Breathing problem/UTI/tooth problem. Any thoughts?

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Post   » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:02 pm

Hi guys

So I just wanted to see if anyone else has had this happen to one of their pigs. Just a little back story on Penny, she is about 4 years old, never had any issues with her until recently. A few months ago we noticed some spotting in her cage so we took her to the vets and they immediately thought she had a UTI. The vet didn’t do any test but prescribed Bactrim for 10 days and told us to come back if that didn’t do anything because they were going to do X-rays on her to check for stones. We went home, gave her her medicine and there was no blood the whole time she was on antibiotics.

Two days after we finished her antibiotics we noticed blood again in the cage so we freaked out. Our vet was closed because it was a Saturday so we took her to an emergency vet that took exotic pets. It took forever there (about 5 hrs) they were slammed and had Penny in the back for a long time. They said they took X-rays but we never saw any and they also charged us for an ultrasound and they cultured her urine. They told us there were no stones but it looks like a lot of bad bacteria was present. They gave us orbax which I had never heard of but I researched it and saw that it was ok to give to piggies. they said they will call us with the results of the culture to see if the antibiotics needed to be changed or not.

So they called us and told us that the orbax was good and it should clear it. She was fine while she was on it, eating and pooping as normal. Right at the end of her dose we noticed that she was kind of having weird breathing sounds. It was only when you would give her something to smell or she would get agitated. Her breathing just sounded raspy sort of like when you have a cold. I also noticed a little bit of a clicking coming from her nose. We took her back to the vet after she was done with the orbaX. The vet didn’t think she had an URI which is what we thought she had.

Also side note, she had been suffering with an on again, off again right runny eye. Vet gave us some antibiotics drops but those would clear the eye for a few weeks and then it would come back. Well this time around when we took her in for her breathing, she automatically thought it could be a tooth problem because of the one runny eye. She took X-rays and said that she wasn’t really good at vet dentistry but that she would show them to another dr. She thought it looked like she might have an abscess or that one of the molars was “dead” but she said she will let us know as soon as she finds out anything.

In the meantime she gave us some more Bactrim. So far we have not heard back from our vet and Penny has been acting normal,eating, drinking and sleeping. She just still has this weird little nose problem that is not clearing up. Her eye is much better though right now but it could come back just like it always does. We are thinking she might have a blocked tear duct.

Anyway, sorry for the super long post! But has anyone ever had a piggie with a raspy breathing problem? Don’t think it’s an URI because she has no nose discharge, the eye she always had an issue with and she is eating and drinking as normal. She’s also a chubby guinea at 2.7 lbs. we are about to buy a humidifier and see if that will work. We live in tx and it’s been super cold lately so the heat has been on in the house and Maybe made it too dry and it’s affected her.

Does anyone have any thoughts?

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Post   » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:53 pm

I broke your post up because you only had two paragraphs (one short and the other very very long). It is super hard to read when you run everything together. Please break your posts up into multiple paragraphs in the future.

I was going to suggest Bactrim for the possible UTI - glad to see it was prescribed. Is your home at all dusty or moldy? If there is a concurrent URI, you can also nebulize antibiotics like gentomycin. Since there are multiple issues, It is hard to suggest anything more than what you have treated for and what you suspect.

Some guinea pigs have heart issues. For future reference, you might want to read over

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:57 pm

My first thought is that if you noticed actual blood in the cage, she was spotting during her heat cycle. Most pigs don't, but a few do. Blood in the urine is usually very dilute. Frank blood most often comes from the reproductive tract. Pigs usually come into heat every 14-16 days, so 10 days of Bactrim and two more days before you notice more blood would come pretty close.

Second, I also live in Texas and have had the heat on, and it hasn't bothered my pigs at all.

Third, if there is something wrong with a tooth, don't let this vet with no dental experience within a mile of your pig's mouth. Find a good exotic vet with experience in rodent dentistry to both evaluate the x-ray and to do any needed work.

Fourth, use a warm clean damp cloth to very very very gently clean her eye and massage just in the corner of it. Do this twice a day for several days and see if it improves. That's where the tear duct is, and if it's blocked, that may open it.

As far as the raspy breathing goes, has that gone away? Is it worse after she eats?

I hope you're seeing an exotic vet. Small animal vets treat dogs and cats, not pocket pets, and some of them can be downright dangerous.


Post   » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:31 pm

Omg I just re read my post and I am so sorry haha glad you got something out of it. That’s what happens when you type and watch tv at the same time 😅

She still has the raspy breathing, not very loud but it just doesn’t sound like her usual breathing. It comes and goes. I do need to change my air filters... she is not acting weird or anything of the sorts.

I am not sure that she was in heat since they did find a lot of bad bacteria in her urine and they said that that is what caused the bleeding. I do think that she is ok now in that aspect.

I did use a warm compress in the inner corner of her eye and it did improve afterwards but at the same time I had started her on Bactrim so I didn’t know if I actually made it better or the medicine did.

