What to expect with an abscess

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Post   » Thu Dec 28, 2023 11:25 am

Hi everyone:

I've done some searching but I haven't been able to find the exact info I'm looking for. Here's the situation:

- 6 or 7 year old boar, generally healthy, good vitals at vet, mostly stable weight (we weigh daily)
- noticed small lump on side of jaw sometime in August
- vet said it was a follicular something something (my husband was the one who took him so I didn't get exact info), and that it would either heal by itself or burst, and either one was fine
- a few weeks ago, noticed huge golf-ball sized lump that appeared basically overnight

Vet visit 1:
They aspirated to make sure it was an abscess (it was), lanced/drained/flushed, sent us home with nothing (no pain meds, no antibiotic, etc). We kept an eye on it for a week or so.

Vet visit 2:
They gave us an oral antibiotic for 10 days (Cipro, concentration unknown, but they said it was a low dose). After 10 days, the infection still hadn't cleared up.

Vet visit 3:
They did an X ray and it looks like one of his incisors is the problem. They sent us home with 2 weeks' worth (1 dose per day) of Baytril to give him via injection. Concentration unknown, but each syringe says "0.9 mL diluted to 3 mL". They also gave us some betadine and a curved tip syringe to flush out the wound (twice per day). Vet said that if this doesn't work, the tooth will have to be removed.

I have just given him his eighth shot and am still getting pus out of the wound. Luckily, for whatever reason his pus is super liquidy so it's been fairly easy to get out. The amount of pus seems like it's slightly greater than it was in the beginning (but maybe I'm just getting better at expressing it), but it's stayed pretty steady the last few days. Two things I (think I have noticed - the pus was initially sort of a grey color - i mean it was white but had tinges of grey? But the last few days the pus has seemed whiter. Also (again, I think) the smell doesn't seem as strong (unless I'm just getting used to it). I feel like in the beginning, I could smell it when he was on my lap when I was expressing pus. The last couple of days, I haven't noticed it except when I bring his wound close to my face.

I'm wondering if it's normal that the wound is still pustulant after 8 doses of the Baytril.

We do have a follow-up appointment with the vet on Jan 3rd, which is the last day of his injections. Both husband and I are pretty concerned because we are scheduled to travel from the 5th through the 12th.

Anyway that was a long story, but does anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks so much <3

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Post   » Thu Dec 28, 2023 3:25 pm

I think tooth abscesses can be complicated. Has the vet tried to identify the bacteria via culture? Sounds like it requires a longer course of antibiotics. That you are flushing daily is a very good thing.

Have you been weighing daily? Making sure he is getting enough to eat?

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Post   » Thu Dec 28, 2023 8:59 pm

They have not done a culture yet, but if this hasn't resolved itself by the time of our next appointment, I think I will.

We actually weigh twice a day and he's remained pretty steady, usually somewhere between 1020 and 1100 grams. He gets a few pellets in the morning, unlimited access to Timothy hay, and we've been spoiling him with treats (mostly leafy greens - he particularly seems to like romaine lettuce; he gets parsley, cilantro, tomato, and blueberries sparingly), especially at injection time. We've been a little concerned about dehydration due to smallish, dry poops, but we have a water bottle and a water bowl in his cage, we have been sprinkling water on his treats, and I've been occasionally syringing water (once or twice a day).

His top incisors look good, but on the bottom they are really uneven (since he is favoring the one side).

Anyway it just sucks that we have travel scheduled during this sucky time. We've also lost 4 other piggies since 12 Dec 2022 (various cancers and diseases, and most of them were pretty old), so it is extra stressful :(

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1NUvnsl ... p=drivesdk

Hopefully that image works lol

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Post   » Thu Dec 28, 2023 11:27 pm

I'm going to add your pic to your topic (let me know if that's okay):


You might also want to read over:

Glad to hear he's maintaining weight well. Some people will thoroughly soak a handful of hay in water for their guinea pigs. Just remove in a couple hours to avoid mold.

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2023 4:01 pm

Definitely okay, and thanks! I'll check out the link now.

He's still doing well; this morning the pus was mostly bloody which I'm taking as a good (?) sign. I'm having some trouble keeping him still for the injections - I made him bleed both yesterday and today (not a ton) which makes me feel like a terrible mom ;_;

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Post   » Sat Dec 30, 2023 9:20 pm

It can be tricky giving injections. Guessing having another set of hands might help secure him. Hoping your diligent care pays off!


Post   » Thu Jan 04, 2024 10:18 pm

So sorry to hear about this, it's really scary to find a lump on your piggy. Especially because they just seem to pop up out of nowhere!

My Aoife had a jaw abscess about a year ago, antibiotics didn't really help with it. The abscess had actually caused bone loss in her jaw and one of her lower incisors slipped into the vacant space. We ended up having to take her to a specialty vet and get her teeth trimmed on the regular! She eventually pushed the tooth out! The vet even gave us her tooth lol

The vets drained her abscess a few times before doing marsupialization on it to remove the whole sac. It was gnarly having to clean it, but her health seemed to improve quickly after it was healed up.

I recommend being in food contact with your vet, since these things move real fast in piggies. I wish the best of luck to you and your boy!!!

