Abscess on back/lumbar area, Dana 4 year old Abyssinian

Post Reply
Cramer

Post   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:18 am


After the recent loss of my pig Nutmeg, my girlfriend and I did a very thorough inspection on our two remaining pigs. After doing so we found an abscess on the back of our Abyssinian Dana. It is located right underneath one of her rosettes of hair, so I never would have noticed it without feeling all over her. It's fairly large, a bit bigger than an American half dollar. I took her to the vet, and he confirmed that it was an abscess after doing a fine needle aspiration.

The vet recommended surgery to remove it. I asked about putting in a drain and flushing with saline instead, the vet said he would if I really wanted him to, but the vet felt that it would be too painful for her and take much longer for it to heal than surgery (he estimated about 3-4 weeks heal time with a drain, and about 2 weeks heal time for surgery.) That plus the risk of us missing a day of flushing it and the fact that we want our two pigs back together asap since I don't want anyone being lonely was enough to convince me.

She'll be going in for surgery tomorrow, possibly staying overnight so we get her back Friday. Plan is to put a divider in the cage for the healing period so at least the pigs can see each other. Because of its location he said there may be some issues with closing the skin, but otherwise it's a pretty safe procedure. Dana is quite fat (1200 grams) and perky so I'm sure she'll be fine.

Just thought I'd post about this. It sucks when things happen so soon after losing one pig. I really don't want to lose another, but I guess this serves as a reminder to actually feel our pigs when we check them and not just look at them.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:39 am


This can be Dana's medical thread then.

I think you are right to have it surgically removed. Some types of abscesses require the removal of the wall of the abscess to completely take care of this. Much less likelihood of it returning. The drains are most frequently put in for areas around the throat and butt.

Is there a reason you couldn't bring her home on the day of the surgery? Does the vet think this will be a serious/extensive surgery?

When she comes home, you can divide the cage to give her a little peace and quiet while healing. Though this is not as invasive as abdominal or stones surgery, you might want to read over:
www.guinealynx.info/postop.html

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:29 am


I, too, think surgery is the right option. Abscesses are notoriously hard to clear up in guinea pigs, and if you just drain it, you run the risk of having to have surgery later anyway.

But do be aware that you should do reintroductions anyway after having them separated in the cage. Ask me how I know to do this. I didn't, and it didn't work well.

Cramer

Post   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:33 pm


You guys give me a bit more peace of mind. I'm so accustomed to humans where we would just do an I&D and irrigate it till it heals that I forgot surgery is usually best for these little guys. I went through a post neuter abscess removal on my boy Sue a few years ago, that was no fun.

I think we might be able to take her home the day of the surgery, he just wants us to plan on leaving her there just in case they have any issues with recovery. He states that removing the abscess will be easy but because of where it is her skin is pulled very taught, which means he may have some issue pulling the skin up and closing the incision so she might be under anesthesia for longer than he'd like. His total cost is very reasonable ($350 USD for everything except for culturing the abscess, and that includes the overnight stay. Culture is 80 through an outside lab.)

The plan is to place dividers in the cage so neither pig gets lonely and so the other pig cannot mess with Dana as she heals. I'm going to use two grid squares so they can sniff and see each other but can't nibble or anything.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:30 pm


That is extremely reasonable. You are fortunate to have a vet so affordable!

Cramer

Post   » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:58 pm


So, surgery went well. Apparently it was an abscess on top of some sort of mass or tumor, not just an abscess, according to my girlfriend. He removed all of it, So it was all sent off for pathology, and we'll probably learn what it is in a few days. I'm at work so I'm unable to speak with the vet, but my girlfriend will be asking him later if he knows what type of mass or tumor he thinks it is. Hoping it's just a lipoma or something. I'll keep everyone posted. Big takeaway is she's recovering well so far. He still wants to keep her overnight just to make sure she gets back to eating on her own again.

TheCageCleaner

Post   » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:13 pm


Hey guys, Cramer’s girlfriend here. [I was *very* tempted to make my username NotCramer or CramerSquared, not gonna lie.]

Dana was waking up when the vet initially called me at about 1:45 in the afternoon. From what he explained it seems the tumor itself (possible lipoma or ‘fatty tumor’ as he put it) abscessed. It was an easy removal but I am waiting with bated breath for him to call back at 6 to make sure she’s up and running again, and I’m nervously awaiting the pathology. If he’s leaning more towards a lipoma I’ll be less anxious. Having lost our Nutmeg to possible cancer a couple of weeks ago I’m rather shocked to have a second pig with a tumor but it seems to be unrelated.

In better news, our other pig Bonnie seems to be in good spirits despite being alone. I just had her on my lap for about 20 minutes eating some veggies as a treat, and she remains alert and active in her cage. She’s normally a little more sedentary so I’m not sure if she’s exploring because she misses Dana or what, but I’m glad she seems to at least be active, eating, pooping, etc. Ironic that at her age she’s technically the healthiest.

I will post again in a little while once the vet updates us. :)

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:03 pm


Thanks for the update. I hope it is just a lipoma too. I was unaware they could get infected - but good to know. It sounds like a surgery she should recover from okay, CGF!

