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Surgery Or Not...

Kosson

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I have a 4 years old guinea pig (Kosson, born in July to August 2013).

In the mid-October 2017, I noticed that the colour of her pee was rather pink, and also she was crying a little when she urinated + lost her appetite a little. I took her to the nearby vet, who is not specialised to exotic animals.

The vet took some X-ray but no stones. So he prescribed some baytril and metacam. Some days later the pee with blood seemed to stop and I thought (hoped) it was cytitis or sort.

However in the mid-December, I saw a blood stain in her cage. This time it was not urine in pinky couleur but blood. She seemed to be alright, she did not have pain when she urinated, she had appetite. Everything was just normal, but the blood.

I looked her carefully for one week, but the blood just does not go away so I took her to the vet.

The doctor did some echography and she found some polyps (one long, and other on the walls) in Kosson's bladder.

She told me that IF I wanted to know more absolutely, Kosson has to go to an animal hospital that is situated 2hours+ from where I live for biopsy.

Her opinion is, removing this polyp (or tumor) by surgery should be quite difficult, as they need to cut the polyp and around area, so it should be too much for Kosson's small bladder. She also said that she would not hesitate if it is a case of a dog.

I want to live with my adorable Kosson as long as possible, but at the same time I hesitate to take a risk, as Kosson is fine and normal otherwise. If she can live some more years without any fear or pain of the surgery, that should be what I really want.

Normally I should consider to take the biopsy at least, but I do hesitate because 2hours x 2 (to the hospital and to go back home) plus the test might be too much for a guinea pig. Plus if the surgery seems to be rather risky, I cannot see the point to take the biopsy anyway.

I asked other vet (of the same cabinet), and he was saying 'take the biopsy, and get rid of the tumor and your guinea pig will live long' but as he normally sees dogs and even cows, I really think that he is ignorant that guinea pigs are not prone to stress, risk of anaesthesy and post-op quite high etc. For me, what the first vet (the one who carried out the echography) seemed more sensible.

At the moment I am planning to go to the vet who specialises exotic animals (I found one not too far - 30minutes by car) and seek his advice.

Meanwhile, I would love to know what decision you made, if there is somebody had (or has) a similar experience. I looked for lots of information and the surgery seems to be indeed risky but there are some happy stories, too, as well as the ones who did not take surgical operation but their guinea pigs lived happily for some years and passed away from something else, not tumor.

I would be most appreciate if someone could give me some info. or thoughts. I am in agony.
 

Wiebke

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Hi! It is always difficult to make a decision in these circumstances. Neither is wrong as long as it is made with your piggy's wellbeing foremost in mind and your personal desires and fears second.
You have to weigh up the chances of success against the risks. Generally, especially with exotics vets, operation risks have come down a lot compared to earlier times when experience with small furries surgery was a lot more limited.

You are always welcome to discuss the pros and cons with a vet you trust so you can make as informed a decision. There is no clear answer for you, I am sorry to say. Any operation - whether it is human or animal - is always ultimately a leap of faith as there is no 100% success rate. The best operating vets come as close to it as is reasonable, considering that they are constantly pushing the boundaries.

If you need a guide, then make your decision in the way you feel you can live with best in the long term. I have gone either way with different piggies over the years; I have had successful ops, even in older and frail piggies, and ops that have failed. I have also decided not to operate in some cases. All I can tell you, that there is no easy way out, whichever way you go and there is never a guarantee that your decision is going to work out the way you want it too. :(
 

Kosson

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Hi Wiebke,

First of all thank you for your advice and sharing your experience...

Indeed it is really difficult. Normally, I would have a go. But this time, I feel this is not 'OK go for it' matter.

When I talked to the first vet, my instinct told me 'No' to the surgical operation / biopsy (unless we can do it somewhere nearer than 2hours by car).
My daughter, who normally understands Kosson very well (better than me) says, No to the op et biopsy.
I asked somebody who has guinea pigs for long time (43 in total!), she said, if it is for herself, she would not take a risk as Kosson is well (not suffering) and not very young so she would let Kosson live happily just like she does now, taking extra attention.

