Chronic stuffy nose


Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:31 am

My 1 year old female has had a chronic stuffy nose for the past month or so. She has no other symptoms. Some days she is totally fine, and others she clearly has mucous stuffed up in her nose. Her breathing is noisy, because of the mucous, but it is not raspy. When she is stuffy, she appears to be breathing harder than normal (her torso seems to twitch in time with her breathing, if that makes sense). There has been no nasal discharge, though.

I took her to the vet about a month ago and was prescribed bactrim. She took that for 9 days but nothing changed, still intermittent stuffiness. Then she was put on baytril for a little over a week. Still not much difference. I didn't want to keep her on the antibiotics for too long, even though I was supplementing with bene bac because I know antibiotics can be rough on them.

I have another female pig in the same cage and she has showed no signs of illness. I don't think this is a URI because of the intermittent nature of the stuffy nose and the fact that there are no other symptoms.

I am worried because I know piggies can't effectively breathe out of their mouths, so if she has a stuffed nose she must be struggling to breathe.

Does anyone have any idea what could be wrong with her if it's not a URI? Any suggestions as to what I should do?

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Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 11:38 am

I don't know if this page would help you, but perhaps it would.


What kind of bedding? Any mold in your house?

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Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 12:04 pm

I've got a pig that does that. She's been x-rayed, ultrasounded, and CT-scanned. Nothing wrong. Antibiotics and regular doses of lasix don't help. Her heart is a normal size and appears to have no problems.

The vet and the radiologist he consulted with on the CT scan say it may be a low-grade rhinitis that occasionally gets worse. She's not on any medication, though when she's very congested and her lungs are sounding wet and she's struggling to breathe, I do give her a dose of Lasix and that clears things up for several days.


Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:36 pm

Oh Jeez. I hope it's nothing with her heart. From that list of signs, all she had is the stuffiness/maybe labored breathing. She has normal energy, she popcorns and runs during her floor time each day. My two girls are in a 2x5 (1x2 loft) cc cage with fleece/uhaul liners.


Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 1:38 pm

What kind of medication is lasix?

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Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:43 pm

It's a diuretic to get fluid out of the system. When my pig gets really bad, the breathing noises are very wet and you can hear her all over the house.


Post   » Thu Feb 02, 2017 10:58 pm

My pig isn't that loud. When she is stuffy, it's a quiet almost snorting sound. Occasionally she will sneeze and then the snorting stops. I guess I will just continue to keep a close eye on her and weigh her frequently. If anything changes I will take her back to the vet.


Post   » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:54 pm

Hi, I am currently having a similar issue with my 6 year old boy Howard. He has been to the vets twice and they said at the time his lungs sound fine and so does his heart. When he is there he makes no noise, at home it is on and off and varies from whistles to being "stuffy". We had antibiotics for 5 days but next time the vet said they were not giving us any more.

I am so worried as we lost our first piggy to something similar (remained undiagnosed). He is eating, weight is stable and does run about when in his run. Some people have suggested he breathes in vicks but I would think that is too much for him?

Any further help and advice would be great. I hope your piggy is recovering, it's so upsetting not being able to do anything for our precious little ones!

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Post   » Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:20 pm

No, no Vicks salve.

My vet suggested my pig try pediatric Benadryl or a similar antihistamine. Try to find one without alcohol in it. The dosage for my pig was .1 ml for a 1 kg. pig. Most pediatric suspensions contain 2.5 mg. per ml.


Post   » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:21 pm

After doing some searching I realized that the nasal noise she is making is "hooting". It's intermittent but always occampanied by heavy, jerky breathing; I can see her torso twitching in time with her breath. Here is a link to a video of her hooting and jerky breathing. You will have to turn the audio up as her hooting is still relatively quiet. Also, my bird is chirping in the background, that is the high pitched sound.

Here's a better one

I am concerned that this is a symptom of a heart condition. In addition, she is a small pig, weighing about 800grams. I don't know if she is lethargic, she is only the second pig I've had. Her and her companion both rest a lot but also play and run sometimes during floor time. She has a good appetite. I am making an appointment to see a vet hopefully tomorrow but was hoping for any advice before then. Or advice on what to ask the vet.

2/24 The vet said that if there is no discharge from the nose and she is still eating, there is nothing to worry about. She said she had never heard of the connection between "hooting" and a heart condition. She said it would be more trouble than its worth to put her under to do an x-ray to check the heart or skull. She believes it's just a unique but normal noise that she is making. I still feel uneasy, though. Any advice?

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Post   » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:40 pm

I can't make out the sound you are hearing. You need to see additional signs that indicate there might be a heart problem.

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Post   » Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:50 pm

Answering from your other thread where you asked if anyone had any advice?

I do. See a different vet. Guinea pigs definitely have heart disease, and your vet should know that.

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Post   » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:45 am

I agree. Never heard of hooting as a symptom of heart problems? Definitely need a second opinion.


Post   » Sat Feb 25, 2017 9:19 pm

Thank you guys for your advice. I will schedule an appointment with another vet. I'm just convinced there's something wrong; the noise she's making can't be normal.

Here's another video, I think this one is better. You still have to turn the audio up all the way because the sound she's making isn't loud, but it's definitely noticeable in person. You can also see her jerky/spasmy breathing.


Post   » Tue May 02, 2017 10:45 am


Champion's "stuffy" sounding nose has seemed to be worse over the last few days. It is intermittent; mostly at night. It definitely sounds as though there is mucous or congestion in her nasal passage. Her breathing is also a bit labored; I can see her abdomen contract forcefully when she is breathing. I decided to take her for another opinion, so I called a few vets in my area (North East Ohio) and all seemed to recommend one clinic: Avon Lake Animal Clinic.

