Rocco's Abscess Story

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AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:24 pm


Hi I have been meaning to make this post for awhile. My guinea pig Rocco (Age 3.5, male, unknown breed) dealt with a nasty abscess and I wanted to share my experience and tips with healing him. I scoured the internet and read every single thing about guinea pigs and abscesses when he was sick so I thought I should give back by adding my 2 cents.


I discovered a huge, hard mass under Rocco’s chin one night. It happened very fast as I had held him the day before and did not see it. I panicked and took him to an ER vet (it was the middle of the night) who said he thought it was a tumor. We followed up as soon as my regular vet opened and thankfully he diagnosed it as an abscess. He lanced it, and took a sample of the fluid to send off for a culture.


Rocco was immediately started on the antibiotic Orbax as he doesn’t tolerate Baytril well. He also took Benebac probiotic. We waited a few days to see if the orbax alone would shrink it but that didn’t happen. The vet decided to open it up and clean it out under anesthesia.


The night before surgery it started to leak awful smelling fluid. I was terrified of putting him through surgery but he came out of it like a champ. The abscess turned out to be multi-chambered with a deeper pocket filled with blood under the superficial pocket that had pus. Because of this my vet installed a rubber drain going through both pockets.


The vet never found an obvious cause of the abscess. The bacteria revealed by the culture suggested a hay poke injury. I flushed it once a day for a month. The flushing process was difficult and a few things really helped me.

I had to insert the syringe in between the rubber drain and the skin in order to squirt into the abscess. This was very difficult with the traditional tapered flushing syringe so my vet gave me a larger syringe with a thin flexible catheter tip. I found this so much easier to slide into the opening.


Also the skin around the drains would scab up and instead of pick off the scabs we dabbed hydrogen peroxide to dissolve the scabs. Not ideal for internal use but really helped to keep the abscess open and accessible for flushing. I also think it was less painful for him than pulling the skin apart and picking the scab off. I flushed first with a hibiscrub (anti-septic) solution and then 20 minutes later with saline.


Flushing is definitely a 2 person job someone needs to hold the pig and the other needs to flush. It was really frustrating at first but it got easier. We covered a large storage tub with towels and sat Rocco on it. My boyfriend sat behind the tub holding Rocco up and I sat on the floor slightly underneath his head to flush. We both wore latex gloves so as not to worry about the flushing fluids getting every where.

My boyfriend found it best if he kept Rocco's butt against his body so that he couldn't scurry backwards when being flushed. The main challenge was finding a position that kept Rocco immobile during the flushing. During the whole ordeal Rocco remained on Orbax and probiotic for about a month and a half.


Thankfully the abscess shrank up over the course of 4 weeks and his drain was removed. We continued to flush until the vet gave us the OK to stop. I am happy to say the abscess has been gone for about 7 months. It was very difficult, disgusting and frustrating and hopefully never happens again!

AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 2:41 pm


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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 3:06 pm


Thanks for sharing your experience with this abscess. So the tube went between the thin flexible catheter tip and the drain? Would you like me to add your pictures permanently to your thread for future readers?

AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:29 pm


Yes thank you that would be great. His drain was one long piece of rubber tubing. It went through both chambers of the abscess in order to hold both open for flushing.

The drain was only used to keep the abscesses from closing. So I couldn't squirt the liquid directly into the drain itself as it would simply come out the other end and not reach the inside of the abscess at all.

The vet told me to push the tip of the syringe in the tiny space between the side of the rubber tubing and his skin surrounding the drain in order for the liquid to fill up the abscess and not simply flow through the rubber drain.

This is where the catheter tipped syringe helped immensely! The regular curved syringe was much fatter than the thin catheter tipped syringe and much harder to fit in-between the drain and his skin.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 9:38 pm


I've actually not seen a syringe like you have posted. Looks like only a tiny amount could go through but it's likely enough to do the job.

I'll go add your pics (thanks!).

AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:03 pm


Oh yes I forgot to mention that it was a much slower process to squirt out. I struggled with it at first because I tried to squirt it too hard and fast and nothing came out when I did.

I had to push the plunger very slowly and softly because of the super thin tip. It was nothing like pushing on the curved regular syringe and took much longer but it also held a lot more liquid (35 ml).

My vet came up with the idea of using it because I told him how hard it was to fit the regular one in such a tight space. It was a really great brainstorm on his part.

By the way his name is Dr. Danielson of Ehrlich Animal Hospital in Tampa FL. He is a great vet and consults with Ann Evans of the Cambridge Cavy Trust. He should be added to the list of savvy vets.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:09 pm


If you want to write up a complete recommendation (location, etc.), I can add him. Look at the page for an idea of what I need.

AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 10:24 pm


Thank you I will do that!

AnnaJ

Post   » Wed Jul 22, 2015 11:32 pm


Tampa

Ehrlich Animal Hospital
8009 Gunn Highway
Tampa, FL 33626

Tel. 813 920-0566
Fax. 813 920-0549
http://www.ehrlichanimalhospital.com/

Dr. Danielson and Dr. Saleh are great cavy savvy exotics vets. They defer to Guinea pig specialist and rodentologist Ann Evans. I particularly like Dr. Danielson. He is compassionate and very invested in the health of guinea pigs and exotic pets.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Thu Jul 23, 2015 8:13 am


Lynx, I'll add this thread as a link in the Records forum when I get a chance. Anna, this is an excellent writeup and should help many other pigs. Thank you for doing it. You and your vet did everything right.

I think the flexible catheter syringe extension is also called a cannula (or a cannula is something somewhat similar that can also be used). It's an awesome technique that more vets should employ.

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