It is only the vet who sees dogs and cows says go on and makes me feel guilty for 'doing nothing (I am strongly against to this state, but from the doctor;s viewpoint, I do understand it is true).

I did not say but money is not the problem. I can afford the consultation fee / biopsy / op / anti-biotics whatever if Kosson can live longer happily.

Yes, I think I need more information on this matter. So seeking some advice from the specialist vet would do better. Just to my info, would you mind telling me the circumstances you decided / not decided to take the op? I understand this can be very personal matter so I do not push you, but I would be most appreciate if you could share.

Again, thank you for givieng me very fair advice.
 

Wiebke

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Hi Wiebke,

First of all thank you for your advice and sharing your experience...

Indeed it is really difficult. Normally, I would have a go. But this time, I feel this is not 'OK go for it' matter.

When I talked to the first vet, my instinct told me 'No' to the surgical operation / biopsy (unless we can do it somewhere nearer than 2hours by car).
My daughter, who normally understands Kosson very well (better than me) says, No to the op et biopsy.
I asked somebody who has guinea pigs for long time (43 in total!), she said, if it is for herself, she would not take a risk as Kosson is well (not suffering) and not very young so she would let Kosson live happily just like she does now, taking extra attention.

It is only the vet who sees dogs and cows says go on and makes me feel guilty for 'doing nothing (I am strongly against to this state, but from the doctor;s viewpoint, I do understand it is true).

I did not say but money is not the problem. I can afford the consultation fee / biopsy / op / anti-biotics whatever if Kosson can live longer happily.

Yes, I think I need more information on this matter. So seeking some advice from the specialist vet would do better. Just to my info, would you mind telling me the circumstances you decided / not decided to take the op? I understand this can be very personal matter so I do not push you, but I would be most appreciate if you could share.

Again, thank you for givieng me very fair advice.
I have generally based any decision on the age/frailty and the success/recovery chances of an operation. I have also gone further than I would normally go with a guinea pig that is a real fighter to give it that bit more of a chance if the alternative meant euthanasia or only very little life time left with dodgy health and lots of medication. In each case, the decision had to feel right for me and for my piggy. I have asked any vet I trusted for their personal honest opinion and for their confidence in the operation before making my decision and taken that into my considerations as well.

Any operation has to feel right for you, but you have to be willing to let your piggy go when the suffering is setting in if you decide not to. As I have said, there is no easy way out. It is the kind of decision we all dread having to make when the stakes are not quite as clear cut. :(
 

Freela

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Unfortunately there is not always an easy option. I do think it is worth talking to the exotics vet who actually routinely does surgery on small animals. Yes, there is a higher risk of anesthesia problems, etc., in small animals, but this can be dramatically lessened by a vet who knows their dosing, uses gas/inhaled anesthesia, and has experience. It's also important to have an idea of what you can reasonably expect to get out of the procedure- i.e. will having a confirmed biopsy change the treatment options at all. If whatever they find will provide a treatment direction, that is one thing.... if it's just a matter of gaining information but care will still largely be the same, it's a difference balance of risk and reward. I do think it's worth conferring with the small-animal/exotics vet to get a clearer sense of risks vs. reward, but I totally understand the difficulty in choosing a course of action.
 

Kosson

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I have generally based any decision on the age/frailty and the success/recovery chances of an operation. I have also gone further than I would normally go with a guinea pig that is a real fighter to give it that bit more of a chance if the alternative meant euthanasia or only very little life time left with dodgy health and lots of medication. In each case, the decision had to feel right for me and for my piggy. I have asked any vet I trusted for their personal honest opinion and for their confidence in the operation before making my decision and taken that into my considerations as well.

Any operation has to feel right for you, but you have to be willing to let your piggy go when the suffering is setting in if you decide not to. As I have said, there is no easy way out. It is the kind of decision we all dread having to make when the stakes are not quite as clear cut. :(
Well I must confess that I do avoid thinking about, 'let go' thing (just typing this hurts).
Yes lots of medication, especially anti-biotics does not sound right to me...

