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Thread: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

  1. #1

    Question Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?


    Do these nipples look like normal healthy nipples (see video below)? I've never had female guinea pigs before so I'm not certain. However, they look crusty to me.

    Thanks for the feedback,
    - Helena

  2. #2

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    Yep, look a little crusty to me.

    How old is she? Any chance she's pregnant?

    Don't you have a medical thread for this pig that you should be posting on?

  3. #3

    Question Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    This guinea pig is approx. one and she has crusty nipples. Her name is Poppy Autumn Belle. My last post was this past summer and it was about her sister Goldie Carmella. Goldie was the one who had breathing issues and that is what my last post was about. There is no chance that Poppy is pregnant. I've had both guinea pigs since June 7th 2017. She and her sister were treated for a bacterial infection (URI) back in June/July of 2017 but they have both been healthy ever since. First symptom I noticed was that she seemed to have lost weight, or just never gained as much as her sister, but I never weighed her. She was eating, drinking, peeing and pooping normally. Active and playing. No fur loss either. Back then, I didn't even think to look at her nipples (because I have never had female guinea pigs and because she is young).

    We are expecting an ice-storm this week. Is it urgent that she get to a vet tomorrow?

    I did a little bit of research and I read that she could have ovarian cysts or even cancer. But she's so young! Are there any other less terrifying options?

    Thanks Pbatters for the reply,

  4. #4

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    No, it's not urgent that she gets to a vet tomorrow. You can try putting some cold pressed virgin coconut oil on the nipples and see if that softens them up.

    I'd just watch her carefully. She's pretty young for ovarian cysts, and cancer isn't at all likely. But if she starts displaying hormonal behavior that goes on beyond her normal heat cycle, you might want to get an ultrasound just to get an definite diagnosis on cysts.

  5. #5

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    I'll definitely try using oil tomorrow. My coconut oil had a tiny bit left and had expired anyhow. I just threw it out yesterday. Can I use olive, canola or hemp oil instead? I'm not familiar with what oils are safe for guinea pigs. It's worth trying. I'll let you know how it goes ...

    In terms of her behavior, I just thought she was displaying typical dominant behavior. She frequently (pretty much every day & numerous times a day) tries to mount her sister. Lots of rumble-strutting too. I've concluded her sister is an angel for putting up with her shenanigans. :)

  6. #6

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    That's definitely hormonal behavior, and worth having an ultrasound done to check on.

    Those other oils are processed quite a bit, and the cold pressed coconut oil has both antifungal and antibacterial properties. You could use one of the others in a pinch, but I'd try to get some coconut oil as soon as I could.

  7. #7

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    Thank - you Bpatters. Your advice is very much appreciated. Anytime something happens to one of my guinea pigs, I just feel very grateful to have knowledgeable and understanding people to turn to. Thanks! :)

  8. #8

    Question Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?


    This is an update on Poppy's health issues. I brought Poppy to the vet back in April because of her "crusty nipples". The vet "palpitated" her, checked for ovarian cysts and didn't find any. I was relieved, but I assume an ultrasound is the only way to know for certain if she has a cyst. Ultrasounds are expensive so I decided to wait and monitor her behavior. My vet also prescribed Chlorhexidine to clean her nipples. The vet removed some of the crust, but a lot remained. Poppy hated it when I used the Chlorhexidine. I was afraid I really hurt her trying to remove the crust. That crust is really stuck on. Her nipples are making her very uncomfortable. I thought the taste of the Chlorhexidine might have been why she stopped eating her pellets so I stopped using Chlorhexidine. Lastly, my vet recommended that I have her spayed. Surgery scares me ...

    Poppy was treated with an antibiotic for an upper respiratory infection back in May because she had some eye crust and I heard a lot of sneezing one night. Those symptoms began right before I was scheduled for surgery. I knew that I wouldn't be able to take her back to the vet so I was extra cautious. Normally, I would have waited a few days to see if she got worse. I don't think she really had an infection, but I'm not certain. Nonetheless, she was treated for an infection. The eye crust did go away and sneezing stopped so ...

    For the past 2 weeks (or so), on and off, Poppy and her sister, haven't been finishing their pellets. They eat their hay and veggies. No other symptoms. After a few days of receiving Ben-a-bac, they finished all of their pellets. Then they weren't given Ben-a-bac for about a week and now they aren't eating their pellets again. Ugh!
    Clearly, they are trying to tell me something is wrong! :(

    Weight was 800 grams in April and now is 774 grams which isn't terrible at all.
    However, she has lost a tiny bit of weight.

    Poppy has been much calmer; I think she only mounts her sister when she is in heat.

    1) Is not eating pellets a symptom of ovarian cysts?
    2) What if she does have a cyst? Would a spay still be beneficial? [Sorry, if that is a really dumb question]
    3) Should I insist on an ultrasound?

