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honeyandhunter

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Hi there, first time poster, long time Guinea Pig Mum.

This is an interesting story so strap yourselves in for a bit of a ride...
The past couple of weeks I had noticed in my female Guinea pig (Honey) a lump had formed in her stomach and was sticking out from her side. Unfortunately my car was awaiting its MoT so I couldn't drive her to the vet immediately but she was eating and drinking fine, although had noticed her water intake had increased, so I figured it was okay to wait to make the appointment once my car was ready and just keep a close eye on her. My partner and I had argued over which side the lump was as somedays it looked as if it was sticking out on the right and other days the left. She lives in her indoor run with her husband Hunter, who we neutered a year and a half ago after she had her first and only (surprise) litter.

Fast forward to today, I had gotten my car back from its MoT and managed to get a vet appointment for this morning. I noticed when putting her in to her carrier that she had some bald patches in her fur that I hadn't seen before. So I took her to her appointment, told the vet all her symptoms and mentioned the fur loss, they took her in to examine while I waited in the car (covid restrictions). I was sure it was some kind of cyst or tumour so I really was preparing for the worst.

The vet and her assistant come back out some time later with Honey, and inform me that she does not have tumours, and after an ultrasound had seen the lumps (which they found were in fact 1 on either side) each had heart beats. She is pregnant with at least 2 babies. Due within the next week as they are low down in the uterus (I may be explaining this part wrong sorry I was in shock at this news). The fur loss is a result of her nesting. The water intake increasing is due to pregnancy.

The vet told me she must have been in with an un-neutered male to which I promised her its only ever been her and Hunter in the cage ever since he fully recovered from said castration in August 2019. The Vet and her assistant looked like they were more in shock than I was! They told me this has never happened before, especially so long after a castration has occurred. I had to re-assure them that there has 100% been NO other guinea pig near her apart from Hunter.

Its safe to say we all are flabbergasted by this, the vet wants me to call as soon as she gives birth so we can bring them all in for a check and to see what on earth is going on down in Hunter's nether regions as it is UNHEARD of for a castrated male to impregnate a female, over a year after his castration. I asked the Vet if she was absolutely sure she was pregnant and it couldn't be anything else. She said that there is a chance that a vein in the tummy area can give off a pulse/heartbeat that can be picked up in an ultrasound but the fact that there was a heart beat on either side of her stomach makes the vein theory highly unlikely. But this conception is highly unlikely too!

I guess I am writing on here to ask if any of you have heard of this happening or experienced this yourselves.

Also, Honey is nearly 3 years old so I'm very worried she won't be able to give birth as easily as she did with her first litter. The Vet is hoping that as she's had a litter before and a big one at that (5 babies) that she will hopefully have no complications.

Any advice on what to do or reassurance from anyone who had an older piggy give birth would be amazing, or if anyone has heard of a similar pregnancy situation in a guinea pig please let me know, and if anyone is interested I am happy to give updates on this situation!
If you've made it this far thank you so much for reading. I am going to get busy with preparing the nursery although I feel a stable and a manger would be more suited for this situation!

Also just thought I'd add the Vet said to call if after 10 days no babies show but she is pretty confident Honey is pregnant and due within the next week.
 

Julie M

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Wow. I haven't ever heard of this. She wasn't away boarding anywhere or something in the last 10 weeks? Its highly unlikely that a neutered boar would impregnate her. Unless he wasnt neutered properly. 🤷‍♀️
 

Her Nibship

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:wel:Oh my goodness, what a shock for you! I haven't heard of anything like this before, but there's such a wealth of piggy experience on here that maybe somebody has. Keeping fingers crossed that everything goes well for Honey. Was Hunter neutered at the same vets that Honey has just been to?
 

