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?
- And got the T-shirt
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.
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.
- You can quote me
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.
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
- Supporter in 2019
Same problem here....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.
Ditto the recommendations on Bactrim and Pred. I'm so sorry that your sweet girl (and you) are going through this.
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.....
- And got the T-shirt
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.
- Supporter in 2019
If you haven't been through a guinea pig surgery before, you might find some helpful post-op information here:
Good luck, and keep us posted.
- Supporter in 2019
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.
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.
- Supporter in 2019
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?