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Abscess Young male guinea pig has cysts and a respiratory infection... need advice :/


Cavy Slave
Mar 23, 2012
Hello everyone.

My husband and I adopted a sweet little boy piggie from Petsmart two days ago. Since they only sell females, when a boy came in, they couldn't sell him. We went in just looking and ended up adopting. I signed a waiver saying that I understood he had no warranty and that I was responsible for all his vet care. I've actually worked for Petsmart before and I've owned and cared for a number of various small animals, but never a guinea pig (always wanted to, though).

We took him home and set him up. He seemed to be bright eyed with no visible signs of illness (I know the basics to look for). He ate his Timothy hay and his pellets and seemed to be liking his new water bottle, all good signs. Then we noticed the sneezing. I had him on my chest and he sneezed ten times. The next morning, I called up Banfied (the vet clinic inside Petsmart) and told them. They set me up for an appointment next week.

We had an uneventual day, but we did spend a lot of time with him, letting him get to know us. We even got him to purr. :)

Then, this morning, my husband was playing with him when he handed him to me. I happened to notice that his crazy hair looked funny around his jawline. It didn't look any different than the previous day, still "poofy", but this time, I felt around it. I felt one decent-sized lump and a smaller one next to it. I called Banfield and they had me come in right away.

The vet gave us two different kinds of medicine for a respiratory infection (poor little guy) and she wanted to take a sample of the lump. We didn't have enough money for the sample. She said the medicine for the respiratory infection may clear up the lump (which now doesn't make much sense to me, but I could be wrong) and he has a follow-up appointment in 2 weeks.

After getting on the internet and researching guinea pig cysts, I'm come to the conclusion that this needs to be lanced.

Any advice? We could have surrendered him to the vet, but we want him to have a great home. How much could this possibly cost us? In the meantime, as long as he's eating/drinking/pooping, is he okay? Thanks for any advice......

(broken link removed)

Meet Rupert :) he fits in the palm of my hand. <3


Cute piggie
I would give him the medications and see if he improves. If there is change before that or at the 2 week time frame if you are uncomfortable about this vet. Look into finding an exotic experienced cavy vet in your area for a second opinion.

As for pricing I am not sure. Each vet may be different. You could call around the various vets in your area and compare.

Rupert is a very handsome piggie.
We're giving him two different meds, twice daily. He seems to be happy, energetic and playful... I just don't want to get really attached and he not make it. I've read on this forum about cysts and even with all the effort put forth, the piggies don't live. I'd be so upset. They wanted $80 just to extract a sample from his lump... I felt that was a little much. I did get the number for a great exotics vet in my area and I'm gonna give them a call on Monday. I just wish vets would do payment plans! The visit and medications cost me $106 :( I think that's a little much.... okay, a LOT much. I'm doing everything in my power, though... thanks for the compliment; I think he's handsome too :)
That seems like a lot! Our vet only charges $20 for a guinea pig office visit and the meds for GiGi's respiratory infection only cost me about $3. Heck even when we had our black lab in last time for his checkup, rabies shot, distemper and to do a quick biopsy on a cyst it was still not over $100. Maybe we're just lucky to have such an awesome vet clinic.

If I were you I'd check a clinic not associated with petsmart and see what they charge.
I think I will... thank you. I haven't had an animal to a vet in a while, so I just assumed the prices had skyrocketed like everything else.
When we had our two in to the vet, it was $60 just to walk in the door, and from what I have seen, that is not unusual for a cavy vet.
A culture of the material in the lump is important. First of all, you are not even sure if it's an abscess or a cyst. What are the names of the medications? It's possible that antibiotics alone will take care of any infection, but usually an abscess will need to be removed or lanced and drained, and flushed daily along with oral antibiotics. If it's a cyst antibiotics won't get rid of it, it will need to be removed.

Banfield vet is generally not know for being good with exotics.
Can you get CareCredit? It's a credit card just for vet bills, and usually you have a time frame (6 months?) with no interest to pay it off.
Can you get CareCredit? It's a credit card just for vet bills, and usually you have a time frame (6 months?) with no interest to pay it off.

