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Sick Pig just diagnosed with cancer -- what to expect?

Ferelden

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Hello everybody! I had an account here before but lost the information. Background: I have a skinny pig that is almost 4 years old. When he was young he was diagnosed with a heart murmur but other than wheezing while wheeking, he did did fine.

I took Hippo to the vet this morning for numerous reasons. His weight has dropped to 870 (used to be over 1000 grams), his ears are very dry, hard, and crusty. I have also noticed a few small bumps on his stomach side and near his bum. At the vet, she did an examination and took xrays and determined Hippo has cancer. I have never had a guinea pig before Hippo (and his cagemate), so I am not sure how to proceed with this. Hippo is fine as of now, he is still excited for food and eats a variety of veg, unlimited hay, pellets, and critical care (but he is still losing weight). What should I be looking out for in terms of illness progression? Is there anything I can do for him to make him more comfortable?
 

TheGuineaPigGal

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Hello, it is unfortunate to see your piggy has cancer. This is very tough to deal with, and can be hard to make the final decision, it seems your pig doesn't seem to be in pain from the way you worded it, but I could be wrong. Since only you know Hippo best, you need to look out for changes in behavior, and diet. As for trying to get him to gain weight, you can give oat hay and/or a little Alfalfa mixed with the Timothy hay, and slowly add organic shelled sunflower seeds. As for making him comfortable, make sure the cage is cleaned often, as no pig likes a dirty cage (You probably already knew that) And my pigs like when I rearrange their cage with a new bed or something. They also like when I lay on my back in their cage, and they love to crawl all over me!! Hope Hippo feels better! Heeling wheeks!!
 

Soecara

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I have had a guinea pig with inoperable tumours that ended up taking her life. I wouldn't try to fatten him up and TheGuineaPiggGal, doing so is not for his benefit, the risks of bloat are too high and it won't help him as there is an underlying reason for the continued weight loss that it isn't addressing.

You should be trying your best to make his remaining time as comfortable and happy for him as possible. As long as he is still happy and acting normal it isn't his time yet. As he starts to decline he may show signs of pain, you may want to get a pain medication from your vet as this starts to happen. He will get thinner, he will start to move around less, you will know in you heart when he has had enough and it is time to help him out of the world comfortably.

I did end up having my girl euthanised when she had enough, she was acting normal and happy for the most part up until her last two days. She would have bad days, but usually she would perk up again after her pain meds, in those last days the meds didn't seem to help her, she seemed miserable. She lost interest in even her favourite food and didn't want to move around the cage, she just wanted to lay in her hide, her cage mate spent much of the day cuddling with her which was not normal for those two. I knew it was time so I called the vet and took her in. After she was euthanised I brought her home and let her cage mate see her before I buried her.
 

bpatters

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Ditto [MENTION=24757]Soecara[/MENTION]. Treatment for cancer in a guinea pig is harsh, very expensive, and almost never has good results. As Soecara says, the risk of bloat is high if you make (m)any changes to the diet, and that may well shorten the time you have left with him. I'd keep him as comfortable as possible, and enjoy whatever time you have. He'll let you know when it's time to make the very hard decision to euthanize him.
 

Ferelden

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Thank you are for the great advice! I will try my best making him comfortable and happy, but I am not too sure that I am doing a good job. I am feeling really down on myself as a pig owner. A year back I inquired about these weird pieces of skin growing on Hippo's foot and it was concluded that these were foot spurs. I never paid much attention to them, really. I made sure they didn't get too long and when I rubbed Hippo in coconut oil I'd "moisturize" his feet/ears/grease gland. 2 weeks ago I clipped Hippo's nails and I did not notice anything particular about his feet. He had his typical foot spurs but his feet were a little hard but I thought it was because he is getting older. When I brought Hippo to the vet yesterday I didn't notice anything about his feet that rang alarm bells, so I did not mention anything to the vet. She was focusing on his stomach (he has a tumor in his belly area) and his ears, which are dry so I wanted to know how to moisturize them better.

Anyways, I took Hippo out tonight for some bonding time together. And I notice a piece of his foot is HANGING off!! I completely freaked out because I did not notice anything before and I feel horrible about it. I had him at the vet YESTERDAY and didn't think to bring up his feet to the vet.... I feel absolutely horrible. I will attach pictures below but it is quite disturbing. I do not think this is foot spurs anymore and I think I have contributed to bumblefoot? :( I keep him and his cagemate on fleece and clean the blankets daily, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong. Is there anything I should do for Hippo to help with his foot until I can bring him to the vet again next week? He is not in any pain whatsoever it seems, he is walking around his cage and wheeking for food happily. I can play with the dangly part of his "foot" and it does not bother him at all. I do not know if the white I am seeing in this picture is bone or puss? Should I snip the skin off and put a bandage on his foot for the time being?
Foot Foot2
 
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