Sweetpea - Ovarian cysts in a desexed pig


Post   » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:47 pm

Sweetpea is a 2 1/2 year old, p.e.w. sow.
I adopted her from a shelter in november 2007, (she and Marigold, the girl I got with her came with a certificate of sterilisation.)

A few weeks ago I took her to a local vet, because I was concerned about hair loss on her flanks, vet discovered a large lump in her left abdomen, he thought it likely she had a tumor, and
suggested we just monitor her as it would be a very risky
Then she developed crusty teats, which I know is another sign of
ovarian cysts.
So last week we took her to a cavy and rabbit specialist, an abdominal ultrasound showed 'a large, fluid filled lobular structure
on the left side of the abdomen'.
Vets said her symptoms and the large cystic structure are consistent with a cystic ovary, they think she was either not desexed or part of an ovary was left behind.

My options are: 1 Exploratory abdominal surgery to remove the mass, which would be very high risk, and could cause adhesions to form between loops of bowel, they are also very concerned about post surgery infection as the cyst could rupture during surgery.
Or 2: do nothing and monitor her, there may already be adhesions,
which could cause problems later on, and the cyst could rupture at any time.

So I don't know what to do, I don't want to risk surgery with such a low chance of a good outcome, and she seems so healthy and happy, and is just as much a little monster as she's always been, she's by far my most active (and most noisy!) pig.
But if we do nothing and it ruptures, it would kill her wouldn't it?

Sorry for the length of this, I would just like to add, thank you to the people who run and post on this Forum, without which two of my piggies would be long gone, I first found this site in a last desperate effort to save my little Oscar, who had a URI and somehow managed to stay alive on nothing but syringe fed glucose and water for four days, he was so weak he couldn't stand or lift his head, it took weeks of handfeeding critical care and I still can't believe he came back, and is now a happy and healthy piggy.
And our special boy Smudge, who had his teeth incorrectly filed by a non piggie vet, and after several trips to a specialist and months of handfeeding has now been eating normaly for over a year.
So from Smudgie and Oscar, Thanks!

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Post   » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:52 pm

I'm glad we could help you.

Perhaps your vet would look into HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)? It is a drug to treat ovarian cysts and could help get things under control.

Sounds like the spay did not remove all the reproductive organs. You might contact the shelter and let them know to encourage them to do complete spays.


Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2009 3:54 am

We've made the best experience with Cystorelin. Every six month Tootsie get's her shots (twice two weeks apart) and we didn't need to consider surgery at all.

Thanks to GL I was made aware of the Cystorelin option. HCG wasn't our way to go.

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Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:51 am

Baba, would you like to sign up at the Records forum and make a short post about your experiences with Cystorelin? The more detailed the better. A link to your pig's thread in the main forum would also be helpful.



Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:18 am

I'm thinking about your Sweetpea. It's a hard decision to make. I have no great words of wisdom just that I'm going through a similar situation with my Doodle who was spayed a year ago. Our vet thinks it could be a kidney tumor, an adrenal tumor, or ovarian tissue that wasn't removed during the spay. We've opted for the surgical route, although I, too, hate the idea of putting my happy and apparently healthy acting little girl through that. I'll be posting about her experience in Doodle's Thread if you think it might be helpful to see how she does. Her surgery is scheduled for a week from Monday.


Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2009 2:34 pm

Lynx: Certainly I will do. Give me a couple of days time, until I have all my data together. Right now I am a bit occupied with my battle with our Humane Society, the City and the Bylaw Department, which is quite time consuming.

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Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2009 9:47 pm

The great thing about the Records forum is you can go back and edit your thread at your leisure. So if you find something new or don't quite like what you wrote, you can redo it.


Post   » Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:26 am

Thanks Lynx and Baba, I will ask the vets about both options.
And good luck with Doodle EllieMom, I will be following her thread. It hard, because when I got my first girls I intended to get them all spayed, but then I was too worried something would go wrong during the operation.
Strangely, it looks like Sweetpea's flank hair is starting to grow back, does this often happen with cysts?


Post   » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:32 pm

The PeaMonster had her first HCG injection yesterday, (finally!)