We actually just finished up a bankruptcy. We've never had credit cards. I applied for CareCredit there at the vets (along with my husband) and we were both immediately denied. I just assumed it was worth a try. :/
The two meds we're giving him (twice daily) are:

Baytrill (0.3 cc) by mouth (Cherry syrup) for two weeks
Doxycycline (0.17 cc) by mouth for two weeks

Also, I'd like to note that his cyst/abscess seems to have gotten larger. I can inspect it if I do so gently. He only squeaked at me once. It went from half a size of a golf-ball to almost golf-ball sized in just a few days. I've read that they can burst open on their own. I wouldn't even know what to do if it burst.
Well, I don't think I'd qualify, either. It would have come in handy this month, tho'. Sorry.
You need to get him to a qualified cavy vet ASAP. Now. If he is so small, and the "cyst" is the size of a golfball, then he is dire condition.
If it's growing that fast, it is either an abcsess or a tumor. Since abscesses are much more common, I will assume that's what it is.

Abscesses can burst on the inside, which can cause all kinds of problems. See if the vet will at least lance it for you and then you can flush it several times a day. It would be much cheaper than having it removed.

Antibiotics alone seldom get rid of abscesses. You need to manually get rid of the infection/pus.
Thank you for the advice. After talking to you guys, I called a local exotics vet. They said it sounded urgent and I needed to get him in ASAP, but all their appointments were booked today. I was able to get him an appointment for tomorrow (3/29) in the morning. He seems to be in good spirits. He's still eating and drinking well and he's in a great mood... all I hope are good signs. Wish Rupert luck :)
Good. Keep us posted!
Update on Rupert!!

We took Rupert to a local, highly recommended exotics vet. His abscess had grown to a deadly size. The vet wanted to operate immediately but the cost was going to be $368!!! I only had $200 in my bank account and the vet couldn't do a payment plan. No credit card and no one to borrow from..... And he only had a "fair" chance of surviving. I broke down crying and asked how much a euthanizing would cost. I didn't want him to suffer. Thankfully, the vet decided to let me pay $125 that day and write the rest on a held check. I was so happy. He operated on Rupert and the little guy came through just fine. The smaller lump was an infected lymph node. He removed it and put in stitches. The abcess was cultured and removed and we were sent home with wound-cleaning meds and instructions. It's been five days and he's doing wonderfully. He is still on upper-respiratory meds twice daily and even some pain meds. We joke that our little "free" piggy has turned into a $500 piggy!! Lol :) thank you to everyone for all your advice and well wishes.
I'm not sure where you are located, but I'd report them to the Dept of Agriculture that they're selling sick animals. The only way to get pet stores to stop selling them is to not buy animals from them and report sick animals. I'd send copies of your vet bills and your receipt for the purchase of him to show that he was sick when you bought him.
I'm not sure where you are located, but I'd report them to the Dept of Agriculture that they're selling sick animals. The only way to get pet stores to stop selling them is to not buy animals from them and report sick animals. I'd send copies of your vet bills and your receipt for the purchase of him to show that he was sick when you bought him.

How would I go about doing that? I worked for the same Petsmart about six years ago. We regularly sold sick animals. I protested regularly to my manager but he only saw dollar signs. Besides, it's corporate.... no way to really say "no". I remember that we had a batch of baby chinchillas come in that all had heart issues. One died and the on-site vet determined that it was a condition the whole litter had. She urged my manager to consider pulling them from the shelves, but he didn't. He wanted to make sure they'd all live past the 14-day guarantee... long enough for a customer to buy one, take it home and have it for 2 weeks and then not get his/her money (or heart...) back once the poor thing passed away. They were about $130 each. Cruel people. I was on the floor and I would encourage people not to buy the chinchillas. Some still ended up getting sold and people brought back their poor little bodies, determined to get their money back... and were denied since it was usually past the time period. So messed up. We also sold baby rats that were all sick.... as well as hamsters with wet tail. All of them had wet tail. It was a nightmare working for them.
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