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Maryjames

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Hi there. My little Pickles is going to be 5 this year. Recently she started losing her hair so I took her to the Vets at Pets At Home. They said she had an ovarian cyst that they could feel however I couldn't feel anything. They said they needed to do a full spay because this wasn't going to go away. I'm not sure I want to do that because I'm worried about her age and her going under, etc. She is eating and acting normal. Happy little girl, very alert, not in any pain, no discharge, just the thinning of the hair. I don't know what I should do. Any suggestions or has anyone else experienced this before? Thanks in advance.
 

Claire W

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My late Emma had an ovarian cyst that my vet could feel. It wasn’t causing her any symptoms so we left it due to her also having a cancerous tumour. She was around 6 years old at the time
 

Betsy

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I had Betsy spayed in the middle of lockdown. It was an emergency spay. The operation was cancelled because of lockdown but had to go ahead anyway as the cysts were so huge even I could feel them. Her behaviour got worse, she was clearly feeling dreadful and was very unhappy. She was 4 years and 3 months old when she had it done. Vet said that the cysts were 7cms across on both sides and were "very round". I'm so pleased that I had her spayed. Her fur has now grown back and she isn't a scraggly little madam anymore. Her behaviour is back to how it was and she is a happy piggy again. @Wiebke has had older sows spayed and @HeatherRose recently had one of her sows spayed too.
 

Wiebke

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Hi there. My little Pickles is going to be 5 this year. Recently she started losing her hair so I took her to the Vets at Pets At Home. They said she had an ovarian cyst that they could feel however I couldn't feel anything. They said they needed to do a full spay because this wasn't going to go away. I'm not sure I want to do that because I'm worried about her age and her going under, etc. She is eating and acting normal. Happy little girl, very alert, not in any pain, no discharge, just the thinning of the hair. I don't know what I should do. Any suggestions or has anyone else experienced this before? Thanks in advance.
Hi!

Age is less of a problem than having a good vet you trust. That is the key.
Please be aware that not all ovarian cysts are the same. The ones that cause the behavioural changes and sometime (but not always) the symptoms are generally hormonal ones. There is a certain risk that some could turn cancerous in old age.
Then there are the non-hormonal fluid filled ones which can cause trouble in the body if they grow too large or burst; but they don't cause any of the classic symptoms and go in many cases undetected without causing any problems. they are the most common of cysts.

In some cases a spay may be the best solution (especially if there are concerns about likely cancer) but if you have got major concerns, you can raise the alternative option of hormone treatment for especially hormonal cysts or draining for fluid filled cysts in the elderly and frail (the procedure doesn't require a full GA although it is of advantage if the procedure is done under scan).
Sows: Behaviour and female health problems (including ovarian cysts)


That said, I am lucky to have access to a good operating vet, so I have a string of successfully spayed older sows. I am more for doing the procedure in any sow I have concerns about after losing my Heini to burst cyst at 3 years of age at the beginning of 2019. The cyst was a fluid filled cyst that had been vet checked but not raised particular concerns re. an emergency spay.

These are my spayed sows:
- Cariad at 700g and 4 years had already been through a large bladder stone removal op when her womb went wrong a few months later and she needed an emergency spay - despite all concerns, she sailed through it and lived for another year to reach five years, which was most respectable in view of her ongoing other medical issues.
- Iola was five years when she had her emergency spay for very fast growing fluid filled cysts, one of which had started adhering to the gut.
- Sisters Morwenna and Mererid had their spays last year, aged 5; Morwenna in June for a hard ovarian cyst which was going to turn concerous if left in and Mererid again for fast growing non-hormonal fluid filled cysts as an emergency last September.
- Hapus was coming up to 4 years when she had a planned spay for large cysts at the start of March this year.
Her sister Llawen is still on my waiting list but had to stand back as her cysts are not an emergency (yet). 5 year old Teggy is the other sow that is up for a spay for large cysts hopefully in autumn; she may now need the op before Llawen.

All sows have made a good recovery and have lived for more than a year or longer after their spay. Mererid and Morwenna as well as Hapus are still with me.

I hope that this helps you?

PS: We do our best to answer any threads on this forum as soon as we come on in view that we are doing this for free in our fee time. You can help us attending to the most urgent threads first by putting your concern into the title. I usually answer threads that come under 'other' last.
 

