Bordetella bronchiseptica is the most common bacterial respiratory infection in guinea pigs or cavies. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, loss of appetite, depression, weight loss and in severe cases death. Bordatella bronchiseptica is commonly found in the respiratory tract of rabbits and yet rarely causes respiratory infection. Because of this, rabbits are able to infect guinea pigs with Bordatella even though they are not infected themselves.
In guinea pigs treatment is often unsuccessful even when started early, but includes a broad spectrum antibiotic such as chloramphenicol. A cavy that survives will be a carrier of the infection.
According to Provet, “Use of pig B.bronchiseptica vaccine and the use of an autogenous vaccine have both been tried in guinea pigs – with success.” Unfortunately vaccinated animals also become carriers of the infection.
Supportive complementary measures such as feeding Annimune Powder and RT Syrup, adding Garlic Juice to the water, syringe feeding with NutriPowder in the case of anorexic animals and Herbal Tincture Blend I (Immune Support) for recovering animals may help.
Herbetom Pulm, made by Spanish company Bioserum, is available mail order and can be fed to guinea pigs with respiratory problems at the rate of 0.25ml – 0.5ml 3 times per day depending on severity.
As with all antibiotic treatment, you should feed a good probiotic/prebiotic to help maintain the beneficial gut flora.