This may sound more disturbing (or enjoyable)
to some than it actually is. Peri’s lovely lady lumps, happened to be Peri’s very expensive lady lumps!
There is one condition that had always scare
d me and put me off of ever owning a female Guinea pig. Ovarian and Uterine Cysts, Lumps and Tumors. After have two female hamsters with on going issues with “girl bits” I swore myself off of Female small animals. And then Harvey happened, and all his teenage “I can never live with another man” angst.
When I brought Peri home with me, I always noticed she was an odd shape, but just presumed she was fat as she was other wise so healthy. It wasn’t until having her for just over a year when I began to feel her very distinctive pear shape was not normal. So i gently palpated her abdomen and bingo, happily nestled just under her ribs was a great big, mass. I knew she had a lump on her Ovary.
There are three very common indications of Ovarian Cysts in Guinea pigs.
- Bilateral Hair loss (along the sides, over the site of the Ovaries)
- Crusty and enlarged nipples
- Sexual aggression. Sows with a hormonal imbalance often mount and sexually bully her female cage mates.
Becoming very thin about the shoulders and back, lethargy and poor eating when cysts become very large are also indicators.
Peri exhibited none of these signs! She was bright eyed, easy going with the other guineas, ate well, chubby all over. Her coat was thick and glossy, it was only her shape which was the give away.
So off to the vet we go, a vet who was recommended to me. Needless to say utterly useless. I agreed to take Peri through a course of hormone treatment, however three months after the drugs were apparently ordered, and no one seemed to know where or what they were I gave up and went to my regular veterinary surgery who I use for minor issues and my Cats. I was suggested a vet who was experienced enough to first do a thorough ultrasound of Peri’s abdomen, in which she confirmed definite cysts. (the previous vet just described a ‘lump’ ) We again discussed treatment options, hormone Injections, Implants or Spaying. I was all for the injections.
Although Hormone treatment is now the most recommended treatment path for Ovarian cysts in Guinea’s very few people actually say how ineffective, and eventually costly it can be. Peri’s cyst did not shrink, and she also had allergic reactions to the Injection, which caused he painful scabs and itching ti the injection site – so after paying near a hundred pounds for the privilege I felt wretched and guilty that I had done it to her. My vet then contacted an exotics vet who came and took a look at her, he said that, despite her age and given her good condition he would be no more concerned about spaying her than he would a Guinea pig half the age. (Peri is 6 for the record). So after a sleepless night I bit the bullet and booked her in for her op the coming Thursday, to be carried out by the vet who had done her ultra sound as she has successfully spayed piggies before.
I was, as to be expected a week that day, nor did it help that I never got a post op call to say if she was ok. It wasn’t until 7.10pm when the vet rang to say,
“Your little piggy is still here, has no one contacted you? She’s doing really well and could have gone home hours ago.” that i was finally able to stop panicking!
So that brought me to Peri’s second lady, lumpy problem.
Her recovery from her Spay was fantastic, eating, squeaking, running about well withing twelve hours. She seemed to be in very little pain, wasn’t aggravating her wound and was her general self. She was, obviously living inside, rather than their usual shed, along with her friend Acorn. After two days I noticed that she had started to become quite a bully towards Acorn, which is very unlike Peri who is a very laid back girl. Four days in and a mysterious lump had made it’s self present in Peri’s Urethra. Which had caused her vulva to become red and inflamed, hence why she was being so grumpy, My poor little girl was in pain again!
A guinea pigs Bladder will often sit in the junction of her Uterus. With her enormously enlarges reproductive organs removed (they weighed approximately 700 grams) her happy little bladder had lots of room to move about, this also meant that a large bladder stone which had most likely been kept in place by her Uterus or Ovaries has made it’s escape.
Two weeks after major surgery, Peri was yet again knocked under and had to have her bladder stone surgically removed from her Uretha as when the vet attempted to catheterize to either flush, or lubricate it out, it just wouldn’t budge. Thankfully it was a very quick surgery and she recovered perfectly well, squeaking for vegetables when i collected her. The stone was tested as came back as being a calcium build up, she she and her buddies are now on a lovely low calcium diet.
And so end the £300 saga of Peri and her lumpy lady parts. Many, many people would feel it ludicrous that someone would spend that kind of money on a guinea pig (and a geriatric one at that.) But she is totally worth it, her surgeries have been a success, she is no worse for wear, and is her normal adorable, beautiful self.