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Post   » Thu Jan 04, 2024 10:23 pm

Here's a link to cellymelly's topic on the tooth (I believe):
https://www.guinealynx.info/forums/view ... hp?t=78346

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Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2024 9:13 am

Well, I figured I should post an update and end to the story.

It started in the summer or early fall (we think); there was a small bump on his jaw. Vet said it was follicular and would be fine. And who knows, maybe it was. But I believe that is where the infection began.

We woke up on Nov 27 and he had a huge abscess under his chin. Easily the size of a plum.

So fast forward past my first post: we finished the Baytril injections and then had to travel; the vet gave us an oral antibiotic (I think? January was a long time ago lol) to sustain him while we were gone. An experienced friend came over twice a day to do his wound flush, etc.

I don't remember the exact order of events here but at some point his left lower incisor fell out. I was also given a penicillin injection for 2 weeks (which was horrible because the needle was so big). The vet decided the tooth had been the problem and told us we should be all set. We were also given long swabs to clean out the spot where his tooth was, because hay and stuff was getting stuck and they thought it might be exacerbating the situation. Also at some point they did a culture and came back with staph and strep.

I believe we went a few days without an antibiotic, but then the vet prescribed injectable Baytril again, this time for 4 weeks. They also referred us to another vet with more experience in cavy dental work (Dr. Angela Lennox in Indianapolis). My husband took Paddington down there last Monday (Mar 25) for surgery on Tuesday.

I don't know exactly what the procedure was, but it was successful. Tuesday (Mar 26) they came home and Paddington had a wound that was open to the bone; apparently the infection was somehow in the bone itself. I don't know how that could happen? Anyway they did a DNA culture (I don't know if this was different than the culture our vet did), and told us to stop the Baytril until they got results. My husband also brought back some sort of dressing the vet had packed the wound with, and we had instructions to take him to our vet twice a week to have it repacked. They also gave us a silver sulfide (?) balm to apply to the wound once a day. We also had some Meloxicam for any pain.

Paddington was doing ok; he seemed to be having some trouble eating though. (Also the vet in Indy said he was severely underweight, maybe he was, maybe not, but he was old). We started weighing several times a day, with his normal weights being somewhere between 1000-1060g. Because the Indy vet said he was underweight, I started supplementing with critical care. Then he started having trouble maintaining and so I started the cc every 4 hours (over this past weekend). At the vet Monday to have the wound repacked, they said it looked really good, but we were concerned about pain so they gave him an injection of buprenorphine and cautioned us about stasis. We monitored him throughout Monday and other than some lethargy (owing to the opioid, we assume), he was doing great. Eating, pooping, etc. I even gave him a bath because his rear end was pretty gross (being old, he was having trouble cleaning back there). He got a Brazilian blow out with my hair dryer and was still pooping and eating at 10pm.

I got up at 2am to feed him and noticed there were only a few small poops in his area, and he looked bloated. I know sometimes vibration and massage help with stasis, so I got out my um, adult toys (lol) and started massaging his belly with them through the blanket. I don't think I fell all the way asleep, but I was definitely dozing when my (normal weekday) alarm went off at 5. I jolted awake and he was gone. He was still warm, which leads me to believe he hadn't been gone very long. I had some simethicone that I didn't use because I read sometimes it doesn't work and can be more painful for piggy. My plan was to use them as a last resort, which obviously I didn't get a chance to do.

After he died the vet in Indy texted us with the results of the culture and said we could continue with the Baytril injections. We had to tell them he was gone :(

Obviously my husband and I are devastated and are questioning our every decision. Trying to remember that he was old and he had a good piggy life ( his litter mate died in August).

I don't know if this will help anyone looking for info about abscesses in the future, but I sure hope so. Even after all the reading about abscesses I did, I didn't realize it was going to be a weeks or months long journey. Even had he survived, he had a gnarly wound and who knows how long that would have taken to heal.

I'm glad we did everything we could, even though it was a very expensive time. Before these last couple of days, it seemed like he had perked up some and was even wheeking sometimes, which he hadn't done in a while.

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Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2024 9:46 am

I am so very sorry for your loss. You worked so hard to take care of this issue and loved him very much.

Thanks for the detailed summary. From your description, it seems the vet did not do dental xrays until the 3rd visit. I do not know if catching the tooth issue earlier would have changed the outcome but perhaps your experiences point to the importance of always including a thorough dental examination in the presence of any possible infections in the jaw, head.

You have all our sympathy.


Post   » Wed Apr 03, 2024 3:22 pm

I am sorry for your loss, too..:(.

As you wrote you are questioning every decission-i know how you feel.. Every time someone of our animals left us i tought why didnt i react better, sooner, think more(but i always did anyway) etc..It doesnt bring you anywhere good..:( it comes out of fact we love our animals so much and wanted always do the best and 100% for them, cause they re our family.

I bet Paddington felt and knew you would do everything for him..and had fun and long life with you..

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Supporter in 2023

Post   » Fri Apr 05, 2024 10:51 pm

My condolences, I’m so sorry for your loss. It sounds to me that you did everything you could do and made the best decisions possible with the I formation you had at the time. We all question ourselves after losing a much-loved companion. Paddington was very fortunate to have a good long life and to be so well cared for.

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