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Advice on Spaying a six year old piggy

dannif_piggies

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So back around May time, Honey was diagnosed with ovarian cysts, and the options we were given was to spay or have a hormone impnat put into the scruff of her neck. Obviously the spay would be a permanent fix, but the implant would cause less distress, and potentially be "safer" for Honey due to her age, however the was a chance it would stop working after x amount of time, or not work at all. Well we went for the implant, and the results of it were amazing! However, I think they are starting to grow back slowly, (she's going to the vet tomorrow), so now potentially I'm considering spaying her. this wasn't something that I had really considered doing because of Honey's age, however, I'm open minded and would like to know people's opionions on this? Have they had any experience or seen anyone on this forum with this previously? Because of her age would it be better if I just kept putting implants into her? Other than these cysts she is a very healthy, active piggy, with what I can see no other health issues.

SIDE QUESTION:
Also, I'm considering eventually getting Willow spayed to avoid ovarian cysts altogether, is this something you guys would recommend?

Thank you guys!
 

Lady Kelly

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Sorry to hear of Honeys problems. I have had a sow spayed at 4.5 years of age due to ovarian cysts who recovered very well and there is a thread here for Adelle who had Fudge spayed at 8 years of age where she asked for advice on whether to proceed Could Really Be Doing With Honest Opinions From Pet Owners

With a good vet and otherwise healthy piggy there is no reason why they can't recover but as with all operations for small animals there will always be a risk.

In response to your side question, I have never, and would never consider a spay in terms of preventative measures. It is a very invasive operation, so much more so than neutering. Whilst dealing with cysts can be heartbreaking and expensive for me it's too risky doing the operation just in case
 

dannif_piggies

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Thank you so much for your response, I will give that thread a read after work today. And also, thank you for the advice about "spaying to prevent" I will not consider this now. Thank you x
 

Lady Kelly

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Thank you so much for your response, I will give that thread a read after work today. And also, thank you for the advice about "spaying to prevent" I will not consider this now. Thank you x
The choice to operate on older piggies is always incredibly difficult. Having a good and knowledgeable vet really does help (it sounds like you do have one). I would let them health check Honey and give their honest opinion on the options and likelihood of the operation being a success as well.
 

Merab's Slave

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Whatever decision you make for Honey will be right.
You are taking great care in thinking through the pros and cons so when you do reach a decision you can be confident it's the best you can make for her.
 

dannif_piggies

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I'd be heartbroken if she didn't make it and it was me that put her into having it done. That's the biggest things that's putting me off it atm, but then potentially if a success she could have a longer life, thank you again for the advice :)
 

VickiA

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Can your vet do a laparoscopic spay or is it an open and full spay?
I’ve had piggies spayed both ways for health reasons and they bounce right back much more quickly after the laparoscopic spay (incision in each side and removal of ovary only as opposed to midline incision and removal of ovaries and uterus).
It’s a tough call but in the right hands the surgery (even in an older piggy) can be safe and offer a longer and happier life.
 

LeahsPiggies

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I have also had 2 sows spayed at the age of 4 a half and both made a full and quick recovery. One of them only had her ovaries (and the cysts) removed rather than a complete spay, so she had an incision on either side. Maybe this is something that could he discussed with your vet? It’s less invasive too. Good luck x
 

Lady Kelly

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Can your vet do a laparoscopic spay or is it an open and full spay?
I’ve had piggies spayed both ways for health reasons and they bounce right back much more quickly after the laparoscopic spay (incision in each side and removal of ovary only as opposed to midline incision and removal of ovaries and uterus).
It’s a tough call but in the right hands the surgery (even in an older piggy) can be safe and offer a longer and happier life.
This is what my vet did with bumble a few years back. She had staples and they took the ovaries and the majority of the womb.
 

Wiebke

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So back around May time, Honey was diagnosed with ovarian cysts, and the options we were given was to spay or have a hormone impnat put into the scruff of her neck. Obviously the spay would be a permanent fix, but the implant would cause less distress, and potentially be "safer" for Honey due to her age, however the was a chance it would stop working after x amount of time, or not work at all. Well we went for the implant, and the results of it were amazing! However, I think they are starting to grow back slowly, (she's going to the vet tomorrow), so now potentially I'm considering spaying her. this wasn't something that I had really considered doing because of Honey's age, however, I'm open minded and would like to know people's opionions on this? Have they had any experience or seen anyone on this forum with this previously? Because of her age would it be better if I just kept putting implants into her? Other than these cysts she is a very healthy, active piggy, with what I can see no other health issues.

SIDE QUESTION:
Also, I'm considering eventually getting Willow spayed to avoid ovarian cysts altogether, is this something you guys would recommend?

Thank you guys!
It depends on the nature of your ovarian cysts. Not all cysts are hormone based, that is why hormones don't work in all cases. The oldest sow I had to spay for very large non-hormonal ovarian cysts was 5 years old.

If you or your vet are worried about a spaying operation at this age, you could consider draining. It doesn't require general anaesthesia and is a valid alternative to a spay in those cases where an operation is not possible. The cyst will refill, but it is a matter of months and not weeks, and it is a quick, non-invasive procedure that can be repeated unlimited.

Here are our post-op care tips if you need them: Tips For Post-operative Care
 

dannif_piggies

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It depends on the nature of your ovarian cysts. Not all cysts are hormone based, that is why hormones don't work in all cases. The oldest sow I had to spay for very large non-hormonal ovarian cysts was 5 years old.