honeyandhunter

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Wow. I haven't ever heard of this. She wasn't away boarding anywhere or something in the last 10 weeks? Its highly unlikely that a neutered boar would impregnate her. Unless he wasnt neutered properly. 🤷‍♀️
Thank you for responding so quickly! No she's not been anywhere other than her own run in my house and definitely only been in contact with Hunter. The Vet did wonder if the castration wasn't done properly but again surely he would have gotten her pregnant sooner than a year and a half later especially as sows are in heat so frequently. But I guess it's the only reasonable explanation to it is that he has something still working down there!
 

honeyandhunter

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:wel:Oh my goodness, what a shock for you! I haven't heard of anything like this before, but there's such a wealth of piggy experience on here that maybe somebody has. Keeping fingers crossed that everything goes well for Honey. Was Hunter neutered at the same vets that Honey has just been to?
Thank you for the warm welcome! I'm hoping someone on this site will be able to give me some clarity as we all are guinea pig lovers and owners here after all! Yes Hunter was neutered at the same practice, although it was a different Vet who carried out the surgery to the one who saw Honey today. Also at his post op check up they said everything was fine and dandy so surely if there was something still left down there the post op exam would have shown this...all very confusing! Thank you so much for your kind words and support!
 

Wiebke

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Hi there, first time poster, long time Guinea Pig Mum.

This is an interesting story so strap yourselves in for a bit of a ride...
The past couple of weeks I had noticed in my female Guinea pig (Honey) a lump had formed in her stomach and was sticking out from her side. Unfortunately my car was awaiting its MoT so I couldn't drive her to the vet immediately but she was eating and drinking fine, although had noticed her water intake had increased, so I figured it was okay to wait to make the appointment once my car was ready and just keep a close eye on her. My partner and I had argued over which side the lump was as somedays it looked as if it was sticking out on the right and other days the left. She lives in her indoor run with her husband Hunter, who we neutered a year and a half ago after she had her first and only (surprise) litter.

Fast forward to today, I had gotten my car back from its MoT and managed to get a vet appointment for this morning. I noticed when putting her in to her carrier that she had some bald patches in her fur that I hadn't seen before. So I took her to her appointment, told the vet all her symptoms and mentioned the fur loss, they took her in to examine while I waited in the car (covid restrictions). I was sure it was some kind of cyst or tumour so I really was preparing for the worst.

The vet and her assistant come back out some time later with Honey, and inform me that she does not have tumours, and after an ultrasound had seen the lumps (which they found were in fact 1 on either side) each had heart beats. She is pregnant with at least 2 babies. Due within the next week as they are low down in the uterus (I may be explaining this part wrong sorry I was in shock at this news). The fur loss is a result of her nesting. The water intake increasing is due to pregnancy.

The vet told me she must have been in with an un-neutered male to which I promised her its only ever been her and Hunter in the cage ever since he fully recovered from said castration in August 2019. The Vet and her assistant looked like they were more in shock than I was! They told me this has never happened before, especially so long after a castration has occurred. I had to re-assure them that there has 100% been NO other guinea pig near her apart from Hunter.

Its safe to say we all are flabbergasted by this, the vet wants me to call as soon as she gives birth so we can bring them all in for a check and to see what on earth is going on down in Hunter's nether regions as it is UNHEARD of for a castrated male to impregnate a female, over a year after his castration. I asked the Vet if she was absolutely sure she was pregnant and it couldn't be anything else. She said that there is a chance that a vein in the tummy area can give off a pulse/heartbeat that can be picked up in an ultrasound but the fact that there was a heart beat on either side of her stomach makes the vein theory highly unlikely. But this conception is highly unlikely too!

I guess I am writing on here to ask if any of you have heard of this happening or experienced this yourselves.

Also, Honey is nearly 3 years old so I'm very worried she won't be able to give birth as easily as she did with her first litter. The Vet is hoping that as she's had a litter before and a big one at that (5 babies) that she will hopefully have no complications.

Any advice on what to do or reassurance from anyone who had an older piggy give birth would be amazing, or if anyone has heard of a similar pregnancy situation in a guinea pig please let me know, and if anyone is interested I am happy to give updates on this situation!
If you've made it this far thank you so much for reading. I am going to get busy with preparing the nursery although I feel a stable and a manger would be more suited for this situation!

