Nessy - Mastitis


Post   » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:06 pm

My guinea pig girl "Vanessa" or "Nessy" got her card from the vet for her annual checkup. Now my guinea pigs seemed to be programmed to have to go to the vet before a year passes so this was a first for me.

Nessy went to the vet and everything apparently checked out ok. She had gained 1000 grams since I adopted her last year so the vet told me to limit her pellets to a 1/4 cup/day. (I took her at a year old from a place that fed her not-so-great pellets and never gave her any vegetables so I think the weight gain might be attributed to a better diet.)

So Nessy was flipped for her manicure and pedicure. Then it was discovered she had mastitis on her right side. I asked if the vet had ever seen this before in a guinea pig. ("Not really.")

She on antibiotics and pain medication. She goes for a checkup next week. The vet said if doesn't clear up, then then we are talking surgery.

So has anyone ever had a guinea pig with mastitis? If so, potential outcomes? I've had her for about a year and according to the person from whom I got her, she was about 6 months old, a pet store purchase. She lived as a single guinea pig. She certainly hasn't had any babies with me this past year.

Possible sources of her getting this infection when it most likely with nursing mothers?

Anybody have a guinea pig that has had this time of surgery? If she needs the surgery and is a good candidate she'll get it, I just wish I could catch a break here.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:36 pm

Mastitis? In a non-nursing pig? As far as I know, that's a pretty rare thing. How did the vet decide it was mastitis and not a mammary tumor, which is MUCH more common?

The general recommendation for pellets for adult guinea pigs is 1/8 cup per day, not 1/4.

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Post   » Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:05 pm

Ditto bpatters. Much more likely to be a mammary tumor.

You might want to read over the guidance on this page for evaluating weight/condition for a guinea pig.


Post   » Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:01 am

Thanks for the information and links.

Will continue with antibiotics and pain medication. Nessy has a vet appointment this Saturday so will suggest tumor if the swelling isn't gone.

Ironically one of the ladies in my book club told me her husband got mastitis. He got an infection elsewhere also. Didn't ask about nursing as he was too old to be doing that.

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Post   » Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:54 pm

It is worth mentioning that in guinea pigs mammary tumors are prevalent in males. Early symptoms are similar to mastitis.

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Post   » Thu Apr 26, 2018 7:27 pm

I had a pig with a mammary tumor that had discharge from the nipple. Perhaps that's what's going on?


Post   » Sat Apr 28, 2018 10:58 pm

Took Nessy to the vet today. The vet could see what I thought I saw - hard to do as Nessy got wise to me checking her so often she would climb into my hair and tangle her claws in it.

The lump is the same size. The vet squeezed and liquid came from it - she said no blood or pus.

So now this puts Nessy in cyst territory/possibly a mammary tumor.

The vet didn't sound very cheerful when discussing opinions on what can be done - xray, etc Her feeling right now is to do at least a biopsy. By not cheerful, she didn't sound very positive about surgery. She has successfully done surgery on my other guinea pigs. I thought since Nessy is approximately 2 years old (adoption so don't know how old but she was full grown when I got her and I've had her for a year). Maybe the lump she felt is really deep into the body,

The vet is going to confer with other vets and get back to me at the latest Tuesday evening.

Other than the lump Nessy is a healthy little porker. She loves her chow, purrs/pancakes when petted, and screamed bloody murder when the vet was examining her.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sat Apr 28, 2018 11:10 pm

Removal of a mammary tumor generally isn't considered a difficult surgery. They're not going into the abdominal cavity, and the pig usually recovers pretty quickly. Is this vet worried about something in particular?

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Post   » Sun Apr 29, 2018 8:40 pm

I agree with bpatters--there were no issues with removing the mammary tumors on the animals I've had (guinea pigs included).


Post   » Sun Apr 29, 2018 11:35 pm

Good to know mammary tumors - if this is what the lump is - do NOT go into the abdominal cavity and the guinea pig usually recovers generally quickly.

The vet seemed not to be sure what the lump was - mentioned a biopsy as the next step. Not sure of her hesitation as she has done surgeries on my guinea pigs in the past, the most recent in 2016.

I guess if it is a mammary tumor shouldn't just the surgery be done - as long as the guinea pig is healthy? Wondering how the tumor can be detected. As the vet said a biopsy seems to be the next step. Would that tell if it is a mammary tumor?

Again the vet is supposed to contact me by the end of Tuesday to see what she has learned from consulting with other vets.

