Eye discharge and squinting


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 6:49 pm

Sweetheart has whitish discharge from both eyes, and is squinting. Very slight nasal discharge, lungs sound clear, no sneezing. He´s quieter than normal, but appears to still be eating. What is this? Is it the start of URI?
I have a vet appointment for 8:30 tomorrow (the soonest they could fit me in), and if he gets worse I´ll make them come in for an emergency visit. It won´t be my regular vet, she´s away from work with an illness.


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 7:10 pm

Could be. Sometimes the white discharge is just their "cleaning" fluid.

Squinting, nasal discharge and quieter than usual is not good.
If you caught it right at the start of a URI, tomorrow AM is probably fine for him to see a vet. Give him extra C and keep him warm in the meantime. If he sounds congested, a steam humidifier could be helpful - or a sojourn in a warm steamy bathroom. Just make sure he is warm and dry when he is out of the bathroom.

Print off stuff from GuineaLynx to give the vet if you´re worried about his/her experience level.


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 8:12 pm

I´m definitely printing out the stuff from Guinea Lynx. My vet is quite good, and looks things up if she´s not sure... but I don´t trust other vets:)

I just went and got some new syringes in case he stops eating, some extra tempting fresh veggies, and some more chewable vitamin C. He´s not happy at the moment because I removed him from the usual big cage (with Gavin) and put him in a small cage in a warmer room. Which brings up another question: if it is a URI should Gavin be given antibiotics also?


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 8:46 pm

I wouldn´t dose Gavin unless he shows symptoms. At the first sign - then go for it. Often just one of our pigs will have a URI without giving it to any of the others. Since we figure they´ve already been in contact with the sick one and have been exposed, we don´t usually separate. In a herd situation it´s different than if the pigs are in separate cages to start.


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 9:56 pm

With your situation in mind I might put them back in together. Gavin seems lost, he definitely knows that something is wrong. I´m hoping that Sweetheart´s competitive urges will convince him to eat a bit more. His appetite seems down from this morning, so I hand fed some pellets and parsley as well as a vitamin C supplement. He had some diarrhea when I picked him up a half hour ago. It´s going to be a long night.

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Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 10:20 pm

Hang in there. At least you have an appointment in the morning. Catching things early is great.

Good luck.


Post   » Mon Apr 15, 2002 11:17 pm

Give him a poop from Gavin to help his diarrhea. One benefit to keeping them separated is to keep Gavin from coming into contact with the diarrhea. Also you can tell what the food intake is although we do that primarily by weighing.

I would cut out all fresh food and syringe down unflavoured Pedialyte. Keep up with the handfeeding. Stress can cause diarrhea as well, so being separated from Gavin might be contributing to the problem.

It is kind of a judgement call. If they have been in close contact, Gavin has probably already been exposed and sometimes pigs do much better when they are ill, with company. When Willie was extremely ill he did much better surrounded by pigs. And his cagemates seemed to know he was ill and cuddled up to him protectively. He was much calmer and more relaxed.


Post   » Tue Apr 16, 2002 12:55 pm

Just back from the vet, she actually admitted that she didn´t know some things and went off to do a bit of research on guinea pigs. Sweetheart´s lungs are clear despite the eye and nose discharge. A fecal exam showed no protozoa or bacteria that showed up under gram staining. He got a subcue and the vet prescribed Chloropalm, 2cc every eight hours.

I´ve got him in with Gavin, and Sweetheart´s pigloo is covered with towels to keep more heat in. He´s getting handfed (or force fed depending on the mood) a pellet mash with yogurt and a healthy poop from Gavin. He´s getting vitamin C supplements. I´m going to get some unflavored Pedialyte at the store today, in the mean time I´ve been giving him plain water through a syringe.

I feel so horrible about this, like I should have picked up on something sooner. He was fine at 7:00 yesterday morning, at 3:40 I picked him up for another cuddle and found white crusties around his eyes. At about 7:00 yesterday night he started to have diarrhea. Even knowing how quickly pigs can go downhill I´m still surprised, it´s one thing to hear people talk about a sick pig... quite another to actually have a sick pig. This is my first illness with a guinea pig, I´ve only had to deal with fungus and mites before.

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Post   » Tue Apr 16, 2002 1:41 pm

I´m so sorry Alibabble.

Well it sounds like you are doing everything you can. Hang in there! Lots of love to Sweetheart and Gavin too.


Post   » Tue Apr 16, 2002 2:57 pm

If his appetite seems off with the chloropalm, you might want to switch to Baytril or Bactrim or Doxycycline.

