One of my guinea pigs, Emily has what appears to be an ovarian tumor and a mammary tumor along with hair loss on her hind legs. She is 6 years old and has been previously treated for ovarian cysts with hormone injections about 6 months ago. We took her to the vet today, and the vet wants to spay her and says it should remove the cancer.
I am worried if this is the right thing to do since she is 6 years old. The vet was very insistent about doing the spay. She doesn't have any other health issues but I have had her for 6 years and i'm terrified she will not survive or recover from the surgery. I want to do everything possible to give her the best life and keep her around for as long as possible, but of course I am biased.
I am looking for advice from other cavy owners that have been in a similar situation. I spent $500 today for ultrasounds, x-rays, and blood work, and I am looking at another $430 for the spay surgery. I currently have the surgery scheduled but I don't know if it is the right thing to do for her. She is currently not in any pain or exhibiting symptoms, I just noticed the lumps during cuddle time.
What would you all do? Have you heard of any other treatments for ovarian tumors?
- Catie Cavy
- Supporter 2011-2019
We had another girl with the same condition. We opted for 'benign neglect' with her, managing her condition with pain relief and meds. She blessed us with another 18 happy months. In the last few days she became very ill very quickly, and we chose to have her released to the Rainbow Bridge when she deteriorated. But she did well without surgical intervention IMHO.
I'd like to add, her cysts were -enormous- and grew quite rapidly. Before she died she went up to over 1600gms. We had to make a few adjustments in terms of widening her hideys to make sure she didn't get stuck, but they didn't bother her in the slightest. She was able to run freely and was very enthusiastic about life.
- And got the T-shirt
I'd be very wary of a spay for a six year old. She might come through just fine, she might not. I'd at least ask for information about whether a flank spay would be possible -- removing the ovaries from the sides rather than digging through the abdomen to get to them. I don't even know if that can be done for an ovary with a cyst. But the surgery doesn't disturb the intestines the way an abdominal spay does, and it can be easier for the pig to recover.
The mammary tumor surgery isn't a difficult one, as surgeries go. They don't open the abdomen, and that saves a lot of post-op stress and worry. If that were the only problem she had, I wouldn't hesitate to do that one. But with that and the ovarian cysts, it's a much tougher call.
She has previously had 2 hormone shot about 6 months ago, when we noticed cysts and hair loss on the sides. She grew her hair back and seemed alright, the cysts had shrunk. The vet believes it is ovarian cancer because of the mammary tumor, as well as the x-ray and ultra sound which showed 2 solid masses, that makes him believe they aren't cysts. It doesn't appear to have metastasized. The vet says he spays guinea pigs all the time and the practice has several exotic vets that do specialize in Guinea pigs.
I left a message this morning at the vet asking for them to give me a call back about seeing if the injections are an option or if we could try just removing the mammary tumor. Hopefully ill get a call back tonight.