There are lots of Pros and Cons and I simply do not know what is the right thing. At THIS moment, not taking surgical option does sound good as there is no immediate risks. However I understand that undesired consequence might follow, too.

I will go to see the specialist (vet for exotic animals - I had a quick look at their Facebook page and the doc looks after really exotics, from bunny, guinea pigs, to some tropical birds and even a snake). One says that her bunny was saved by this doctor whilst a vet in a big town being rather incapable.

Just I do hope that my Kosson does not suffer at any sense and live long with us happily...

Many thanks for letting me know how you decide. It will certainly help.
 

Wiebke

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Well I must confess that I do avoid thinking about, 'let go' thing (just typing this hurts).
Yes lots of medication, especially anti-biotics does not sound right to me...

There are lots of Pros and Cons and I simply do not know what is the right thing. At THIS moment, not taking surgical option does sound good as there is no immediate risks. However I understand that undesired consequence might follow, too.

I will go to see the specialist (vet for exotic animals - I had a quick look at their Facebook page and the doc looks after really exotics, from bunny, guinea pigs, to some tropical birds and even a snake). One says that her bunny was saved by this doctor whilst a vet in a big town being rather incapable.

Just I do hope that my Kosson does not suffer at any sense and live long with us happily...

Many thanks for letting me know how you decide. It will certainly help.
All the best! Please try to get some more information so you can make an informed decision that you can live with in the long term. You will always have some doubts and regrets, but there should be a point where your heart and your head come together in the same place - and on the right side of things. Please do not hesitate to ask the hard questions; any decent vet will answer them honestly when you ask them to.

You are a very caring piggy mum.
 

Kosson

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Unfortunately there is not always an easy option. I do think it is worth talking to the exotics vet who actually routinely does surgery on small animals. Yes, there is a higher risk of anesthesia problems, etc., in small animals, but this can be dramatically lessened by a vet who knows their dosing, uses gas/inhaled anesthesia, and has experience. It's also important to have an idea of what you can reasonably expect to get out of the procedure- i.e. will having a confirmed biopsy change the treatment options at all. If whatever they find will provide a treatment direction, that is one thing.... if it's just a matter of gaining information but care will still largely be the same, it's a difference balance of risk and reward. I do think it's worth conferring with the small-animal/exotics vet to get a clearer sense of risks vs. reward, but I totally understand the difficulty in choosing a course of action.
Thank you for your kind words.

Should my Kosson suffer from pain or great disconfort etc. right now, the decision making should be easier. But she is very happy right now so... I really do not know.

I will go to see the vet for exotic animals next week and I will ask everything. For this I will ask everything to make a decision.

Only if I could tell what is going on to my guinea and understand what she really desires. At the moment I am rather for 'not doing' so I bought loads of suppliments etc. even though there is no guarantee whatsoever, but will not take her life.

The surgical operation would be the direct solution to the current problem but it might snatches my guinea pig off our life. I will definitely discuss about it to the vet. Hard...

Thank you for your advice that is so understanding. I appreciate a lot.
 

Kosson

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All the best! Please try to get some more information so you can make an informed decision that you can live with in the long term. You will always have some doubts and regrets, but there should be a point where your heart and your head come together in the same place - and on the right side of things. Please do not hesitate to ask the hard questions; any decent vet will answer them honestly when you ask them to.

You are a very caring piggy mum.
Thank you. Yes I bet that some doubts and regrets are inevitable... I will surely ask the vets honest opinion on it, after showering him lots of questions. Meanwhile I give her lots of Vitamine C liquid and very gentle massage, hoping the things go away and her immune system gets stronger.

The last line makes me cry as I believe that, actually it is my fault (lack of appropriate care etc.) my guinea pig has got that polyp(s)..Thank you so much for your kind words.
 

Kosson

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Hi, this is the update as Kosson visited an exotics vet yesterday.

