I noticed a lump on her rump about a year ago. It didn't come up suddenly like an abscess (I've dealt with several of those) and didn't seem to be bothering her, so I left it. It got slowly bigger. Then last summer another came up, nearer her bum. Still not bothering her. Never oozed.
At this point I should say that my vets don't have much clue about guinea pigs. I've tried several, all admit it. If I can get suggestions from the Net or the CCT, the local vets will sell me whatever drugs I've asked for. I have never yet saved a piggie this way. They have never anaesthetised a piggie, and use injected anaesthetics, not gas. I have one other pig with a large sebaceous cyst and another with what has been diagnosed, after an ultrasound scan, as a hernia, but the decision was made in each case, after diagnosis last summer, to leave well alone whilst they were not bothering the pig, which they weren't and still aren't.
Pirouette's lumps must measure more than 1 cm across now. They now look like craters, filled with yellow-brown dried cracked resin-looking stuff - sorry, hard to describe. I have taken photos of them, but don't know how to include them in a post - nothing seems to happen when I click on Img*. The later one, nearer the bum, is the larger and sometimes has spots of blood on it. They still don't seem to bother her. She is not significantly losing weight, and is active and lively as ever, eating well, pooping, drinking, piddling normally.
I am hoping some people from Cavies Castle (rodentologists) will be visiting me later this spring to do health checks on all my piggies (I drove a sick piggie under the Channel Tunnel to them last November in a last-ditch attempt to save him, though sadly he died a week later), and they may be able to advise me on this. But I do feel these things are getting bigger, and I wondered if there was anything I could do myself. After reading Wheekers' experiences, I am thinking veterinary intervention really is not an option.
I am wondering whether these could be basal cell tumours, which I've seen mentioned in Virginia Richardson's book? She suggests surgical excision, but I would not trust the local vets. She says they are benign.
Is there anything topical/homeopathic I could try? I have been reluctant to bathe because at present they look dry and not sore. I worry that if I soak off the crusty surface crater, I will allow harmful bacteria to enter and do more harm than good. A gradually acting cream, if such exists, would be better. I could isolate her so Cherry couldn't lick her - I don't think she can reach either lump herself.
She's not a particularly human-orientated piggie - well, I think she was attached to her original family, but she does not relate closely to me. I think she would find a trip to the UK very stressful, plus I don't think I could afford one right now.
I am still in regular contact with her family by email. They know about the first lump, but I didn't want to worry them with the second. They trust me to do what I can to ensure she has a long, happy life.
All advice/opinions gratefully received.
Firstly, I just love your little girl's name! That is darling and I'm sure she is, too.
I am sorry she is experiencing these problem lumps on her bum. I am no medical expert, and hopefully someone will come along who knows for certain what they are, but I would suspect broken-open sebaceous cysts. Especially because you mention a "resin-like" material in the craters which sounds like dried up excessive skin oil. Having suggested that, I have no idea how to treat them. It's a very good thing that she is carrying on normally and they don't seem to be bothering her.
You are quite the devoted piggie-mom to drive to another country for your sick animal! And here I thought 45 minutes to my favorite vet was heroic...
I hope you can get some answers and Pirouette makes a complete recovery.
Here is a simular post: about Follicular and Sebaceous cysts.
I have never had to deal with anything of this nature. Someone will be along who can help you more I am sure.
You can send me a pic if it is crisp and clear and I will add it to this thread. Please include a link to the thread so I can find it easily.
The CCT do, of course, use a gas anaesthetic. The wound was large enough to have stitches - but his lump was nowhere near as big as Pirouette's. He made a full recovery.
I've looked at the photos in the links. Snowflake's was a lot smaller than what Pirouette has. Hers were quite large by the time I noticed them. But they did not appear or grow very quickly, and do not smell. I have treated 2 nasty abscesses on different pigs in the past (including one which I think was cervical lymphadenitis), and these lumps of Pirouette's are not like those were.
A simmilar pic by Latino22:
Latino22 was by recently posting about some new pigs. I never found out what happened to this one :-(
It is a long and expensive journey from here to the Cavy Cambridge Trust in Britain. At present Pirouette seems happy. Such a journey would be very stressful for her, and obviously any surgery would be frightening and painful. From Latino's thread, it looks likely that the lump might return after surgery. I would therefore have to leave her at the Cavy hospital, all alone and frightened - and for how long?
Obviously I need to consult with her family in Australia. As I mentioned initially, I am hoping 2 rodentologists from Cavies Castle will visit me later this spring. I might be able to persuade them to take her back with them to the CCT. But it's a lot to put Pirouette through, and hard when at present she doesn't seem to be suffering.
My book says basal cell tumours are benign and metastases are rare. Maybe these two will not infect her whole body and kill her? Maybe an anaesthetic would kill her? Maybe cutting her open and letting in infection when she is already in a stressed state from a long journey would kill her?