Also just thought I'd add the Vet said to call if after 10 days no babies show but she is pretty confident Honey is pregnant and due within the next week.
Hi!

A) Has your sow been in contact with another piggy within the last 10 weeks and b) has your vet checked for the possibility of ovarian cysts? They can grow to embryo size. If the babies were as close to birth as your vet seems to think, they should be much further developed. An x-ray could clarify as it should clearly show the skeleton in any babies over 6 weeks along.
Here are x-ray and scan pictures for comparison: Pregnancy-x-ray-and-ultrasound-scan-pictures

Sows do NOT get bald patches from nesting but ovarian cysts can cause symmetrical hair loss on the sides and the belly of a sow. It is not uncommon for vets not very experienced with guinea pigs to get things wrong in terms of diagnosing a pregnancy; we have seen that repeatedly on here.
Without seeing where the bald patches are located and how they look I cannot comment on whether it is a hormonal hair loss or a potentially parasitic one. It would help us if you posted a picture that also shows clearly where on the body it is located.
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)

PS: Since Honey has had a previous pregnancy, she is still very likely to give birth without big problems as her ligaments have been stretched Please do not feed more than 1 tablespoon of pellets and stop feeding any high calorie/sugar veg, which we recommend anyway. Two babies will be larger than 5; you are aiming at ideal sized babies for a problem-free birth and not at whoppers. That is one area where you really can make a difference. By the way, a previous prgnancy does not prevent ovarian cysts; if you have come across that one, it is one of these long since debunked breeder myths.
Here is the access link to our detailed pregnancy/birth/mother and baby care information; you can find the diet advice right at the top: Pregnancy, Mother & Baby Care Guides
 

honeyandhunter

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Hi!

A) Has your sow been in contact with another piggy within the last 10 weeks and b) has your vet checked for the possibility of ovarian cysts? They can grow to embryo size. If the babies were as close to birth as your vet seems to think, they should be much further developed. An x-ray could clarify as it should clearly show the skeleton in any babies over 6 weeks along.
Here are x-ray and scan pictures for comparison: Pregnancy-x-ray-and-ultrasound-scan-pictures

Sows do NOT get bald patches from nesting but ovarian cysts can cause symmetrical hair loss on the sides and the belly of a sow. It is not uncommon for vets not very experienced with guinea pigs to get things wrong in terms of diagnosing a pregnancy; we have seen that repeatedly on here.
Without seeing where the bald patches are located and how they look I cannot comment on whether it is a hormonal hair loss or a potentially parasitic one. It would help us if you posted a picture that also shows clearly where on the body it is located.
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)

PS: Since Honey has had a previous pregnancy, she is still very likely to give birth without big problems as her ligaments have been stretched Please do not feed more than 1 tablespoon of pellets and stop feeding any high calorie/sugar veg, which we recommend anyway. Two babies will be larger than 5; you are aiming at ideal sized babies for a problem-free birth and not at whoppers. That is one area where you really can make a difference. By the way, a previous prgnancy does not prevent ovarian cysts; if you have come across that one, it is one of these long since debunked breeder myths.
Here is the access link to our detailed pregnancy/birth/mother and baby care information; you can find the diet advice right at the top: Pregnancy, Mother & Baby Care Guides
Hi there! Thank you so much for your really helpful response.
She has definitely not been in contact with any other pig other than Hunter.
I had presumed in her examination she would have been checked for Ovarian Cysts but perhaps she didn't. Now that I think of it when she detected Honey's first pregnancy she had said she was due within 10 days and Honey didn't deliver for another 3 weeks, so perhaps she believes she is further along than she is like last time.
I will try to get a photo and upload to show you her bald patch, it is on one side of her stomach and again looking back she never 'nested' in her last litter. Honey's skin is smooth under the bald patch and its a pretty circular area of hair loss.
Thank you for the pregnancy advice, especially about the pellets I'll be sure to be strict with her diet as you're right I don't want huge whoppers that will cause her anymore difficulty giving birth.
My question is, can ovarian cysts imitate heart beats on an ultrasound? She said she definitely detected a heart beat on either side of her lower stomach. This is what baffles me if its ovarian cysts.
I have sent the Vet an email this morning to ask if she saw anything other than heartbeats that could show it was babies, as in the ultrasound pictures you sent me a link to you can make out parts of the baby in the scan.

