Senior female with 2 masses

Chrisdon23

Post   » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:43 pm


I have a female who is almost 7 and a half years old. She’s still eating and drinking great but starting to show her old age. I recently noticed that she was having issues with her bladder as her bed was always wet when she was laying in it — when I gave her bum a quick bath, I noticed that she’s lost a lot of hair on her back legs and belly.

I brought her to the vet to be checked out and he found 2 problems. First, she has a mass on her vulva which he says is likely causing her bladder issues; he said nothing can be done about that. Second, he’s found a large mass in her abdomen; he actually diagnosed this mass a year ago and it measured 4cm back then but it’s grown a lot bigger since then. He didn’t want to do surgery on her when it was originally found because of her age. He’s still got her at his clinic right now and I’m just waiting for him to do a couple more tests on her. I’m wondering where I should go from here? Is surgery too risky at her age or should I just let nature take its course because she’s had a long life?

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:54 pm


Well, there's a third option, and that's euthanasia. If the masses are not causing discomfort at the moment (and I'd be very surprised if they aren't), they will shortly.

My own personal philosophy is that I can cope with humane euthanasia better than I can cope with the knowledge that I kept a beloved pet in pain for my own sake, not for theirs. It's a hard decision to make, and I don't envy you having to consider it, but it's what I'd do for a pig of that age.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:19 pm


My first priority is making sure she isn’t in any pain so having her PTS has been on my mind all day. I’ve just met with the vet and he doesn’t believe we’re at that point yet — she’s still eating and drinking tons and her behaviour is still very normal for her.

He did find one other problem since my first conversation with him earlier today, she also has bladder stones which is more likely what’s causing her loss of bladder control rather than the mass on her vulva. I was surprised to learn this; I’ve had pigs in the past with bladder infections and I’ve always been able to tell right away from the noise they make when peeing — she hasn’t made any noise when she pees and there hasn’t been any blood in the urine. He prescribed Baytril for a week to see if we can get the bladder infection under control to see if that helps her bladder issue - it won’t of course get rid of the stones but it may help if she’s in discomfort from the infection. Her weight is consistent, it only fluctuates a few grams from one week to the next.

As for the mass in her abdomen, without surgery to remove it so that it can be analyzed, he doesn’t have a way to know exactly what it is; you can clearly see it in an X-ray and it can be felt when you squeeze her right side - she’s not bothered at all when he squeezes it so he said it’s possibly just a mass of harmless tissue but it also could be a tumour, no way to know.

For now, we’ll do the Baytril for a week and reassess to see if her bladder function has improved and I’ll weigh her a couple of times per week to monitor for weight loss. He said that is most important indicator of pain along with not eating or drinking; if / when we get to that point, we’ll do the best thing for her and let her go. 😢

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:26 pm


I suspected stones. Is the mass in the abdomen a mammary tumor? I am sorry she is dealing with these issues.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Fri Mar 01, 2019 11:53 pm


The vet doesn’t know what the mass is in her abdomen unless he does surgery to remove it so he can test it. He doesn’t want to do surgery because of her age.

Talishan
You can quote me

Post   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 1:57 am


It sounds like you have a good vet. Only thing is I'd want to use Bactrim rather than Baytril to start; Bactrim is not as hard on their GI. Use probiotics with Baytril, and watch for signs of GI upset/lethargy/inappetance.

We've had a couple with large masses/tumors. At our house we leave them be as long as they are comfortable, are eating, drinking, urinating, defecating, and are interested and engaged in their surroundings. That said, how close (physically) are you to your vet?

I'm lucky in that our vet is about 20 minutes away, and she has held the office open for me for an emergency euthanasia for one of ours who went downhill, badly, abruptly and very quickly. I prefer to "err" on the side of giving them more time rather than less, but I also have access to a reasonably good ER vet that can quickly put an end to undue suffering accessible as well.

Prednisolone may be an option for shrinking or stalling tumor growth; ask the vet about it. We had one little guy with an enormous abdominal tumor who lived reasonably comfortably with it, on pred, for well over a year. He had good days and bad ones, but he kept chugging until one evening he passed, quickly, in the middle of eating a stalk of hay.

Whatever you decide to do, blessings, peace and comfort to your little girl and to you.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 2:23 pm


I’ll definitely ask about the Prednisolone, thank you!

I live about 10 min away from his office and he’s come in after hours for me before - he spayed a female for me a few years ago who had a mass in her uterus, a week after the surgery, she got bloat while I was at work so he took calls from me all evening trying to get her to improve. At around midnight, she took a turn for the worse so he asked me to meet him at the clinic - she passed away in my lap on the drive there 😢. He’s amazing - the only downfall is that when he goes away for vacation, no one else in that clinic treats guinea pigs and there are no other vets in my city that do either.

She’s getting extra cuddles and lots of attention from my other female piggie - we’ve all accepted that she’s had a long and happy life and that her time is coming.

Right now she’s happily enjoying her pellets - she gets super excited when she hears them come out of the cupboard ❤️

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Mar 02, 2019 4:49 pm


...the only downfall is that when he goes away for vacation, no one else in that clinic treats guinea pigs and there are no other vets in my city that do either.
Same problem here.

Ditto the recommendations on Bactrim and Pred. I'm so sorry that your sweet girl (and you) are going through this.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Thu Mar 14, 2019 8:41 pm


I have a big update on my girl; when she was at the vet for a follow up last week, the vet discovered that she has Pyometra. I was given 3 choices: 1. Have her put to sleep, 2. Do nothing which would mean she would eventually start to suffer a lot or 3. Do surgery to remove her uterus.

