What about me getting something from her, and passing it back to her and so on?
I really don't think I could stop kissing her, except of course if I was sick. She loves the kisses and I do it like you would to your baby, without even thinking about it.
The human cold is caused by a variety of different kinds of viruses….the guinea pig is only susceptible to SOME which is what causes the confusion over this issue. I am a human MD who has cared for about 20 guinea pigs over the past decade of my life…I have witnessed them catch a cold from me, but more often they do not catch my cold- it is infrequent but it can happen and so should be guarded against when you are sick.
Let me explain better, from webmd.com:
More than 200 different viruses are known to cause the common cold -- and the miserable symptoms that come with it.
The most common cold viruses include:
• Rhinoviruses -- causing 10% to 40% of colds
• Coronaviruses -- causing 20% of colds
• Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) -- responsible for 10% of colds
(source: http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/common_cold_causes )
My past reading led me to conclude that guinea pigs are not prone to catching Rhinoviruses from humans- which constitute up to 40% of human colds by some studies. I could not find this fact clearly stated, but what I did see is study after study where they had to infect cells in petrie dishes (in vitro studies) instead of the usual guinea pig studies OR they used human volunteers. This strongly suggests to me that guinea pigs are likely not a great host for rhinoviruses and so not likely to catch YOUR cold if it is being caused by a rhinovirus.
This quote from a study seems to also imply that Rhinoviruses do not work well to create disease in guinea pigs and other rodents:
“Animal models have provided many insights into potential mechanisms linking viral infections and lower airway effects, but there are species-specific differences that can limit the interpretation of these data. For example, guinea pigs develop an accentuated eosinophilic response to viral infection (131) compared to most other species. Furthermore, there is no animal model for RV (rhinovirus) infection: major-group RhinoViruses do not bind to mouse intercellular cell adhesion molecule type 1 (ICAM-1), and although minor-group RhinoViruses bind to mouse epithelial cells, replication occurs only in the presence of systemic immunosuppression.”
So that’s the story with rhinoviruses.
Now if your cold is being caused by coronavirus (which causes around 20% of colds) I believe the guinea pig can get sick from you.
See this study where pigs died from being infected with SARS, which is one type of coronavirus:
The major veterinary textbook used for guinea pigs and rabbits that I know of (which IMO is in desperate need of updating and expanding) is Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits
By Dean H. Percy, Stephen W. Barthold
From this text book, they state that coronaviruses can infect guinea pig gut epithielial cells but don’t really discuss respiratory infections…nevertheless it suggest that guinea pig cells are vulnerable to coronaviruses just as the SARS study suggests.
hopefully you can copy and paste the below link to see the textbook page in google books:
http://books.google.com/books?id=YZL20gCvFUAC&pg=PA223&lpg=P ... irus&f=false
Guinea pigs CAN BE infected with human influenza virus (there are too many sources to name that state this in my google search-it is a well understand animal disease model fact). Many illnesses get mislabeled the “flu” during the cold and flu season, but please know that the true flu for which you can get a protective vaccine is only caused by various strains of influenza virus. This is an illness accompanied by aches, fever and your pigs can get it from you. There is also a parainfluenza virus which data shows is able to infect guinea pigs but doesn’t seem to cause full blown respiratory illness in most cases.
Lastly we have the dreaded RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) which causes about 10% of colds. RSV tends to go around pediatric wards of hospitals every year. RSV can kill babies it is so nasty. It is what I would call the most severe cold I have ever had- back when I was rotating on peds I would catch it when the wave was going around each year and there were plenty of positive RSV tests to confirm that’s what I had. It is the type of cold that can take 3 weeks to a month before you are back to normal, although some adults fare better with it. Guinea pigs can catch this from you as proven by the example study below and hundreds of others:
SO IN SUMMARY WHEN YOU HAVE A COLD YOUR GUINEA PIG CAN ABSOLUTELY CATCH IT FROM YOU IF IT IS A CERTAIN TYPE OF VIRUS THEY ARE SUSCEPTIBLE TO. Even though most of us guinea pig lovers tend to kiss and cuddle our pigs frequently so that they likely get exposed before we even develop symptoms, it still makes absolute sense to keep them away from your face while you are sick and be religious about washing your hands prior to touching them or anything in their cage until you have been well for several days. Because you just never know…if you have the variety of cold/flu that they can catch, it could take the life of an older pig or a weak pig. Better safe than sorry.
- pig wrangler
- Supporter in '13
Transmission is on a case by case basis. Some viruses can be passed from humans to pigs, some cannot.
