Del Boy's Med Thread - Heart

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Post   » Sun Jul 02, 2017 2:54 pm

I would think a small dose would do no harm and may make him more comfortable, especially if his muscles are sore just from the labor of breathing and walking around.

Is there *any* way you might could rig up an oxygen chamber for him at home? O2 would be rx but I think some GL members have done it (I have not).

A combination of Baytril and doxy can have a whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts effect for really bad pneumonias. If nebulized, the med goes straight to the lungs. Again the vet would need to cooperate, but as I understand it a nebulization chamber is not hard to set up.

I think some have also brought them into the bathroom whilst taking a hot, steamy shower and that can afford some temporary relief. Just make sure he's thoroughly dry before putting him back in his cage if you do this; getting chilled is not what he needs right now obv.

Continued best wishes to him and to you. He couldn't be in better hands.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sun Jul 02, 2017 4:47 pm

Thanks again Talishan. I'll give him a dose of metacam tonight.

I could probably rig up an oxygen chamber but would have to get the vet to prescribe the oxygen which may be a problem. I'm not sure how beneficial oxygen would be when he showed no improvement whilst he was on it at the vet's. His lips and ear margins remained a dusky colour, apparently.

I'd forgotten about trying the shower. I'll give that a go later. Thanks for the reminder!

If there's no improvement after 72 hours on baytril I'll take him back to the vet and suggest giving doxy in addition to the baytril. He's due to be seen on Thurs but I can take him back sooner.

Thanks for your good wishes. I've been in the fortunate position of all my pigs being well for the past year or so ( I hope I'm not tempting fate), so I'm feeling rusty and lacking in confidence. Your advice and reassurance are very much appreciated.

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Post   » Mon Jul 03, 2017 9:12 am

No worries. I'm glad yours have been well. It's like riding a bike, though -- once the skills you have are there, it won't take much to knock any rust off.

I think your plan is a good one. If you do pursue a Baytril-doxy combo, ask about the possibility of nebulizing it. Nebulization not only bypasses the GI, but it delivers more of the drug directly where it's needed.

Nebulization also opens up the possibility of using ABs you otherwise couldn't. I think bpatters has used gentamicin in nebulization. You can also consider azithromycin; some have dosed it orally successfully (I have not needed to try it, yet anyway, thankfully) but I'd feel more confident using it in a nebulizer. If you could rig up an oxygen chamber, you could rig up a nebulizer; that's easier as I understand it. The only specialized part is the atomization head.

Hopefully he will begin to show improvement and none of this will be necessary.

Continued very best wishes and support sent.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Wed Jul 05, 2017 3:57 pm

Thanks again Talishan. The rust is definitely being brushed off with this one. I'm having to dredge the memory banks to remember about respiratory and cardiac problems. Thank goodness for GL!

I took him back yesterday as I wasn't happy with him. He seemed a bit worse, went flat and his breathing deteriorated further. I saw a different vet who was again concerned about his colour although he had recovered a bit by this time. I suggested adding in doxy but she felt it wouldn't help as baytril is broad spectrum and I suspect because its not licensed for GPs. She suggested O2 therapy but decided that as it hadn't helped previously probably would not help this time. So I drew a blank there . We're going back tomorrow. I'm going to discuss stopping the baytril as it just stresses him out so much.

On Saturday BamBam and I are going to see another vet about 2 hours drive away. He is used by the CCT so should be more GP savvy and open to considering cardiac problems.

Will update later.

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Post   » Wed Jul 05, 2017 10:27 pm

Sending good wishes!

I would go the nebulizer route if you can.

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Post   » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:38 am


The Baytril-doxy combo route is afaik anecdotal; that is, vets have tried it, including one of ours, and it simply works better than either alone on severe, well-set-in pneumonias, especially if nebulized. Especially since there are so few antibiotics guinea pigs can take safely, I suspect vets have just tried and found it works. One of our old vets saved the lives of two rescues this way.

Nebulization can also be used to deliver ABs that they cannot otherwise take orally.

Continued best to him and to you. I'm hoping the CCT-affiliated vet will be more open and knowledgeable. Please keep us posted.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:06 pm

Thanks Lynx and Talishan.

Thankfully Del Boy has survived the unusual heat of the past few days, despite being further stressed by it. I've used fans but obviously kept him out of draughts, as well as ice blocks covered with tea towels. His brother Rodney ha benefitted too.

