Noddy's sick. Aerococcus. Please help

Post Reply
Hilary Holmes

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:26 am

I'm not sure where to start with this because it seems to have been going on for a while now. At the start of May, Noddy (4 and1/2 year old, castrated) developed a smelly discharge on his penis, at the same time as having slightly loose stools. The vet thought he had a fungal infection and it was treated with topical anti fungals (on is penis) with no effect. He was then treated with systemic anti fungals and pro biotics, again with no effect.
At the same time, he developed haematuria and was treated with Septrin and NSAIDs. This cleared up, but the penile discharge didn't. His pellets varied from normal to soft and almost the consistency of tooothpaste, so he was wormed.
He was seen by Vedra at CCT, who felt he needed longer period of worming. She also felt he was anaemic, possibly due to worms or liver problems. He had no mites evident.
He was seen again at CCT when he had developed bloat This resolved with the usual conservative treatment (simeticone, analgesia and supplemental feeding).
His stools seem almost back to normal now, but vary from small normal, slimy, or very tiny.
His penis had still not improved, so a swab was taken whcih showed "profuse growth of aerococcus viridans and profuse growth of anaerobic organisms). Apparently aerococcus is only really known of in crustaceans! The vet started him on antibiotics(Baytril) for 3 weeks, but 5 days later he had bloat again. The Baytril was stopped and the bloat resolved with the previous treatment.
He is far from better, eating much less than usual and even refusing his favourite treats. Syringe feeeding, which has never before been a problem, is now, and it's a battle sometimes to feed him.
His weight in March was 1450g, it is now 1190g.
I need info on aerococcus and advice on what to do next. Could he have an underlying malignancy?
Can you help? I'm desperately sad for him, seeing him far from being well and old do anything to try and get him fixed.


Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:03 am

Others on here will have better information about treating that specific bacteria. However, to help prevent the bloat and better toleration of the antibiotic, you can give a probiotic at least two hours before or after the antibiotic.

Some people use benebac for small animals which you can buy here:

Others use Acidophilus powder which you can buy in capsules at the drugstore. Some sprinkle on the veggies and others mix with water.

I use this product, there are a lot of similar ones available in natural foods stores:

I give 1 cc of this liquid at least twice a day when any pig is on antibiotics.

Activated charcoal also helps pigs who tend to get gassy. This is homeopathic and safe to use for guinea pigs. It can be purchased at many drugstores (over here there is a popular brand called Charcocaps) and natural food stores.

Charcoal absorbs toxins and it helps with gas in the lower G.I. where it usually affects guinea pigs. Simethicone only helps gas in the upper G.I.

Charcoal shouldn't be given within 2 hours of other medications, otherwise it may absorb them. There is no accepted dosage. I give about 1/8 of a capsule sprinkled in water and syringe extra water after. My vet says this dosage is fine.

You didn't mention using Reglan (Metacloprimide) for the bloat. It helps quite a bit.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:51 am

Hi Hilary - hope someone has some experience with this.

I did a little bit of reading and understand the "crab" bug is also found in pigs (of the pink oinky variety). I'm sure you will have done a google trawl already but I did find these which are probably of little use:

Give him and Maggie a kiss for me.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:07 am

Thanks Charybdis, I have tried charcoal with some effect, forgot to say. Also the vet gave I/M metaclopramide (which is POM over here, and cimetidine with good effect.
Thanks also, BamBam, they both send their piggy kisses and hope Eve is doing ok too

User avatar

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:12 am

How long ago was he neutered? Are there any irregularities? I just mention this as we have had guinea pigs that had problems even a year post-neuter. This is clearly on the penis and not associated with anything else?

This is about humans but does mention trimethoprim sulfamethoxizole. How about treating with Bactrim? I wonder if there is something topical you could use?

"Aerococcus viridans, a very rare microorganism causing invasive infections, has been associated with bacteremia, septic arthritis, and especially IE. As expected, the strains isolated were susceptible to penicillins, trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, and glycopeptides.

"Medical therapy was sufficient to cure IE in two patients, while two others required surgical intervention."


Problems with killing it off:

"There is limited data in the literature on the antimicrobial susceptibility of A. viridans because this organism has 270been infrequently associated with human infections and is usually susceptible to penicillin. However, susceptibility patterns have been changing from general susceptibility to the most commonly used antibiotic to recognize resistance not only to penicillin but also to chloramphenicol and quinolones (5). Augustine et al. reported a case of endocarditis caused by multidrug-resistant A. viridans (penicillin, ampicillin, cefotaxime, gentamicin, and intermediate resistant to ciprofloxacin) (1). Its susceptibility to second generation cephalosporin remains uncertain."

More at the end of that article too.

This all makes me think he should be on an oral antibiotic too and trying Bactrim (trimethoprim sulfamethoxizole) would be wise.

User avatar

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:22 am

Something that has been nagging at the back of my mind - there's no possibility that it was actually a contaminant?