I would err on the side of caution. If you are sick, do not kiss your pig (French or otherwise).
On the other side, there are parasites, fungi, and bacteria that stay dormant or completely inactive in pigs that can be passed to humans and will not be dormant at all.
I caught roundworm from inhaling the eggs while shaking out fleece. The pigs never showed symptoms, while I got so sick I ended up in the hospital.
That being said, I accidentally sneezed right on my pig a few days ago (I don't THINK I was sick). It really concerns me. Does anyone know how long I have to wait before I know crisis is averted?
The issue here is always confused because we tend to think of the cold virus humans get as one thing (and also the flu virus that humans get) but the reality is that the viruses that cause human colds are as diverse as the bacteria that can cause pneumonia. Some of our human cold viruses don't seem to commonly spread to pigs in a way we can observe, but others do-DEFINITELY, and there is concrete clear science to prove that. So we are not speculating- this is studied tested science that some of our cold viruses can spread to our pigs and cause them illness.
btw pig wrangler, that is really creepy about how you got roundworm! yikes! JessicaC, your 6 year old pig may well have died from the RSV version of the human cold virus- the really nasty one (I hate that thing- I wish we could wipe it out of existence). I'm sorry for your loss.
I enjoy science so wanted to post all the study stuff about this, but the bottom line is simple- we can infect them with some of our colds and should be super careful not to.
All my pigs tend to french kiss me (and I let them despite the fact that they are poo eaters, I guess that makes me a bit insane). They just crawl right up me and start licking my lips. :)
The AMOUNT of virus (the inoculation dose, so to speak) can sometimes make a huge difference as to if someone gets sick or not. That's why I say even though most of us have already exposed our little piggies by loving on them before our symptoms developed, it still matters to be very careful with hand washing and keeping them away from your face/breath while sick.
Couchon, do not make yourself insane with worry. Statistically speaking, chances are you are infected with a Rhinovirus which the pig should not catch. If someone is going to get a respiratory viral illness, symptoms will usually manifest within 1-5 days of exposure. I hope it turns out okay....it should...so many colds are rhinoviruses (but we never know for sure).
- Supporter in '16
I am coming down with another cold (the second in a month!). As soon as I start feeling this way I start super-loading the zinc, making sure I get lots of sleep, etc., but there's only so much I can do.
I am also married to a person with major immune-system complications. The other thing we do when EITHER of us is starting to feel sick is immediately move into separate bedrooms and stay there for 7-14 days. We've basically eliminated the cute passing-back-and-forth thing married couples sometimes do, and sometimes we can even keep him from getting my colds.
Now that it's much colder in our drafty old house, we have moved our double-decker Pig Palace into the guest bedroom, where we can regulate the temperature better. It's nice and cozy in there and it's where I usually head when Scott is sick, because the upstairs bed is the domain of the cat who hates me and loves him, and I like sleeping with my pigs anyway. Scott does not like sleeping with the pigs.
So here's the question. When I'm sick, I make Scott do the daily feeding/poop sweeping. But I know URI/viruses are spread largely through microdroplets from sneezes and coughs. If I'm sleeping in the same room as the pigs, I'm probably not pointed AT them when I sneeze, but they're still in the general vicinity.
Is it better to move them out into the drafty (quite cold) hall? move them across the room and hope sneezes don't travel that far? or pick a big ol' marital fight and make my husband sleep with the pigs and take my chances with the cat?
And what happens if we're BOTH sick and somebody absolutely has to sleep in the guest bedroom?
it's like a messed-up game of chess up in here.
- Cavy Comic
The viruses are transmitted by 1.) contact (like on our hands...we rub our nose or eyes and later touch pigs or surfaces they will touch) and 2.) respiratory droplets (teeny tiny droplets of saliva and mucous that spray out into the air when we sneeze and cough).
Solution even in a studio apt: cover the pig's pen with a light bed sheet, air will still gently flow under but you can likely prevent respiratory droplets from falling/blowing into their pens this way.
When you go to clean their cage put on a face mask you can buy at any drugstore and then wash your hands for a long time very vigorously with lots of friction- be super thorough and take your time, then don't touch anything on you or any door knobs once your hands are washed, only the pigs and their pens.
I would absolutely be this careful if I was very sick and interacting with my pigs because I have one who is 7 1/2 years old. If you have older ones, sickly ones, or you just have something awful and viscous like RSV/influenza, do these simple things and you will really reduce the chances of the pigs getting sick from you, even in a one bedroom situation.