URI - Sneezing/Wheezing - Dandelion & Burr (first pigs)

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Post   » Mon Jan 23, 2012 8:54 pm

Be sure you keep a close eye on those wounds anyway. Check for signs of infection daily. With the weight loss you saw, they could still be more serious.

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Post   » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:16 pm

Ok. I will. Do you advise continuing cleaning with hibiclens too? No puss or inflammaton presently.

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Post   » Mon Jan 23, 2012 11:23 pm

Use your own judgment on whether cleaning would help. The biggest problem would be if they are deep and the infection would be deep too.

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Post   » Tue Jan 31, 2012 9:53 am

Update for my records: Everyone's wounds are all healed up now. Living side by side in separate divisions of the cage seems to be working well.

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Post   » Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:34 am

Burr - now nearly 2 years old, has symptoms of either Ringworm or Mites.

Another of my pigs (Simon) has Ringworm but he is in quarantine and I use towels/wash after touching him.

We treated everybody in the herd (6 boars living as pairs in their own C&Cs) with Ivermectin on Wednesday (about 72 hours ago)

Burr seems to be scratching much more - there are small scabs and red skin.NO hair loss and no clear ring pattern like Simon's Ringworm.


After treating for mites, is it common for the areas affected to become MORE irritated for a time?

If it's Mites, when should I expect to see healing? (from what I've read, likely after the second treatment - is this correct?)

Burr has been getting anti-fungal cream once daily since then, but with no significant response. I can A.) More aggressively apply anti-fungal cream or B.) Apply once daily as I am or C.) Stop applying it.

Sidenote: Simon needed an oral Anti-fungal in addition to cream treatment and baths, so if Burr has the same fungal infection, I expect he'll need similar treatment. However, Burr's irritated skin looks very different from Simon's.

[edit] I know this is sort of confusing - I plan to treat everyone with Ivermectin once every two weeks regardless, just as a safety measure in case we also have Mites. I mention Ringworm because it seems LIKELY since it's highly contagious and I have another pig with it. I'm not sure if I have one thing or two things going on here. The best bet will probably be to take Burr in next week to get a scraping and a fungal culture done.

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Post   » Sun Jan 13, 2013 10:15 am

I have heard some people say there is initially more scratching as they die and irritate the skin (they live below the skin). I think if you continue as you are doing, it should clear up. If there are open sores, a topical fungal treatment may irritate them. I don't think fungus is quite as scary as mites.

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Post   » Tue Jan 15, 2013 2:22 pm

There are some open sores. Burr hasn't lost any fur, so I am leaning toward thinking it's mites. Poor guy was in pain when I put the fungal treatment on him. He does this thing where he bites his front paw. I put my hand by his mouth hoping he'd bite me instead of himself.

My sister corrected me and I see that ivermectin needs to be done every 7-10 days, so we'll be treating for mites again tomorrow. I'll be cleaning out his cage completely tonight.

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Supporter in '13

Post   » Wed Jan 16, 2013 3:37 am

One of my girls had ringworm that developed as I was treating my 3 for mites. None of the other 2 had a fungal infection. My vet recommended we treat the ringworm with an anti-fungal shampoo which I applied about 2 days after the topical Revoultion application.

I shampooed her once every 3 days and began to see an improvement and hair regrowth after 1 week.

All the best with your herd.

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Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:06 am

Hello all!

Burr and Dandelion have been happy and healthy since I last posted, except for most recently.

Burr, my abby, turned 4 years old in Spring.

This winter, I noticed a lump on his RIGHT side, right beside his spine and just above his hip. It was small, symmetrical, and did not seem to bother him at all. I checked it often.

About the Lump:
The lump has steadily grown larger from when I first noticed it in Dec/Jan, very slowly, but has had no impact on Burr's behavior. His weight is steady, eating normal, activity and behavior has seen no change, he does not bite/scratch it, and does not react when I push on it. The lump is just beneath the skin, symmetrical with no open wounds or secretions, no hair loss, and about 1 inch in diameter at the moment. It is not warm to the touch. There is no smell.

Vet visit
I took him to see the vet on Thursday 7/9. The vet cut it open and tried to aspirate it. It contained a very thick, dry, white, almost waxy looking substance. She said that she was not able to drain it, because it was mostly inflamed tissue and hair, and the white substance was not easily extracted or evenly distributed throughout the lump. She thinks it is an infected cyst.

She sent me home with oral antibiotics: Enrofloxacin 25mg/ml: 0.41ml by mouth twice daily for 14 days.

I also requested benebac which I give once a day in between AB doses, and an SSD antibiotic cream which I put on the open wound/scab area once per day.

