ongoing URI, A/B's not working??

Post Reply

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:09 pm

I inheirited two beautiful male pigs, Turbo and Diesel, in mid-January from my younger sister. They are around five/six months old now (March 2012).

Turbo started first, having labored breathing, increasing sneezing and yellow snot when sneezing. Went to the vet, was prescribed Baytril. He was on Baytril for three weeks and improved a lot, but just wasn't finishing the URI, still had sneezing, snot and some labored breathing, although the sneezing did descrease quite a bit. He then went on Bactrim for two weeks, which helped a bit more, but still not completely well. Now he is on Doxycycline (Pinta's recommended dose of 5mg/kg) and although i didn't really see any improvemnt the first week, i had tried so many A/B's already that i didn't want to jump around before giving it a chance, plus he wasn't getting worse. He's finishing two weeks tomorrow (3-30-12) and is still having labored breathing, sneezing and yellow snot when sneezing, again not really any improvement. The breathing is sometimes better, sometimes worse. I have also tried running a humidifier and taking him in a hot, steamy bathroom, per my vet's suggestion, neither of which has seemed to help a ton, but did get some sneezing snot out, which i felt was beneficial.

Diesel was put on the Baytril as well, as he was hunching and having puffed fur, and had a BAD reaction to it. He lost two ounces in two days and would not eat and had to be handfed and had diarrhea. He went to a different vet, mine was gone on a Saturday, and was put on Bactrim for two weeks, i believe for a possible UTI. I had to completely withhold veggies for over a week to get rid of the diarrhea and then started adding things back slowly, no more diarrhea now for quite a while. Toward the end of those two weeks he started having crusty eyes, just a little, a crusty nose, sneezing and snot when sneezing. He has been on the Doxy with Turbo for the same period and still has a crusty nose, some snot and is sneezing still, although the eyes cleared up within one/two days of the Doxy.

Both boys have been eating, drinking, peeing and pooping well this whole time, are steadily gaining weight (I weigh them twice a day when they get their meds). I guess my question, after all of that, is where do i go next? My guess would be a nuebulizer or a combo of Baytril/Doxy, or for Diesel i guess that would be Bactrim/Doxy, but i've heard that's harsh for them and i'll need to handfeed. Before i do any of that, should i just let them go off the A/B's and see what happens? I don't feel comfortable doing that, really, some people have suggested an allergy and i am going to switch their detergent (they have fleece bedding), but even if that's part of it, i don't feel it's all of it. Why would Diesel have started with this so long after being on the fleece?

I have read many, many, many threads here and on and still need some good advice on what's next. My doctor is very nice and is reasonably cavy savvy, but i like to have suggestions and options to bring to him so that i know what he's talking about and i can discuss it competently with him. He's also been very good at listening to me, such as asking him to switch the Doxy dose from 2.5mg/kg to the 5mg/kg, which he did. Sorry for the long post, i tried to get it all out there at once!! Thank you!

User avatar
Contributor in 2018

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:12 pm

I suggest getting a culture and sensitivity done on the nasal discharge.

Changing detergents is a good idea. Even if they are not allergic, they could be sensitive to the scent which could cause irritation. Make sure the new detergent is fragrance free and consider running their stuff through an extra rinse cycle.


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:20 pm

Thanks PinkRufus, i do use an extra rinse cycle and add vinager to the wash as well. I had read that doing a nasal culture after they are on A/B's doesn't work, it alters the results somehow maybe?? I also read that to do a nasal culture they have to sedate them, which is not a good idea in a pig that is already having trouble breathing. What are your thoughts on that? Thanks.

Edit to add:I believe that they are both not as active as they should be, but this all started so quickly after getting them that i had no time to see what was normal for them, so i don't know, but as baby boys, i would expect much more activity than just sitting in a hidey or in the hay most of a given day.
Last edited by grace505 on Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Contributor in 2018

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:28 pm

My vet didn't sedate Elwood to get a nasal culture from him. She carefully put a very tiny swab up his nostril. I can't remember if he was on antibiotics at that point (I think he was). If they are not working, wouldn't the offending bacteria still be present? This is really something you would have to ask your vet about.

Vinegar has a strong smell, you may want to experiment with leaving it out of the rinse.


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:30 pm

I will ask about the culture, then. I wasn't using the vinegar for a while and now i am. I have not seen a difference between using and not, but will experiment a bit more and pay closer attention. Thank you for your input!

User avatar

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:37 pm

Allergy is what comes to mine for me too
I buy unscented 'natural' detergent just for my piggie's fleece and towels. And no fabric sheets.

Also, it could be a food allergy

User avatar

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:42 pm


Ive just been through this as well and not advice but just to let you know what we did/went through/etc.

We have both of our piggies on Doxycycline-hyclaat (but 10mg/kg as per the dosage on the medication though) and had cultures taken to determine the exact bacterial cause.

Also, have you discussed probiotics? All antibiotics affect the gut, so this might be aggrevating the problem. There's a link on this website for these issues (thanks guys, you've made my life so much easier these weeks!)

Also, what I did for the cage was I bought 10 really cheap towels at the supermarket and put them down for the lining of their cage to keep any dust to a minimum. That way I could also easily wash the towels every evening.

Hopefully that helps a bit? Good luck with it!!!!


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 2:47 pm

Thank you angie. Caren, i am giving probiotics one and a half to two hours after every dose of A/B's, thank you for the suggestion though! I think i've read everything on here like ten times and still keep going back! I guess it never hurts to read it again.

User avatar

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:57 pm

I think you are right about the culture after ABs.

Is there anything else in the environment that may be affecting them?

