- You can quote me
Is there *any* way you might could rig up an oxygen chamber for him at home? O2 would be rx but I think some GL members have done it (I have not).
A combination of Baytril and doxy can have a whole-is-greater-than-the-sum-of-the-parts effect for really bad pneumonias. If nebulized, the med goes straight to the lungs. Again the vet would need to cooperate, but as I understand it a nebulization chamber is not hard to set up.
I think some have also brought them into the bathroom whilst taking a hot, steamy shower and that can afford some temporary relief. Just make sure he's thoroughly dry before putting him back in his cage if you do this; getting chilled is not what he needs right now obv.
Continued best wishes to him and to you. He couldn't be in better hands.
I could probably rig up an oxygen chamber but would have to get the vet to prescribe the oxygen which may be a problem. I'm not sure how beneficial oxygen would be when he showed no improvement whilst he was on it at the vet's. His lips and ear margins remained a dusky colour, apparently.
I'd forgotten about trying the shower. I'll give that a go later. Thanks for the reminder!
If there's no improvement after 72 hours on baytril I'll take him back to the vet and suggest giving doxy in addition to the baytril. He's due to be seen on Thurs but I can take him back sooner.
Thanks for your good wishes. I've been in the fortunate position of all my pigs being well for the past year or so ( I hope I'm not tempting fate), so I'm feeling rusty and lacking in confidence. Your advice and reassurance are very much appreciated.
- You can quote me
I think your plan is a good one. If you do pursue a Baytril-doxy combo, ask about the possibility of nebulizing it. Nebulization not only bypasses the GI, but it delivers more of the drug directly where it's needed.
Nebulization also opens up the possibility of using ABs you otherwise couldn't. I think bpatters has used gentamicin in nebulization. You can also consider azithromycin; some have dosed it orally successfully (I have not needed to try it, yet anyway, thankfully) but I'd feel more confident using it in a nebulizer. If you could rig up an oxygen chamber, you could rig up a nebulizer; that's easier as I understand it. The only specialized part is the atomization head.
Hopefully he will begin to show improvement and none of this will be necessary.
Continued very best wishes and support sent.
I took him back yesterday as I wasn't happy with him. He seemed a bit worse, went flat and his breathing deteriorated further. I saw a different vet who was again concerned about his colour although he had recovered a bit by this time. I suggested adding in doxy but she felt it wouldn't help as baytril is broad spectrum and I suspect because its not licensed for GPs. She suggested O2 therapy but decided that as it hadn't helped previously probably would not help this time. So I drew a blank there . We're going back tomorrow. I'm going to discuss stopping the baytril as it just stresses him out so much.
On Saturday BamBam and I are going to see another vet about 2 hours drive away. He is used by the CCT so should be more GP savvy and open to considering cardiac problems.
Will update later.
- You can quote me
The Baytril-doxy combo route is afaik anecdotal; that is, vets have tried it, including one of ours, and it simply works better than either alone on severe, well-set-in pneumonias, especially if nebulized. Especially since there are so few antibiotics guinea pigs can take safely, I suspect vets have just tried and found it works. One of our old vets saved the lives of two rescues this way.
Nebulization can also be used to deliver ABs that they cannot otherwise take orally.
Continued best to him and to you. I'm hoping the CCT-affiliated vet will be more open and knowledgeable. Please keep us posted.
Thankfully Del Boy has survived the unusual heat of the past few days, despite being further stressed by it. I've used fans but obviously kept him out of draughts, as well as ice blocks covered with tea towels. His brother Rodney ha benefitted too.
Del Boy was reviewed by another vet yesterday having had 5 days on baytril. He has not improved as far as I can tell and the vet, albeit one who has not seen him previously agreed, having read his notes. As the vet before her, she would not add in another antibiotic, stating that baytril penetrates the lungs better than any other antibiotic. She has however doubled the dose. We had a long discussion about cardiac disease and she was at least prepared to go and consult the textbooks. Unfortunately there was nothing useful in those but she was quite happy for him to be seen by another vet and supplied me with details of an exotics veterinary hospital which is at least a 4 hour drive away.
BamBam and I are seeing the CCT associated vet tomorrow so will update further after we've seen him.
- You can quote me
Again, nebulization would hit the lungs directly.
Continued best wishes and please keep us posted.
The information regarding Baytril is interesting. May I know where that data comes from?
Del Boy was seen by the CCT affiliated vet yesterday. He agreed with our local vet that this is not a heart problem, but rather pneumonia or possibly, given the slow (if any) improvement, "farmer's lung" which is a hypersensitivity inflammation of the lungs, most likely a sensitivity to hay, in which case the outlook is bleak. He felt the likely scenario is Del Boy had a previous fungal infection which lowered his immunity and made him susceptible to the pneumonia. He has recommended continuing the Baytril at the current dose, but "pulsing it", so giving a further two weeks, then a week off and another week on. The other thing he recommended was the occasional dose of furosemide. The thinking being that in guinea pigs the pneumonia is more fluid than mucus, as it is in humans.