This is what was printed on my exam report card:
Raised ~1.5cm round firm subcutaneous mass along Right hip(open) abscess vs cyst vs mass vs other

Plan: Lance and drain: Lots of thick material and hair inside of mass. Suspect infected cyst.Lanced mass, removed large amount of white thkc pus-like material with hair and debris moderter thickenin go capsule wtih inflamamtion and swelling of skin. Lots of thick inflamamed tissue. Remove very thick white debris but mass still swollen and enlarged. Since the area of the mass has so much swelling it was not possible to flush out all the material. We suspect that this is just an infected cyst but that the best thing to do would be to remove it since it is so inflammed and infected.

To start we would like to start on antibitoics for Burr and tome topical treatment to try to shrink the size of the mass down so that we can more easily remove it.
My Questions & Concerns

The vet I am seeing is new to me, and the practice. I go to Brook-Falls Exotic Vet in WI, and my former vet developed an allergy to Guniea Pigs. She didn't know about the grease gland. Burr's was a little messy, and his hair there is white, so she thought it was a urine stain. She also didn't really seem to know whether or not the lump was a cyst or an abscess.

The next step would be to surgically remove the mass (on Monday, after about 10 days of oral and topical antibiotics).
  • * I am worried about having this vet perform surgery on Burr - especially since the lump hasn't been bothering him. I need advice --

    * Should I go ahead with the surgery?

    * Should I finish the antibiotics and leave the lump alone until it clearly starts bothering him? (I am worried about doing that because now that it has been cut open, I am afraid it might become/stay infected)

    * Should I share my concerns about my lack of confidence in this new vet's knowledge?

    * Am I out of line - are lumps very difficult to diagnose?

    * What other options do I have/what other actions should I be taking?

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Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:23 am

Yes, on the surgery (with an experienced vet who has done multiple surgeries on guinea pigs and can manage anesthesia well).

Get rid of it. I suspect this is the kind of lump that gets bigger and bigger and is difficult to remove due to its size if you wait.

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Post   » Mon Jul 13, 2015 10:48 pm

I think this is a sebaceous cyst and not a "real" abscess, in the sense that there's not likely to be an active infection.

That said, it should be removed by a cavy-knowledgeable, EXPERIENCED surgeon -- not this vet. You are absolutely right to have concerns about this vet.

Is there another vet you can see, experienced with skin surgery in cavies? The oral antibiotic and SSD cream will help protect against infection in the meantime.

Is he in any pain or discomfort from this, now that it's been poked at?

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Post   » Tue Jul 14, 2015 11:52 pm

Thank you everyone!

There are only two other vets at this practice that are skilled at GP surgery - one is no longer seeing GPs, and the other never has open space in her schedule and has never seen my pigs.

The new vet I've been assigned seems very inexperienced. I am worried about being rude and creating an uncomfortable situation if she's my only option. I'm not sure how to express my concerns or how to best control who performs the surgery. Any advice on phrasing or what to say during my re-check on Monday?

Would it be appropriate to ask to speak to my former vet, Dr. M (now allergic to GPs) who I know is skilled at surgery for a verbal consult - or ask for another vet to sit in during the surgery if I let Dr. A. do it? How can I politely discuss this with Dr. A.?

Options other than my current vet practice:
I've called other vets in the area listed on GP-vet & exotics vet lists. I am already using the best veterinary practice in the metro area for guinea pigs/exotics. No one else said they performed surgeries with any regularity.

My OTHER option would be to travel to Chicago. My boyfriend lives in Evanston, IL, and I could take the pigs to a GP vet down there. The downside to this would be using a vet with no prior knowledge of my pigs, and my pigs having to travel for 2 hours (or more depending on where in Chicagoland the vet is). Isn't there a huge GP rescue in the Chicago area? There MUST be some super competent GP surgeons down there that we know of, right?

Talishan - he is in no pain and shows no sign of discomfort. He hates the taste of his medicine, but LOVES benebac. His weight has remained steady at 1040G.

Closing thoughts/questions:

* What do you guys think I should do?

* What's the best way to discuss this with my new vet?

* I've sent a message to a friend of mine who volunteers at HAWS, the local animal shelter that gives out Guinea Lynx care books and performs tons of guinea pig neuters. I asked her what she knows about my new vet and if she knows of any other vets in the area who do surgeries. I'll see what she says.

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LS in AK
Upside-down & Backwards

Post   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:52 am

That's a hard situation. I feel for you.

It is hard because you:
a) do not want to burn your bridges at the local practice you rely on by expressing doubts as to a new vet's experience level and...

b) you don't want an inexperienced vet that *you do not feel comfortable with* to do surgery on your pig.

