Rural Emergency Care
Pinta's Rural Emergency Medical Guide
For city folk, it is easy to forget that many people live in rural situations, possibly hundreds of miles from the nearest vet. This guide is not a replacement for a vet visit. Its purpose is to prevent the loss of treatment time by rural owners who face unavoidable delays by distance or circumstance. Your vet and the EMERGENCY GUIDE at this site will help you decide if a problem must be taken care of immediately.
If the nearest vet is a major distance away - make a special introductory trip. This will give the vet a chance to familiarize himself with your pig and give you a chance to ask questions. For example, your vet can show you how to trim nails and describe what signs of illness you should be on the alert for. Explain that you are in a situation where you are unable to get to the vet immediately in the case of an emergency. Ask if you can set up an charge card account with the clinic to pay for consults. (It would be unfair to expect the vet to give free consultation and offering to do this will establish your credibility with them). If the vet is inexperienced with guinea pigs, explain to him/her that by the time pigs show signs of illness, they are very sick and a 3 or 4 day delay in treatment may prove fatal.
Ask your vet for a prescription of Baytril, Doxycycline (vibravet - powdered form), a sulfa drug, and bactrim. These are drugs that have a fairly long shelf life if stored properly. (Once you add water to the doxycycline, it is only stable for 14 days). The idea is that if you can't get to the vet for 3 or 4 days, you will have the meds on hand so that in the event of an emergency - you will be able to start treatment under your vet's direction.
DO NOT MEDICATE WITHOUT FIRST CONSULTING WITH THE VET
You will need to consult with your vet for dosage and you will need to give them a detailed description of signs of illness in order to know which med to use and to ensure you don't overdose the pig.
PLEASE NOTE: Having medications on hand is not meant to replace a visit to your vet. As soon as you are able, you MUST take the pig in. Having these meds on hand is only to prevent losing precious treatment time.
Don't be disappointed if your vet refuses to give you these prescriptions. Most vets will be extremely reluctant to hand out prescriptions to an owner with a healthy animal. This is a reasonable and responsible position to take. If your vet knows you well, however, he or she may feel confident that there is no danger of the medications being abused and provide you with the prescriptions.
Seagull provides a list of supplies recommended for Stocking a Cavy Medicine Cabinet.
Additional supplies you may wish to include:
- A hot water bottle to keep the pig warm (wrap in towel)
- Kitchen scales to weigh the pig for dosage
- A collection of 1cc and 3cc syringes (needleless)
- A probiotic gel to put "good" bacteria back into the gut while on antibiotics. BeneBac, LactoBac, Probios, Fastrack are some brands. (All you need is .10cc once daily.)
- Betadine Solution.
Supplies that would be nice to have:
- A stethoscope
- A hemostat (a scissor-handled clamp used for compressing bleeding blood vessels, available at a medical supply store) perfect for dosing pigs with pills, as they can be inserted down to the molars where it is much harder to spit back up.
- Oxbow Critical Care Formula. This must be ordered through your vet but if you can get your vet to order it, it would be excellent to have on hand for emergencies. This product should only be used under a vet's supervision.