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Upper Respiratory Infections

URIs are deadly bacterial infections that can result in death if untreated.

Bacterial respiratory infections are a common problem among pet store pigs (a good reason to adopt your pet instead of purchasing one from a pet store). New pet owners are often unaware of how quickly guinea pigs can go downhill and how vital prompt veterinary care is to the health of your new pet.

Untreated URIs are almost always fatal. Guinea pigs do not get cold viruses.
Allergies/asthma is very rare, though they may produce similar signs.

Signs of a URI:

    dot Refusal to eat or drink (anorexia)
    dot No feces (as a result of not eating)
    dot Labored breathing, wheezing
    dot Sneezing, coughing
    dot Crusty eyes, eyes that are almost sealed shut
    dot Discharge from eyes or nose (read about normal Eyes)
    dot Dull and/or receding eyes
    dot Rough or puffed-up coat
    dot Lethargy, hunched posture

See a vet immediately if you see any of these signs. Because URIs are so deadly and fast moving, it is imperative that the vet rules out a URI before considering the possibility of an allergy. Up


    dot The vet will check for hydration.
    dot A stethoscope can be used to listen to the lungs and heart.
    dot An x-ray may be taken to check for fluid in lungs.
    dot The vet may culture the bacteria to help determine which antibiotics are most effective. Up


A vet will prescribe a safe antibiotic like Bactrim or Doxycycline to treat these bacterial infections. Baytril, another frequently prescribed medication, is usually not given to young guinea pigs because it can cause arthropathies (bone abnormalities) although it can be an effective treatment.

Unknowledgeable vets may prescribe medications like Amoxicillin that can be deadly to your pet so be sure to review the Dangerous Medications list before seeing your vet.

And if your guinea pig is not eating, you must hand feed to keep your pet alive while the antibiotic works. Get a scale and follow the guidelines on the hand feeding page.

Be sure to ask your vet how long it will take for the antibiotics to work. Call your vet if you see no improvement in the specified time period (generally a day or two). Read the advice about giving antibiotics.

Recurrent URI's may be a sign of heart problems. Up

Guinea Pigs are for Life


    dot Anorexia
    dot Bladder Stones
    dot Cheilitis
    dot Diabetes (LINK)
    dot Diarrhea
    dot Eyes
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    dot Parasites
    dot Physiologic Norms
    dot Reproduction
    dot Scurvy
    dot Teeth
    dot URI
    dot Urine Scald
    dot UTI

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