Maryjames

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You are the most amazing person and I'm so grateful for your imput and your guidance. This has been so helpful to me and has really eased my mind about having the procedure done. Pickles is losing her hair, has crusty nipples which I put shea butter on and it removes the crust instantly, and she has lost an ounce not a huge deal. Otherwise she is herself. I noticed she was chattering her teeth at her cage mate so I separated them. They now have a divider between their cages but can still see and smell the other. I am feeling like I want her to have the surgery because I'm worried about the cyst bursting. Do you know if there is a way I can find out if its fluid filled or pus filled? Would an ultrasound show that? That was going to be my next step.
 

Maryjames

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I had Betsy spayed in the middle of lockdown. It was an emergency spay. The operation was cancelled because of lockdown but had to go ahead anyway as the cysts were so huge even I could feel them. Her behaviour got worse, she was clearly feeling dreadful and was very unhappy. She was 4 years and 3 months old when she had it done. Vet said that the cysts were 7cms across on both sides and were "very round". I'm so pleased that I had her spayed. Her fur has now grown back and she isn't a scraggly little madam anymore. Her behaviour is back to how it was and she is a happy piggy again. @Wiebke has had older sows spayed and @HeatherRose recently had one of her sows spayed too.
That is such great news. I feel better now. Did you get an ultrasound first?
 

Betsy

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That is such great news. I feel better now. Did you get an ultrasound first?
No as it was obvious she had them. She had elongated, crusty nipples, massive hair loss to the extent that she looked like a skinny pig over her shoulders in a ring and that extended down her sides, she would teeth chatter at me if she didn't get her breakfast or veg when she wanted it and was basically a moody old cow! It took 4-6 weeks for the hormones to settle and she is now the lovely girl she used to be.

Here is what her hair loss looked like. Bear in mind that she is a long haired piggy and has luxurious locks.Betsy hair loss 1.JPGBetsy hair loss 2.JPGBetsy hair loss 3.JPGBetsy hair loss 4.JPGBetsy Hair loss 5.JPG
 

Maryjames

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Wow that is exactly whats happening with my Pickles. She's a long haired Guinea pig and has lost most of her hair, much worse than your photos. She used to have such long luxurious hair and now its scraggly. She is also chattering her teeth a lot and I didn't know what that meant. I'm in Hampshire. I was going to take her to Pets at Home Vet because I thought since they sold Guinea pigs there, the Vets would be accustomed to doing their type of surgery but I'm hesitant because the vet we saw looked very young. I'm going to call today to another Vet that is close in town which says they have a small furry vet there. Thank you so much for your help.
 

Piggies&buns

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Wow that is exactly whats happening with my Pickles. She's a long haired Guinea pig and has lost most of her hair, much worse than your photos. She used to have such long luxurious hair and now its scraggly. She is also chattering her teeth a lot and I didn't know what that meant. I'm in Hampshire. I was going to take her to Pets at Home Vet because I thought since they sold Guinea pigs there, the Vets would be accustomed to doing their type of surgery but I'm hesitant because the vet we saw looked very young. I'm going to call today to another Vet that is close in town which says they have a small furry vet there. Thank you so much for your help.
Have you checked our vet locator? It gives details of member recommended vets who have experience with piggies
 

Maryjames

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I did however the map somehow doesn't work and there is nowhere to put in a search. I'm going to post and ask. Thanks so much
 

Betsy

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Where abouts are you in Hampshire. There is a very good vet in Andover called John Chitty, I believe he is on the Vet Locator. My old Vets4Pets are on the rescue locator. They are very good and are in Eastleigh.
 

Betsy

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If your in Fordingbridge are you willing to travel to Poole? There is an EXCELLENT vet at Poole (Holes Bay )called Rachel Tucker who has operated on two of my guinea pigs. She is the reason I registered with Vets4Pets Holes Bay as soon as I moved from Southampton. She was at my old Vets4Pets in Eastleigh.
 

Maryjames

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Yes for sure. Do you have her phone number? Or the Vet Practice number. I'm not too familiar with this area as I'm from the US and work from home so don't really know where anything is. :)
 
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