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Specialist Lymphoma (not Formally Diagnosed)

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Lady Kelly

Senior Guinea Pig
Jan 11, 2011
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Ok so for those who saw my previous thread about Peter's fat lumps will know that the vet recommended not to operate due to his age (at least 5 years old) and because it appears that, as well as the fat lumps all over him, all of lymph nodes in his groin, armpits and under his chin are enlarged now. The vet felt that operating to remove the troublesome fat lump (which is making him drag and lift his leg funny) would not help him as it won't solve his health problems and in the case of lymphoma could actually release cells to make the cancer spread faster and become more aggressive.

So who has cared for pigs with lymphoma or suspected lymphoma? Are there any other conditions I should keep a close eye out for (which can be secondary to lymphoma)? And what was your experience of life expectancy?
Bump ! I'm sorry I can't help but I hope everything's ok x
I am really sorry to hear this.

I had a pig diagnosed with lymphoma after we had a lump removed. It was a cancerous tumour. Before this she had fatty lumps on her belly.

Sadly, the wound where the lump was removed never healed and after she pulled her stitches out, we made the decision to have her pts as the cancer just wouldn't allow the wound to heal.

This happened on the evening we were given the diagnosis but earlier in the day, my vet mentioned giving her steroid injections but advised we went away to think about it for the weekend.

I remember stroking her that day and her fur felt gritty and waxy which I later found was due to the lymphoma. My vet estimated she could live anywhere from 3 to 6 months but all cases are different. Ena was just 3 years old when she was diagnosed.

I'm sorry I can't offer any advise as like I say, we had to let her go but I know @sport_billy nursed his Truffle through her battle with lymphoma and she had a happy few months by having steroid injections.

It's devestating to be given this diagnosis x
I'm so sorry to hear you have had this diagnosis for Peter.
Life expectancy is difficult to predict and will depend upon
A) the stage the lymphoma has reached when it was diagnosed
b) the age of the pig and whether they have any other underlying conditions
C) whether any "immune-modulating" treatment to slow down the spread is being given (ie either steroids which is normally prednisolone given orally or by injection..... or chemotherapy in the form of asparaginase)

It can vary from as little as a couple of months to 2 years+

If they are on no treatment (which is perfectly acceptable) then you need to be alert for signs of organ failure as the lymphoma spreads to possibly heart/kidneys and/or liver. Sadly not every piggy with lymphoma will pass away gracefully in their sleep and they may need to be helped to the Bridge. If the piggie is on immune-modulating treatment then there is a high risk of infection occurring which needs to be spotted very quickly and heavy abx (or antifungals) given to "kick it into touch"

Above all - adequate palliative pain relief is required at all times...and there may be "episodes" where supportive care in respect of syringe feeding is required. Weigh daily and expect to see a very gradual decline in weight...but a sudden drop is cause for concern that something other than the lymphoma is going on and you may need to support with syringe feeding/vet visit..

As far as Peter is concerned - he also has the issue of mobility in his hind leg owing to the fatty lumps. So he may need extra vigilance with regards to developing urine scald on his feet, matted fur around his boy bits .....and he may not be able to scratch/clean himself further up his body so keep an eye out for skin conditions developing including fungal and ectoparasites (unlikely but worth mentioning)

If the fatty lumps are on his underside and large enough that they brush the ground - then keep an eye on these to ensure they don;t get abrasions or develop infection/uilcers.

I'm sorry I can;t post anything more encouraging or positive...but having nursed many guinea pigs through lymphoma and leukamia all I can do is send you hugs and give you the benefit of my personal experience.

Kelly I am so sorry. I will write a longer post tomorrow I promise regarding this, until then have a read of treacy's thread here https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/treacle-has-lymphoma.103647/ Treacles thread is worth a read as it charts the journey we made with her, she was happy until the end and pain free. We chose the Steroid route to slow it down, she was pain free.

Lots of love
With no treatment my vet predicted my Pebbles would have 4-6weeks. We opted for treatment and Pebbles thrived on her steroids.

She past just before week 10 but she remained happy and healthy right up till she past.
Thank you everyone for your responses, in particular @Pebble who has given me a lot of things to look out for and consider in regards to Peter.