My vet was very good at explaining the pros and cons of the surgery and explained that he would never do a surgery to remove a tumour at her age but he would feel comfortable doing this surgery on her. He explained the risks and her survival rate etc - he said if it were his pet, he wouldn’t hesitate to do the surgery. I decided that letting her get to the point of suffering was not an option so I had to either decide to let her go or do the surgery knowing that she may not survive it.

Since she is super active and happy, (she still wins the lettuce tug of war with her much younger sister every morning), I decided that the surgery was the right option for us. She was scheduled to have the surgery tomorrow morning so my vet called to go over everything including the price — the cost is $1,800.00!! I hate to put a price on my pets health but that is a really large amount of money for a GP that’s 7.5 years old.

I cancelled the surgery and decided to call a vet that’s out of town - this vet neutered my bunny recently so I knew that she works on GPs. I had her records transferred to the new vet and have a consultation tomorrow morning to make a plan. Fingers crossed that things go well.....

bpatters
And got the T-shirt

Post   » Thu Mar 14, 2019 9:29 pm


You're right, that's a ridiculous amount of money for a spay.

You could ask the vet which of the items on the list are absolutely necessary. I've done that for years. When he does an x-ray, my vet always includes a fee for reading by a radiologist. But he's good at reading them, and I always declined, with the understanding that if there's something he's uncertain about, he'd let me know and I could decide whether to have it professionally read. There are always items like that with surgeries, so your vet might be able to trim the cost quite a bit.

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:01 pm


I'm sorry that your girl is dealing with that. Sorry for you, too. That's definitely a lot of money. I think it's a good plan to consult with the other vet, and see what can be done to help keep the cost down, if possible.

If you haven't been through a guinea pig surgery before, you might find some helpful post-op information here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/surgery.html

Good luck, and keep us posted.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Fri Mar 15, 2019 1:13 am


Would you get the surgery on a GP that’s as old as she is?

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Fri Mar 15, 2019 5:47 am


I haven't had females and don't know what the recovery aspects of a spay looks like, or what, if any, supportive measures can be done with pyometra, so I'll let others here weigh-in. If she's almost 8, any surgery will have added risks. I guess I'd have to at least consider surgery in a guinea pig who is otherwise bright, healthy and happy, but would want to have that discussion with the other vet before making a final decision. The alternative would be as Talishan mentioned, which is supportive care for as long as possible.

We've had older renal pigs who had a decent quality of life for quite some time after entering late-stage kidney failure with the right mix of meds and fluid therapy, and then when they were clearly uncomfortable and not enjoying food or their surroundings, we made the decision to humanely euthanize. It's most likely the decision I would make in your situation, but I know it's a tough call.

Do let us know what the other vet says.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Fri Mar 15, 2019 3:31 pm


I met with the other vet this morning, (I'll call her Vet "B"); she had reviewed the x-rays from Vet "A" and is hesitant about his diagnosis.

Vet "B" believes that the mass is too far forward in the abdomen to be the uterus. I left my GP there so that they could do an ultrasound -- Vet "B" just called me to go over the results of that. She thinks it's more likely an ovarian cyst and that we shouldn't do anything at all with it. I don't have pictures of the ultrasound but I do have pictures of the x-rays that Vet "A" did -- is there a way to upload those for everyone to see?

Vet "B" is going to try and get a urine sample and will call me back later today to discuss where to go from here......I'm so torn with what to do :(

P.S. Vet "A" has more experience with GP's including spay surgeries; Vet "B" has some experience but it doesn't sound like it's as much -- she's neutered GP's before but not spayed any.

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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Fri Mar 15, 2019 8:24 pm


You are welcome to email me the images and I can post them for you, if you don't have an image account. Just send me a private message here, and I'll send you my email address. Lynx may also be along to offer the GL mailbox to send them to.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Mar 15, 2019 9:07 pm


Yes, I can likely put them up for you if they are clear and helpful to your topic.
Image

Chrisdon23

Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2019 2:49 pm


I just emailed the images 😊

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:13 pm


Here are your images. It appears the whole area at the end of the urethra is calcified? Or there is a giant stone there? What did the vet say about this? In the top picture, your guinea pig looks very bloated.






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sef1268
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2019 6:24 pm


I'm not sure what I'm looking at, honestly. I see what looks like sludge in the bladder, and some odd calcification that I can't identify. Does anybody know if Dr. Sam Silverman is still around? I'd be tempted to see if he would be willing (for a fee, of course) to take a look at these if neither vet seems able to interpret them.

Chrisdon23

Post   » Sat Mar 16, 2019 7:43 pm


The area labelled “unknown mass” is what vet “A” is saying is her uterus full of pus; vet “B” is saying that it’s a cystic ovary. The X-ray does give the portrayal that she has bloat but she’s had many xrays in her 7 years and they always look like that — Timothy hay is 95% of her diet and she eats a ton of it so I’m not sure why her belly has always look like that.

When I picked her up last night, I spoke to vet “B” a little; she said that to her, the wall of what she thinks is the cystic ovary, is very thick and that since she’s had it for a year and a half, she thought it was best to just leave it.

Could the area at the end of the urethra that you think might be a stone, be the mass on the vulva that vet “A” identified?

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