    Lastly, Poppy doesn't like it when I touch her nipples. In addition, she stretches over her food bowl and seems to put more pressure on her left side. The way she leans on her food bowl, it looks like she is uncomfortable. Has anyone else ever observed that? It's strange. Usually, guinea pigs put their front paws on the part of the food bowl that is closest to them ... she stretches over the food bowl, rests her paws on the part that is farthest away, and leans towards the left. She puts one paw in front of the other. It's hard to explain, sorry, I tried.

    Any feedback would be appreciated because I don't really know what to do. I just got coconut oil, finally. I tried this past Monday and it didn't really help me remove any more crust. As mentioned before, Poppy hates it when I touch her nipples. Should I continue with the coconut oil?

    - Helena

  9. #9

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    Pictures would be a big help.

  10. #10

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    Sorry. I don't have any pictures. I just charged my battery though and I will try to get some. Do you want pictures of the nipple crust or the way she stretches over her food bowl? There is a video at the top of this thread of the crust. It pretty much looks the same now as it did back then, maybe even somewhat worse, to be honest. I intend on taking her to the vet again next week, on my day off. Hopefully, she will hang in there until a vet can see her.

  11. #11

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    I'm trying to decide if I have to get an ultrasound done (which is annoying because I would have to go to a completely different area, different vet because my vet doesn't have an ultrasound machine, I think). So let's say I don't get an ultrasound and I have her spayed ... but then it turns out that she did actually have a cyst. She would then need a second surgery, correct? In that case, it's cheaper to get an ultrasound done now and get the correct surgery done in the first place. Did that make sense? It's been a long day. :(

  12. #12

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    The nipples.

  13. #13

    Question Post-Ovariohysterectomy Behavior [Post-Spay]


    So, it turned out Poppy did have ovarian cysts and a huge uterine mass. She had surgery (Ovariohysterectomy) on Halloween and the mass was removed. I was afraid she wouldn't make it, become a ghost and haunt me forever. Looking back, I wish Poppy had been spayed as soon as I saw nipple crust. I should not have waited. During previous vet visits, she was palpitated and nothing was found so I thought I had time (given her young age - approx. 1 year old). I've heard of perfectly healthy guinea pigs dying because of the anesthetic and I've never had a guinea pig operated on, so I procrastinated. In addition, one vet told me that the nipple crust was just "a callus" and I shouldn't worry. But I knew that nipple crust was a sign of cysts, so I'm still pretty upset with myself.

    Anyhow, Poppy's surgery was a "very difficult & challenging" surgery according to her surgeon. Apparently, her heart stopped during the surgery but they were able to bring her back. Her recovery was challenging too ... I really thought I would lose her. This entire ordeal has been quite traumatic for me. I had a histopathology (Did I get that right - ?) completed and Poppy's uterine mass was not cancerous. Phew! However, now I have even more questions and concerns because her old behavior has returned which is making me neurotic. For example, Poppy is still exhibiting hormonal behavior and she has started to lean over her food bowl the way she did before. I still really think that she was leaning over her food bowl to alleviate her pain.

    QUESTION 1: Poppy is still quite hormonal. She still struts her stuff and tries to mount her sister. I thought if her ovaries and uterus were removed then the hormonal behavior would stop. Is it really merely "dominant" behavior now? Is it normal for a guinea pig to display hormonal behavior after being spayed?

    QUESTION 2: I was told that her uterine mass was massive/huge. If I recall correctly, the vet said that it was attached to blood vessels. Is it possible that the mass had spread past her uterus, the vet didn't remove the entire mass, and now the mass is growing? Can that even happen? Please tell me that is merely crazy talk. I'm just trying to figure out why her old behavior has returned ... :(

    QUESTION 3: Is it possible for Poppy to get masses in other places?

    I asked my vet what caused Poppy to develop such a massive mass to begin with and I was told, "she's hormonal"? What is her long-term prognosis? After spending so much money on her surgery, I want Poppy to live to be a little old piggy.

    - Helena

  14. #14

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    How long has it been since the surgery? It can take a while for the hormonal behavior to calm down.

    Yes, it's possible that the entire mass was not removed, particularly if it was not encapsulated. Endometriosis in humans is like that -- the tissue gets spread all over the abdomen.

  15. #15

    Re: Is this how normal and healthy female nipples look?

    Thanks BPatters, I had forgotten about endometriosis. That's a good example and a very painful condition from what I have heard. Fibroids are more of an issue in my family.

    Poppy had surgery on October 30th (the day before Halloween).
    In regards to the hormonal behavior, initially when I put Poppy back in a cage with her sister, there was very little hormonal behavior and in the last week it increased a lot.

    So, even though she doesn't have ovaries or a uterus anymore, if part of the mass wasn't removed and grew outside of her uterus, it could continue to grow now? :(
    Any advice on what to do now?
    Are there any "medications", that could slow the growth (if there is growth occurring)?
    I wouldn't put her through any more surgeries anyhow, and my pet fund is pretty much down to zero so...
    She is eating normally and her weight is stable so...
    How do I determine if she does have another mass?

    Many years ago, I had a guinea pig who had a mammary lump.
    I decided against surgery because I was told that mammary tumors tend to come back.
    I thought that this was different ...

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