Thank you again for your response I really appreciate it!
 

Wiebke

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Hi there! Thank you so much for your really helpful response.
She has definitely not been in contact with any other pig other than Hunter.
I had presumed in her examination she would have been checked for Ovarian Cysts but perhaps she didn't. Now that I think of it when she detected Honey's first pregnancy she had said she was due within 10 days and Honey didn't deliver for another 3 weeks, so perhaps she believes she is further along than she is like last time.
I will try to get a photo and upload to show you her bald patch, it is on one side of her stomach and again looking back she never 'nested' in her last litter. Honey's skin is smooth under the bald patch and its a pretty circular area of hair loss.
Thank you for the pregnancy advice, especially about the pellets I'll be sure to be strict with her diet as you're right I don't want huge whoppers that will cause her anymore difficulty giving birth.
My question is, can ovarian cysts imitate heart beats on an ultrasound? She said she definitely detected a heart beat on either side of her lower stomach. This is what baffles me if its ovarian cysts.
I have sent the Vet an email this morning to ask if she saw anything other than heartbeats that could show it was babies, as in the ultrasound pictures you sent me a link to you can make out parts of the baby in the scan.

Thank you again for your response I really appreciate it!
Thank you. I am glad that our information is helping you.

I am a bit baffled by the heartbeat as well as guinea pigs are not known to have spontaneous pregnancies commonly; whether your vet misinterpreted breathing movement? - Anyway, we have never come across one in our 15 years of forum existence, and we have by now had quite literally tens of thousands of piggies passing through here.
In any way, you are welcome to send the link in question to your vet if you wish to.

You may want to have the hair loss area investigated further as to whether it could be a mange mites patch (which can happen in non-standard areas) or whether it could be caused by self-barbering as the result of discomfort/pain below the skin - it can on occasion be caused by a larger ovarian cyst. Please accept that I can only guess without having access to your piggy and I can only show up avenues I would want to raise with my own vet in this kind of situation.
Barbering ( Eating Hair)

Dietary recommendations have changed quite a lot in recent years. Not overfeeding pellets and vet in favour of hay and fresh grass can really add 1-2 years to the average healthy life span and take it from the lower end to the upper and beyond, as I have seen in my own piggies.
You may find our general diet interesting because it looks at diet as a whole and what role each food plays in it as well as the various food groups in detail: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
 

Free Ranger

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Just a thought...
Someone here ended up with surprise babies when a younger sibling put the two separate guinea pigs in together to 'play'. They were back in their cages before anyone was any the wiser. Are there any potential playmates in any other cages?

When I was young my friend brought her rabbit round to 'play' with our rabbit. Peter and Pat were both boys - definitely - but they didn't care! We couldn't catch them for an hour, and Pat (who had borne the brunt of playtime) had to have a bath when he got home. I'm assuming no-one has been round to play?

Good luck - and let us know how it turns out. If you get babies see if you can do a paternity test!
 

honeyandhunter

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Thank you. I am glad that our information is helping you.

I am a bit baffled by the heartbeat as well as guinea pigs are not known to have spontaneous pregnancies commonly; whether your vet misinterpreted breathing movement? - Anyway, we have never come across one in our 15 years of forum existence, and we have by now had quite literally tens of thousands of piggies passing through here.
In any way, you are welcome to send the link in question to your vet if you wish to.

