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Specialist Guinea pig cheek lump filled with blood

CrypticThief

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Hi,

Long time reader, first time poster. I'm really hoping someone is able to help identify what's happening with my poor piggy. His name is Bean Sprout and he's about 4 now. In November we noticed a small lump by his cheek (looked like an abscess), booked an appointment with the vet. They couldn't see anything wrong in the xrays (teeth looked fine) but we decided to lance it anyway. Only blood came out but at least the lump subsided and was given critical care and antibiotics. Seemed fine until that evening when it looked like it was filling back up.

While cleaning the wound and antibiotics, we gently squeezed the sac and blood came out again (no pus). We monitored for another day and booked another appointment. We got it lanced again and only had blood. We brought him home again and the next day it filled back up. We took him to vet again and they suggested surgery but they honestly didn't know if it would help considering didn't seem like an abscess.

Keep in mind, he's been eating and drinking solid foods (we didn't even really use the critical care, but we still gave him the antibiotics until it was used up).

So we made the decision that since he doesn't seem to be bothered by it, that we'd monitor it and leave it.

Over time (10 months) it got a bit bigger but he was still eating solids and drinking water. Recently we brought him in to lance it again, a lot of blood came out but no pus. After we brought him home, it started to fill up again!

We're at a loss of what to do. Surgery would make sense but the vet conceded they're not too sure it would help because it doesn't look like an abscess. And while it's also costly he's also 4, so we don't know if surgery is the best option. I also just feel bad because it seems like it's just stressing him out to continue bringing him to the vet.

Any thoughts and ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!
 

Siikibam

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There are lots of piggies on here who have had surgery at that age and come through okay. He’s not too old but neither is he particularly young. I think I would go for the surgery and see. However I’m not experienced with lumps or abscesses.

The forum is UK based so most are still asleep or getting ready for the day. Someone will be along hopefully later to help you more. I hope your boy is on the mend soon.
 

Piggies&buns

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Any surgery carries risk but in the hands of an experienced and knowledgeable vet it is as safe as it is going to be.

As siikibam has said, there are plenty of forum piggies who have had to have surgery at that age and older. One of my rabbits who is an older boy now at 7.5 years old had to have surgery for a tumour last week and I had all the same concerns about anaesthetising an older rabbit, but he sailed through it and came home bouncing around, eating everything in sight as if nothing has happened - having a very good vet that reassured me that although there are risks, that he would do his absolute best to get him through it really helped me
 

Claire W

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I’m sorry to hear this :( If it were my piggy, I would probably go with the surgery. As above he’s not particularly old and there are piggies on here who have had surgery much older than 4. I expect if you leave it, it will just keep filling up
 

Wiebke

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Perhaps @furryfriends (TEAS) can help? She has lots of experience with facial problems in guinea pigs.

It doesn't sound like an abscess to me; more like a blood filled tumour (which is not necessarily malign). But it is not an area I have got lots of personal experience in.
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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This doesn't sound like a typical abscess, although by just putting a needle into a lump, to see what is drawn off, can give very inaccurate results. A lot of abscesses are deep, so although it looks like it is just under the surface of the skin, it isn't and often you can just draw off blood, rather than pus. I really think surgery is going to be the best option and at 4, your guinea pig isn't too old, as long as the operating vet is experienced in guinea pig surgery.
 

CrypticThief

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Thank you everyone for your input, really appreciate it.

I guess my main concern was that they didn't know what it was so it didn't give me a lot of comfort/confidence. They listed that they would do surgery on a variety of things (including abscess treatment, molar grinding, dental extractions, etc.) and hope that one of them will help. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of exotic pet vets around here so it makes a bit more apprehensive.
 
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