Last night, Del Boy's breathing deteriorated significantly, possibly as a consequence of the stress of travelling and being so thoroughly examined. I really thought it was the end. However, I gave a dose of furosemide and within an hour he had rallied and seemed back to "normal". Today he has remained unchanged. He continues to eat and drink, albeit less than previously, and he has lost weight.
The plan is another review with his own vet tomorrow, mainly because I'm taking his brother Rodney, about whom I'm concerned as he also seems "not quite right". In addition however, Del Boy has developed a nasty sore on his back which is worse even than yesterday and I'm concerned in case it is fungal.
BamBam is contacting Jaycey, a previous member of GL, whose guinea pig Anselmo needed nebulisation in the hope she still has her nebuliser and we can borrow it. Presumably it's I/M Baytril that you use and not oral?
Another point of interest is that neither boy eats very much hay. I've tried several different types with little success. It would be far too stressful for them to check their teeth as they are at the moment. Any thoughts?
Thanks again for all the advice and support. I'll update after tomorrow's appointment.
- You can quote me
Pulsing AB: *excellent* idea. Our vets have used this technique successfully on established, serious, deep infections. I like this vet.
Farmer's lung: mumble. If I had to take an absolutely wild guess, both these pigs were kept in extremely poor, probably outdoor, conditions. The idea of a serious fungal setting up a susceptibility to a serious pneumonia makes eminently good sense; I'd just take the 'hay' component out of it. That said, my speculation would come to the same thing -- sensitivity to any dusts, mildews, moisture etc., which would make his ongoing care tricky but not impossible.
Furosemide: *excellent*. I like this vet again.
Teeth: do you lot have sweet corn? If so, get some and remove the outer husk. Rinse the inner husks as you would any veg. Tear into long, thin strands. Most pigs love it, and it has a ton of silica in it; it wears the teeth extremely well. It can also be dried for out-of-season use.
They can also eat corn silk, but I've always been a little scared of it. It seems like it'd be a choking hazard, but that may just be me being paranoid.
Continuing good luck with both boys and please keep us posted.
- And got the T-shirt
Don't rule out the possibility of a fungal pneumonia, which would respond better to an oral antifungal and not at all to an antibiotic. We unfortunately learned about fungal pneumonias when we lost my 36-year-old nephew to one.
Del Boy was reviewed by my own vet yesterday along with Rodney (who got a clean bill of health). When she saw there was no obvious improvement she wanted to pts as his quality of life is "poor". I persuaded her to give him another week, since we have only just increased the Baytril and the furosemide seems to provide some relief. We will now give it regularly rather than ad hoc.
We can get corn but for some reason the only time it is available with husks and silks is the autumn. I've never seen it at any other time, unfortunately. They will eat readigrass quite happily, and whilst I'm well aware of the issues it causes am taking the view that some hay is better than none for a short time, under the circumstances. If he makes it, we can deal with it then. However, I am waiting for a delivery of a "taster pack" of a selection of different hays to see if I can find one they will eat.
Unfortunately the Xrays were not sent to the CCT vet from mine when they should have been, so I've chased that up and they have gone today. I'm waiting for a call from him with an opinion .
bpatters, I'm so sorry to hear about your nephew. What a tragedy.Thanks for the prompt. I had considered a fungal pneumonia, but stupidly ruled it out in the absence of any external signs. I've put a call in to my own vet to discuss this with her. He has now developed a very itchy sore on his back, which looks like the classic place for mites, so is being treated for that. The vet didn't want to give a systemic anti fungal because of all the other meds he's taking, which stress him greatly. I'm hoping she may do so if I suggest fungus as being a possible cause of the pneumonia.
I had another discussion with the vet and she has agreed to treat him with an anti fungal, especially as he has an odd lesion on his back, which is probably mites but better safe than sorry. At least she is prepared to give it a try.
We have a review this afternoon which I'm dreading. Last week the vet said if he was no better we should pts. Although his breathing is not back to normal, his demeanour is like any other pig, so hopefully we will get a stay of execution! I suspect his breathing is always going to be a bit "odd", but as long as he has a happy life and can potter round, I believe we should give him a chance at life.
I'll update after this afternoon's appointment.
Echoing GrannyJu...use your own sense for Bam Bam with decisions for him. You're in my prayers as well for his comfort and for direction for his care.
Del Boy and Rodney were see by the vet yesterday. Rodney has lost a bit of weight but nothing of too much significance. His chest remains clear, although his breathing, like Del Boy's, is a little odd. As he is also itchy were are treating him for mite and fungal infections as well.
The good news is that the vet was happier with Del Boy. His chest, although not right, has improved and there is finally some air entry in his left lung, whereas previously there was none. He has gained a little weight and she agreed he seems brighter. He is to continue on Baytril and furosemide(at a reduced dosage as she was concerned the previous dose was a little high) as well as the oral itrafungol and topical Ivermectin. The sore on his back has almost cleared up which is also a good sign. Both piggies are for review in two weeks, by which time I hope things will have improved even more.
Thanks again for all the support, which I'm sure is helping!