Del Boy was reviewed by another vet yesterday having had 5 days on baytril. He has not improved as far as I can tell and the vet, albeit one who has not seen him previously agreed, having read his notes. As the vet before her, she would not add in another antibiotic, stating that baytril penetrates the lungs better than any other antibiotic. She has however doubled the dose. We had a long discussion about cardiac disease and she was at least prepared to go and consult the textbooks. Unfortunately there was nothing useful in those but she was quite happy for him to be seen by another vet and supplied me with details of an exotics veterinary hospital which is at least a 4 hour drive away.

BamBam and I are seeing the CCT associated vet tomorrow so will update further after we've seen him.

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Post   » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:58 pm

The heart page here has information from some studies. Perhaps that would help? There are citations that can be looked up.

Glad he made it through the heat!

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Post   » Sat Jul 08, 2017 12:09 pm

Baytril's penetration capacity is somewhat overstated by Bayer. :-/ It does well enough to be going on with, but does not penetrate tissues as well as, say, chloramphenicol. It is, however, by far the most effective AB (of the ones cavies can take) on the bacteria that usually cause pneumonia.

Again, nebulization would hit the lungs directly.

Continued best wishes and please keep us posted.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Sun Jul 09, 2017 3:38 pm

Thanks again Lynx and Talishan.

The information regarding Baytril is interesting. May I know where that data comes from?

Del Boy was seen by the CCT affiliated vet yesterday. He agreed with our local vet that this is not a heart problem, but rather pneumonia or possibly, given the slow (if any) improvement, "farmer's lung" which is a hypersensitivity inflammation of the lungs, most likely a sensitivity to hay, in which case the outlook is bleak. He felt the likely scenario is Del Boy had a previous fungal infection which lowered his immunity and made him susceptible to the pneumonia. He has recommended continuing the Baytril at the current dose, but "pulsing it", so giving a further two weeks, then a week off and another week on. The other thing he recommended was the occasional dose of furosemide. The thinking being that in guinea pigs the pneumonia is more fluid than mucus, as it is in humans.

Last night, Del Boy's breathing deteriorated significantly, possibly as a consequence of the stress of travelling and being so thoroughly examined. I really thought it was the end. However, I gave a dose of furosemide and within an hour he had rallied and seemed back to "normal". Today he has remained unchanged. He continues to eat and drink, albeit less than previously, and he has lost weight.

The plan is another review with his own vet tomorrow, mainly because I'm taking his brother Rodney, about whom I'm concerned as he also seems "not quite right". In addition however, Del Boy has developed a nasty sore on his back which is worse even than yesterday and I'm concerned in case it is fungal.

BamBam is contacting Jaycey, a previous member of GL, whose guinea pig Anselmo needed nebulisation in the hope she still has her nebuliser and we can borrow it. Presumably it's I/M Baytril that you use and not oral?

Another point of interest is that neither boy eats very much hay. I've tried several different types with little success. It would be far too stressful for them to check their teeth as they are at the moment. Any thoughts?

Thanks again for all the advice and support. I'll update after tomorrow's appointment.

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Post   » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:29 pm

Baytril penetration capability: unfortunately I have no idea where I heard that. :-( It was ages ago, and I think may have been from one of our old vets. I apologize but can't remember the specifics -- only that it does penetrate reasonably well, but not quite as well as Bayer promotes. I suspect I believed this simply because a large manufacturer slightly exaggerating a product's capability makes so much sense. :-/

Pulsing AB: *excellent* idea. Our vets have used this technique successfully on established, serious, deep infections. I like this vet.

Farmer's lung: mumble. If I had to take an absolutely wild guess, both these pigs were kept in extremely poor, probably outdoor, conditions. The idea of a serious fungal setting up a susceptibility to a serious pneumonia makes eminently good sense; I'd just take the 'hay' component out of it. That said, my speculation would come to the same thing -- sensitivity to any dusts, mildews, moisture etc., which would make his ongoing care tricky but not impossible.

Furosemide: *excellent*. I like this vet again.

Teeth: do you lot have sweet corn? If so, get some and remove the outer husk. Rinse the inner husks as you would any veg. Tear into long, thin strands. Most pigs love it, and it has a ton of silica in it; it wears the teeth extremely well. It can also be dried for out-of-season use.

They can also eat corn silk, but I've always been a little scared of it. It seems like it'd be a choking hazard, but that may just be me being paranoid.

Continuing good luck with both boys and please keep us posted.

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Post   » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:48 pm

My pigs love corn silks. I just cut them in about one inch lengths to mitigate the possibilities of choking.

