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Ovarian cysts - spaying a female guinea pig

Discussion in 'Health & Illness' started by oscarbunny, Aug 5, 2009.

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  1. oscarbunny
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    oscarbunny New Member

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    Hi,

    This is my first post here. I know there is another post about spaying, but this is specific to a condition that my guinea pig has.

    I am quite sure that my guinea pig has ovarian cysts, she is going to have a ultrasound to check. However, my vet has never spayed a guinea pig before.... neither have any of the other vets at the practice.

    My question is... how long would my guinea pig survive with the cysts and would her death be painful? What would you do in my situation.

    Does anyone know of any vets with experience of spaying guinea pigs in the north east - durham, darlington, stockton area.
  2. Wiebke
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    Wiebke Moderator Staff Member

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    Where are you from?

    You might profit from seeking advice form a guinea pig specialist. Some ovarian cysts can be treated without an operation.

    The best vet to do spaying ops is in Northampton.

    Info about ovarian cysts can be found here: http://www.guinealynx.info/ovarian_cysts.html
  3. oscarbunny
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    oscarbunny New Member

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    I am in Co. Durham, where do I find a guinea pig specialist? I thought the only option was to operate. Hormonal treatment is only temporary isnt it?
  4. Laura-CCC4
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    Laura-CCC4 Senior Guinea Pig

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    Welcome to the forum. :)

    I'm sorry your guinea pig has been diagnosed with ovarian cysts. It really isn't the serious condition many vets make out, and the options for treatment are wider than they were some years ago.

    Strictly speaking, the only way to ensure a total cure for the conditin is to have an ovariohysterectomy performed. That much is true. However, given that in most guinea pigs ovarian cysts are not life-threatening, it is safe and often wise to consider much less risky treatment options.

    Hormone therapy, injections of HCG/Chorulon, are usually effective and will deal with the symptoms as well as controlling and reducing the size of the cysts. They are not a cure, but they can work extremely well. I had a 6 year old sow with a small cyst on one ovary, but her symptoms were fairly severe - hormonal and sexually aggressive behaviour, very swollen nipples, significant hairloss. She had four injections of HCG; one "course" (2 injections, spaced 4 weeks apart) was not quite enough, but after the second course the cyst has shrunk to the point it was undetectable. (I'm unsure on the accuracy of saying it was cured, but it appeared that way whether or not it was!)

    Another option is draining of the cysts via a needle in the abdomen. No anesthetic needed, the procedure is over in minutes and can be compared to some of the tests run on pregnant women (human) - but a highly skilled and trained veterinarian is essential. The effect of this treatment is immediate, since the contents of the cysts are expelled, but there is the chance that the cysts could refill and you will need to have the treatment performed again.

    Compared with the risks of spaying, and given the frequent successes of hormone therapy and drainig via needle, provided the guinea pig is otherwise well it is worth considering hormone therapy and (if the cysts are large) draining before opting for surgery. Spaying a sow is notably risky, and in most cases this risk can be avoided - provided your vet is willing to listen and try the other avenues!
  5. oscarbunny
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    oscarbunny New Member

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    Thank you so much for your reply. That has opened up some more avenues for me to explore. :)

    Although my vet has never performed an ovariohysterectomy (sp?) before, she is lovely and is very open to trying different treatments. She is reluctant to perform the operation due to the risks involved, although is pressed by me, she said she would. I wouldnt want her to though due to lack of experience. I would like to be able to try and control the size of the cysts with the Hcg. She isnt that old either, she is only 2.5 years old.

    How long does the hormone therapy control the cysts for?

    Thanks again for your brilliant advice.
  6. alcesterpigs
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    alcesterpigs New Member

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    I would not like a guinea pig of mine to be a "guinea pig" for a first time vet.
    Spaying is very drastic and risky ie death. I have had sows with ovarian cysts almost as large as a plum. Treatment was a simple drainage, no anaesthetic needed, not even a local anaesthetic. Occasionally ovarian cysts will rupture, no problem, (a good thing really, self curing!) the fluid drains away into the abdominal cavity from where it is absorbed and is then excreted normally. I would wait and watch and put spaying as the very last desperate option on the list of possible treatments.
  7. Wiebke
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    Wiebke Moderator Staff Member

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    Could you ask your vet whether she knows a specialised exotics vet (that includes guinea pigs) somewhere in your area?

    My own vet referred me to one when Minx had severe trouble with bladder stones and rung him up when in doubt with further treatment.

    We have got a thread for "recommended vets" at the top of the "Illness" section; but it is patchy.
  8. oscarbunny
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    oscarbunny New Member

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    I wouldnt want her to perform the op. I dont think I would have the op done at all now that I know the other options. I am going to see her today as Emma now has a little lump on her side which isnt connected to anything, it feels like a cyst. I will ask her if she knows of an exotics specialist in the area. I seriously doubt there is one though....
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