On March 19, 2009, we got Marshmallow from a local shelter. She was an owner surrender who the vet said was BAR (basically all right) aside from some slight bumblefoot.
In the next 6 weeks though, her weight fluctuated up and down but she was eventually down 100 grams.
We also noticed a grape-size lump in her throat around 4/9 and so took her in for an exam on 4/14. Our vet drained the cyst and said if it returned or she lost more weight, she would need it removed.
On 4/22/09, the cyst returned so we scheduled her for surgery. It was removed on 4/30 and we just got the biopsy back today (5/5/09). It is thyroid adenoma, so it's good we had it removed. Our vet said it should take care of her hyperthryoid symptoms, such as the weight loss. We're wondering if it might make her less grumpy, too, since she wasn't getting along with other piggies.
I did a search on GL for thyroid adenoma and only found one other reference. So I thought I'd post here about our experiences in case it might help others.
Thanks for posting. Sounds like this lump was visible from the surface of her skin? Did you suspect CL at any point?
We did not find the lump via visual inspection. We found it from palpating. We've had a thyroid tumor piggy before and this felt like that one. It was located more in the throat and at least half submerged. Marshmallow has already gained weight since the surgery.
We got another piggy, named Big Boy, the same day from the same shelter (not cagemates). He came to us with CL - our first case. He had several smaller bumps that were more under his chin and more raised than the thyroid tumor on Marshmallow. We treated that with antibiotics.
However, near the end of Big Boy's treatment (I'll have to look up the dates), we started noticing the lymph nodes in his inguinal region (groin) were large, as were a couple new bumps under his chin that felt different from the CL bumps. So back to the vet.
Our vet did a needle aspiration and slides and determined that Big Boy has lymphoma. The lymph nodes in his inguinal region, sub-mandibular, pre-scapular (I may have that term wrong) and one under his right arm were quite enlarged.
We've been treating Big Boy for a month now with Prednisone (.1 ml BID) and have been trying chemo with L-spargenase ( probably spelled that wrong). The lymph nodes have gone down dramatically and Big Boy is feeling much better. Our vet did caution us though that this will probably only help a few weeks or months.
I'm mentioning Big Boy's symptoms in Marshmallow's thread because I thought it might help compare bumps.
As always happens in rescue, the really crummy stuff happens to the really great guinea pigs. Big Boy is one of the funniest, sweetest pigs I've met. He goes absolutely nuts when you pet him - does all the rumblestrutting noises - epecially on the nose, throat, head and behind the jaws.
Just curious -- was Marshmallow on tapazole (methimazole) for hyperthyroid? My vet said that thyroid tumor removal has greater success when the T4 levels are medically regulated somewhat beforehand; otherwise possibility of "thyroid storm" after surgery due to the drastic change. My hospital did a thyroid removal on a piggy that didn't have a good outcome because of such a scenario, and I was considering the surgery for my Inca (now departed, but she had large thyroid tumor). Just wondering if there are any other tips for Marshmallow's success story? Thanks
We had one thyroid tumor removed on one of ours. The vet found it via palpation. He was hyper and had a thick, luxurious coat.
The tumor was actually involved with a major blood vessel in the neck. The vet who is probably the best surgeon in Atlanta (he now works for Zoo Atlanta) did the work and he recovered just fine.
The tumor was benign on histo. (Not sure of the -noma classification, but I was told it was benign and it did not recur.) His post-op care was successful and uneventful.
Our vet did not do the bloodwork beforehand. Since the stitches aren't even out yet, it's probably too early (my guess) to call it a success or not.
Tracy and Talishan, was there a palpable tumor for either of these guinea pigs? How were they diagnosed? (if you have a link to your threads, that would be great)
Lynx -- for our Littletan, yes, it was palpable (the vet found it, making me feel awful), much where CavyHouse describes -- in our case, somewhere under the chin/jaw, back down toward the throat, partially submerged.
LT was 'diagnosed' by the vet doing a fine needle aspirate and getting blood. Not pus, not cells, not tissue material, not clear fluid; blood (this was growing into a blood vessel). It understandably freaked her and we just scheduled surgery for the next day without worrying about what kind of lump it was.
No thread -- this was pre-my membership on GL.
I'm glad your guinea pig had a good outcome.