I emphasize the comfort factor because cyst removal is a rather non-invasive surface operation. Should be quick and straight-forward. It is something an inexperienced vet could probably do without causing major problems for your pig. Would also be an opportunity for that vet to gain experience with that type of surgery on a small animal.

BUT... only if you are comfortable with that arrangement.

Personally, I would either:
a) book the first available surgery date with the other busy vet who you know has experience with pigs (could explain it as a scheduling issue) OR

b) find a skilled vet in Chicago and then go visit BF. Tell inexperienced vet that you've decided you want to have the surgery done where you have someone (BF) to help you out with everything.

You would be dancing around the issues with the inexperienced vet a bit there, but you would also be keeping the door open for working with that vet in the future. Could be that vet is someone you want to keep friendly relations with in case of an emergency.

Because it is risky to question a professional on matters of competence. If a vet is confident in their knowledge, or simply a humble person, then you may have a productive conversation. But if a vet finds your questions and uncertainty regarding their skills threatening, then it may be game over for accessing services at that clinic.

It's a tough call.

Always go with your gut, though. Just my $0.02.

Hopefully, others with more experience will give better perspective.

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Post   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 7:56 am

You always have such good advice, LS in AK!

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Supporter in '14

Post   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 4:30 pm

I also feel it may be a sebaceous cyst. My sow had one removed and because it was just under the skin she healed very quickly with no complications.

If it is a sebaceous cyst they do tend to keep growing and once large can open up and leak sebum. Once they start to leak there is a chance of infection so getting it out sooner rather than later is a good idea. Less trauma to the surrounding tissue and a much smaller incision is always preferable.

Good luck with your decision on which vet to use. I feel for you. If only we had a crystal ball.

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Post   » Wed Jul 15, 2015 11:27 pm

Ditto to the advice you have received. LS, you need to consider a career as an international diplomat. ;-)

The Chicago rescuer is Critter Corral. Email GL member Rose through the mailer.

Lynx, isn't Snowflakey in that area? Might she have a vet suggestion?

I want to say that one of the better Chicago-area exotics vets is in Skokie -- right next door to Evanston. Double-check that with Rose, though.

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Post   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 8:24 am

SF is in Milwaukee. There should be good vets around there.

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Post   » Thu Jul 16, 2015 9:05 am

Thanks everyone!

I will reach out to Rose and SF and ask for recommendations.

Great advice LSinAK - and very helpful advice from everyone else.

I've talked to a couple of people who know small animals/guinea pigs and asked them for vet recommendations. I have the name of another clinic in the area that sees exotics and two vets that work there that specialize in smaller exotics and have surgical experience. This other clinic seems pretty good - they listen and collaborate with patients and other doctors, and apparently are really good about telling you when they aren't sure about something. So this may be a good option for a second opinion or surgery.

Chicago is still a possibility too. On Monday I am going to go in prepared to have a polite but candid talk with the doctor. I'll express that I am worried about Burr and ask her to tell me more about her experience. I'll play it by ear, if I feel like she's sympathetic to my worries then I'll ask her if another vet can do the surgery or oversee it, or else I'll just book the surgery appointment with another vet/clinic after I leave and take LSinAK's advice.

Burr's status update
In other news, Burr is maintaining steady weight, is active and eating and normal. The "cyst" seems to have gone down a bit - but that's probably because the vet was able to aspirate some of the fluid and now the inflammation from being poked around at has gone down some with the topical AB and the oral AB.

Burr LOVES benebac, and his cagemate Dandelion does do, and throws a big fit when he doesn't get to have any.

Thanks again everyone.

You can quote me

Post   » Fri Jul 17, 2015 12:35 am

You can give Dandelion a little bit of benebac to keep the peace. Won't hurt. ;-)

I agree completely with your plan. Please keep us posted.

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Post   » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:45 pm

Hi folks!

Saw the vet - she said I could schedule surgery with another vet if I was more comfortable. I did. It works out great, because the other vet does surgeries on Tuesday which gives me the rest of the week in case something goes wrong with post-op recovery.

They're going to remove the mass, and another I found on his hind leg. The second lump I found is about the size of the head of one of those colorful sewing pins.

We're scheduled for very early August, as I have a week off from work and can take care of him post-op better that way. :)

The vet tech was super great - and the new vet was really supportive. They both explained all the technologies they have - the monitoring, the ability to intubate, the fact that they put in a catheter in case they need to give fluids - and they have a vet tech standing by to monitor and assist as well.

My main concern is that Burr had a really bad URI for the first 6-8 months of his life, and I am certain his little lungs are damaged from this. I am worried about breathing and anesthesia.

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