Exotis ISSN 2398-2985

Guinea Pigs

Dyspnea

Synonym(s): Difficulty breathing, Labored breathing

Contributor(s): Cathy Johnson-Delaney, Vicki Baldrey

Introduction

  • Distress associated with difficult or labored breathing which leads to a shortness of breath.
  • Cause: respiratory causes including disease of the upper and/or lower respiratory tract; non-respiratory causes include pain, anxiety, fever, heat stroke, obesity, abdominal distension, cardiac disease, metabolic disorders, neuromuscular disease and anemia.
  • Signs: depends on underlying cause. General: anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, poor hair coat. Increased respiratory effort, pyrexia, nasal discharge, sneezing, coughing, wheezing.
  • Diagnosis: a complete physical examination with history. CBC/chemistries, microbiology, ELISA and IFA, PCR tests, nasal swab/wash, transtracheal wash or bronchoalveolar lavage, cytology of any exudate, ultrasound-guided lung aspiration, thoracentesis, abdominocentesis, histopathology, radiography, CT or MRI, ultrasonography, respiratory endoscopy.
  • Treatment: oxygen administration, fluid therapy, anxiolytics, analgesia.
  • Prognosis: poor if the guinea pig is open-mouth breathing; poor to grave for underlying disease such as neoplasia, cardiac disease; guarded to poor if a severely dyspneic guinea pig has not improved within 12 hours of intensive care.

Pathogenesis

Etiology

Respiratory causes

  • Upper respiratory tract:
    • Nasal passage obstruction.
    • Rhinitis, sinusitis Nasal discharge.
    • Dental disease Dental disease: maxillary tooth roots, tooth root abscesses can extend into nasal passages leading to secondary bacterial infections and/or obstructions.
    • Trauma (to face, nose, neck).
    • Foreign body such as grass pieces (rare).
    • Neoplasia (such as nasal adenocarcinoma).
    • Laryngotracheal obstruction (edema, swelling from trauma): traumatic intubation, multiple intubation attempts, or inadvertent laryngeal trauma that occurred during dental procedures.
  • Lower respiratory tract:
  • Neoplasia: pulmonary adenoma Pulmonary neoplasia; metastatic lesions rare.
  • Pulmonary edema (usually cardiogenic) Heart disease.
  • Pulmonary contusion from trauma.
  • Allergy (not well documented).
  • Intrathoracic tracheal disease including neoplasia, abscess, foreign body: uncommon.
  • Extraluminal tracheal compression due to abscess or neoplasia.
  • Traumatic airway rupture: uncommon.

 Non-respiratory causes

Predisposing factors

General

  • Diets deficient in vitamin C can lead to immunosuppression.
  • Diets deficient in coarse fiber may contribute to dental disease
  • Poor husbandry which contributes to irritation of the airways: including use of substrates that contain aromatic oils (such as pine, cedar), disinfectants/cleaning chemicals, poor sanitation that leads to ammonia build-up within the cage, smoke, inadequate/improper ventilation, ambient temperature and humidity.

Specific

  • Immunosuppression due to vitamin C deficiency, stress, age, concurrent disease, corticosteroid use.
  • Laryngeal edema or trauma due to traumatic intubation, multiple intubation attempts, or inadvertent laryngeal trauma that occurred during dental procedures.

Pathophysiology

  • Primary respiratory disease:
    • Upper or lower respiratory tract disease or dysfunction.
  • Non-respiratory disease:
    • Abnormalities in pulmonary vascular tone as seen with central nervous system disease or shock.
    • Abnormalities with pulmonary circulation as seen with congestive heart failure.
    • Problem with oxygenation as seen with anemia.
    • Problems with ventilation: obesity, ascites, abdominal organomegaly, or musculoskeletal disease.

Timecourse

  • Depends on underlying disease.
  • If dyspnea becomes severe such that there is open-mouth breathing; that is an acute development.

Epidemiology

  • With infectious disease, there may be transmission between guinea pigs in a colony or household.

Diagnosis

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Treatment

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Prevention

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Outcomes

This article is available in full to registered subscribers

Sign up now to purchase a 30 day trial, or Login

Further Reading

Publications

Refereed Papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Hawkins M G & Graham J E (2007) Emergency and critical care of rodents. Vet Clin North Amer Exot Anim Pract 10 (2), 501-531 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • Mayer J (2013) Rodents. In: Exotic Animal Formulary. 4th edn. Eds: Carpenter J W & Marion C J. Elsevier. pp 476-516.
  • Hawkins M G & Bishop C R (2012) Disease Problems of Guinea Pigs. In: Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents Clinical Medicine and Surgery. 3rd edn. Eds: Quesenberry K E & Carpenter J W. Elsevier. pp 295-310.
  • Rettenmund C L & Heatley J J (2011) Dyspnea and Tachypnea. In: Blackwell's Five-Minute Veterinary Consult: Small Mammal. Ed: Oglesbee B L. Wiley-Blackwell. pp 262-264.
  • Johnson-Delaney C (2010) Guinea Pigs, Chinchillas, Degus and Duprasi. In: BSAVA Manual of Exotic Pets. 5th edn. Eds: Meredith A & Johnson-Delaney C. British Small Animal Veterinary Association. pp 28-62.
  • Percy D H & Barthold S W (2007) Guinea Pigs. In: Pathology of Laboratory Rodents and Rabbits. 3rd edn. Eds: Percy D H & Barthold S W. Blackwell Publishing. pp 217-251.


ADDED