How to treat a possible thyroid lump?

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Post   » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:33 pm

Hi all,

My piggy, Peaches, is almost 5 years old. Over the last several months she has been gradually losing weight (she was about 1,000g last year and now is down to right at 900g). Three weeks ago I took her to the exotic vet that I trust and they discovered a small (the size of half a pea) lump. As she has been eating fine, they suspected it's her thyroid. They said the blood test for thyroid is often inconclusive, and said they'd rather take the lump out and test it. Because she is old and thin and sometimes has respiratory issues (and because it would cost $1,000), I didn't want to put her through that, so I decided to just wait and try to fatten her up. Her weight has stayed about the same, but over the last couple of days her appetite has increased a lot. I've been giving her critical care once a day, and she gobbles it off a spoon and then wheeks for more food!

So I need to do something. Does anyone know whether it would be appropriate to just assume thyroid and treat her for that? Does she absolutely have to have the surgery? And if she did, how much time do you think it would buy her? I love her more than anything, but don't want to put her through surgery if we can avoid it. Thanks for any advice!

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Post   » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:18 pm

Have you tried a search of the medical forum using the word "thyroid"? It might turn up something to help you. Unfortunately, I do not have any answers for you.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:28 pm

Thyroid surgery is pretty risky, for humans or guinea pigs. And in humans, at least, there are other ways to treat some thyroid problems than surgery. If it were me, I'd want a lot of information about what the lump could be, whether they think they can just remove the lump or whether the whole gland has to be removed, can it be treated any other way, can they do a biopsy to determine what it actually is, what the prognosis is for the most likely scenarios, etc. And then, maybe I'd want a second opinion from a very good exotic vet.


Post   » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:46 pm

Thank you for confirming my concerns. It wasn't something I felt I could just agree to on the spot. I'm thinking of taking her back in to talk about it more, and I will ask your questions. This is the best exotic vet in the city, but it would not hurt to ask for an opinion from a second doctor there. Thanks!

For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Fri Nov 03, 2017 1:55 pm

Yeah, biopsy.
Last spring our vet discovered a 1 cm lump in the neck of our 7 year old Pepper. She was in for something else & the vet didn't pursue treatment of the lump,and also didn't say anything about thyroid. This fall the lump had doubled in size & it is growing. The vet did 2 biopsies & both came back with abnormal cells, but inconclusive as to what's wrong.

She didn't recommend surgery & not just because of Pepper's age & frailty. She said tumors are usually well-supplied with blood vessels & there are a lot of other blood vessels & stuff in the neck that are hard to avoid. It's very unlikely Pepper would survive. We're going to try to keep her comfortable.

This is not to say Pepper's situation is the same as Peaches. Good luck.

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