Ovarian Tumors in 6 year old Guinea Pig

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kirschmn

Post   » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:01 pm


Hi everyone,

One of my guinea pigs, Emily has what appears to be an ovarian tumor and a mammary tumor along with hair loss on her hind legs. She is 6 years old and has been previously treated for ovarian cysts with hormone injections about 6 months ago. We took her to the vet today, and the vet wants to spay her and says it should remove the cancer.
I am worried if this is the right thing to do since she is 6 years old. The vet was very insistent about doing the spay. She doesn't have any other health issues but I have had her for 6 years and i'm terrified she will not survive or recover from the surgery. I want to do everything possible to give her the best life and keep her around for as long as possible, but of course I am biased.
I am looking for advice from other cavy owners that have been in a similar situation. I spent $500 today for ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood work, and I am looking at another $430 for the spay surgery. I currently have the surgery scheduled but I don't know if it is the right thing to do for her. She is currently not in any pain or exhibiting symptoms, I just noticed the lumps during cuddle time.

What would you all do? Have you heard of any other treatments for ovarian tumors?

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2017

Post   » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:22 pm


Admittedly, I am biased because I had 2 spay surgeries that did not go well, but I would be VERY hesitant to spay a 6 year old guinea pig. Why does the vet think she has cancer? Did she respond at all to the first hormone injections? What is the vet’s experience with spaying guinea pigs? How many has she done? What was the outcome? I don’t think a vet should ever be insistent about doing a spay on a 6 year old guinea pig. Especially since your guinea pig is not in any discomfort, my suggestion would be to not have the spay. It is a very invasive surgery for a guinea pig and can have a difficult recovery.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:50 pm


Catie Cavy asked some excellent questions. I would see what your vet says.

Britpigmum

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:43 am


I have to say, my experience with a spay on a 5 year old sow with cysts ended very badly...

We had another girl with the same condition. We opted for 'benign neglect' with her, managing her condition with pain relief and meds. She blessed us with another 18 happy months. In the last few days she became very ill very quickly, and we chose to have her released to the Rainbow Bridge when she deteriorated. But she did well without surgical intervention IMHO.

I'd like to add, her cysts were -enormous- and grew quite rapidly. Before she died she went up to over 1600gms. We had to make a few adjustments in terms of widening her hideys to make sure she didn't get stuck, but they didn't bother her in the slightest. She was able to run freely and was very enthusiastic about life.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:06 am


Did she get any response from the hormone treatments? If so, a second round might help, or a different hormone.

I'd be very wary of a spay for a six year old. She might come through just fine, she might not. I'd at least ask for information about whether a flank spay would be possible -- removing the ovaries from the sides rather than digging through the abdomen to get to them. I don't even know if that can be done for an ovary with a cyst. But the surgery doesn't disturb the intestines the way an abdominal spay does, and it can be easier for the pig to recover.

The mammary tumor surgery isn't a difficult one, as surgeries go. They don't open the abdomen, and that saves a lot of post-op stress and worry. If that were the only problem she had, I wouldn't hesitate to do that one. But with that and the ovarian cysts, it's a much tougher call.

kirschmn

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 3:51 pm


@bpatters @Catie Cavy,
She has previously had 2 hormone shot about 6 months ago, when we noticed cysts and hair loss on the sides. She grew her hair back and seemed alright, the cysts had shrunk. The vet believes it is ovarian cancer because of the mammary tumor, as well as the x-ray and ultra sound which showed 2 solid masses, that makes him believe they aren't cysts. It doesn't appear to have metastasized. The vet says he spays guinea pigs all the time and the practice has several exotic vets that do specialize in Guinea pigs.

I left a message this morning at the vet asking for them to give me a call back about seeing if the injections are an option or if we could try just removing the mammary tumor. Hopefully ill get a call back tonight.

kirschmn

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:21 pm


I spoke with the vet again, and he believes that the hormone shots will not help at all because they are tumors, and thinks surgery is the only and best option for her. He is stating that on a scale of 1 to 5 for surgical risk she is only at a 2. We are waiting for blood work results still

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:43 pm


Do keep us apprised. There is some comprehensive post op advice here that might help you:

www.guinealynx.info/postop.html

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:04 pm


It is true that general health and condition are better indicators of eligibility for surgery than age. But a spay is a very invasive procedure, and six is pretty old for that kind of stress.

kirschmn

Post   » Sat Oct 21, 2017 7:02 pm


Thank you everyone, I will keep you updated on what I choose to do. I reached out to one of my friends at the shelter where we adopted her from for some more advice as to what she thinks on the matter. I am truly torn right now, and I am hoping the blood work might shed some light on what her current health is and help as well.

kirschmn

Post   » Fri Nov 03, 2017 8:24 pm


I wanted to update you all. Emily's bloodwork showed elevated white blood cells and her liver enzymes were elevated. The vet was worried that the cancer may have spread to her bone marrow. I decided not to risk the surgery and begin palliative care. She is currently on metacam and doing well.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Nov 03, 2017 10:29 pm


I'm sure that was a hard decision, but undoubtedly the right one. I'm so sorry.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Nov 03, 2017 11:24 pm


I am sorry to hear the cancer may have spread.

Phantomhorse

Post   » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:05 pm


I do think that it was a good choice. Luckily, all of my spays have gone well but if I was presented with that choice I do not think it would take it. A six year old biggie deserves to be comfortable and loved, and will not handle surgery well.

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