I will try to take a better photo - my partner says the camera has a macro button - and send it to the rodentologists for their opinion. But it looks like there isn't anything topical I can put on it in the meantime?
Many thanks to everyone for their input. It is very frustrating to have no access to proper veterinary care.
Are any neighboring countries possibilities? I think both Germany and the Netherlands should have competent vets.
A better pic would be great. I'm sorry you're in this situation with this poor guinea pig.
At the very least I think antibiotics are in order. There is a list of applicable ones here, in the Medical and Care Guide. Can you list some suggestions and doseage, and bring them into the Vet that isn't cavy-savy?
Otherwise Piroutte seems okay? Eating and drinking and at a good weight?
I would think a culture could be done. That is not a species specific thing. Is that what you meant, Lynx?
Debbie? Do you have access to Slivadene cream? That would be good to use. The only concern with antibacterial creams is that they are not good to ingest. The antibiotic properties also may kill necessary bacteria in the intestines, and cause a whole 'nother problem. The Silvadene cream does not.
Or a weak Betadine solution would be of help. Do not use peroxide.
As for the antibiotics, if she has vets who are not very knowledgeable, there may be complications from antibiotic use if it is not required. They also might prescribe unsafe antibiotics or unsafe doses.
Yes, I'd hope she could get a culture done too.
I do have "Vetadine Solution", which is an aqueous solution of iodine for tissues of cats, dogs and so on. It's what I used (diluted in warm water) to flush out the 2 abscesses I've treated on other piggies. I have contemplated using this - but again, I worry about doing more harm than good, ie, I break down the hard surface and let in germs. I agree, the bigger (photographed) lump does have bloody spots - but I think these are where hard bits have dropped off, rather than anything oozing through.
I do "know" (through the Net) Hermann Wenzel in Germany, and have heard that the Netherlands have good guinea pig vets, but unfortunately I am in the Northwest of France, so Britain is closer for me, even though far away.
Would the Silvadene cream be at the pharmacy or at the vet? I like the thought of a cream as it would not be invasive, if you see what I mean, and it would form a barrier between any open parts of the lump and the air.
Pirouette weighed 739g when she first came to me, aged 2 years, in May 2004. Her highest recorded weight since then was December 2005, when she weighed 950g, and at present she weighs 885g. She is eating, drinking, weeing and pooping well, running around during floor time - honestly showing no sign of discomfort or pain. She doesn't even make any effort to scratch the lumps. I think this is why I have found it difficult to take any action. If she were showing signs of discomfort/pain, it would be much easier to intervene, in an effort to relieve that. But whilst she seems oblivious of the lumps, I am so reluctant to do anything which will make them hurt her.
With the abscesses, I didn't mind inflicting pain by squeezing and irrigating, because they were causing discomfort in the first place, I knew they could prove fatal if they were left and I knew, particularly after the first one was eradicated, that I could make the piggie well again by inflicting the pain. In Pirouette's case, I am not sure that intervention is going to make her well again. I suppose I fear that, once I start to interfere, she is going to start feeling pain she hasn't yet got, and if the lumps are going to prove inoperable or are recurring, she has only more pain to look forward to, ending in euthanasia. Should this latter scenario prove to be the outcome, I would obviously rather she enjoyed life to the full for as long as she can.
I will try to get a better photo, maybe one of each lump, today, and send them to Cavies Castle as well as posting them on here.
Would I be right in thinking it would be cruel to even consider having the lumps removed with just a local anaesthetic rather than a general one? They are pretty big, aren't they?
Sorry if I'm seeming to stubbornly refuse all helpful suggestions. I am taking them all on board. I agree it looks like a serious problem that needs competent veterinary attention. It's the difficulty in accessing such attention that is the real problem - and were that not a problem, I'd have had Pirouette to the vet long ago.
- I gave AGAIN, dammit!
I did allow her to castrate two male rabbits, which she had done before. She used an injected anaesthetic, and they survived. They were healthy young rabbits.
She has never operated on a guinea pig. She has told me she does not use a gas anaesthetic. She has told me she has had little training in guinea pig care. I don't doubt that she could remove the lumps. I doubt her skill in administering injected anaesthetic when she has never used it with such a small animal before. And I worry about Pirouette's pain afterwards. My rabbits did not get pain relief after they were castrated, even though I had asked for it.
Someone told me they think there may be a vet experienced with guinea pigs in Angers, about 3 hours' drive away. I am looking into it.
Will keep you posted.
My worry with the biopsy is not the needle itself, but the hole it will create.
Have you recieved a response from the owners? Perhaps the Vet that does not have adequate anesthesia could steer you in the direction of a Vet that does.