Hoping for a healthy fall and winter.

User avatar
Supporter in '10, '11, & '12

Post   » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:37 pm

Nasal mites! I've never heard of those. Are they regular mites that get in the nose for some reason?

User avatar

Post   » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:26 am

I think so, she said they were very very uncommon -- or rather, that it was an uncommon place to get a mite attack.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:37 am

It's baaaaaaaack! :(

This morning when I woke up and gave my pigs their good morning snuggles, Burr sounded like he had a lot of fluid in his lungs. He was very snortley. I've made an appointment for 10:30AM this morning. His usual vet is not in, but the other vet is very good with guinea pigs as well.

STATS: Symptoms: popping/snuffling/snortley sound when breathing and making any sort of vocals. Noticed this morning. Loud. Has been extra itchy lately (last couple weeks).

Last vet visit in July we were put on our final combo of ABs... ENROFLOXACIN & DOXYCYCLINE combo since 7/15/2011
Dosing ended 8/22/2011

Off meds now for about 10 weeks.

Current weight: 1028
Weight gain: couple grams per week steadily

Important notes On Saturday night burr was eating Hay during floor time. I noticed a big stemmy piece stuck in his mouth. I tried to get it out, but whenever I got close he started to freak out. So I went to go get a blanket and some extra fleece so I could hold him on my lap. When I got back, he had removed the piece. I was unable to locate this stemmy piece afterward, so I don't know if he swallowed it, or if it's still in his mouth, or if he dropped it like he was trying to do.

I'm wondering if this has something to do with what's happening?

Second note: I have a COLD! I have been holding and petting my guineas like normal as I thought pigs can't get human colds. Is this correct? I've read it here on a few threads -- should I stop handling my pigs when I'm sick?

Also, because BOTH pigs are itching, I am thinking the Mites are back. During treatment we had a wooden hidey house that I did not get rid of until the late part of dosing. I was also late about 5 days giving them their follow up dose. They were treated with Revolution drops on the back of their necks. Should I ask the vet for more Revolution? Or should I buy Ivermectin on my own?

Also, we've been keeping it at about 66-68 degrees in my house. Too cold? Let me know what you think! Dandelion, Burr's bonded cagemate, does not have any URI symptoms.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:20 pm

Vet says everything sounds good -- that perhaps what I heard was water he sniffed while drinking from the bottle this morning. He sounds fine now. No sneezing/coughing.

I got another round of Revolution. Dose one today at the vets, two more doses for two and four weeks from now.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Nov 14, 2011 10:30 pm

If it is a normal viral cold, your pigs should be fine. Some colds also result in bacterial infections - which might pose a problem. The temperatures you describe should be fine. If you see itching, another round of an antiparasitc sounds good.

User avatar

Post   » Mon Jan 23, 2012 2:09 pm

Hi all.

Burr has a bite wound. This Friday we did introductions, and Burr & Tumbleweed got in a fight after I put them in the new 3x6 C&C cage together.

Burr was nipped in the face and has a cut on his upper lip and nose. His nose is red (will take pictures today at the vet). Tumbleweed has a very small nip on his chin.

Wounds have been cleaned with warm water and a diluted hibiclens solution. A divider went up after the incident, thus they have been on separate sides of the cage since the incident. I am seeing the vet this afternoon.

I weighed on Saturday morning, and again this morning. They've been eating, but Burr has lost 70g (EEEK!) and Tumbleweed has lost about 50G. Dandelion has lost about 20g, but he's within his normal weight fluctuation.

I plan on taking home some critical care from the vet. I'll see what the vet says, but I'm assuming that I will be hand-feeding Burr (and possibly Tumbleweed) for the next few days just to make sure he doesn't continue to lose weight.

What to do about their housing situation & Tumbleweed living solo?
Once blood has been drawn during introductions, the rule is that both pigs are unlikely to ever get along, correct? I have a bad feeling about trying to introduce them again, so it's not something I'm planning to do. This makes me feel worried for Tumbleweed.

I am not sure Tumbleweed has ever been housed with another guinea pig. He's incredibly energetic and aggressive. During introductions, up to the point of the fight, he was chasing, chattering and humping both Dandelion & Burr. When he was too tired to chase, he was humping the pillows and beds.

Now he sits at the cage divider looking for B & D. I've noticed Dandelion and sometimes Burr will sleep next to Tumbleweed right near the divider. There's no bar-biting now, but I'm afraid to take the barrier away and try again. Is it okay for him to live alone on the other side of the cage? What can I do to keep Tumbleweed happy and healthy but my original bonded pair happy?

User avatar

Post   » Mon Jan 23, 2012 7:45 pm

Vet said to keep them separated, divider in large cage should be just fine. She checked their wounds, said they look superficial and are healing up nicely.

She prescribed Metacam for Burr who has a little bite on his lip -- she is having me give it over the next three days in case it's causing him pain while eating, this way he should feel a bit better. Also took home some Critical Care and will give them a feeding tonight to make up for lost weight this weekend.

All is well. I don't plan to introduce them again. I don't want to get a fourth piggy. I'm concerned for Tumbleweed who will be living alone. I am worried about him not having a friend to share a cage a free-range cage with. Will living next to some piggies be enough?

Post Reply
97 posts