The vet did routine checking and then he suspected a bladder stone, even though I told him that the local vet did X-ray and found nothing.

As for the surgery the vet was really reluctant, saying if it is tumor in the bladder that should be very complicated including post-ops. He advised me to go to animal hospital to get IRM.However I asked him to take an echography, as the animal hospital is rather far (more than 2hours by car) and I wanted to be more sure about the condition.

With the ultrasound, he found, actually, a bladder stone (As the local vet said a tumor, the exotics vet avoided to announce it as the definition,he said 'very good chance this is a bladder stone'.

He said the size of the stone relatively small and with a female guinea pig this normally pass naturally. I am sort of relieved, but still fear that either the stone can gets bigger if her diet is inappropriate. I looked through the posts with bladder stone but majority of them gets operated so I have to be very careful.

It is really strange as two vets said it was tumor at the local clinique... But there I could not see anything clearly, it was just some sort of fog. But yesterday the ultrasound image showed a distinctive white spot (stone). Is it due to the vet's skill, or else...?
 

laylas mum

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Some vets are better at ultrasound than others. If I were you I would see how your little Kosson did take it day by day.
 

piggieminder

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Stones tend to show up better on ultra sound/CT scans rather than xray. When one of my guineas had a stone the vet advised me to pay the extra for the scan as if nothing showed up on xray she would advise scan as the next option.
 

Kosson

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Some vets are better at ultrasound than others. If I were you I would see how your little Kosson did take it day by day.
So it is indeed a skill matter! The local vet are not exotics vet but two vets confirmed that there was (were) polyp(s) when they carried out the ultrasound, I felt that I had no choice but accept it, although I understood nearly nothing about the image on the monitor screen.

Yes I am extra careful how Kosson is - I am very lucky I work at home!
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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That is interesting @piggieminder - when one of my late piggies had a suspected bladder stone, the vet didn't suggest an ultrasound, but did an x-ray under GA. I wonder why, if stones show up better on ultrasound? I shall bear that in mind in case I have any pigs with suspected stones in future .
 

Kosson

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Stones tend to show up better on ultra sound/CT scans rather than xray. When one of my guineas had a stone the vet advised me to pay the extra for the scan as if nothing showed up on xray she would advise scan as the next option.
Sorry I was not very clear when I posted the update. Actually, the local vet carried out the ultrasound at the end of December then they said they found polyp(s) / tumour. They showed me the image but all I could see was some foggy thing and I could not see really. But the vets seemed very sure. (They did X-ray at the end of Oct. and they found nothing).

Then this time at the exotics vet, even non-specialist like me could tell it was a stone from the ultrasound image (very small but distinctive white spot in the bladder).

The vet told me to give Kosson Vitamine C to let the stone melt and go. He seemed very certain that the size of the stone fairly small so I hope it goes away!
 

Kosson

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That is interesting @piggieminder - when one of my late piggies had a suspected bladder stone, the vet didn't suggest an ultrasound, but did an x-ray under GA. I wonder why, if stones show up better on ultrasound? I shall bear that in mind in case I have any pigs with suspected stones in future .
Actually, I don't know the reason but the X-ray did not show the stone. But when the exotics vet did ultrasound (because I was convinced that there was a polyp there by the local vet), he found the stone.

Interesting so I would love to know why, too!
 

Freela

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Hi, this is the update as Kosson visited an exotics vet yesterday.

The vet did routine checking and then he suspected a bladder stone, even though I told him that the local vet did X-ray and found nothing.

As for the surgery the vet was really reluctant, saying if it is tumor in the bladder that should be very complicated including post-ops. He advised me to go to animal hospital to get IRM.However I asked him to take an echography, as the animal hospital is rather far (more than 2hours by car) and I wanted to be more sure about the condition.

With the ultrasound, he found, actually, a bladder stone (As the local vet said a tumor, the exotics vet avoided to announce it as the definition,he said 'very good chance this is a bladder stone'.