You may want to have the hair loss area investigated further as to whether it could be a mange mites patch (which can happen in non-standard areas) or whether it could be caused by self-barbering as the result of discomfort/pain below the skin - it can on occasion be caused by a larger ovarian cyst. Please accept that I can only guess without having access to your piggy and I can only show up avenues I would want to raise with my own vet in this kind of situation.
Barbering ( Eating Hair)

Dietary recommendations have changed quite a lot in recent years. Not overfeeding pellets and vet in favour of hay and fresh grass can really add 1-2 years to the average healthy life span and take it from the lower end to the upper and beyond, as I have seen in my own piggies.
You may find our general diet interesting because it looks at diet as a whole and what role each food plays in it as well as the various food groups in detail: Long Term Balanced General And Special Needs Guinea Pig Diets
Hi thank you again for your reply back!
Just thought I'd give you an update!
The Vet called me yesterday after reading my email to her.
She is still baffled by this whole situation and told me she did check for ovarian cysts, however Honey's lumps to her do not feel like cysts as she has had female Guinea Pigs in the past with ovarian cysts and Honey's lumps do not feel the same. I asked again about the heartbeats and she said when she noticed them on the scan, to rule out a pulse in Honey's veins, she followed the veins up Honey's body with the ultrasound scanner and the pulse/heartbeat didn't continue up her body with the vein - again sorry I may not be explaining this right as biology isn't something I have a lot of knowledge on!
So we decided on a plan moving forward that the Vet is going to speak to her colleague who is also quiet knowledgable on small mammals to see if she can get a second opinion, and we have also booked her in for an X Ray which is today at 4:30pm, as if the babies are as far along as she predicted then we will be able to see them on the X Ray. And if it isn't babies then hopefully I will get a diagnosis on what the lumps are and we can move forward with whatever treatment she will need.
While at the appointment today I will ask her about the possibility of mites causing her hair loss, thank you for this suggestion!
I will add an update to this thread once back from the Vet this afternoon!
 

honeyandhunter

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Just a thought...
Someone here ended up with surprise babies when a younger sibling put the two separate guinea pigs in together to 'play'. They were back in their cages before anyone was any the wiser. Are there any potential playmates in any other cages?

When I was young my friend brought her rabbit round to 'play' with our rabbit. Peter and Pat were both boys - definitely - but they didn't care! We couldn't catch them for an hour, and Pat (who had borne the brunt of playtime) had to have a bath when he got home. I'm assuming no-one has been round to play?

Good luck - and let us know how it turns out. If you get babies see if you can do a paternity test!
Hi!
I only have Honey and Hunter and they've not had any friends round to play :( although they would have probably loved it!
Thank you so much! Hopefully the X Ray this afternoon Honey is booked in for will give us a clear indication as to what is going on! I will update the thread when I get home! And yes a paternity test would be needed if she is pregnant! :P
 

Swissgreys

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Well done for getting further testing done.
Hopefully you get a clear answer this afternoon and thanks for the updates - this is fascinating!
 

Freela

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What a crazy scenario! Please do update us when you can, I'm curious to see how it plays out! I mean, it has to be either a botched neuter or a misdiagnosed pregnancy and I would lean towards the latter if I was placing bets, especially with circular hair loss, but I'm really curious to see what the final verdict is! All the best to your piggie too, whatever the eventual diagnosis I hope she comes through well and healthy!
 

tabelmabel

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Cant shed any light but what a fascinating story! Please keep us updated as i, for one, am interested to see what happens next!
 

honeyandhunter

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Hi everyone,
Sorry for my late response I've been trying to come to terms with the news. The X-ray showed no babies, instead 2 large tumours. We have to decide wether we do surgery which has a high chance of not going well or if we keep her home and enjoying her time left with Hunter and us. We have her on some pain relief now and we've been spending a lot of time with her. It's devastating and such a hard decision to make.
So, unfortunately this isn't the miracle conception after all. I just cant believe how wrong the Vet got it all, but this seems to be common when it comes to Vets and Guinea Pigs.
Thank you to everyone who gave me advice and support I really, really appreciate it. xx
 

Her Nibship

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So, so sorry to read your news about Honey & the terribly hard decision you have to make. Your love for her comes through in your posts. I really feel for you.
 
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