Guinea pig xrays - ovarian cysts? and chronic bloating

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Saradactyl

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 1:02 pm


Hello everyone! My guinea pig Sansa has been having some troubles, so I took her to the vet again yesterday and she had some xrays done. We suspect ovarian cysts, but the vet isn't entirely sure - she said that she'd be sharing the xrays with some colleagues to get a second opinion, so I figured I'd do the same. :) In the xrays the vet says she can see where some cysts may be starting to form, but since Sansa was so full of food (lol) she couldn't tell if they were attached to her ovaries or not. I wanted to share some context and the pictures to see if anyone had some advice!

Sansa is a 5yo female piggie that hasn't been spayed. She's been having chronic bloating problems for almost a year now. She's eating and drinking pretty normally, but a little lethargic and her poops are super varied. Sometimes they're tiny, other times they're oddly big or wet and mushy. As for her diet, I can only give her hay, critical care, and the Oxbow digestive tablets. If I give her anything else (including veggies) she swells up like a balloon. Every few hours, I have to take her out of the cage and give her a stomach massage to make sure that she's passing gas and pooping. The vet previously prescribed Reglan, which did seem to help a bit, but I still had to continuously massage her to help her out. I've tried gripe water and baby gas drops/simethicone as well, but those seem to just make the problem worse since the gas forms into a giant bubble that she can't pass instead of a bunch of little bubbles. (I never thought my life would revolve so much around making a guinea pig fart.)

About 2 weeks ago I noticed that her nipples were super elongated/swollen, and had some crust around them. I waited to see if it would resolve itself since I read that it can sometimes happen with their normal cycle, but this past Sunday she started to have some hair loss on both sides of her flank and on her tummy, and her bloating was flaring up again, so off to the vet we went. Here are the xrays that the vet took:

Image

Image

In the first image, the vet pointed out those little "bubbles" on her sides as where the cysts seem to be forming, but she said she couldn't tell if they were attached to the ovaries. In the bottom image, the black blobs are gas in her guts, and the grainy material is food.

I'd appreciate if anyone could help determine if these are actually ovarian cysts or not so we can start moving forward with treatment. Thanks in advance!

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 1:10 pm


I'm not a vet, or a radiologist, but they certainly seem suspicious of ovarian cysts.

But rather than jump to a major intervention like surgery, you might try hormone treatments first. Sometimes they work, and at her age, might work for the rest of her life. And if they do work, they'll confirm the diagnosis so that if you do have to have surgery done, you'll know that it was a necessary thing.

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Saradactyl

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 1:22 pm


@bpatters Thanks for your input! We did talk a bit about hormone treatments, but the vet's office doesn't have the drugs on hand. She said she'd do some research into where they could potentially order it from cheaply and how much it would cost me to have that treatment done.

I'm definitely willing to give hormone treatment a try before jumping to surgery. I also asked the vet about potentially draining the cysts, but she said she wouldn't recommend it as that brings on the risk of bacterial infections and sepsis.

The vet should hopefully be giving me a call today with her findings, so we'll see. Thanks again!

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 4:13 pm


Ditto bpatters.

The signs you are seeing do seem to point toward ovarian cysts.
https://www.guinealynx.info/ovarian_cysts.html

I don't have a medical background (not a vet!) but from others' experiences, cysts seem likely. Trying hormone therapy first sounds like a good move.

If the Reglan is not working well to aid with moving food along, you might ask the vet about trying another motility drug. Metoclopramide is also used on guinea pigs.

Let me know if you'd like your pics added permanently to your topic.

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Saradactyl

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 6:12 pm


@Lynx Sure, thanks!

I heard back from the vet and she said that the general consensus was that it doesn't look like classic ovarian cysts, but all of the vets on the discussion board were more concerned about Sansa's spine. Since she has some spinal deformities, they think it might be causing pain and contributing to her bloat.

My vet wants me to bring her in for her colleague to get an ultrasound of her uterus and ovaries.

She also said she did some research into the hormone injections, but that many of the vets on the exotics discussion board don't recommend it since "GnRH injections and implants in most cases have not been successful. And if they are successful, it is usually only temporary improvement." From what I read that sounds correct - seems like it's maybe a 50-50 on whether it works or not.

So I guess I'll need to take her back to get that ultrasound then go from there. It seems like if it does turn out to be cysts, I'll have to go straight for the spay. :(

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Fri Apr 19, 2024 10:37 pm


Thanks! I added your pics.

Oh, another big flag is aggressive/hormonal behavior (like chasing/mounting a cage mate). I do think if you search around in the medical forums, you will find more people have had success with injections than not. Looking at the xrays agan, I see why your vets were concerned with the spine.

Let us know how things go for her.

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Catie Cavy
Supporter 2011-2020

Post   » Sat Apr 20, 2024 8:44 am


I would strongly recommend against a spay without trying injections first. Maybe I've had back luck, but I've lost several guinea pigs to spays. In my case, the success rate of spay surgery is less than 50/50. If you do opt for the spay, make sure the surgeon is highly skilled and has a lot of experience with guinea pig surgery. I think her age is also a factor. While some guinea pigs live to be 7 or 8, she is still 5. A spay, unlike say the removal of a mammary tumor, is an invasive surgery and will be much harder on her than if she were 2 or 3. Whatever you decide, I wish you and Sansa the best. Keep us posted.

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Rome_Italy

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2024 7:59 am


large cysts with fluid (rete ovarii type) do not respond to hormonal treatment, but if the cyst is follicular the drug Cystorelin (GnRH) will work and it is even a cheap treatment. The round of 2 shots can be repeated over time and can be made subcutaneous. Please have a look at my thread "Maya's splenectomy".

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2024 9:05 am


It would appear one can get hold of Cystorelin fairly inexpensively though it would be an off label use (which is how most drugs are prescribed for guinea pigs).

Here are 5 cow doses (10ml) for under $15:
https://www.scahealth.com/p/cystorelin-gnrh

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Rome_Italy

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2024 6:53 pm


and the dose of Cystorelin is 0,5ml a shot (after 10-15 days another shot). From the bottle you can prepare multiple doses of about 0,8ml in special vacuum-sealed phials that you can freeze. Cystorelin is off label for guinea pigs, but not for rabbits. I would give it a try...On the contrary, Suprelorin implants almost never work (and it is quite expensive).

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Lynx
Celebrate!!!

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2024 8:15 pm


Thanks for sharing your experiences, Rome_Italy.

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