Breathing issues

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Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:05 pm

Hi there. I have taken my cavy to the vet twice and called again today and am waiting for her to get a second opinion from a specialist at UGA since she hasn’t been able to solve the problem. This forum has been very helpful to me in making sure I was making informed decisions and using proper care, so I decided to crowdsource in case anyone else has had similar issues and may know what’s going on.

Jazz was purchased by the school I used to teach at this past April from Petsmart. He was young but I don’t know exactly how old. I’ve been taking care of him since June and have gotten to know him quite well. I first took Jazz to the vet on Aug 13 because his behavior had changed, he’d lost his energy, he’s sneezing every so often, he wasn’t eating his favorite hay anymore or moving during floor time, and his lower abdomen was pulsing almost violently as he breathed. The exotic vet said his heart and lungs sounded pretty fine but there might be a slight lung noise. She gave me critical care and told me to start using oxbow vitamin c tabs. We hoped it was just a bit of malnutrition, but I was still concerned about possible URI so she put him on 5 days of Sulfame-tmp.

On July 23, I became so concerned with his violent breathing that I brought him in right away and they put him on oxygen, which he really liked. She took X-rays and did an ultrasound. His lungs were white on the X-ray instead of black, and she couldn’t see his heart at all. She also heard an arrhythmia in his heart. The ultrasound confirmed her suspicion that there was fluid in his abdomen, probably caused by congestive heart failure.

She strongly recommended I end his suffering. I finally came to terms with that decision Wednesday night. However, Thursday morning he was happy again and I got the vet to agree to try a diuretic on the fluid. There was also a fancy ultrasound specialist coming in that day who she got to look at him.

Somehow, his heartbeat was normal and the fluid was gone. But his X-ray didn’t change. Yay miracle, but he’s still having issues breathing. She decided to treat him for pneumonia by putting him on a 10-day dose of the antibiotic.

If I can figure out how to upload video and pics I’ll show you his X-ray and how he’s breathing. I haven’t been able to find anything else like this and my other guinea pig has been acting normal.

Anyone have any ideas??

PS. Seeing another vet is not an option til next week so let’s refrain from criticizing mine. She admits that she’s stumped so she’s consulting experts, I just can’t sit idly by and wait without reaching out myself. Thank you.


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:16 pm

If he is on antibiotics that may affect his appetite get some bene-bac to give to him 60-90 minutes after he has his meds. I am still eternally grateful to bpatters for that bit of advice.

Have had 3 piggies with URIs and didn't know about the bene-bac for the first one and she wouldn't eat. The other two that were ill last month had no appetite problems although they were on different meds. The first one , Mu Mu was on Cipro but was in a bad way to start with and ad a lot of fluid on her lungs and had other issues. The other two , Chunita and Nala were on sulfatrim/Bactrim and Doxycycline/Vibramycin for 3 weeks. Usually the course is 7-10 days but our vet wanted to make sure that they were fully clear as Nala had been sneezing for weeks before she developed the URI and so she felt a longer course was best.

Just be careful when feeding Critical care and take it steady so they dont "inhale" it but be persistent if they resist.

I am sure others will have more info and advice they can pass on.
Last edited by rjespicer on Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:16 pm

This is a video I took just now. You can hear the noise he’s been making while breathing as well.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:44 pm

I would want him on a nebulized antibiotic, like gentamycin, which will help if there's infection in the lungs.

I'd also want a trial of other heart meds in addition to the Lasix. See

Good luck with him, and keep us posted on how he's doing.


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 6:54 pm

Thank you! So it seems like his heart? I’ll look into that, thanks!

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 8:03 pm

It's a possibility. It sounds, though, as if something is also the matter with lungs, since they didn't clear with the Lasix. The vet can sort all that out.


Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 6:53 pm

Hi just wondering what the prognosis ended up being? I have a 3 year old piggy whose been making a “clicking” sound when she breathes. The vet said it was not an URI but gave meds none the less. We completed the dosage, and the breathing issue is still there. Everything is normal with her - appetite, personality, and it seems like she only does this when she’s resting. I tried to get a video but she spots me each time I try to get close enough to record it. I got a tiny clip and you can hear it if you listen carefully...