She has been very well, she doesn't seem to be affected by the cyst at all, (apart from being bald and wrinkly) although I think it has become larger. I have been shooing her into a shoebox to carry her, so I don't squeeze her middle.

The vets sedated her, and injected into both back legs.
She is eating, pooping and peeing well, but she is very short tempered this morning!

I can't remember if the vets said the injection works with 70% of orarian cysts, or that 70% of cysts are not affected by it.

She is having the second injection in 7 days, so fingers crossed it will help her.

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Post   » Mon Dec 14, 2009 8:47 pm

Fingers crossed here too.


Post   » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:12 pm

I had the same thing happen with my Molly, I adopted her in 2007 and had her spayed the same year.

In June 2009 she started to lose weight and had symmetrical hair loss on both of her sides.

I *knew* she was spayed, so when I took her in my vet a sonogram was done and it showed something that should not have been there.

The vet suggested it could be 1) A ovarian cyst that grew from a small piece of tissue left behind from her original spay 2) a kidney tumor 3) a adrenal tumor

I opted to go forward with the exploratory surgery, My vet had never removed a adrenal or kidney tumor from a Guinea Pig, but had done numerous types of procedures on ferrets.

It turned out to be an adrenal tumor, it was removed and was determined to be a benign tumor.

She recovered fully, gained her weight back and is doing fine

Good Luck


Post   » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:33 pm

Fingers and toes crossed here for Sweetpea.


Post   » Tue Dec 15, 2009 10:17 pm

Thank you for all the crossed fingers and toes!

izzywizzywoo, that is great news about Molly!
I think Sweetpea's lump may be too big now to risk surgery.

Surgery is kind of our last resort at this stage, but if the lump starts to affect her, (losing weight or whatever) then we will have it done, I suppose then we have nothing to lose.

Her little back legs where all stiff yesterday, poor little girl!
She seems much happier today.

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Post   » Wed Dec 16, 2009 4:17 am

Good luck with Sweatpea. I hope the steps you are taking will give her many happy days ahead.


Post   » Tue Jan 05, 2010 10:40 pm

It's just over 2 weeks since Sweetpea's second HCG injection.

I can't see any hair regrowth yet, she does look a lot more narrow, but she has lost some weight, she's down to 900g.

I can't be sure if it's that the lump has become smaller, or it's because she has less tummy, so it just looks smaller.

She's eating fine and seems fit as a fiddle, is it normal for a pig to lose weight after HCG treatment?

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Post   » Wed Jan 06, 2010 9:20 am

If the cysts were heavily fluid filled, it might be normal. What I would do is take today as your baseline and watch closely for further weight loss - in which case you might want to contact your vet to see if there are other issues.


Post   » Mon Jan 11, 2010 2:09 am

Thanks Lynx.

She's still 900g, and seems happy and healthy, I have made her an appointment next week just to be on the safe side.

I seem to be having trouble with pictures at the moment, when I get it sorted I'll post the photo of her bald spots.


Post   » Sat Jan 23, 2010 2:32 am

The Pea had her check up and ultrasound today, with good and bad news.

The good news is the cyst on the right side seems to have disappered, bad news is the one on the left (which is the big one) is unchanged.

So apparently she has 2 types of cyst.

They said because of the size of it and the length of time Sweetpea has had the cyst, surgery would not be good idea,
they did say they could sedate her and try draining the cyst, which they reckon would be relatively safe.

I was wondering if anyone here has had, or knows of this being done with a pig?

I didn't ask about Cystorelin today, I might send them a email with as much info about it as I can find.

This is Sweetpea in October 2009, I should take a photo of what she looks like now. (More bald).

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Post   » Sat Jan 23, 2010 9:28 am

Draining it might be a good idea. The vet could ensure that it is fluid filled which would be helpful to know. Cystorelin would be a good choice (it seems to have helped a number of guinea pigs).


Post   » Sat Aug 07, 2010 9:22 pm

Sweetpea update, all her hair grew back soon after my last post, and she was so healthy and happy I didn't want to risk getting the other one drained, so she has not had any further treatment.

After 6 months of being all sleek and hairy, her flank hair has started to thin again, so she is booked in tomorrow for another HCG shot.

This is her yesterday, you can see the hair on her sides is starting to thin out.

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