TheCageCleaner

Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:10 am


Quick update: Vet called me last night and this AM, same news both times. Dana is doing wonderfully post-op, she ate and peed/pooped normally overnight. We had some GI concerns pre-op that I discussed with the vet (larger/sometimes wet poos) but we started a probiotic a few days ago and it seems to have evened her out, will monitor over the next several days. I'll be picking her up this evening and she will go in a divided cage with Bonnie on the other side just in case. I haven't asked about aftercare just yet but I will when I go to get her--here's hoping she heals up well without much issue.

We have a very nice back-stock of Critical Care along with several medications left over from Nutmeg (she passed before we even opened any). I'm expecting to be sent home with Metacam, abx, and an appetite stimulant--judging from the vet's calls she's still eating like a pig anyway, which surprised me. I may not be in the medical field, but living with someone who is, you end up with a lot of supplies hanging around! We're well-prepared for any complications.

Post-op doesn't seem like the main concern at this point. I'm more wanting to nail down what the tumor is so we can plan for the future. Luckily if it is a lipoma, it could very well just be a one-off.

Thank you all for your support through this and on Nutmeg's thread--I've always been a lurker from the time Cramer and I got together but now that we are piggy co-parents I figured it was time to join in. I'll give another update once Dana is home and maybe even a photo if she's up to it. :)

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:18 am


Good news! I hope she continues to heal fine.

TheCageCleaner

Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:33 pm


Dana is home at last! The vet and I had a good chat when I went to get her. He was laughing as he told me about how she was pretty much instantly back to eating hay once she was awake. That’s Dana for you. She really lives up to the PIG part of ‘guinea pig!’.

The incision is small, and this doc is a master at stitches. They’ll dissolve in about a week and luckily since it’s on her top side and fairly far down her back, it’s not going to be messed with easily. Bonnie was up against the grid divider in the cage (which I put in this morning) sniffing at her but I don’t foresee her trying to get at the stitches. Dana was more interested in her food.

We have Metacam, Bactrim, and Periactin for an appetite stimulant (which we are still using per vet, he thinks it’s still necessary especially if she isn’t as chipper tomorrow). We also have yet another bag of Critical Care which we probably won’t need but at least it’s sealed and will last a while.

As for the tumor, we’ll know in about 10 days if it’s a lipoma or liposarcoma (or something else). Fingers crossed it’s benign.

Dana says ‘thank you for the well wishes!’.
Image

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Nov 17, 2017 8:19 pm


That is great! Looks like you're heading in the right direction!

TheCageCleaner

Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:10 pm


Dana update: we're almost through the antibiotic period. Culture came back negative for bacteria, we are still awaiting pathology sometime this week.

We were initially giving Bactrim and Periactin 2x/day, Metacam in the AM, and a probiotic with pellets midday. We noticed Dana's GI system may have been a little iffy the first day or so post-op and the vet suggested we start Cisapride 2x/day which definitely helped. However, we noticed about 8 days post-op that she'd lost about 2oz (50g) over the course of 2 days when we ran out of her initial Periactin. Vet suggested giving Periactin again (we had extra from Nutmeg) and adjusting Cisapride to once daily. At this point we are only a couple of days into the new routine (Bactrim/Periactin 2x, Metacam/probiotic/Cisapride 1x/day), but there have still been some fluctuations. In the 2 days she’s been back on Periactin she went from 1159g to 1200g (her average is about 1175-1200). Today she was 1200 at 7:30am and somehow 1150 at 10:00pm (both weights taken before meds and veggies).

Is this kind of yo-yoing normal? I’d expected an increase when we started the Periactin again but the fluctuation within a day is freaking me out. Her behavior, eating habits, and pooping seem fairly normal and there’s really no issues with the stitches.

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Mon Nov 27, 2017 10:20 pm


Fluctuations do happen. I would not worry at this point.

Phantomhorse

Post   » Tue Nov 28, 2017 3:13 pm


I only worry when a flux is continual, for instance 1100 - 1030 - 1000 - 960 - 1000 at this point the pig has pretty much had a straight downward trend, even if it is only thirty grams at a time. Up and down though I am seeing every day with my piggies. I don't worry unless it is like that or it is around 60 grams.

TheCageCleaner

Post   » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:27 pm


Thanks, all. She has been holding a bit more steady around 1175g for the past couple of days.

Vet called back with the pathology results--benign, thank goodness--a fibrolipoma with inflammation/WBCs, definitely infected. Luckily the entire tumor was removed in surgery and we have not seen any issues with infection at the site since. 3 more days of Bactrim (total of 2wks) and Periactin, and we have been told to discontinue the Cisapride (as it was a precaution post-op and her poops seem normal now). I will be keeping an eye on her weight once she's off all the meds, I'm expecting her to need to adjust to not having them in her system.

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Dec 01, 2017 2:32 pm


Good news!

User avatar
Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:22 pm


Yes indeed! Very good news!

Post Reply
18 posts • Page 1 of 1