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Guinea Pigs/Guinea pig with allergies?


I have had my little lilac sow Fiona for 3 months now and she has had 3 "URI's". One came up right when I brought her home. Most of my new piggies will sneeze for a day or two when I first bring them home, but Fiona got a real snotty nose. She was treated and quarantined for over a month before I put her with another sow. Within two hours she was snotty again and I was told it was another URI. After a second round of antibiotic she started being snotty again just 2 days later. So then a third round. She stayed snotty for a few days and now is clear. She never had any rattling or clicking or discharge of any kind. I say snotty because she sneezed a lot and would sound like she was all stuffed up. On closer inspection I could see that her nostrils were actually closed up some. Could she possibly just have allergies? I usually use fleece but her second flare up was after being put on Care Fresh. The third she was back on fleece. I use free and clear liquid detergent. No fabric softener. The other sow she was with has never shown any symptoms. Thanks for your time.

I don't think this is allergies, nor am I convinced it's really an upper respiratory infection. I'm not a big fan of jumping right into antibiotics for guinea pigs, and to treat back to back like that can do more harm than it does good. Overuse of antibiotics compromises the immunity. That goes for humans as well as animals.

This 'snotty nose' you describe may be something else. Has the vet taken a good look up her nose to make sure she doesn't have something up there that's causing her to sneeze? Without the right equipment it's difficult for you to see what the inside of the nose looks like as the nostrils get narrower the farther up the nose you get. That's normal.

She may be reacting to the bedding, but it's also possible that what you're hearing is just the normal occasional nose and throat clearing that cavies do just as we do now and then. Why don't you just try leaving her be and not medicating for every sneeze. My guess is that she has neither allergies nor an infection that needs antibiotics. My recommendation is that you give her a chance to cope on her own and see how she does.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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