If you or your vet are worried about a spaying operation at this age, you could consider draining. It doesn't require general anaesthesia and is a valid alternative to a spay in those cases where an operation is not possible. The cyst will refill, but it is a matter of months and not weeks, and it is a quick, non-invasive procedure that can be repeated unlimited.

Here are our post-op care tips if you need them: Tips For Post-operative Care
Thank you for this post, the hormonal implant did work as originally her cysts were very large and reduced by around 80% from what the vet was able to feel, however she did make me aware that about 20% of piggies with hormonal cysts could have cancer. From our previous discussions I don't think she has any concerns about operating on Honey however I will have a further discussion with her about this.

Thank you to everyone once again for your responses 💗
 

dannif_piggies

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@VickiA @LeahsPiggies @Lady Kelly thank you for your messages about the alternative spay, I didn't even know this was a thing. So is it a case that they remove the ovaries and leave the rest? If anyone has any links to more information about this I'd be very grateful. I'll be sure to ask my vet if this is something they do, thank you lovelies ❣
 

LeahsPiggies

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@VickiA @LeahsPiggies @Lady Kelly thank you for your messages about the alternative spay, I didn't even know this was a thing. So is it a case that they remove the ovaries and leave the rest? If anyone has any links to more information about this I'd be very grateful. I'll be sure to ask my vet if this is something they do, thank you lovelies ❣
Yes my girl just had her ovaries removed, the womb stayed in place. I’m not sure of any reliable links but hopefully one of the other ladies will, I hope you come to a conclusion x
 

VickiA

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Not all exotics vets have been trained to do the laparoscopic spay. It’s best to ask your vets if they can do it.
 

dannif_piggies

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Hey guys, had the vet appointment today, here's the situation:

Honeys health is excellent, and as far and the vet is concerned, she is a very healthy and happy guinea pig (apart from the ovarian cysts). The hormonal implant is still working, however the vet now thinks the (regrowth) cysts if from fluid filled cysts, and so the option here would be to do a scan to confirm if it was fluid for certain and then potentially drain the fluid through the abdomen, however, there's a risk that the fluid will leak and potentially poison honey if absorbed into the bloodstream, so due to this being a temporary fix (because they will refill) this is not an option I'm considering, as the risk is always there.

So therefore, the main option is, to spayed honey, or not.

Due to her excellent health, the vet is saying if I'm going to do it, do it now, giving her the best chance to survive.
The way my thoughts are going are:
If I spayed her, it's removing the problem, but theirs obviously risk she won't pull through, but then if she does she no longer will have the problem. And if she dies I'll feel like Ive inflicted the death on her.

Or leave it because of her age, and the issue is not causing her discomfort and she is currently a healthy happy guinea pig as of now, and let nature take its cause, these may not be the ultimate cause of her death, it could simply be old age.

My vet who would be performing the procedure if I were to get it done, as of yet, has 100% success rate with the operation, but only 1 or two of her operations has been on older guinea pigs.

Honestly, I would like what people think I should do or what they would do if they were in this scenario, because I'm so indecisive. Thank you in advance!
 

LeahsPiggies

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Hey guys, had the vet appointment today, here's the situation:

Honeys health is excellent, and as far and the vet is concerned, she is a very healthy and happy guinea pig (apart from the ovarian cysts). The hormonal implant is still working, however the vet now thinks the (regrowth) cysts if from fluid filled cysts, and so the option here would be to do a scan to confirm if it was fluid for certain and then potentially drain the fluid through the abdomen, however, there's a risk that the fluid will leak and potentially poison honey if absorbed into the bloodstream, so due to this being a temporary fix (because they will refill) this is not an option I'm considering, as the risk is always there.

So therefore, the main option is, to spayed honey, or not.

Due to her excellent health, the vet is saying if I'm going to do it, do it now, giving her the best chance to survive.
The way my thoughts are going are:
If I spayed her, it's removing the problem, but theirs obviously risk she won't pull through, but then if she does she no longer will have the problem. And if she dies I'll feel like Ive inflicted the death on her.

Or leave it because of her age, and the issue is not causing her discomfort and she is currently a healthy happy guinea pig as of now, and let nature take its cause, these may not be the ultimate cause of her death, it could simply be old age.

My vet who would be performing the procedure if I were to get it done, as of yet, has 100% success rate with the operation, but only 1 or two of her operations has been on older guinea pigs.

Honestly, I would like what people think I should do or what they would do if they were in this scenario, because I'm so indecisive. Thank you in advance!
I’m sorry to hear that you’re in such a difficult situation. It’s always hard to know what to do for our pets, but you will know Honey better than anyone else. If I were you I would go for the operation, your vet seems piggy savvy and there is a high chance that she will come through it happier and healthier as ever and it may prolong her life - rather than the cysts suddenly causing issues and it being too late to spay her.
Either way you will be doing your very best and I wish you and Honey luck x
 

dannif_piggies

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@LeahsPiggies thank you for your reply, I think I am swaying towards getting it done, at least there is no rush for me to make a hash decision 😊
 

Merab's Slave

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Sometimes with a really difficult decision a way forward is:
Make a decision- live with for a few days and see how you feel.
If you feel comfortable then that’s probably the right choice but if it doesn’t feel right after the pondering time then make a different decision.
Whatever you do decide it will be right for you and Honey as you will make it out of love for her.
 
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