An acquaintance of a friend got 2 guinea pigs at Petsmart. (I am quite far removed from this person so details about the piggies' lives prior to my getting them are hazy). A couple days later she had a family emergency and her mother insisted she get rid of them because they didn't have the time or money to care for them any more. My friend told me and I agreed to take them because the acquaintance was apparently having a hard time finding anyone willing and I'm a darned animal lover though I've NEVER had Guinea Pigs before.
She was told when she bought them from Petsmart that they were 3 weeks old. I know that is no good but I had no control over any of this, I just didn't want them going back there. They are probably a little over a month old now if Petsmart was telling the truth. I've had them for exactly a week. I have done a TON of research on them in that time because though I "adopted" them on a whim, I never take care of pets without research. One is a short-haired butterscotch, white, and brown patchwork piggy his name is PB and he's scared of everything. The other is a black and white Abyssinian named Jay. He's a dang trooper as you'll find out.
They have an 8 sq. foot Midwest cage with the barrier for a little feeding area. Oxbow young guinea pig pellets. Timothy hay. Carefresh paper bedding. I feed them veggies once a day (green leaf lettuce, cilantro, a FEW carrots, carrot tops, zucchini, red pepper).
Jay was sneezing occasionally. He showed no other symptoms, eating just fine, wandering around the cage. Last night I noticed he was being more lethargic and staying under the ramp connecting the two cage areas. He eats eagerly when I hold food up to him but I don't know if he eats on his own. I have two cats so they are locked in a separate room and whenever I enter they go into hiding so I can't easily observe their normal behavior. This morning I was holding him and realized he was making a clicking noise as he breathed. PET STORES. UGH. Anyway I had to go to work, but I called a vet while there and they had an opening so I left work early to bring Jay there. It was an exotic vet, not just a typical cat & dog vet, and it had raving reviews online.
Having done a ton of research, "Baytril" was already on my mind as a BAD IDEA. The vet looked Jay over, and she agreed that he had a URI and was also congested. She said his heart was healthy and he was eating and pooping which was a good sign. His weight clocked in at a WHOPPING 252.0 grams (sarcasm. he is incredibly small and precious). The vet left the room and it was like a receptionist or... someone not a doctor who came with the prescription. So I was going through a middle-man here which made things way more difficult and stressful.
So OF COURSE, the first thing I notice is she prescribed Baytril. The prescriptions were: Vibramycin Doxycycline Syrup, Baytril Suspension, and Probios Pet Gel. I brought up my concern that Baytril was too intense for this tiny guinea pig. The middle-man left, talked to the vet completely outside of my hearing or eyesight, and returned to say that the vet said it was the proper dosage for the piggy's weight and the Baytril had to work with the Doxycicline for an effective treatment. The Probios is a Priobiotic to help stop any issues with the antibiotics.
At that point, I was so stressed, and I could not summon the courage to demand to see the vet, and I did not think to ask about Bactrim directly, so I just agreed and spent $80 on all this medication ($160 in total if you include the appointment cost). For a baby guinea pig I've had a week. My mother thinks I am crazy. But Jay is such a good little piggy and he does not deserve to suffer unnecessarily.
ANYWAY. I would like to know what any experienced guinea pig owners and/or experts think about this prescription:
Guinea Pig: ~1 month, 252 grams (0.252 kg)
Baytril: Give 0.25ml orally every 12 hours for 2 weeks. Give at least 2 hours separated from probiotics. (Dosage is 10mg PER ml)
Doxycycline: Give 0.06ml orally every 12 hours for 2 weeks. Give at least 2 hours separated from probiotics. (Dosage is 10mg PER ml)
Probios: give 1/2g (half) orally once daily.
So, if I've done my math correctly which is... difficult for me... a 1 month old piggy who weighs 0.252kg is getting 5mg of Baytril a day. Is that too much?! He's already so small I can EASILY see his growth getting messed up and I am very concerned about this. But I did already pay $80 for this so I do not want to just throw it out. Would it be terribly wrong of me to give him less than the vet prescribed? She IS an exotic animal vet, at a specifically exotic animal vet clinic, so I have slightly more trust of her than if I had brought the piggy to a normal vet. But I for sure don't want to blindly trust the first vet I've ever seen with the first guinea pig I've ever had and then accidentally kill or hurt him.
Please help me. I know this was a long post and if you've read this far, thank you so much.
- And got the T-shirt
Is there another exotic vet around?
Is the vet having you weigh daily? Are you prepared to hand feed if necessary? I'll be back after I make some calculations.
You are giving 9.92mg/kg for the Baytril (it has a usual range of 2.5-10.0 mg/kg q12h, Oral Dosage so that is on the higher end.
You are giving 2.38mg/kg for the Doxycycline (effective dose given alone is 5mg/kg q12h) so this is on the low end.
If you see your guinea pig worsening or not eating, perhaps you could ask if you could stop the Baytril and increase the Doxycycline, though I don't know how responsive your vet would be.
The vet said nothing about me weighing him daily. I am fully prepared to hand feed, as Jay already takes food from my hand eagerly and I usually hand feed both pigs their veggies. I gave him all his medicine today with no problems, he was extremely good about it because he is a very good boy and if something happens to him I'm going to be extremely upset.
There are no other exotic vets that I know of, only normal vet clinics that WOULD take a guinea pig, I'm sure, but I don't trust them, and all vets around want $70 or more for a single appointment of one guinea pig and while I'm willing to spend money to save a piggy's life, I certainly am not willing to forsake my own for it and I'm already broke for the week AND dipped into my savings to spend the $160 I did.
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2019
I'm currently giving Jay 0.15mg of the Baytril and the correct dose of everything else. He takes it all like a champ, though I think he might actually enjoy the taste of the Baytril because he sucks it right down. He eats the Probios easily too, it's just the Doxycycline I have trouble giving him.
He does already seem to be doing better, he's more energetic, I saw him leave his "safety tent" and actually eat pellets and drink water and that's the first time I've seen him doing those things with my own eyes. Maybe it has more to do with him being more comfortable around me and he was just too scared before but... I'm counting it as a win.
Peabs is now my concern, as he's sneezing and has some nose drippings. But he acts fine otherwise; he eats a ton, runs around the play area, chews on everything, typical piggy stuff. I'm taking him to the vet this Sunday but I can't afford more meds so honestly I don't know what to do about that. Thoroughly wash the syringes after I give Jay his meds and give some to PB too?? That seems like a bad idea but again... better than nothing in my eyes.
Here's a pic of them btw. PB is hiding behind Jay which is pretty typical, it's hard to get a good picture of him.
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2019
I will bring PB to the vet, but finding a competent one (especially for guinea pigs) is easier said than done haha.
Thanks for the suggestion Catie! I'll bring it up to her next time.
A different vet from the same office examined PB. (I liked her MUCH better, she listened to my concerns about Baytril). She agreed he also had a URI but said it was much milder so she gave me less of a dose for him. She said I should separate the guinea pigs until the URI clears up in both of them-- is this necessary? I have Jay in a smaller cage but he HATES being separated from PB and is freaking out. Since they both have URIs is it truly bad for them to be together? I feel like the stress from separation is just going to make Jay worse :C
- And got the T-shirt
The only exception I make to that rule is if the well pig is aggravating the sick one -- sometimes they'll do that, and you have to separate to give the sick one a chance to rest in peace.