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Vet Irritated Scent Glands & Mass


Well-known Member
Cavy Slave
Jun 25, 2010
Hey guys-

So, I went to the vet the other day, because my guinea pig, Gary, had very inflamed and irritated scent glands. He got 0.2 mL of Baytril 2x per day for 14 days, and silvadine cream 2x per day for 10 days. Have any of you experienced a guinea pig with inflamed and irritated scent glands? Is this what you did?

This vet visit also uncovered a mass. We are going back next Monday to see if it got bigger/smaller. Should action need taken, I can (1)get a cell sample taken and sent to the lab, where results may be conclusive or inconclusive [$140.00ish], or I can (2)get the mass removed, where it will be sent to the lab and analyzed, and results are always almost conclusive [$500ish]. And, in the end, no matter which I choose, if it is cancerous, there is no such thing as chemo for guinea pigs(at least from what I understand), and he would have to be laid to rest.

Which one would you choose, and why?

I'd have to know more before I could say.

How old is your pig? And where is the mass? Is it soft and moveable, or hard and fastened down?

I will say that if your vet said "scent glands," as in more than one scent gland, I'd wonder if he's a competent piggy vet. They've only got one gland, right above where their tail would be if they had one. And while they do need frequent cleaning in some pigs, I've never heard of the gland being inflamed or irritated unless it's in dire need of cleaning. And that usually takes care of the problem. And even then, I'd question giving an oral antibiotic for it unless the silvadene cream didn't take care of it.
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My Rosie just had surgery to remove a tumor last week. I, too, would ask you to describe the mass to us so we can give more info.

Rosie, as it turns out, does have cancer. But, she's not showing any symptoms. If I hadn't felt the tumor, I wouldn't have known. All this to say: if you do decide to do the tests and it is bad news, it's not an instant death sentence. More important than any test will be you keeping a close eye on Gary. If and when his quality of life goes downhill, then you have some tough decisions to make. But a mass, even a cancerous one, doesn't mean much by itself. Watch Gary carefully and trust your instincts about whether he's happy and healthy.

Good luck and hang in there while he recovers.
I would have any mass removed. I wouldn't worry so much about having it sent off.
So you wouldnt reccomend testing it?
For me, I wanted to know. It was an extra $150, but it was worth knowing what we were dealing with.
Usually what it is won't change your care. You will be monitoring anyway to look for any re-occurances.

Often vets will know what it is upon removal. Most good vets, however, will have an idea of what it is before removal. Your vet should already have checked to see if it's an abscess by drawing out some of the contents. The shape and size and texture would also give an idea of what it is. For example, fatty lipomas are soft and squishy.

If you can afford it, it may be helpful to send it off, but if you are on a budget, don't feel like you have to.
Well, they are sure it is not an abscess, and is a mass of some sort. At this time, the main concern is cancerous or not, and if not, what it is.

Basically, it is 140 to take a sample and send off. Is there a benefit to that? Or should I just opt for removal? Because no matter what it is, wont it need removed anyway??

To remove it is 500 (inc. being under, SQ fluids, testing of the mass, removal, etc.) Does that sound reasonable in MD?

And then if I opt for removal, should it just be removed, and thats that? Or should it be removed, and then tested.
$500 is almost exactly what I paid. That included the $150 for post-op testing of the mass and her pre-op diagnostic visit.

Again, I wanted to know if it was cancer. Foggycreekcavy is absolutely right, you'll be monitoring the same way whether or not you get it tested. But for my own peace of mind, I wanted the info. To steel myself, as much as anything else. And despite the sad results, I'm glad I know. I think you're the only person who can make that call for yourself.
Well, of the 500, the test is $198. I may be able to pay for mass removal, but I dont know about the biopsy.

I mean, no matter what the mass is, it essentially needs removed, right? So, is it even worth doing the cell sample first? Or is that a complete waste of 140 bucks?
That's right, it still has to come off. I chose not to do the pre-surgery cell sample for that reason.

The cell sample seems more useful to me if the vet thinks it may just be an abscess, which as I understand can be drained and does not always need removing. In Rosie's case, the mass was hard and unmoving and fairly obviously a tumor.
If he were my pig, I would just have it removed. I wouldn't do the biopsy or send it in.
The thing is, there's no really good way to treat a pig for cancer. So whether the tumor is malignant or not, it generally doesn't determine what action the vet takes next. If it were a person, and the whole chemical/radiological arsenal of cancer weapons was available, then you'd definitely want to know what type of malignancy it was. But with a guinea pig, not so much.

If it's an abscess, I'd want to have a culture and sensitivity test done to make sure the pig gets the kind of antibiotics it needs to clear up the infection. Since pigs don't do well with antibiotics anyway, I wouldn't want to guess at what was needed, and then find out that the vet had guessed wrong and we had to start all over again.
How long would you wait...?

So, we went back to the vet to discuss the mass. She reccomended waiting and watching it for three months, and at that time we can decide whether to sample it, remove it, etc.

Does that sound like a normal wait time? I thought it sounded a bit long, but am just making sure. Would you wait that long with your piggy?

No, it doesn't sound normal. Most experienced cavy vets would not have you wait that long.

I would want to get it out asap. If it's a tumor, the longer you wait the worse it can get. If it's an abscess, the longer you wait the more chances are that it will burst. If it's a cyst that continues to grow, it can grow so large that it's hard to stretch the skin to cover it the incision when it's removed.
Absolutely not. I agree with foggy--time to get that thing off there. Sounds like you need a new vet, too.
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