Since I am somewhat convinced this is a heart/lung issue (due to the only symptoms being this chronic congestion/stuffy nose and maybe some mild lethargy), I printed out the GL heart page and a few specific cases from heart pigs posted in this forum. I also tried to video Champion's stuffy sound and labored breathing. When I went to the vet this morning, I explained that Champion had already been treated with a round of Bactrim and then Baytril and there was no change, so I am thinking it is heart related. I tried to show her what I printed out but she was not interested in reading it or in looking at the videos I recorded. She listened to Champion's heart/lungs and said they sounded fine.

She completely dismissed my concerns about a potential heart/lung issue and instead suggested we try another round of antibiotics for a potential "deep seated URI" that she has been living with since the symptoms started (8 or so months now). However, she seemed very uncertain that this is even the issue. She also suggested an xray but said it was unlikely to show anything. She then prescribed SMZ-TMP. When she went to get the meds, I looked it up and found that SMZ-TMP is Bactrim. I told her this when she returned and asked why she would prescribe the same meds when I already explained they did nothing. She apologized and then suggested we try Orbax. I had never heard of this antibiotic but she explained it is a more powerful form of baytril essentially. She also gave me metacam which she described as an anti-inflammatory which could help if the issue is chronic rhinitis. She suggested that if the meds don't work, we should consider sedation, xray, and full dental examination (even though she looked at her teeth today and found no signs of anything abnormal). I was so frustrated with the whole situation, so I just accepted the meds and left (minus $130).

I am wondering if I should go ahead with the round of Orbax/metacam. I am worried because I have seen mixed reviews of Orbax in the little research I've done since I got home. I am also worried about dosing because even though I was referred to this specific vet, she seemed very unsure of what she was suggesting.

I have Orbax (30mg/mL) and directions to give .6mL orally daily. And metacam (1.5 mg/mL) and directions to give .6mL orally daily for 7 days.

Any suggestions would be helpful.

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Post   » Tue May 02, 2017 11:07 pm

If you go with the Orbax, watch closely to make sure your guinea pig does not have a bad reaction to the drugs. Most common is inappetence (not eating) and sometimes diarrhea.

An xray could show fluid around the heart or an enlarged heart. I am sorry this vet was not receptive to your concerns and suggestions. That she did not read what you brought or listen to your recordings tells me she is not responsive at all. She could still have read and listened and made up her own mind. Is there anyone else at that clinic you could deal with?


Post   » Wed May 03, 2017 10:25 am

I am leaning towards not giving the orbax/metacam. I do not think Champion has an infection and I do not want to risk giving her antibiotics if she doesn't need them.

There is a well reviewed and reputable exotic vet in Barberton, Ohio. That's an hour away but I think I will call today to ask if their vet has experience with guinea pig heart issues or if he would be willing to at least consider the possibility that is what Champion has.

I am just so convinced it's not a URI. It's been months and the only symtpoms are stuffy/rattly sounding nose and some mild lethargy. (No weight loss.)

However, this morning Champion's cage mate, Stormy, has been breathing very rapidly. She didn't eat her vegetables this morning but she did eat some pellets. She looks very odd to me and her breathing is definitely too fast. I still have a bottle of Baytril from when we tried it for Champion. I am considering giving that to Stormy in case this is the beginning of a URI for her. (Champion is normal today; eating tons and looks lively, but still has her sniffly nose).

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Post   » Wed May 03, 2017 9:22 pm

You are wise to ask first about their experience with heart issues and willingness to consider them.

I do not know if Stormy's issues are related to Champion's. Ideally, you would only give antibiotics under the guidance of a vet.


Post   » Tue Jun 06, 2017 1:43 am

I wanted to reply because I have been having similar problems with one of my piggies. He's been to the vet three times over the last couple of months for this problem. Chronic stuffy nose. It's upsetting to me because nothing is helping and I have been up and down the list. We started with Bactrim I believe and after two weeks of that and no change, the doctor put him on doxy for two weeks and told me to follow up with her and let her know how it worked. Well, it didn't work at all.

So I took him back today. I explained to her, my other pig doesn't share any of the same symptoms (stuffy nose, labored breathing, sneezing, discharge around the nose) so we were not sure at this point if it was a URI. she prescribed him now enrofloxacin (antibiotic) and meloxicam (anti-inflammatory). She also told me I could pick up a children's Benadryl and she would give me the dosage information tomorrow. And I asked her if maybe saline drops could help? And she said I could give him a drop in each nose twice a day. Oh, she also said I could bring him in the bathroom with me when I shower to use it as sort of a humidifier. After listening to his lungs she said his upper and lower Tracy seem to be affected?

Poor Chewy, I feel bad for him because I'm doing whatever I can and nothing seems to be working. We talked about bedding, hay, diet, the doctor told me that I provide them with the best possible diet that she could recommend and that it sounds like everything at home is as good as can be.

I just wanted to share my experience with a piggie with a chronic stuffy nose and I will follow the thread to read other responses. I'm scared it will get to the point where he can't breathe at all and I won't be able to do anything about it. He's a great piggie. Such a sweetheart.

Thanks for sharing your experiences! At least I now know I'm not alone with chronic stuffy boa mysteries!

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Post   » Tue Jun 06, 2017 7:00 am

One of our resident experts (a veterinary technician) recommended 1 mg/pound, "which is about 2 mg/kg. That's every 8 hours."


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