From an exotics vet friend of hers--
Since CL is caused by a bacteria, it should "resolve itself" and not create a carrier status.
Lancing or draining the abscesses does not necessarily make the pig more contagious.
Cases he has seen involved contagion through direct contact or contaminated water bottles.
But now Dr. R has come back from an exotics conference and says that the evidence he found there indicates that it is airborne.
Hope the vets get to the bottom of this, Chary.
Here's what my friend in the UK found, still waiting for more she says... but looks like all mostly stuff we've already figured out.
1. What is CL?
Cervical Lymphadenitis is a swelling or abscess of the cervical lymph
in a guinea pig’s neck.
2. What causes CL?
According to recent literature, Streptococcus zooepidemicus, a
Lancefield Group C streptococcus, is the most common cause of CL.
not as common, bacteria such as other Streptococcus spp.,
moniliformis, Fusiformis and Pasturella spp. may cause CL.
It is also important to note that other diseases, such as Cavian
and bacteria, such as Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, Bordetella and
Salmonellae (S. linate) may cause CL-like symptoms.
A bacterial culture of the swelling/abscess must be taken to find out
definitive cause of the CL.
3. Mode of CL transmission
Almost all the sources agreed that abrasions to the oral mucosa and
conjunctiva were common modes of transmission. The CL-causing bacteria
also thought to be transmitted through skin and/or bite wounds. A few
more recent sources stated that transmission could even be through
or inhalation of the bacteria.
4. What is CL’s incubation period?
No information was found for a definitive CL incubation period in
pigs. However, Group C Streptococcus incubation periods in other animal
species ranged from 1 day to 2 weeks.
5. What are available treatment methods for CL?
Many sources written from a medical or laboratory viewpoint recommend
euthanizing affected guinea pigs. However, many pet owners would prefer
treat a beloved pet first before carrying out this option. Treatment
pet owner’s guinea pig would consist of the following:
Isolate the infected guinea pig BEFORE the lymph node abscesses rupture
prevent spread of the disease-causing organism.
Treat with surgical drainage of lymph nodes.
Antibiotic therapy for 7-14 days.
6. Antibiotics used to treat CL
Systemic antibiotics such as enrofloxacin (Baytril) or chloramphenical
effective in treating CL. However, Baytril is usually considered the
antibiotic of choice to treat adult guinea pigs.
Young guinea pigs generally should not be treated with Baytril as it is
believed to affect their growth. You may wish to discuss Baytril and
risks of using it on a young guinea pig with your vet if your pet has
Note that Bactrim and Doxycycline are safe antibiotic alternatives for
pigs but a veterinarian must be consulted to see if they would be
Click here for more Baytril and Chloramphenicol dosing information:
Baytril -- (Enrofloxacin [oral, subcutaneous or intramuscular])
Oral Dose: 2.5-10.0 mg/kg q12h
Chloramphenicol --(Chloramphenicol sodium succinate [Subcutaneous,
Intramuscular], Chloramphenicol palmitate [oral])
Oral Dose: 50 mg/kg q12h
A few sources recommended other antibiotics for controlling and
CL. They are listed here for informational purposes:
Cephaloridine -- 25mg/kg, intramuscular dose for 14 days.
Cephalexin -- 50-100mg/kg, intramuscular dose for 14 days.
Important note:Cephaloridine and Cephalexin are Cephalosporins.
Cephalosporins should be used only under very careful veterinary
as they can be dangerous to your guinea pig!
7. What is the recovery time for CL in guinea pigs?
No specific recovery time for guinea pigs was found. However, in horses
Streptococcus equii, another Group C Streptococcus which causes
(similar to CL in guinea pigs), the total time for the disease to run
course is approximately 3 weeks.
In other animal species, Streptococcal spp. have been isolated for as
as 4 weeks after symptoms of disease have gone. However, it is unknown
whether guinea pigs would continue to shed Streptococcus zooepidemicus
similar length of time after their abscesses have drained and healed.
8. Are recovered guinea pigs carriers of CL?
There has been some indication that there could be carrier animals.