He said the size of the stone relatively small and with a female guinea pig this normally pass naturally. I am sort of relieved, but still fear that either the stone can gets bigger if her diet is inappropriate. I looked through the posts with bladder stone but majority of them gets operated so I have to be very careful.

It is really strange as two vets said it was tumor at the local clinique... But there I could not see anything clearly, it was just some sort of fog. But yesterday the ultrasound image showed a distinctive white spot (stone). Is it due to the vet's skill, or else...?
Interpreting imaging results is an art as well as a science... some vets are better/more experienced than others. In addition, some equipment is better than others. But imagining has certainly been misread before (for humans as well as animals!)
 

Kadz

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I have a 4 years old guinea pig (Kosson, born in July to August 2013).

In the mid-October 2017, I noticed that the colour of her pee was rather pink, and also she was crying a little when she urinated + lost her appetite a little. I took her to the nearby vet, who is not specialised to exotic animals.

The vet took some X-ray but no stones. So he prescribed some baytril and metacam. Some days later the pee with blood seemed to stop and I thought (hoped) it was cytitis or sort.

However in the mid-December, I saw a blood stain in her cage. This time it was not urine in pinky couleur but blood. She seemed to be alright, she did not have pain when she urinated, she had appetite. Everything was just normal, but the blood.

I looked her carefully for one week, but the blood just does not go away so I took her to the vet.

The doctor did some echography and she found some polyps (one long, and other on the walls) in Kosson's bladder.

She told me that IF I wanted to know more absolutely, Kosson has to go to an animal hospital that is situated 2hours+ from where I live for biopsy.

Her opinion is, removing this polyp (or tumor) by surgery should be quite difficult, as they need to cut the polyp and around area, so it should be too much for Kosson's small bladder. She also said that she would not hesitate if it is a case of a dog.

I want to live with my adorable Kosson as long as possible, but at the same time I hesitate to take a risk, as Kosson is fine and normal otherwise. If she can live some more years without any fear or pain of the surgery, that should be what I really want.

Normally I should consider to take the biopsy at least, but I do hesitate because 2hours x 2 (to the hospital and to go back home) plus the test might be too much for a guinea pig. Plus if the surgery seems to be rather risky, I cannot see the point to take the biopsy anyway.

I asked other vet (of the same cabinet), and he was saying 'take the biopsy, and get rid of the tumor and your guinea pig will live long' but as he normally sees dogs and even cows, I really think that he is ignorant that guinea pigs are not prone to stress, risk of anaesthesy and post-op quite high etc. For me, what the first vet (the one who carried out the echography) seemed more sensible.

At the moment I am planning to go to the vet who specialises exotic animals (I found one not too far - 30minutes by car) and seek his advice.

Meanwhile, I would love to know what decision you made, if there is somebody had (or has) a similar experience. I looked for lots of information and the surgery seems to be indeed risky but there are some happy stories, too, as well as the ones who did not take surgical operation but their guinea pigs lived happily for some years and passed away from something else, not tumor.

I would be most appreciate if someone could give me some info. or thoughts. I am in agony.[/QUOTE

Hi
I have just gone trough similar sitiuation. My Fudge had a utherus tumor that started with red in her urin. She had a surgery on monday but unfortunately she passed away in the eavning from possible complication.
Personally i agreed to the surgery there an then but the vet did say its quite high risk and most deaths happen after surgery I'm afraid. She and her husband are very expirienced with surgeries and have had gp with same problem before apparently but unfortunately the risk of complications is really high. Its also really expencive howewer i personally really did not care about the money that i still had to pay after she had gone :-(
I now have her sister Toffee alone and i know if she gets sick i would not go trough the surgery again marely because it hurts so much right now to have lost my baby and i think it possibly would be easier for her too.
Personally i wish that surgery would have worked but (not to be horrible right now) its possibly easier not to put your lil one trough it. Give her lots of cuddles and love til the sad day comes.
I personally am really broken right now and miss my Fudge so much but its of course your decision but the risk of surgery is really high.

With lots of love
Kadz and Toffee
 
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