Meanwhile Nessy is eating well, struggling when I give her the antibiotics and pain medicine. Whenever I try and check the lump, I swear she starts wheeking/screaming "Sexual Assault."

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Post   » Mon Apr 30, 2018 3:47 pm

Yes, I would discuss getting it just removed instead of biopsied.


Post   » Thu May 03, 2018 11:41 pm

Update: On Tuesday the vet put Nessy on another antibiotic. So she is on 2 antibiotics and a pain killer.

The vet is doing some research on mammary tumors. She still doesn't say it, but I think it is a mammary tumor.

Supposed to make an appointment in about a week for a checkup.


Post   » Sun May 13, 2018 11:37 pm

Short update as having difficulty right now typing but --

Took Nessy to the vet yesterday for a checkup. The lump is there, smaller, but still there. Nessy got another 10 days of antibiotics and pain medication.

The vet is saying mammary tumor and feeling surgery is the best option. According to her mammary tumors have a 50% benign/50% malignant rate.

Vet said blood work would be a good thing to do so did it.

My question is how many tests are necessary. I am willing to give Nessy the surgery as she has a good chance of recovery. She seems to be healthy and is only 2 years old. I guess my question is cost. The blood work was $168. The vet is suggesting maybe an x-ray and other things. Again she will get the surgery, but I am on a tight budget here. What is necessary to know/good to have (x-rays, etc.) before surgery.

Apologize for being cost conscious but have been spending $100s and $100s of dollars on vet bills lately. I don't want to be 'cheap' but cost is a consideration. Plus I remember my own surgery when I have tests galore over a year and it took opening up me to go "Oh,that's what it is."

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Sun May 13, 2018 11:44 pm

I'd tell the vet I was on a budget, and ask what can be omitted. I often decline having an x-ray sent to be read by a radiologist, and have always declined blood work. I just don't think it tells you a lot for the cost involved.

If she hasn't had a recent x-ray, that might not be a bad thing to have, if just to make sure she doesn't have something going on in her lungs before being anesthetized.


Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 7:50 pm

Finally got a quote from the vet. There is the 'basic' price with 2 ad-ons.

X-rays - would be $200 to check the lungs. The reasons for checking the lungs is, IF the mammary tumor IS cancerous, and it has metastasized, it will go the lungs because they have the smallest blood vessels so the cancerous cells would most likely get 'caught' there. Nessy is showing no outward signs of breathing issues. The x-rays may show nothing if NOT cancer, or if the cancer has NOT metastasized. If it has, then a decision would have to be made on whether to proceed with the surgery.

Biopsy - $170. This would be to determine what the lump is. A decision doesn't have to be made now about the cost as the tissue could be kept 'in house' for a while. My question would be, would it help to know what the lump was? If it was cancer, would it make a difference in treatment?

Other than that, in less than 2 weeks, Nessy will be having/had her surgery. Crossing paws about it. She was standing on her hind legs tonight begging for food.

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2019

Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 8:41 pm

I did a little googling before answering to be sure. I would skip the x-ray if it is only to check for metastasis. Mammary tumors generally don’t metastasize. I wouldn’t be too worried about lung issues either in a 2-year-old guinea pig. I’d skip the biopsy too. It would give you answers but wouldn’t make a difference in treatment. Are you sure this is a good guinea pig surgeon? She doesn’t seem to know the basics of what is a very common guinea pig condition.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 8:48 pm

Ditto Catie Cavy. I'm not a vet, but I've never heard of mammary tumors metastasizing. And treatements for cancer in guinea pigs don't often result in much improvement, if any, and the only for a short period of time. If mine were ever diagnosed with cancer, I'd opt only for pain medication until it was time for them to go. In short, I wouldn't have either the x-rays or the biopsy done.

And if this vet isn't experienced in guinea pig surgery, don't let him/her touch your pig.

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Supporter 2004-2019

Post   » Thu May 24, 2018 11:03 pm

This is so deja vu all over again. Vet: We want to do blood work. Me: Will it make a difference in treatment? Vet: Probably not.


Post   » Wed Jun 06, 2018 6:09 am

Dropped off Nessy at the vet last night. She is scheduled for surgery to remove her mammary tumor today.

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Supporter in 2018

Post   » Wed Jun 06, 2018 10:42 am

I hope everything goes well, rpaws. I think you've had a rough year or two, right?

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