Don't rule out the possibility of a fungal pneumonia, which would respond better to an oral antifungal and not at all to an antibiotic. We unfortunately learned about fungal pneumonias when we lost my 36-year-old nephew to one.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:41 am

Thanks guys.
Del Boy was reviewed by my own vet yesterday along with Rodney (who got a clean bill of health). When she saw there was no obvious improvement she wanted to pts as his quality of life is "poor". I persuaded her to give him another week, since we have only just increased the Baytril and the furosemide seems to provide some relief. We will now give it regularly rather than ad hoc.

We can get corn but for some reason the only time it is available with husks and silks is the autumn. I've never seen it at any other time, unfortunately. They will eat readigrass quite happily, and whilst I'm well aware of the issues it causes am taking the view that some hay is better than none for a short time, under the circumstances. If he makes it, we can deal with it then. However, I am waiting for a delivery of a "taster pack" of a selection of different hays to see if I can find one they will eat.

Unfortunately the Xrays were not sent to the CCT vet from mine when they should have been, so I've chased that up and they have gone today. I'm waiting for a call from him with an opinion .

bpatters, I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. What a tragedy.Thanks for the prompt. I had considered a fungal pneumonia, but stupidly ruled it out in the absence of any external signs. I've put a call in to my own vet to discuss this with her. He has now developed a very itchy sore on his back, which looks like the classic place for mites, so is being treated for that. The vet didn't want to give a systemic anti fungal because of all the other meds he's taking, which stress him greatly. I'm hoping she may do so if I suggest fungus as being a possible cause of the pneumonia.

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Post   » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:16 pm

You're doing everything right and everything you can. Again, he could not be in better hands. Please keep us posted.

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Post   » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:25 pm

You have my best wishes that he turns around. Ditto on being in the best of hands.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Mon Jul 17, 2017 5:10 am

Del Boy is holding his own and if anything seems brighter. He is definitely less sleepy and interacting more both with Rodney and myself. He was sufficiently active to have a fight with Rodney the other day. At times his breathing, although not normal, seems more "normal". I haven't weighed him recently (yes, I know I'm wrong with that) as I don't trust him not to leap out of the scales and then I would never catch him! He will be weighed when he sees the vet this afternoon.

I had another discussion with the vet and she has agreed to treat him with an anti fungal, especially as he has an odd lesion on his back, which is probably mites but better safe than sorry. At least she is prepared to give it a try.

We have a review this afternoon which I'm dreading. Last week the vet said if he was no better we should pts. Although his breathing is not back to normal, his demeanour is like any other pig, so hopefully we will get a stay of execution! I suspect his breathing is always going to be a bit "odd", but as long as he has a happy life and can potter round, I believe we should give him a chance at life.

I'll update after this afternoon's appointment.

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Post   » Mon Jul 17, 2017 7:10 am

Remember, he is YOUR pig and your responsibility. If you feel he's not ready to be put to sleep, don't do it. Good luck and keep up the good work. You are both in my prayers.

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Post   » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:26 am

Weighing - we use a smaller rubbermaid box with cloth diaper inside (diaper makes them feel more comfortable as they are used to blankets under feet). The scale sits on the floor and is first calibrated to the weight of the box/blanket. The box then is only inches from the floor, but the sides of box are high enough to hold them back from attempting the jump, esp now that they are used to this process. If you are worried about yours jumping from a similar situation, you might roll a thick blanket and place around the perimeter of the scale allowing a small opening to be able to see weight reading.

Echoing GrannyJu...use your own sense for Bam Bam with decisions for him. You're in my prayers as well for his comfort and for direction for his care.

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Post   » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:15 pm


I realize he's an RSPCA foster, but if he is showing 1) improvement and 2) normal behavior (or very close to it), euthanasia should NOT yet be under discussion.

Hilary Holmes

Post   » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:40 am

Thank you all for your good wishes and advice.

Del Boy and Rodney were see by the vet yesterday. Rodney has lost a bit of weight but nothing of too much significance. His chest remains clear, although his breathing, like Del Boy's, is a little odd. As he is also itchy were are treating him for mite and fungal infections as well.

The good news is that the vet was happier with Del Boy. His chest, although not right, has improved and there is finally some air entry in his left lung, whereas previously there was none. He has gained a little weight and she agreed he seems brighter. He is to continue on Baytril and furosemide(at a reduced dosage as she was concerned the previous dose was a little high) as well as the oral itrafungol and topical Ivermectin. The sore on his back has almost cleared up which is also a good sign. Both piggies are for review in two weeks, by which time I hope things will have improved even more.

Thanks again for all the support, which I'm sure is helping!

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