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  • ONE THREAD per pig please!
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Abscess Facial abscess rupturing after "successful" surgery?

Platypus

Member
Cavy Slave
Joined
Apr 29, 2019
Messages
7
I've had my new pigs, Janis and Zeppelin, for just over two weeks, but I feel like the poor things have had nothing but problems since they came home. Janis had a URI from day one, and we're now on the second round of antibiotics but they don't seem to be helping. The only symptom is sneezing, otherwise she seems fine, so I'm at a bit of a loss there.

Zeppelin, though... This sweet girl has had the worst of it. Long story short, she had surgery Thursday to remove a facial abscess. Surgery was successful, I brought her home that evening with more Baytril and Metacam. Everything seemed fine, healing well, Sunday night I actually had a breakthrough with both of them and they seemed much more comfortable with me during floor time (coming up to me to be pet, eating from my hand, etc). Monday morning I heard an extremely loud squeak/screech from the cage. Her cheek had burst open and was covered in white pus (sorry, I know it's gross). I called the vet and they said to get her there asap.

So, apparently there was still some infection in there and it built up to the point that her cheek exploded, which is horrifying. Vet says she can't close it and it needs to heal from the inside out. I'm supposed to separate her from Janis, keep up with the Bayril and Metacam, blot the wound with a warm wet towel once a day, and bring her back Wednesday for another check up.

My question, I guess, is what experiences have you had with this sort of thing?? I thought the whole point of the surgery and meds after was to avoid it rupturing; I didn't expect to be dealing with this. I feel so bad for Zep; she's obviously uncomfortable and misses her friend on top of everything else. I'm obviously concerned about infection from having an open wound on her face, but the vet seems convinced she'll be fine. And I was told 10-14 days for it to heal- any experiences with how accurate that is for something like this?

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The usual treatment after abscess surgery is for you to flush the wound at least a couple of times a day to get the pus out and to let it heal from the inside. The incision should not be closed, and if it scabs over, you need to soften the scab and pick it off so you can continue to flush it.

Use sterile saline as the flushing solution, and if you can get a curved tip syringe, that will make it easier to flush all areas of the hole.

Guinea pig pus is very thick and cheesy, and it will require some force on the syringe plunger to produce a strong enough stream to get the pus out. She's not gonna like this, so you may need a helper to hold her while you're doing the flushing.

Here's a thread from GL with a picture of the syringe: https://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?t=136
 
@bpatters Thanks so much for the response. I'd like to think the vet would have told me if she wanted me to do all that, but I'll definitely call and ask asap to be sure! I'm entirely new to all this- these are the first pigs I've had as an adult, and none of my previous pets have required medical care (aside from having my sweet hamster put to sleep due to an aggressive cancer last month).

On the bright side, I haven't had to give her the critical care at all since we got home, she definitely has an appetite. She seems to be in pretty good spirits, all things considered, though not thrilled to be in the little temporary cage I have her in.

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I'd like to think your vet would have told you that also, but it's standard abscess care. If there's any pocket of pus left in the wound, it will just keep coming back over and over again.

Here's another link with more information: https://www.guinealynx.info/abscess.html
 
@bpatters I talked to the vet's office and they told me to stick with what she originally said, gently blotting it and otherwise leaving it alone. When I go for the follow up tomorrow, I'll definitely be asking her why she thinks it shouldn't be flushed out or anything.

If she's as good as I think she is, she won't be offended by the question and will be happy to explain that decision. If not, there's at least one other small/exotic animal vet in our area I can take Zep to for a second opinion if I get even a hint this isn't healing well.

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Update:

Zeppelin seems to be doing really well! I had my kids with me for my last appointment and completely forgot to ask why she didn't want me flushing it out, but I did confirm with two different techs this week that the vet definitely didn't want me doing that. She saw her again today and left the scab mostly intact, but checked her over very closely and said she thinks she's ok at this point and I don't need it checked again. 4 more days on the Baytril and she can go back in the big cage, which I'm sure she'll love after being in my little "hospital" setup for a week now.

Hopefully now the piggy drama is over and she'll be able to get used to being here!

(Quick question, am I supposed to keep both my pigs on one thread, or start a separate one for each?)

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Glad to hear she's doing better!


Each pig can have a separate thread, just make sure to keep any and all information about each pig in their thread. Makes it much easier to have all their info in the one place in their thread.
 
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