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Thread: Jaw abscess vs cancer

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    Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Hi all. My sweet Porter was starting to drool and not eating hay. We took him to an exotic vet in our area who said his teeth were overgrown. He has surgery under general anesthesia to correct. He came home on critical care and after 3 days wasn't eating at all other than syringe feeding the critical care. They took him back to surgery and with some more comprehensive xrays found that one of his jaw joints wat "whited out" on the xray. Abscess vs cancer. He has a bunch of medicines including antibiotic to hopefully fix the abscess if that is what it is. I has been four full days now since his second surgery. All he eats is the critical care for me via a syringe 3-4 times per day and what equates out to about 1 medium size strawberry each day. Obviously I am concerned this is cancer since he is not making much or any real strides. He has a f/u with his vet tomorrow. He is bright eyed and snuggly and sweet with the critical care. He has never been extremely active. He was a rescue and we guess he is now about 3 or 4 years old. It is my understanding they cannot further evaluate (except to rexray after the antibiotic regimen is done) since the problem appears to be in his jaw joint. Has anyone ever had experience with this type of diagnosis before? We are all very sad here.We have not explained the gravity to our tween and teen until we know more. We have had Porter (and his cage mate) for about 1.5 years and my girls volunteer at the shelter they came from. I just don't know what to do and am seeking information from your experiences. Thank you!

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    We haven't seen that problem with the jaw joint. Would it be possible for you to post x-rays?

    But, if all he's eating is the critical care, he needs much more than what you're getting. A pig that's eating nothing else needs 100+ cc. of Critical Care per kilogram of body weight, every day, divided into 6-8 feedings through the day and night. Guinea pigs are wired to eat ALL the time. They're constantly secreting stomach acid (unlike us/dogs/cats/etc), and can develop painful, possibly fatal, stomach ulcers if they don't have food moving their stomach frequently. And that doesn't even get to the GI stasis/bloat that can occur with insufficient food.

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Quote Originally Posted by bpatters View Post
    We haven't seen that problem with the jaw joint. Would it be possible for you to post x-rays?

    But, if all he's eating is the critical care, he needs much more than what you're getting. A pig that's eating nothing else needs 100+ cc. of Critical Care per kilogram of body weight, every day, divided into 6-8 feedings through the day and night. Guinea pigs are wired to eat ALL the time. They're constantly secreting stomach acid (unlike us/dogs/cats/etc), and can develop painful, possibly fatal, stomach ulcers if they don't have food moving their stomach frequently. And that doesn't even get to the GI stasis/bloat that can occur with insufficient food.

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Thanks for your reply. I may be drastically under feeding him. : ( we have been going by the vet instruction of 3-4 tablespoons of the dry powder over 3 to 4 feeds per day. This has been going on for about 2 weeks ( a day or two before his first surgery). We will definitely increase. It takes about an hour per feeding and is very messy. He weighs about 930 grams now. He was about 1100 grams when he was healthy in June. Maintaining over the last 2 weeks but not gaining. Poor baby. I will try to get a copy of the X-rays when he sees the vet tomorrow to post. I did look at them. The "good jaw" has a nice bone arch with the normal dark circular space. In the "bad" jaw the circle of the bone and joint cannot be seen and the middle section is "whited out" - I see human patients so that is the best way I know to describe. The vet hopes the X-ray will change for the better if it is an abscess after 14 days of Baytril. He didn't want to give him more since it could cause GI issue. If it isn't better... And not eating... ; ( he is also on meloxicam and gabapentin since there may be neurological pain due to the location. Thank you for any ideas!

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    It really shouldn't take an hour to hand feed him, or be messy once you get the hang of it. There are a couple of ways to go about it. See http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html for one of them. If you use that one, you'll need 10-12 of the 1 cc syringes with the tips cut off, and a larger syringe (20 cc, free from any pharmacy if you tell them it's for a sick pet) to fill the smaller ones with. Don't try to suck the mixture up into the small syringes, you'll kill the pig and yourself out of frustration. Load them from the barrel end. If your pig is totally uncooperative and fights you over every bite, I recommend this method.

    If you pig is the least bit cooperative, get a pet feeding syringe from a pet store, or use the 20 cc one from the pharmacy. Again, load it from the barrel end.

    Put your non-dominant arm on a table at a height that's comfortable for you. Throw a towel over it, put the pig in the crook of your arm and burrito him with the towel. With your non-dominant hand, hold the pigs head FIRMLY between your thumb and forefinger, right behind, not ON, his jaw. With your other hand, stick the syringe in the side of his mouth, behind his front teeth and in front of his back teeth, and turn it toward his throat. Give him about 1/4 to 1/3 of a cc at a time. You need to deposit it between his molars -- too far to the front and he'll spit it out, too far to the back and he'll choke. If he's chewing, he's swallowing. You can leave the syringe in his mouth while he's chewing.

    You need to make sure that the CC is well mixed and that there aren't any clumps. If it clumps up in the syringe and you depress the plunger hard to try to force the blockage out, it'll all come out in a rush and choke the pig. CC also thickens up as it sits, so it's better to load all the syringes, whether one or many, at one time. It won't thicken up so much that way.

    I generally aim for at least 10 cc per feed, and would prefer 15. My pigs don't object, and sometimes I can get 20 cc in them. But smaller, more frequent feedings are fine, so do whatever works for you.

    Good luck, and post back if you have any questions.

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Jaw abscesses can be very difficult to deal with. A guinea pig that I was treating for a year with it ended up with her molars rotating where the abscess was, which meant many dental surgeries. It wasn't an easy road for her.
    I actually haven't had nearly the trouble with long-term antibiotics in my piggies that many people have. I've had some piggies on Baytril etc for the better part of a year without affecting their appetite, poop etc.

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Quote Originally Posted by CavyHouse View Post
    Jaw abscesses can be very difficult to deal with. A guinea pig that I was treating for a year with it ended up with her molars rotating where the abscess was, which meant many dental surgeries. It wasn't an easy road for her.
    I actually haven't had nearly the trouble with long-term antibiotics in my piggies that many people have. I've had some piggies on Baytril etc for the better part of a year without affecting their appetite, poop etc.
    Thank you for your info! We are hoping a jaw/joint abscess is the issue! He just won't eat on his own- due to joint involvement or compression. the vet said at best he will need continual dental surgery to keep his teeth down. : ( his appointment is early this morning. Any eating advice? We have tempted him with everything soft/medium texture in addition to piles of hay and pellets. No luck except for about a strawberry cut incredibly small.

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    Re: Jaw abscess vs cancer

    Thank you so much for the advice and the link! I am definitely going to try this! I am afraid it is so messy since he won't take the strong on the left/affected side and his chewing is very slow and "delicate" if that makes sense. His f/u appointment is this morning. Thank you again for your help/advice! I really appreciate it! This is our sweet Porter before he became ill.
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