9. Is CL transmissible to humans?
Several sources stated that Group C Streptococcus, including
zooepidemicus, may (but rarely) cause disease in humans. The people
likely to be affected would be the elderly or those with weakened
10. Is there a vaccine available against CL in guinea pigs?
Yes and no. According to one source, the killed bacterins which would
found in a vaccine are not effective in preventing CL. However, studies
found that scratch injection of the oral mucosa with Streptococcus
zooepidemicus (recovered from swine) stimulates immunity in the guinea
*Limiting the amount of coarse feed, especially very coarse stalky hay,
aid in decreasing the incidence of CL because irritation to the oral
would be less. Hay is an important part of a guinea pig's diet, though.
Therefore, a high-quality, dust-free, mold-free grass hay should be
available to your guinea pig at all times.
*Chronic CL infections can be exacerbated by stress. Lack of Vitamin C
also play a role in CL infections.
*A few sources said that Group C Streptococcus is relatively fragile in
environment. The environment should be properly disinfected. See Table
common disinfectants and their germicidal activity.
- GL is Just Peachy
If anyone finds any more obscure articles that may be helpful, I'm more than happy to get them from the Vet School.
She is also going to have a second look at the lab reports.
This is her final word on it:
There doesn't seem to be actual evidence that lancing the CL abscess will cause it to be MORE airborne. She says that the airborne particles are from the respiratory tract, not from the pus bing exposed to open air. Therefore, Sebastian isn't any more of an airborne risk than before his lumps were aspirated. But of course, there is a contact risk with open abscesses.
She has a couple of different ideas:
Strep/Staph are everywhere. Poor conditions, stress, suppressed immune systems, other illnesses, are more likely to bring on a bacterial infection than a hay poke. So the theory that the normal route of infection is an injury to oral mucosa doesn't sit well with her, especially since guinea pigs are supposed to feed on coarse material for fiber.
That kinda seems reasonable, since the dumpster pigs had all of the above instigating factors and it is unlikely that hay pokes caused both cases (Sebastian's and Rowan's).
She also thinks that this isn't as serious a condition as we think it is. If strep and staph are "everywhere" then it is always a danger. And if one gets an infection, you treat it, cure it, and move on.
Dr. R's final response: "why don't I see you again in 2 weeks?"
So here's the plan. Pigs in the healthy room are clear. There were no lumps there except Phyllis', they had 2 weeks of Baytril, and are ready to be adopted/fostered.
The dumpster pigs, I'll hang onto for a while. Sebastian will be moved back with them (Dr. K agrees) and I'll build them a nice big C & C and hang onto them for a couple more months at least before considering adoption or fostering.
I think we've all learned a lot and I'm not sure that we've come to any definitive answers. But you can hold up at least two opposing extremes:
In lab reports, CL is a huge devastating deal that mandates "agressive depopulation" because it is airborne and will create carriers. All stock must be destroyed.
But whatever was here (gee, wish I knew!) was easily treated and hasn't gone beyond the animals who brought it in. Time will tell if there are recurrences. But for now we have to move on.
Just a thought.
This is beginning to sound much better than we first though... and perhaps draining those abcesses like Dr.R had first recommended really wasn't as stupid of an idea as we thought just awhile after that.
- ...what, what, what?
A beloved pet, kept with its herd (assuming they've all been exposed anyhow), will recover much faster than an isloated, lonely guinea.
Something else to mull over.
My financial situation is such that I am not able to take on another pet. As "Ellagor's" current thread says so plainly, if you can't afford to take care of a pet properly, don't get it, and I follow that advice. Housing and feeding my children, Inky and our dog are almost more than we can handle already. I have gone to great lengths in the past to provide the utmost in veterinary care and will willingly do so again - but I won't up the exposure. Also, the emotional cost of pet-keeping is very hard for me and I don't think I could stand worrying about anyone else!
Inky doesn't seem lonely and he gets plenty of attention from the family. We will have to do for now!
E. another vet has confirmed your experience with chloramphenicol. It seems it is becoming a popular drug with guinea pigs.
Nurgle, you are so right. Dr. K mentioned that also, that susceptibility is largely dependent on conditions. The dumpster pigs were filthy when they got here, and it wasn't from the dumpster (they were in a box in there for only a few minutes). They were all emaciated and dehydrated and of course, the broken legs. Major stress and immune-weakening factors.