She did not have them surgically removed, feeling her guinea pig was old and would not do well. Removing mammary tumors is not particularly invasive and generally has a good outcome. I wish she had done so early on. In retrospect, I think she would have agreed.
I honestly thought R wouldn't hang on this long. But up until the last day or so, she has still been interested in us and in eating so we've continued putting food/water within her reach, giving her meds, and keeping her clean. But now, even her eating has slowed down a lot. It's time.
Even though we aren't allowed inside our vet's office, we did find out they are doing house calls. So one of the vets is coming tomorrow afternoon to put her to sleep. I'm glad we'll get one last day to say goodbye and fill her up with her favorite treats, and that we'll be able to keep her at home and in peace. 8 years and 3+ months is a good, long run for a guinea pig. I hope we've managed to do right by her.
I am sad and will miss her a lot, but I'm at peace with the decision and timing. I don't know how many guinea pigs live until 8, but none of mine ever have before. I am already thinking of all her good times running around the cage, eating her favorite treats (oranges and parsley), sniffing her little nose up in the air to beg for more, and falling asleep on my lap for hours at a time. She was the best little friend.
- For the Love of Pigs
Lisa12 - out of 14 pigs we've had only one that lived to 8 in spite of the fact that she had a lot wrong with her over the years. Her mother lived 7 years, also a record for us at the time. It seems there was a genetic component there.
I really wanted to know once and for all what the lump on her neck was, so we decided to do a necropsy. It turns out that the lump was indeed cancer - fibrosarcoma. So it definitely wasn't anything treatable by antibiotics. Our only option would have been surgery, and even then it could still have come back.
We also found out that she had myocarditis, and masses on her heart and spleen. The lab identified the masses as xanthomas, which I have never heard of. Our vet said they are also cancerous. Between the myocarditis and the mass on her heart, she likely wouldn't have survived surgery anyway.
With this additional information, I feel even more strongly that we made the right decision when we chose not to treat the neck lump any further. Keeping her comfortable with pain meds was the best course for her. It's brought me a lot of closure to know for sure. (Though I will take away the lesson to push harder for a culture for infection if this ever happens to another guinea pig in the future, just in case!)