Watch carefully. It´s a great antibiotic but I´ve had more pigs have trouble tolerating it than any other antibiotic. If he gets worse - that´s a signal to switch drugs. So far, I´ve found Doxycycline to be tolerated the easiest by our pigs. Bactrim and Baytril are pretty good but there does seem to be weight loss on Baytril with some of our pigs.

Doxycycline is in the tetracycline family so if he´s still having diarrhea - it might not be that advisable.

Bismuth - 1 cc every 4 hours or so can help with diarrhea too.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 12:37 am

He seems to be getting worse. He refuses to even swallow the pellet slurry, I can get it into his mouth but he won´t chew. He barely takes any water, he lets most of it dribble out of his mouth. Sweetheart is also not keeping his body heat up, we have him beside a hot water bottle, cuddled under the blankets with us. The diarrhea has stopped, I think mostly due to the lack of food material passing through him.

Is there any way to force him to chew? If I put the syringe right against his back molars he will chew briefly, then stop. He won´t continue to chew, or swallow the food. My regular vet is ill and the vet on call didn´t seem overly concerned. I´m going to try calling the other vets in town, to see if any of them are willing to do an emergency visit for a possible change of antibiotic. He´s had two doses of the Cholorpalm and seems to have gone downhill.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 12:46 am

Get him off the Chlorpalm right away. This is a similar reaction our pigs have had. He needs a hydration subcue and most likely an injection of an antibiotic to make sure the drug gets in his system. If he´s reacting to the drug, he should improve within 12 to 24 hours of being off of it.

Doxycycline is great for URIs but if his tummy is upset - it might not be a good idea. I also don´t know if it comes in an injectable form.

I really would consider a visit to an emergency clinic for a subcue. Oxygen can help too.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:08 am

we tried to get a vet to see him but they won´t...going to try another vet in town


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:22 am

Damn. He really needs hydration with warm fluids. It´s extremely important that he swallows if you are feeding him. If the food or fluid gets into his lungs - pneumonia will result.

Try wrapping him in towels right out of the dryer.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:48 am

Sweetheart passed away about a half an hour ago. I was busy printing off some pages from Guinea Lynx so that I could quote them to the damn vet on the other end of the line. Corey was holding Sweetheart at the end, he just stopped moving and passed away.

I´m going to lodge a complaint with my vet, the emergency vet suggested sugar water and nothing else.. despite my insistence that this was serious. I don´t know what to do, Sweetheart was not quite two years old.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 1:57 am

Oh God. I´m so sorry. This is worth bringing up to someone. If possible I would strongly reccomend an autopsy. When they go this fast there is usually an underlying reason and it will do a lot to give you closure to know exactly what happened. The fridge is the best place for the body until you can get it done.

The two most recent ones I lost that quickly turned out to have heart disease and chronic pneumonia as well as liver problems. One also had kidney problems. The vet said it was a miracle they were functioning at all. Neither of them showed any signs of problems until the first URI synptoms and then they were gone within a day. The URI was just enough to crash their compromised systems.

At least if you have an autopsy done- you´ll know what happened.

I am so sorry. I´ve been where you are many times and know how much it hurts.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 2:36 am

I want you to know you did everything right. I really don´t think the Chloropalm is to blame. When they can´t tolerate an antibiotic it usually is just evidenced by diarrhrea or discomfort. Once the drug is out of their system, they improve.

I think there was something more going on. And sometimes there are no earlier symptoms for you to catch. All you can do is what you did. The speed of the decline signifies something more than a URI. It is more indicative of an organ shutdown. But only an autopsy will tell you if that´s the case.

So please don´t beat yourself up. You did everything right.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 3:01 am

I would consider putting Gavin on Baytril as a preventative measure, at least until you know what you were dealing with. Although all indications are that this was more than a URI, you will feel better if you are being proactive and I don´t think a course of Baytril will do him any harm. It´s worth asking your vet about.


Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 5:07 am

Thank you for the reassurance, I definitely needed it. There were absolutely no earlier signs, his appetite was fine and Monday morning he did a few laps around the cage and he and Gavin had a brief head butting session. By Monday afternoon he was sick but I thought would be okay until morning. This morning I was very thankful that I had an early vet appointment. By this evening I was extremely concerned, and later this evening (when I was phoning the vets) both my boyfriend and I were afraid that Sweetheart was dying.

I´m definitely going to put Gavin on a preventative course of antibiotics. Does anyone know if a URI, or something to that effect, could be passed on to any other rodents or to the bunny?

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Post   » Wed Apr 17, 2002 7:23 am

My guess is it is the particular bacteria involved, the amount of contact and the health of the well animal (not every animal will catch everything it´s exposed to).

I am so sorry you lost Sweetheart. This was so very quick. You noticed something was wrong right away and tried to get him treatment. I´m so very sorry you lost him.

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