Any advice from your experience would be gratefully appreciated, I am going to try to get a 2nd opinion from a different vet as well.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 7:34 pm

I've got one that has noisy breathing off and on. She's been evaluated six ways from Sunday and the vet can't find anything wrong. I've quit worrying about it.


Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:05 pm

Thanks everyone. Unfortunately, Jazz passed away Monday, August 6, sometime between 3am and 9am. The vet had conferred with experts who agreed it looked like pneumonia and recommended a stronger antibiotics that had to be made special at a compounding pharmacy. The pharmacy didn’t tell the vet Friday that they wouldn’t start working on it Monday, grr. But he kept getting worse and worse, it was heartbreaking. I brought him to the vet afterward for a complimentary autopsy so we could find out what really happened and make sure the other cavy couldn’t catch it. It was definitely pneumonia, extremely severe, so severe that no treatment would have been able to stop it anyway. He also had a small mass in his chest. It could’ve been benign or it could’ve weakened his immune system greatly. He may have had it since birth or developed it later. He came from petsmart so there’s no telling what condition he was in when the school bought him.

My new one scared me a bit when she wheezed a little while cuddling, but upon closer inspection I think she was just stressed out because I’ve only had her for a week and she’s not quite comfortable with me yet.

As to your baby, does he look like he’s struggling to breathe or is he just clicking? Does it happen all the time or just off and on?

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 8:44 pm

Mine doesn't show any other symptoms. Eats like the pig she is, and has no problems moving around. She doesn't struggle to breathe. And it just happens off and on, with no pattern I can discern.


Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 9:47 pm

It sounds like Jazz had similar issues to our Mu Mu who we lost in April. URI and a mass, the Vet said she was in a bad way and offered to put het down but she didn't seem in pain so we opted to give her a fighting chance and nebulized her and gave her Cipro but sadly we lost her 3 days later after she had stopped eating for 24 hours and refused to take critical care.

Two of the others had suspected pneumonia a couple of months back and were on Bactrim and Doxy for 3 weeks and seem to be OK now as I think we caught it early.

The third also had some breathing noises which seem to have been triggered by an unexplained ammonia build up but once we resolved that she seemed to improve.

We still have one who is a bit of a sneezer but she has always been like that and seems fit and well otherwise.

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Post   » Sun Aug 19, 2018 10:42 pm

I m so sorry you lost her, Piggylette.

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Post   » Mon Aug 20, 2018 9:50 am

I'm very sorry for your loss of Jazz. Rest in peace, little one.

I have a pig who occasionally will have noisy breathing that last for days. We put her on AB (can't remember which one, Baytril possibly, but if you're really curious you can check her thread (Fuzzbutt's Medical)), but it didn't change anything. The noisy breathing will last for days then go away for days. I'm thinking hay dust.


Post   » Mon Aug 20, 2018 10:51 am

So sorry to hear about Jazz. They really are great companions, it’s hard when it gets to that point and there is nothing more that could be done. I hope your piggy is resting peacefully💕

Prieta’s breathing sounds are only when she’s resting. When I pick her up or she’s eating/drinking, the sounds stop. It’s been going on for some time... no runny nose, no coughing or sneezing, I am completely stumped as to what’s going on. With no change in her personality or eating habits I am not overly concerned, but at the same time I don’t want to ignore it in case it could be something more severe. She’s also the loudest wheek-er of all my girls, and her whistles for food when she hears that fridge open are as loud and clear as ever, and the vet did not hear anything when she was examined so I don’t think there’s anything wrong with her lungs. I apologize if this is completely ridiculous to ask, but is it possible for GPs to develop a form of asthma?


Post   » Mon Aug 20, 2018 11:56 am

I'm so sorry for your loss of Jazz. It is hard to lose a piggy; they burrow into our hearts and a piece of them always stays with us.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:11 pm

I suppose asthma is possible, but the vet would probably hear it when listening to her.


Post   » Mon Aug 20, 2018 5:29 pm

Sorry for you loss.

RIP Jazz.

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Aug 26, 2018 12:30 pm

I'm so sorry about Jazz. Rest well, little one.

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