Peter at the moment is on no medication at all. He is not in pain, he is not losing weight, he still gives his bum a good shake and chases the girls which is why something like this was quite a shock for me. The vet didn't mention looking at treatments and I don't think I will look at anything yet unless he changes and needs some help. If it is lymphoma (and we highly believe it is) then I think he's had the best start by the vet not insisting on operating to find out for certain so hopefully the tumours will grow slowly and take some time to have a negative impact on him.

Peter is currently (in spite of the reason for the post) in good health. He is still cleaning himself, running around (I swear he was even trying to popcorn when he went in the new hutch for the first time) and weighs a healthy 1140g which is apparently what he weighed 18 months ago at his last operation. Luckily for me he's a bit of a ladies man and loves lap time snuggles so I should have no problem monitoring him going forward and help keeping him clean.

I think this is only made more difficult by the fact that we had to help Bea across the bridge at the beginning of January and I don't think my heart is ready for such another big ache all over again but I will do my best by him and will go now to read Treacy's journey @sport_billy and research a bit more on the steriods for when/if the time comes. If Bea is anything to go by though he could be fighting this for a long while yet.
My Pebbles remained happy despite her lumps. Her lumps did grow drastically in a short time though without intervention. You wouldn't have thought for a second Pebbles was terminally ill.

I opted for Steroids to give her a little bit extra time, I could never imagine her dying as she was in amazing condition. The end was quick for her and she didn't really slow down. She was always first up and doing everything a piggy does. On her last night she was up just as normal struggling slightly but not enough to stop her munching and jumping into her hay. By morning she was gone it really was that quick. x
Would just like to say that posting on a thread of this nature about your own personal experiences with your own pigs is not easy.

So firstly: @sport_billy and @flintstones thank you for posintg and your courage is applauded and appreciated. It can't have been easy.
Secondly @Lady Kelly - if steroids are an option you would consider - it is better they are given sooner rather than later.
Absolutely what Pebble said. You have all given me invaluable information to really think about and I can't stop thinking about it. I know its not an easy ask when someone posts for information/advice in regards to topics such as these which are so very difficult to relieve all over again and I am truly grateful that you have been willing to do so to help me and Peter make the right decisions and give him the best quality of life.
I had one suspicious lump removed from one of my boys when he was two. It was right where a mammary tumour would be. On biopsy they found out it really was just a dense fat lump with no cancer cells at all. He does still get these lumps under his skin but they actually come and go! Sometimes he'll have a half dozen of them but they do seem to reduce and go and fortunately they don't affect his mobility (he's only ever had one under his leg and that went on its own).

He's now nearly six and still going strong. This may not be the case with your little guy but I thought it might be good to hear a positive story.
Huge hugs to you and Peter, Kelly. You will do whatever is best for your boy.
Hey Kelly, sorry I haven't got back to you before.

We opted for steroids with Treacy and would do so again without hesitation. Treacle was happy until the end and apart from a bloaty episode something she suffered with she was well and happy during. I am also confident she was pain free. However you decide to go with Peter, we send our love and support x
Well I started off weighing Peter every day but after a week there was zero change so I dropped it down to twice weekly. I must admit that I haven't weighed him this week yet due to a lot of stuff going on at home so I intend to do it tomorrow as I don't want to weigh at too different in times. I have noticed over the past month or so that the water has been going down quicker than normal and I wondered whether the way the bottles are attached to the new hutch was causing them to leak but after catching Peter a fair few times today (while I was out trying to tidy the garden) I think he's starting to drink a lot of water in comparison. That said he is still very active and runs at quite a speed down the ramp for veggies. If he has lost a bit of weight this time round I will be considering travelling out to Craig at Chine House to discuss possible steroid treatment, I just want to wait until we get the new girl and have bonded them before subjecting him to the vets again and feel like I need to go to a different vets as my currently only has a locum with experience of piggies.
Is the lump or lumps getting bigger?

I can't notice any difference so if they have grown at all it would be minimal. This is why I am thinking to see an exotics specialist to help me make informed decisions. This forum has been a godsend so far but before looking at any treatment I think I need a specialist who can have a good feel and inspection/overall health check of Peter to give me the options. I'm hoping that as he hasn't lost weight, lumps don't appear to have changed and he hasn't had problems with keeping himself clean etc that its at early stages
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