View Full Version : Conditions Possible mastitis in non-nursing sow

11-03-14, 03:54 pm
I am pig-sitting a friend's pigs for two weeks and they just arrived this morning. The female Sandi, has huge lumps on her breasts, for which the vet diagnosed mastitis, probably over a week ago, gave her some kind of anti-inflammatory/diuretic injection, and some mastitis cream to apply twice a day. The vet is a country vet, treating farm animals and dogs and cats, and I am concerned that Sandi may not be getting the treatment she needs. It sounds like the idea was "Well, it could be mastitis, so we'll treat for that and see how it goes before looking any further." My friend is English, and it is entirely possible that she misunderstood something the French vet might have said. Also, she is under the impression that it is not serious at all, grateful that it's "only mastitis", as one to tends to think of cancer when there are lumps.

Can guinea pigs who have not just recently given birth get mastitis? She was a pet store pig who had a litter about 3 years ago. She doesn't seem to be in pain, or at least does not fuss when the cream is applied, and so far poops and appetite are OK, though my friend did say she had soft poops a couple of days ago but now is fine.

From reading online, mastitis sounds very serious, and is caused by a bacterial infection that can cause a sow to go downhill quickly if not promptly treated. From what I've read online, it does sound like it could be mastitis, as the breasts are enlarged and blue-ish. I am concerned that it could be serious, and am wondering if I should take her to my vet. I am working Tues and Weds, but could get an appointment for Thursday, or I suppose I could try to get an early morning appointment earlier, and just be late for work, if you think this is urgent.

Advice would be appreciated, please! Many thanks!

11-03-14, 10:05 pm
This needs a bump up, also I would expect her to be put on an oral antibiotic for mastitis.

11-03-14, 10:33 pm
I've never heard of it in a non-nursing sow. I'd be more inclined to think mammary tumor, since they're more common.

11-04-14, 01:01 am
Thanks for the bump Rywen!

Thanks bpatters. So if it is a mammary tumour, although that is not good, would Sandi normally be OK to wait at least two weeks for further treatment until my friends are back? I don't want Sandi to suffer, and I don't I want to intervene if not necessary. Nor do I want to stress out my friends while they are away with decisions about potential emergency operations, if I take her to my vet. Thanks so much for your help!

11-04-14, 01:33 am
Here is a pic of Sandi's groin this morning. There is a lot of swelling under both nipples, but particularly on her left, where the nipple is now pointing off completely toward her leg:


11-04-14, 07:14 am
That pig needs to go to the vet. Any lump that large is bound to painful, if for no other reason than stretching the skin and muscles. I wouldn't wait until the owners come back if it's going to be that long.

11-05-14, 12:44 am
Thanks bpatters. I have obtained an appointment with my vet Friday morning before work. Meanwhile I will continue to apply the mastitis cream.

If you know of any other way to help her until her appointment, please let me know.

11-05-14, 07:11 am
I don't know that I'd even use the mastitis cream. I don't think it helps with mastitis anyway, which is an internal inflammation, not something on the skin. And given the picky state of pigs' digestive systems, I'd be afraid she'd ingest something that would make her even sicker.

11-09-14, 08:53 am
So Friday morning the vet prescribed Marbocyl (antibiotic) twice a day, and Metacam (anti-inflammatory, analgesic) once a day in the morning. This is to treat any possible infection and to see if the lumps diminish, which if they don't means they're probably tumours. Incidentally, the vet didn't think she had mastitis, but said that it is possible for non-nursing sows to develop it, but it is rare.

Yesterday night I came home to a Sandi whose underside and butt were covered in poop. So the poor girl has developed diarrhoea. Apparently both of those medications can cause stomach upset, diarrhoea and lack of appetite. She seemed interested in her food still though, and I also syringed some probiotics into her. This morning (Sunday) I weighed her and she was 990g, whereas at the vet Friday morning she was 1200g. She didn't seem to want to eat, and that weight loss got me worried.

I mixed up a batch of pellet mash with some added probiotics, a pinch of electrolyte powder, some cranberry powder, a wee bit of banana and manuka honey for their digestive properties and flavour, and some vitamin C. She was taking it readily from the syringe, so I put some on a spoon and she ate some from it. I also syringed her some extra water.

She's had 2 butt baths since last night, poor girl. Actually I just rinsed and sponged her off as I didn't want to be shampooing etc over the lumps. I hate having to manhandle her like this, (although of course I try to do so as gently as possible), and to add extra woes to her already unwell state.

I'm hoping the pellet mash with probiotics will clear up the diarrhoea, which even today is a little less liquid compared to last night, and that she will get her appetite back. But is this likely if she is still taking the medication? I will continue to hand feed her, but wonder if I should hold off one of the meds, or call the vet tomorrow and see if there are other medications that don't have these side effects.

What do you think? Thanks for your help - it is much appreciated.

11-09-14, 09:17 am
Having just read this article on antibiotic intolerance, http://www.guinealynx.info/antibiotic_intolerance.html, I think I might stop the treatment. This is not my piggy, and I am very worried she could go downhill fast. I'll call the vet tomorrow first thing.

11-09-14, 09:34 am
I would not continue it. Soft poops on antibiotics are one thing, all-out diarrhea is another.

I'd call the vet back. I think the vet has other options here. Another antibiotic could be tried, or an aspiration of the lumps. I think it's so unlikely to be mastitis that I'd probably want them to remove the lumps.

I can't remember, are you generally happy with this vet?

11-09-14, 10:33 am
Yes, I am happy with this vet. I will call her tomorrow, but I don't really want to go forward with any invasive treatment, as, as I said, I am pig-sitting this poor girl until Wed. 19th Nov. If it is urgent, and I have the consent of Sandi's parents, I will, but if it can wait till they return, I'd rather that.

Off to do another hand feed, she doesn't seem to have eaten much on her own in the last 3 hours.

11-09-14, 12:07 pm
Phew, I was making Sandi's mash when she started eating on her own. She's been chowing down solidly for 1 1/2 hours! Yay!

Would it be weird to put a few of Pumpkin's poops in Sandi's cage? I found some of the paler ones.

11-09-14, 12:30 pm
It's not the paler ones you want, it's the soft green stinky ones that you'll have to dig out of Pumpkin's nether regions. If you can do that, just offer it to Sandi -- she may eat it on her own. But, failing that, mash up a fresh regular pellet from Pumpkin, mix it with a little water, and syringe it to Sandi.