- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2018
The vet said my only option is surgery. She took a tissue sample but I elected not to have it sent to a pathologist since the treatment would be surgery whether it was malignant or benign. The vet was fairly confident in her surgical skills but did say anesthesia is always a risk. Ellie did have two previous abscess surgeries and came through with flying colors (but she was much younger at the time). Even if I did elect to have the throat tumor removed, there is still the ovarian issue and I can’t imagine putting a 6-1/2 year old guinea pig through a spay.
Ellie Pig is the sweetest guinea pig ever and is my absolute favorite. I was hoping she would be one of those lucky pigs who live to be 10 or more.
I’m leaning toward not having the surgery but feel terrible. Any thoughts?
- You can quote me
If, however, the throat lump is reachable and relatively easily removable, I'd consider the surgery for that and not worry about anything ovarian.
You might want to ask your vet about sending another sample of the throat lump off for pathology. There may be other (nonsurgical) treatments available for it depending on what it is. Hormone injections for ovarian problems are IMO also worth an ask. Is the ovarian problem a cyst or an outright lump, or do we know?
Regardless of age, is her overall health, thrift and weight good?
But was the untested tissue sample from her throat lump? If it's a thyroid mass (which might explain the weight loss), surgery is not the only option. A T-4 blood test can (sometimes) detect hyperthyroid, and there's a medicine (tapazole) that you can give for the rest of Ellie's life to slow down weight loss from a thyroid problem. That said, if throat lump is something else, I might consider surgery for removal if not too invasive (deep) and if you have an experienced, competent surgeon. I would probably skip the spay, too, but would ask about trying hormone injections. Just curious: Was the ovarian cyst (sounds like that's what vet thinks) diagnosed with an ultrasound or just palpation where doc wasn't quite sure?
I also want to say that I discovered lumps (mammary) on my Winnie at age 6 and opted against surgery due to her age. Now she's 7 yrs and 7 months! I look back and think she may have done fine with surgery (since she did great after her spay when she was younger) and may have also been one of those lucky 10-yr-old pigs. But I do not regret my decision since we've had a good outcome and she's had a full, happy life (whenever her body finally gives out). I just tell you this because, with or without surgery (and certainly without definite bad-news diagnoses), we just don't know how long they'll live. So don't be too sad prematurely if she still seems OK and has good quality of life.
Good luck, and keep us posted!
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2018
The vet just palpated the ovarian mass and said she thought it was either an ovarian cyst or a tumor. She was pretty sure it was ovarian but thought there was a small possibility it was a kidney tumor. We mostly discussed the throat tumor at this last visit. She did offer an ultrasound for the ovarian lump at the previous visit but at this visit she said surgery would be the only option.
I’m not sure about her overall health. Her activity level seems the same, she appears to be eating well, and she seems happy. She’s always been a quiet pig who likes to spend most of her time in her pigloo (to the point that I’ve even wondered if she was a heart pig but I don’t think she is). She weighs 2 lbs but seems thin and bony. I’m going to be taking her out of her cage to feed her extra veggies and anything else I can think of to try to fatten her up. Ellie does have mushy poops which she’s had for years following an injectable antibiotic (Fortaz) she was given after her second abscess surgery. I tried a half dozen things for it and then gave up. Her poops do seem very mushy now. I restarted her on Benebac yesterday. That helped before while she was on it, but her poops always returned to mush when I stopped it. I may try poop soup again. Is there a way to be sure I’m getting a good poop from her cagemate or do I just wait for her to poop and grab one?
I should say I haven’t yet found a cavy vet that I’m 100% satisfied with. I’ve been using this current vet for the past few years. She was recommended by rabbit people. She seems very knowledgeable but I don’t know about her surgical skills. Ellie was probably born around 11/1/93 so she’ll actually be 7 in 3 months which makes me even more hesitant to consider surgery. I can ask the vet about the possibility of it being thyroid and can ask about hormone injections. Should I have any diagnostics done on the ovarian lump? Would that make a difference in treatment?
Also, if you're getting blood anyway (to assess her health for surgery), a T-4 blood test shouldn't cost too much more and may tell you about her neck lump -- plus maybe you can manage that without surgery (if a thyroid tumor).
An ultrasound to diagnose ovarian cysts would be mostly to confirm vet's suspicion. My sense is you don't want to just give hormone injections unless you're sure. But I'm not experienced with those injections since my ovarian cyst piggies were spayed. I've also read about piggies with ovarian cysts that didn't have any treatment and seemed fine.
I do think maybe you need a bit more info in order to weight the options -- sounds like "probably" stuff at this point, but knowing "this is what it is" helps with treatments. Good luck!