- I GAVE, dammit!
It turned out it was a benign tumor. My vet described it as a cyst which had exploded! The biggest danger I think, is self-mutiliation and infection. However, on removal he said it had also attached itself to some surrounding muscle, which he removed to be safe, so I think leaving them for too long could start to cause problems.
I'm hoping Josephine will notice this thread as the pics are pretty clear. Maybe she's seen the same sort of thing.
I've sent the photos to Cavies Castle (the rodentologists) but not yet heard back - they have over 100 piggies to care for, many of whom are being syringe fed, so I know they don't have a lot of time. I've suggested they email me a time that it would be convenient for me to phone them.
Did searches on all 11 vets in Angers - not one has a website, which means I must ring round them all. My French is not perfect, least of all when it comes to technical veterinary terms. My worry is that receptionists will say, "Oh yes, we treat guinea pigs" but will not know any answers to the "vet selection" questions about fasting and survival rates, and in truth they have seen a few sick guinea pigs but all have subsequently died from lack of knowledge. I have been here before. What I really wanted was to be able to email the photos in advance and discuss over the phone, then Pirouette would only have to endure the 6 hour return journey once instead of twice.
When I checked, I realised that the first lump was only noticed in September last year, not this time last year as I first posted. So they have grown fairly quickly. Of course I wish I had acted earlier, but it is knowing what action to take that is the big problem. As they were not bothering her, I think I did hope they might clear up on their own in time, or just stay the same.
My advice is not to bother with a cream, but get a good vet!
Find out how to say Isoflurane and Sevoflurane in French. Both are safe inhalant type anesthetics. Find someone who does a lot of surgeries.
I am sorry you're having trouble finding a good vet.
As you have figured out, the quicker these growths grow the more urgent it is to have them out.
I am also sorry it is so hard to find a Vet in your area. You also have my sympathy.
They are very experienced with guineas pigs, and I trust them more than I would a vet here. If they do not feel removal under local anaesthetic is an option, I think I will try to persuade them to take Pirouette back to Britain with them and get her to the Cambridge Cavy Trust - I know they go there a lot anyway. Getting her back would be a problem, but I would work something out.
I didn't try for the Silvadene. The vet probably wouldn't prescribe it without seeing the piggie (understandable), and I'm nervous as to what she might want to try. It's not too long before the end of the month .... .
I keep doing searches for guinea pig vets in French and thinking I've come up with an answer - then find they are in Quebec or Montreal, not France.
Please keep your fingers crossed for us.
Your pictures doubtlessly helped. Updates will be appreciated. Good luck, Debbie.
Pirouette's lumps were diagnosed as erupted sebaceous cysts. Each was dealt with on a different day, and without anaesthetic, the decision having been made that the injection of anaesthetic would be more painful than the intervention itself.
With the utmost attention to hygiene, Chris firmly held Pirouette on a towel on top of a pillow. Titch first shaved the area around the lump, then squeezed as much sebum as he could out of it - long, odorless "worms" of thick, whitish stuff. Piri wheeked a little with discomfort, but no more than previous pigs have when abscesses have been squeezed. But then, there was no cutting. Instead, he used sterile tweezers to pull out the remains of the gland, which were like little white worms.
He was working under a spotlight, so they were reasonably easy to see, but it was a long, painstaking process such as I suspect most vets would not have time for. He explained to me that the gland had long tendrils very similar to roots, and like the persistent ground elder with which I have such problems in my flower borders, if one tiny tendril was left in, the cyst would grow again.
This process did not appear particularly distressing to Piri, and he stopped periodically to let her have a nibble on a veggie treat, which was accepted so readily that it was evident to me that the piggie was not unduly stressed. There was hardly any blood. He flushed the cavity with "Dermisol" liquid solution from time to time, and wiped it out with a clean cotton bud, and once satisfied that every trace of the gland he or Chris could see had been removed, he covered the cavity with a thin layer of "Dermisol" cream.
We kept an eye on the cavities afterwards. The cavity from the first, and smaller, lump treated had already reduced considerably in size before they left. The second one treated, larger and deeper, left a larger cavity, and Titch did say he had doubts as to whether he had successfully removed every trace of the gland. I must monitor it, let it heal, and if the lump recurs, must repeat the "squeeze and tweeze" procedure, which I would feel confident to do now I have watched it being so expertly done.
The lumps are benign, so if either does recur, it will not be life-threatening. I believe the cavities are itchy now, because they are healing, but other than that, Pirouette has shown no sign of distress or anxiety. She is still in with Cherry, as there is no risk of cross-contamination, and eating, drinking and pooping well.
I am sending a couple more photos to Lynx so you can see what the cavities look like now, and will keep posting as the wounds hopefully heal. If the outcome is as successful as I am hoping it will be, this thread could maybe become a useful resource for others in a situation similar to that I was in a few weeks ago, panicking over these huge ugly "tumours" on their precious piggie.
Many thanks to all who insisted I should not just "wait and see"!
They still look pretty darn awful. Did they tell you what to expect? How do they figure the skin will close up if it is not stitched? Any prognosis on this?
Josephine, does this sound to you like a sebaceous cyst?
Here are the pics you provided:
I sure do hope it heals up though.
I promise to keep you posted. I agree that, when her brother, Claude, had a cyst removed from the same position by the Cambridge Cavy Trust, the hole was stitched. But abscess holes must never be stitched, I know. Titch could have stitched the holes - I mean, he has the ability/skill. Maybe he thought they'd heal quicker with access to the air?
I'm sure he'd explain further if I wrote and asked, but they are so busy treating other piggies and caring for their own that I wouldn't bother him so long as Pirouette seems to be healing okay. I am just relieved that something has been done, and I haven't lost her under an anaesthetic.
Titch did warn me that he didn't think he would have got everything out of the second and larger lump, but like I say, he said if it came back I was just to repeat the procedure. I know it doesn't sound as ideal as surgery at a competent exotics' vet, but that really was not an option for me here.
Graphic pics of cyst on human eyelid and removal ("The content was made up of cheesy materials."):
"The cyst was removed by carefully freeing it from the surrounding tissue. Spillage of the content and incomplete excision can cause chronic inflammation due to spillage of the content. "
So these were multiple folicles for your guinea pig? I wish we had a diagram of a guinea pig's integumentary system for reference here. I should try to see what I can find.
I am somewhat confused over references to keratious material and sebum I found at Merc's site. My human anatomy book talks about sebaceous glands being simple aveolar glands with several aveoli opening into a single duct. Says they are mostly associated with hair follicles.
"... sebaceous glands surround a hair follicle into which the sebum is secreted."
To me, this means one gland per follicle. I may be wrong. So for your pig this would be several malfunctioning glands?
For what it's worth, anything else you can provide for understanding it would be most appreciated (if you had to repeat the procedure, pics might be helpful). We don't encounter these problems often on the board but it would be invaluable to be able to identify them and get them properly treated. While I still think a surgical removal would have been preferred, there are people all over the globe who may benefit from non-surgical treatment such as you describe ("squeeze and tweeze").