When an abscess is more than an abscess

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Post   » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:19 pm

On August 25th, 2008 Pirate and his cagemate Panchito came to my house, after being pulled from a kill shelter in New Jersey by a friend.

On August 26th, 2008 they had a check-up. Pirate looked perfectly healthy and he weighed 1.19 kg. The only things “off” about him were his being extremely hyper and having his front paws swollen. Swollen but not hot to the touch, no unusual color and he felt no pain when the vet gently palpated them. The vet assumed at one point in his life he may have had bumblefoot and his paws just remained like that. He was given a clean bill of health.

Over the months of September and October Pirate’s hyperness only increased and he seemed like he would not rest, and I could never hold him for more than 30 seconds. He also became increasingly aggressive toward his cagemate (no bloodbaths though, but plenty of attacks for no reason).

On November 3rd, I noticed his left eye looked slightly swollen. No redness, no discomfort, it just looked a little different. When petting a guinea pig, if one gently slides their fingers over their eye cavities, when they close their eyes, the eye becomes almost flush with the skull. Pirate’s left eye would remain outside its socket, although he was able to close his eye.

On November 4th, the vet took 2 x-rays of the skull and saw there was an abscess in the soft tissue behind the eye. Under anesthesia, they tried to aspirate the abscess and took our .3 ml of very thick puss. She (Dr. Wilson at The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine in New York prescribed Ciprofloxacin compound (50 mg/ml) 0.3 cc twice daily and Metacam 0.35 cc once daily. She also warned me that he may most likely need surgery and will lose his eye).

On day 5 of Pirate’s course of Ciprofloxacin he developed diarrhea and stopped eating. He was then put on TMS (48 mg/ml) 0.4 cc twice daily and maintained on the 0.35 cc of Metacam.

Two weeks into the treatment with TMS and Metacam, I discovered Pirate’s left testicle quadrupled in size overnight. After rushing him to the vet, Dr. Wilson decided that he has an abscess in the left testicle. She neutered him and decided to neuter him scrotally because of the huge abscess and its agressiveness (The Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine prefers to do all the neutering procedures abdominally). The testicular abscess in fact crushed his testicle and was causing him great pain.

Pirate was put on Chloramphenicol compound (50 mg/ml) 0.8 cc twice daily and Metacam 0.35 cc once daily. After one dose of Chloramphenicol he started losing his appetite and after his second dose he completely stopped eating and drinking. He got put back on TMS (48 mg/ml) 0.4 cc twice daily for three weeks and 0.35 cc Metacam once daily for one week.

After the testicular abscess was removed via neutering, his eye abscess (which in the meantime was put on the back burner because of the aggressiveness of the testicular abscess) gradually decreased in size and disappeared. Also, the most interesting thing happened: the swollen paws are no longer swollen. They are completely normal and Pirate is no longer hyper. He now rests, explores and just acts like a normal piggie. He did not lose his eye and is now a very people-loving baby (he would not sit still for 30 seconds in my hands before). He lost weight through this ordeal: he now weighs .980 kg.

Dr. Wilson believes that he had a systemic infection that was bouncing around his body looking for a way to come out; thus, the eye abscess, the testicular abscess and the swollen paws.

His sensitivity to antibiotics (except TMS) worked against Pirate but all is well now.

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