Pumpkin, a 4.5 yr-old american sow, began her URI saga earlier this year. She would have an occasional episode with audible labored breathing, but was otherwise BAR, eating, drinking, urinating, and defecating with a zest for life. No coughing or nasal discharge was present. The major warning for me was her drop from 1,194 grams of BW down to 1,134 grams over a few days. I took some radiographs of her lungs and trachea, a slight opacity was present in her ventral chin, but nothing else. On auscultation she had a very subtle intermittent “click” in her trachea. My exotics vet prescribed doxy for 14 days and scheduled a follow up with instructions to return with follow up radiographs. She improved as did her weight. Her radiographs were beautiful and her trachea and lung sounds were WNL, leading us to believe that the congestion in her dewlap on radiograph was inflammatory. The vet wondered if maybe she had a tooth root infection since initial radiographs showed some darkening at the base of 410 when compared to the follow up xrays. Her dentition is normal and no odors were ever present, but I believed it to be plausible.
Cut to 4 months later and we’re back again. Her labored breathing had returned with a drop in BW, but was still BAR and otherwise normal. Doc put her back on the doxy, but she made no improvement after a few days so the doxy was paired with enrofloxacin. That did the trick and she improved. I treated her twice daily for a month (with a probiotic) and waited one week post treatment for more radiographs. She had opacity in her lung fields… sigh. Thus the symptoms were soon to return. Vet wonders if it is allergies (which are unlikely he says), mycoplasma (does this occur in a GP?) that is suppressed by her antibiotics and the absence of them just causes the return, or something altogether different. The only other pets I have are one other healthy guinea pig and a cat. I am also now considering her heart after some reading on here. Doc said he has had gp patients on chronic antibiotic treatment for up to 6 months. My feeling is, to what end? To be where I am now, again?
At this point I’m going rogue and would like to submit my own culture and start nebulizing.
Of those of you that have had cultures done, how effective were they if no nasal discharge was present? How would you know that the culture would result in the actual organism and not a secondary contaminant since it isn’t sterile? I realize that the chance of a contaminant would be high regardless considering the area, but without a “substance” to culture, how efficacious were the chosen antibiotics based on culture results?
From what I have read, a lot of you have used acetylcysteine paired with saline and in some cases an antibiotic. I nebulize hospitalized foals with pneumonia with just straight acetylcysteine (200mg per Tx, usually every 4-8 hrs depending on severity). What is the dosage you have used to nebulize your guinea pigs and at what frequency? Also how much saline did you use and do you mix it with the acetylcysteine? And if an antibiotic will be introduced in the future, is that another separate nebulizer treatment each day?
Just for background purposes, I have been the home for these sassy sows for 3 years. Both of my pigs live in a 2x4 open c&c cage with the most dustless odor-free paper based bedding I could find. I would love to do the fleece, however I cannot keep up with it with a fulltime job. I’ve tried it in the past, but if a mere 8 hrs go by before I can clean it there’s poop everywhere, all over their feet and stuck between their little toes… no thanks. They eat a straightforward timothy based pellet, grass hay by the bale, and greens/fruits of course. Thank you again everyone!
- You can quote me
I haven't used acetylcysteine so I can't comment as to delivery method, dose or efficacy.
Mycoplasma: not impossible but highly unlikely. Ditto on asthma/COPD-like conditions/allergies. Your vet is right. We had one girl with a chronic COPD-like condition who benefited from Ventipulmin (scaled way way way way WAY down), but she was very unusual.
At 4.5 years of age I'd definitely want to do a trial of benazepril (details on the heart page Lynx linked to). Pigs with heart compromise are much more likely to develop URI's and have a harder time shaking them once and for all; they will also often (not always, but often) have a higher-than-just-coincidental occurrence of dental problems.
I have had zero luck using fleece as a bedding, so you are not alone there. Wonderful stuff if you can make it work. I've never been able to.
We did a Baytril/Doxy combo, and later a ENROFLOXACIN & DOXYCYCLINE combo. It took literally months and months to treat, and about a month and a half once we found the right AB combo.
You can read the whole saga here: http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=61415&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0
- Supporter in '11
I have seen from people’s experiences that there aren’t always diagnostic cardiac findings on the radiographs and they have started an experimental trial of benazepril. Are there any adverse side effects that come with this treatment? I will consult with my vet and see if he thinks she is a good candidate. I would like to try and see if the nebulizing can bring her some relief. When I listen to her, the sounds always come from her trachea, not her lungs. And it is not consistent, not every breath produces a noise. Pneumonia cases that I have dealt with usually have a consistent harshness to their trachea, not one breath on and two breathes off. It does resemble the “hooting” that I keep reading about.
I would like to try to take more chest views focused on her heart. If you would feel comfortable looking at her existing views, I will post them for more opinions and ideas. I also talked to the doctors at work about maybe doing an u/s.
What is the longest anyone has had a pig on antibiotics? And were there successful results after something like 6 months? And were they cultured before beginning the prolonged trial?
- You can quote me
The only real hazard with benazepril (an ACE inhibitor) is dropping blood pressure too low. If the piggy becomes lethargic, or even actually falls over on her side, reduce (or stop) the med. The dose can take some tweaking based on clinical sign. We've never had one to fall over, btw.
Post the rads and I'll be happy to look at them -- with the caveat that I am NOT a vet, nor tech, nor radiologist.
The tracheal 'pinch' you've noted is interesting. I wonder if in fact a bronchodilator might in fact help.
I agree with you that nebulization is a good next step.
- Supporter in '11
We had a guinea pig on 3 different antibiotics over the course of 9 months. But it wasn't for a respiratory issue. It was for a stubborn wound on the top of the foot. The guinea pig tolerated the antibiotics quite well but eventually needed the leg amputated.
- You can quote me
This is on my phone, though! Will take a better look at it later.
VERY VERY VERY WISE of you and your vet to leave her incisors alone if they are not causing her any problems.