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8 year old guinea pig with large abscess

Petfan

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Hi I have a senior chap called Kegan with a large abscess on his side (and a smaller one under his arm). Our vet (who deals with exotics) says its not possible to drain it as there is nothing to drain. Instead we tried anti inflams which didnt work. He is chirpy as ever and lives with his pal, he does not seem in pain and eats and drinks merrily. However the abscess is growing and keeps scabbing over and then is an open wound. The vet said he didnt think it would get infected as its on it is on his side. I am cleaning him out 2 x day and he lives inside. The abscess is now really big. I am happy to pay for an operation but as he is so senior I am concerned he wont survive the op. Even if he did the area which has to heal is very large and therefore challenging to not get infected. I don't want him to suffer though due to indecision. He has always been a great little character, we are very fond of him. Any views on what to do for the best?
 

Siikibam

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How old is your boy? And did the vet mention surgery, bearing his age in mind? I don’t have any experience so will tag @furryfriends (TEAS)
 

Petfan

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Oh thank you! - he is 8 and the vet thought he would be too old for surgery - or at least it is a massive risk. Saying that he has always been a big & sturdy chap. Some GI issues but that is all. Thoughts appreciated x
 

Flutterby

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What does the vet think is filling the abscess if there is nothing to drain from it? Especially if it is growing it would stand to reason that there is something inside building. Have they discussed possibly lancing the abscesses so that you can keep flushing and draining until they heal?
 

Petfan

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That is true, I thought he would do this but he used a needle & took a sample and analysed it then said there was nothing inside that would be able to drain. It is looking very gory. Fly strike could be an issue so I will have to be very careful.
 

Swissgreys

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@Flutterby makes a good point.
An abscess grows as it fill with pus.
If it isn't filled with pus then it may be something else - has he considered a cyst or fatty lump?

It does sound like it needs to be removed though, as it is clearly getting harder to manage and you are right to be worried about things like flies in the Summer months.
Has he done an x-ray or ultrasound to try and gauge how invasive the lump is?
Our Lucy had an unidentified lump on her side (not an abscess) which sounds very similar to your situation. We knew it had to come off, so the vet (a specialist) went in the removed the whole thing under a fairly short GA - Lucy was young but she was literally in and out in under 30 mins - I actually waited while she had it done and took her home straight afterwards. The lump was removed cleanly, the wound healed well and the results came back as a harmless fatty lump.
 

Petfan

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Thanks, no x ray yet & yes it does sound very similar. You are spot on re harder to manage. I am feeling quite optimistic re the op situation after hearing the thankfully quick and successful experience that Lucy had. I will call the vet now and arrange an x ray. Thx to you & @Flutterby - really appreciate it.
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Sometimes abscesses can be a lot deeper, than you would expect them to be! This means that although they look like they’re just under the skin, this isn’t always the case and just because the needle biopsy didn’t show any pus, it doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t any.
 

Petfan

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I didnt know that (and the vet didnt seem to know)- thank you - can see an x-ray would come in useful here~
 
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