User avatar

Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:18 am

O man! I read the last link above. Poor 28 day old infant boy, having to under go a vasectomy at such an early age. I would be heart broken if I had to make a decision like that for my boys. My ex husband couldn't even decide to circumcize them. Haha

I really hope you can figure out how to make your piggy feel better. Sounds like you have a good vet to work with.

Good luck and keep us updated!!!


Post   » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:58 pm

I teach medical micro to Nursing students. Every book I have on my micro shelf states that Aerococcus is almost always a lab contaminant. You may want to find out what the anaerobes in the culture are and then treat from there.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:20 am

Hi. Thanks for all the above. Lynx, he was neutered before the age of 1yr, so a long time ago. As far as we can see,there is nothing growing anywhere else. Topical treatment with anti fungals hasn't worked, but we haven't tried topical antibiotics.
BamBam and Dive, I'm certain the swab was a true one, in that I saw it taken. The vet extruded the penis fully (sorry to embarass you, Noddy) and took the swab. The discharge looks almost fungal in that it is very creamy and smells very offensive. I really don't think it's smegma. Some of the discharge was removed on the swab and the swab was put straight into the culture, so unless it was airborne, I don't know where the contamination could have occurred .
I've been to the vet again, mainly because of the weight loss and poor appetite. He spent a long time examing Noddy thoroughly and couldn't find anything really obvious, apart from the fact that his gut felt full, but not full of food. He wonders if Noddy is still getting over his recent bloat and for this reason, doesn't want to try any more antibiotics.
The vet said the only way to do a blood test would be to do a vena cava stab, and that could mean losing Noddy, because it's a dangerous procedure, and I don't want to put him through that. Not sure he'd withstand the anaesthetic, either. He gave him a Vit B injection, because that sometimes stimulates the apppetite in dogs and cats, so I guess it was worth a try.
I think the vet basically feels that Noddy is slowly declining, and that although he may pick up a bit, he'll not get back to where he was a couple of months ago.
So, it's a bit sad, if that is the case, but I shall continue syringe feeding him and spoiling him rotten, because he is such a special pig (just wish I knew how to post a photo of him) and Maggie Mae needs him to look after her.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:33 am

What about the other end - at the lab? Unlikely I know but possible?

Tell me when's good and we'll have a photo posting session.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:10 pm

Noddy in his prime, sharing a meal with Maggie.
He's eating a bit better now, so maybe the Vit B12 injection helped his appetite.
Is anyone aware of it having been used as an appetite stimulant before?

User avatar

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 12:27 pm

Glad to hear his appetite is picking up. I have heard diazepam (Valium) helps with appetite.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:28 pm

Thanks Lynx. I have some in my guinea medicine chest, so will bear it in mind.

User avatar

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 1:45 pm

Really? How interesting.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 4:39 pm

Lynx, Diazepam sedates in people. Do you have any information about this effect in Cavies? Also, what dose would you recommend, in a guinea pig that weight 1200g?

User avatar

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:12 pm

I think you can find it in the guide. I found the info in a veterinary book, I believe.


User avatar

Post   » Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:53 pm

Hilary, I'm sorry to hear this :( But he's glad to have a mom like you to not give up :) I was reading through and was wondering what a vena capa stab is? I feel dumb I don't know it lol. My piggie's blood has been taken before through a vein in the foot. Normally vets don't have needles that small, but the one near me does (go figure!). Otherwise I've heard of cutting a nail a little too short to get blood :-/ Not my fav, but I'm assuming it'd be better than using anesthetic? Hope his appetite keeps increasing! :)

Edit: my pigs have had valium during/after surgery so I'm sure it's safe. Just not sure on dosage

You can quote me

Post   » Mon Aug 08, 2011 3:47 am

Vena cava (not sure if it's different or a misspelling) is a heart stick. The animal is sedated and a needle is inserted directly into one of the major major blood vessels right above the heart. Done generally (in the States, anyway) by veterinary teaching hospitals and/or vets with a *ton* of experience and skills. You do not want your ordinary vet doing a heart stick on your guinea pig.

Vitamin B12 can work very well as an appetite and energy stimulant. It has at our house anyway, in both cavies and husband. ;-)

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:28 pm

Thanks for your kind words gvstate. Also for the info about diazepam.
I did wonder about the toenails. If you cut them too short, they can bleed for ages. I don't know whether it would be ethical, for the vet, because it would hurt Noddy, but that's obviously venous blood, so is that a good way of collecting it, or would there be insufficient? It wouldn't be for culture, only electrolytes, so any bacteria wouldn't be a major problem.
Talishan, it is vena cava. And I'm definitely not happy about having this done. There's no-one locally with much cavy experience, my vet practice is a general one, dealing mainly with dogs and cats. The vet with an interest in "exotics" has just left, and I'd rather have a sick pig than a dead pig!

Post Reply
184 posts