URI in 1 month old, vet prescribed baytril

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Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 7:23 pm

Okay, hold onto your pants because this is gonna be a long post. I must preface this with: I am pretty bad at math, and I am incredibly socially awkward, especially in situations where I am talking to an "authority figure."

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

Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 9:11 pm

He's too young for Baytril at all. It stunts the growth of very young guinea pigs, and should only be given to them if other medicines have been tried and failed. Doxycycline is the usual first drug for pups with URIs, with Baytril only added if it doesn't work.

Is there another exotic vet around?

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Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:02 pm

I am guessing the vet wanted to knock out the uri as quickly as possible. You would watch for inappetence (not eating) if the Baytril is affecting the little guinea pig negatively. I have to go calculate the dosage you are giving. If it is not much Baytril and a normal amount of doxycycline, it should be okay, but as bpatters notes (and you rightly commented), Baytril is not the best choice in such a young guinea pig.

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.


Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:44 pm

The vet did say she wanted to make sure the URI was treated quickly and thoroughly. Maybe she thinks two weeks isn't long enough to adversely affect Jay? I am very tempted to sort of give a dosage of my own, giving him 0.15 instead of 0.25... that is likely extremely frowned upon but with Baytril does it really matter? Based on the dose calculator it is more appropriate for his size. Especially to start with... give him a little and see if he has any bad side effects.

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.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:56 pm

You likely won't know if Baytril has any bad effects until much later. It's not given to pups because it stunts their growth.


Post   » Wed Oct 03, 2018 11:43 pm


What can I do? It's better than giving him nothing and letting him die from a preventable URI.

Does Baytril ALWAYS affect growth? Will the probiotic help? Will Jay be suffering in pain later on in life or possibly die because Baytril was given to him?

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2019

Post   » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:42 am

I can say that I had a young guinea pig who was prescribed Baytril. It did not have a negative effect on her. She lived to be 7 and was a normal weight so Baytril doesn't always have a negative effect. Baytril is not ideal for young guinea pigs but won't necessarily cause harm. I did have another older guinea pig who stopped eating while she was on it so do watch for that. The probiotic may or may not help but it won't cause harm so it's worth giving it.


Post   » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:13 pm

Catie Cavy, do you remember the dosage or how long you were giving the meds to her? Everywhere says 0.25mg is too much and 2 weeks is too long :\ the vet said herself that it was a mild case so I don't know why she's treating it so aggressively.

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.


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Post   » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:55 pm

Displaying tiny pics is prohibited. Sometimes they are replaced with porn (they reuse the urls).

I'm glad he is doing better. If your other guinea pig needs antibiotics, it should be under a veterinarian's care (he needs to be evaluated by a competent vet).

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2019

Post   » Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:48 pm

Sorry I can’t remember the dosage or the length of time. I checked my records and I actually still have the receipt even though it is from 2003, but it doesn’t have any details on the Baytril dosing. Perhaps you could call your vet and ask if it would be okay to discontinue the Baytril after 7 or 10 days. They might give you the okay for that.


Post   » Fri Oct 05, 2018 9:28 pm

Oh! Sorry about the tinypic. I saw the tiny url warning but for some reason my brain did not register than tiny pic was the same basic host as tiny url. I can't edit that post anymore but if you need/want to delete the link I don't care.

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.

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Post   » Fri Oct 05, 2018 10:20 pm

I changed it to a clickable link. We had quite the surprise a few years ago when some of the tiny pics with image tags had changed into porn!


Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:12 pm


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

Post   » Sun Oct 07, 2018 6:30 pm

I don't separate guinea pigs unless one of them is sick with something that would kill them both. By the time you get them to the vet, they've both been thoroughly exposed to the organism, and the fact that one is on medicine makes it even less likely that they'll both get sick.

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.

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