I am almost done with her medicine. Tomorrow is the last day so after that I will just monitor her and see how her breathing will be. I should probably change my air filters and I will also place a humidifier in the room to see if that will help her.

I hope it’s not heart problems but they did do X-rays and didn’t mention anything about her heart or lungs looking bad. But then again, they were only looking for stones. Who knows...

The vet I go to is an exotic vet, she treats anywhere from birds to cats and dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs. She is pretty good but she was honest with me and told me she was not comfortable with teeth and that is why she recommended another dr. I probably need to call her to follow up on that and see if the other dr has gotten a chance to look at the X-rays.

Apparently this other dr has worked with guinea pig rescues and has done a lot of dental work on them so that’s a good sign!

Penny is not having any issues chewing or anything like that that’s why I don’t think her teeth are bad. When she did examine them she said they all looked good on the outside that’s why she wanted to do the X-rays to see if she was missing anything

Thank you again for your response!


Post   » Fri Mar 09, 2018 11:47 pm

Hi all,

So Penny went back to the vets because Bactrim was not helping at all with her breathing, she kept having these little clicking sounds in her nose and just breathing loudly from time to time.

They checked her out and said she sounded good, lungs and heart sounded great but they told us to give her the Orbax, which is what we gave her for her UTI. She is still on it for a couple of more days but she sounds a lot better now.

Today though, we got a call from the vets about her dental X-rays and they said that she has a couple of bad roots and recommended extraction or grinding down? I don’t know what to think about that because she is literally eating and drinking and acting normal so I don’t want to put her through a tooth extraction if I don’t have to.

They called and left a voicemail while I was at work so I didn’t get to call them back but what are your thoughts on it? I just don’t think she’s in any pain or is having any issues with eating but at the same time, I don’t want to be wrong and she’s actually in pain.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:21 am

Bad roots? I'd want to know if she has abscesses, or elongated roots. Two different issues, two different treatments -- usually extraction for abscesses, grinding for elongated roots or overgrown molars. So the fact that they mentioned both treatments raises a red flag for me.

There are some pretty classic signs of tooth problems -- inability/unwillingness to eat, dropping food, wet chin, grinding noise when eating. I assume she's not showing any of those?

Where in Texas are you? I'd want a good rodent dentist to see those x-rays if it were my pig.


Post   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:33 am

She said she didn’t like the way they were angled and that there was an “abnormal spot” on her X-ray. The dr who looked at her X-rays is apparently one of the best in rodent dentistry (she wrote and published a book about it)

Our regular vet said that she knows of a procedure where they can grind the teeth down all the way to the gums and it might have to be done a few times in order for the teeth to re allign properly.

And no she’s not showing any of those signs. The only symptom she’s had has been her right eye getting watery every once in awhile. It comes and goes.

I just don’t know what to do...also I am located in the DFW area

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:13 am

Planing the molars is a common thing with guinea pigs. It's usually done when the molars have overgrown for some reason -- misaligned jaw, painful mouth/jaw injury that keeps the pig from grinding the molars properly, abscesses, elongated roots, etc. With some of those things, one or a few grindings may be needed. With elongated roots, it's often a lifelong process, and the pig's life is usually shortened because of the repeated effects of anesthesia.

The watery eye could be a sign of tooth problems, and if the abnormal spot they see is just under that eye on the top, the two things may well be related.

Tooth extraction for a guinea pig often doesn't end well, either in the short term or the long term. The surgery is hard, and it's easy to break the jaw. Afterwards, the opposing tooth doesn't have anything to grind against, and may overgrow and require regular planing. I have heard of one case where the opposing tooth was also removed, but I don't know how well that worked.

The one thing I would urge you to do is to have the best rodent dentist you can find to do whatever needs to be done. Even a lot of exotic vets won't do rodent dentistry, and it's nothing you want your guinea pig to be a guinea pig for.

If you're having a hard time finding one that can do it, call Texas Rustlers Small Animal Rescue in Lewisville and ask them if they can recommend someone. They're open on Saturday, and have years and years of guinea pig experience.


Post   » Sat Mar 10, 2018 1:54 am

I don’t think her teeth have overgrown because on the outside they all look great apparently! I have had two vets look at her teeth and they felt her jaw and everything was fine.

The X-ray shows otherwise. I am just confused because she is eating normally, not having any issues with chewing or dropping food (unless she doesn’t like it haha). She is behaving as normal, eating lots of hay and pellets, her poop looks normal, she drinks a normal amount of water and eats her veggies.

Like I said, I really don’t want to put her through all that only to make it worse. I will call the vet back and see if there are any other options. I also don’t want to wait too long and her getting worse all of a sudden.

What concerned me was the fact that the dentist recommended extracting the teeth (she didn’t even say how many but maybe it’s just one and she wants to do the ones next to it?).

My vet did say she does not recommend the surgery and would rather do the grinding.

Thank you so much for all of your help though! I will reach out to the rescue Too!

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