User avatar
Contributor in 2018

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:27 pm

Another thing you may want to ask your vet about is using Gentamicin Sulfate eye drops. I used them for Elwood when he had a stubborn sinus infection. I put the drops in his eyes and nostrils.


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:31 pm

I'm not sure, they started on pine shavings and Diesel had a little eye crusties that disappeared as soon as i moved them onto fleece. I have scented candles but have only burned one once in my bedroom since i got the boys so as to be careful for them. On here it says that allergies are very rare and i know when i took Turbo to the vet he was very congested and i could hear the snapping, crackling and popping when he was breathing. That's improved, although sometimes he still sounds congested, but still with the heavy breathing. It looks and sounds like he's really having to suck the air in. And it's kind of weird that now Diesel is going with the sneezing, crusty nose and snot when he wasn't for a long time. I do have a dog and a teenager. :)


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:38 pm

It has been windy as crap here since about mid-February, but i don't keep the windows and doors open, it's not warm enough yet, but i know that that stuff makes its way in anyway.

User avatar
Contributor in 2018

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:37 pm

I had to take one of my pigs to the vet today and while I was there I asked about doing a culture when the pig is still on antibiotics. She told me that if the antibiotics are not working that the bacteria that they are not working on can still be cultured and a sensitivity can still be done on them. What it won't show is if any bacteria that were initially present were wiped out by the antibiotics. There may be more than one bacteria involved here and sometimes the primary infection sets the stage a secondary infection to occur. When Elwood had his culture done two bacteria were found (and who knows what might have already been wiped out from his antibiotics).


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:06 pm

Thank you very much for letting me know what the vet said. That does make sense. So i could get a culture and at least get rid of the bacteria that is being so persistant and then if he's still sick, maybe do another one later on. Is it assuming too much to think that what the culture showed on one would apply to both pigs? Turbo's the one who's had it this whole time, but now Diesel has it, i would think they're the same bacteria, but obviously that's just a guess on my part and could be totally wrong.

Cinnabuns Legacy

Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:12 pm

Another thing to consider is the possibility of heart problems. Some heart pigs have issues with ongoing URI's.


Post   » Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:14 pm

Cinna, they are only five/six months old which i've read is pretty young for heart problems, but not impossible. He came to me sick, so it's just been one long, pain in the butt URI, not reoccuring, if that makes a difference???

You can quote me

Post   » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:33 am

"My guess would be a nuebulizer or a combo of Baytril/Doxy, or for Diesel i guess that would be Bactrim/Doxy, but i've heard that's harsh for them and i'll need to handfeed."

Bingo. That's what you need to do in my opinion.

A culture should show you if you absolutely unconditionally have to use one of the hazardous AB's and have no other choice. Some of those (maybe all, I'm not sure) can be nebulized, bypassing the GI and thus their harmful effects.

The rescue community has had success using a Baytril/Doxy combo on set-in, persistent pneumonias and URI's. For reasons unknown to me the whole seems to work better than the sum of the parts.

Baytril may or may not cause inappetance, lethargy and diarrhea. Granted, many times it does and it is also a poor choice for young pigs; it should be used only if it's absolutely necessary. But the combo seems to work. Definitely ask about a Bactrim/Doxy combo for Diesel.

Allergies/sensitivity reactions are not impossible but if your sister got these from a petstore it's virtually certain this is a well-set-in URI and not an allergy. Having said that, IMO it's definitely worth trying the suggestions you've received, but my money is on a well-established pneumonia.

This may or may not be the vet you're already seeing. If not, you may want to consider calling them:

Rio Rancho

High Desert Animal Hospital
Patricia Feeser DVM

Trish has become a remarkable guinea pig vet, certainly the best one in this area. She has gone out of her way to obtain the correct surgical instruments, EKG and ultrasound equipment and has learned the latest surgical techniques such as flank hysterectomies and complex jaw surgery. She stays constantly up to date with piggie medicine and is willing to use the latest medications to treat their illnesses. She treats the piggies as aggressively as she treats the larger animals and has definitely prolonged the lifespan of our herd.

Contributed by: Steve Sehr, Melvin's Place Rescue 3/12/2008

Steve is a member here and I would trust his recommendation.


Post   » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:07 am

Talishan, thank you so much for your advice!! Would you suggest going ahead and doing the nasal culture first so as to use the right A/B's? And do the combo but do it by neubulizer is what i'm reading, right? I would have to buy one, but online they're only fifty dollars and i would rather do that than risk the more severe side effects and handfeeding. Thank you also for the link to this vet, i have seen her name on here and will check it out! My sister did get them from a pet store and when i got them i found this site and and have learned soooo much! In the furture, i know a rescue nearby and have been watching the local shelter page.


Post   » Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:21 am

So they said Trish has not been there for almost two years and a search found her possibly at the Dona Ana County Sheriff's Dept. doing vet stuff for them. Disappointing, but i'm taking them to the vet this morning and will discuss with him what our next steps will be. If anyone has any more advice, that's great, more info and options is always better!


Post   » Fri Mar 30, 2012 1:09 pm

So back from the vet, he said no xray because he'd treat them the same way regardless and he's just taking my money for nothing. Turbo was nice enough to sneeze snot all over the side of his cage, which i promptly collected with a Q-tip (twice) for the vet, so he's going to do a culture and call me with the results.

He okay'd the Baytril/Doxy and Bactrim/Doxy combo and said to do it this weekend and let me know how it goes, but to stop if they stop eating and we'll do the neubulizer route instead.

I'm really hoping this does the trick and we can be done with this, Turbo's breathing sounded just awful at the vet's office. Will update again later.

Post Reply
211 posts