Yes, my vet palpated Inca's neck lump, and in conjunction with her other symptoms (mostly weight loss despite eating a lot), we starting thinking hyperthyroidism. Unfortunately, T4 values were normal and even an aspiration of the lump told us "not thyroid." Inca received tapazole regardless because she seemed like a "classic case of hyperthyroid." Medicine may have helped in that her weight stabilized a bit (she didn't keep losing), but I could get her to gain weight.
I considered surgery to remove Inca's lump, especially since we felt it getting bigger, but I didn't think Inca would survive surgery because she didn't do well with anesthesia, was very low weight and boney, and had rapid-heart episodes (tachycardia). So I let her live out the rest of her life even more spoiled than usual. Neither the lump nor Inca's frail condition seemed to bother her, but in the end we think she had a "thyroid storm" from which she couldn't recover. A post-mortem biopsy of the lump classified it as "follicular thyroid adenoma" (plus there's a 4th word I'm forgetting that means "bone-like").
Inca's thread is here: http://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=40942[url][/url]
Thanks for the link and clarification.
I thought I'd mention that Marshmallow has had a couple of URIs since her thyroid adenoma was removed. I don't know if it related at all but just in case, I thought I'd note it here. None of the other guinea pigs have had URIs during that time. Some piggies seem more fragile than others and she's one of those.
We are new gp owners and unfortunately picked up one 3 weeks ago that the vet suspects (by palpitating) that it has a thyroid issue. The other one seems fine and came from the same cage at the pet store.
Vet did not mention any options for care, just that breathing problems (due to growth restricting windpipe) and death usually happen within 2-3 months.
Now reading here I see there are options. Anyone give me some ballpark figures on cost of surgery and/or medication treatment?
Tapazole is cheap; I think ours was $15 for a month's supply. Don't know price of surgery.
At the time (this was several years ago), LT's surgery was something like $168.
Bear in mind that the surgeon was something of a cowboy, albeit a damned good one. He gave us a large price break just because it was a challenging surgery and he wanted to learn from it.
Having said that, you'll probably be looking at well over $168, but it shouldn't be into the thousands. If I had to guess I'd ballpark it at a reasonably challenging lump, barring complications -- say, $400-$670 or so.
Best thing to do is take your little one to a cavy-knowledgeable vet (the one you saw emphatically isn't) and see what they say.
Hi, I have found your thread and found the information so helpful. I run a small community rescue sanctuary in East Sussex for buns and pigs. My aweful concerns are for our little long termer called Alfie who we have had since he was 6mths old (rescue from the clutches of a bun and a colony of pigs who had shunned him) anyway Alfie is now 6 and half years old and my dear little boy.
I also noticed a grape-sized lump in his throat after vets couldnt find out why he was not able to eat solids for a good couple of long weeks?? with weight loss etc., anyway we have now had pathology done and confirmed the above (no tumour or abcess) it was aspirated for pathogy but because of its sighting and his age they have not recommended surgery. The poor chap wants to eat and we even caught him at his bowl of dry mix diet but cant take the hard food to swallow (along with his 'slurry' which I have made up of Supa Guinea with warm water (+ vit C) mixed with some Oxbow CC. Alfie eats it from the bowl so no need to syringe him which is great but his body weight is slowly climbing down from 780 to 700grms and I am desperate to find something to pack in the calories. Alfie is clearly not an 'ill' piggy but the lump is preventing him from eating normally. Any help would be welcome and I have mailed the Cambridge Cavy Trust in the hope for some advice. Thanks again. Warm wishes. Elle
What did the pathology reveal? Is it a staff infection (possible CL, requiring safe antibiotics and/or cleaning/removal of the lump)?
hi, pathology indicated no malignant tumour nor pus from abcess; general obs were lymph node swelling at the base of throat (took 3 weeks to put in an appearance I found it giving him a bed bath one sunday afternoon!) when removing cells by syringe they came across a boney matter so decided to retreat [/img][img][/img]
Marshmallow was diagnosed with heart disease about a month ago. The xray showed that the heart was so big it was impinging on the trachea. We tried lasix and enalapril for about a month but ultimately her health declined so much that we had her euthanized yesterday. Such a sweet girl had such a tough time in the short time she was with us.
I'm so sorry. Thanks for taking her in and providing the wonderful care that you did.