I'm new here and grateful for any advice I can get to help my poor Honey Pepper. She is special needs and has been for all/most of her life. She has a head tilt which we have been told is caused by a neurological issue, she also tends to be very "snorty" and congested sounding. However, despite this she is spunky and full of energy, seems happy and healthy... At least as healthy as she can be given her circumstances!
She recently had a bad bout of diarrhea and we quickly brought her in to the vet (not a small animal, exotic vet but the best option we seem to have). They did a fecal smear and found coccidia which we have been treating at first with Albon but now a week later we switched to Sulfatrim Pediatric Suspension. The coccidia is improving but not gone completely yet. Actually though, the reason I'm writing this post is because my vet and I seem to disagree on the course of action for her congestion/head tilt.
I am mad at myself for not standing my ground more but the vet convinced me to put her on Prednisone (to "fix" her tilt) and Baytril for her lungs. He expressed that it's very urgent that these issues get treated promptly - despite me saying that these are ongoing symptoms she's had for years. (In other words, let's treat the *ahem* more pressing concern about the coccidia... right?)
Anyway, so we found that the prednisone did nothing for her head tilt and that the baytril only exacerbated the GI issues and left her just as snorty as ever. The vet was dumbfounded that his treatment didn't work but it led to a disagreement where I told him I was taking her off of the Baytril until we got the coccidia and her gut issues under control. We're also weaning her from the steroids.
I was able to convince my vet to give her an x-ray so we could get a better idea of what's happening in her lungs and with her heart. However after the experiences I've had (and the fact that he's not a small animal specialist) I'm interested in getting a second opinion. I'm not sure that the vet even looked at the x-ray because his tech was the one who consulted with me. They can't seem to understand what's wrong with her lungs although they noted some bronchial inflammation. However given that baytril and steroids aren't helping... Should we consider asthma? Heart issues? Allergies?
I'm attaching photos of her x-rays here... Once I figure out how. I would love to hear what observations you folks can make of this. Otherwise I'd love to get advice on how to get a second opinion maybe via tele-health - I live on an island and don't have many options otherwise!
Thank you very much for your time if you made it this far through my post. I love my sweet girl very much and just want to do the very best for her... She's so challenging to love with all of her unusual health concerns keeping me up at night. Thanks again!
I don't have a medical/veterinary background but rather think your focus on the diarrhea first is the more pressing problem. Have you read this page?
- I dissent.
I can't really tell anything about her heart or lungs, as the x-rays are just too grainy. A search on Google for "exotic veterinarians in Hawaii" yielded quite a few hits. They may not be specifically where you live, but you could certainly contact them and ask if they could do a consult by Zoom. Might be worth a shot?
She sure is a cutie. :)
Wanted to send an update to say that today her energy came back 10 fold, her poops are still mushy but improving big time, and she even put back a bunch of the weight she lost (I've been weighing her every day since she starting having diarrhea). What we changed was taking her off baytril and Albon and putting her on Sulfatrim.
Interesting take on the coccidia possibly not being the cause of her GI issues.. I will keep that in mind if we feel like we need to revisit that. I hadnt been giving her probiotics because I didn't think it would help her while she's on antibiotics. So whoops... I'm giving her probiotics now about an hour after she gets her meds so I think that's helping her too.
Also... I reached out to a vet in Honolulu who will do a consultation with me - so thank you for the advice on that! We'll see if they alert me to any issues or possible quality of life improvements. In any case, it will be good for us to have a relationship with an exotics vet if we need advice in the future.
Grateful for you folks time and help with our sweet Peps. As I type this I can hear her chortling around in her pen and it's just music to my ears... :)
- Supporter in 2022
She also prescribed Meclizine for vertigo and dizziness. Gidget seemed to be off balance and staring up with her head kind of going in circles.
I'm not sure what the Prednizone would be treating for your guinea pig, but I think you were right to focus on the digestion first before being concerned with anything else. I understand head tilt, ear infections, and respiratory issues can all go hand in hand. I hope she continues to feel good.
If she does indeed have heart disease, and this is an IF, then it's not necessarily a death sentence. My Morty lasted 10 months post diagnosis, which he showed symptoms even before diagnosis, so it was longer than 10 months in reality.