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Tumor on a guinea pig.

Species: Other
Breed: guinea pig
Age: 1-2 years
Hi Marie,

My daughter's 14 month old guinea pig has a tumor with a thick, scaly black scab the size of a quarter on his hip. He is otherwise in good health. The only picture on the internet that looked like it was a cancerous, infected tumor. We would not put it through surgery, but are their other treatments that are effective? If not, is there way for me to put him to sleep (once he shows signs of being uncomfortable) that is quick and painless for him?

My local vet charges $160 to do this. I don't mean to be heartless, but we are on a very, very tight budget.

I can send you an actual picture or here's the picture on the internet that looks most like it: http://www.google.com/imgres?um=1&hl=en&client=firefox-a&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&biw=1920&bih=955&tbm=isch&tbnid=VNBclT5AYglVDM:&imgrefurl=http://www.smallanimalchannel.com/critter-columns/notes-from-an-exotic-small-animal-vet/100908-guinea-pigs-in-brief.aspx&docid=J75jK4ngDtrCrM&imgurl=http://www.smallanimalchannel.com/images/critter-columns/jerry-murray/2010/guinea-pig-1-bg.jpg&w=500&h=375&ei=g9RpT5rJAcHr0g

Thank you for making this affordable option for people like me.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

I'm sorry to hear that your piggie may have a tumor.

This is a tough question to answer without actually examining Socks but I'll give you my thoughts on what you have written.

Unfortunately the only way to know exactly what the tumor is would be to biopsy it, and really, that would cost a fair bit.

There are a number of different things that can cause a lesion like this. It's possible it is a cancerous tumor that could make him very sick. Or it could be a benign tumor. If this is the case then he may be able to live quite happily with it for some time.

It's even possible it is an abscess, although it would be an unusual place for one. Guinea pig abscesses generally don't heal with just antibiotics though...they usually need surgery.

If this were my case, and surgery was not an option then I would likely be advising you to simply keep an eye on the area. If we start noticing any of the following things, then I would say that it is time for euthanasia:

-If the tumor is becoming bothersome so that Socks is chewing at it.
-If the tumor is bleeding and becoming very messy.
-If Socks is not eating well.
-If Socks is having breathing issues (possibly indicative of spread to his lungs).

Unfortunately there is no way to humanely end a guinea pig's life at home. If he is unwell I definitely would recommend that you have the vet do euthanasia. You can perhaps phone around to other clinics. There are some that will occasionally have a reduced rate for pocket pet euthanasias. Or, if cost is really an issue, often the local humane society will euthanize for a reduced cost.

With that being said, I can tell you that I don't often see guinea pigs for euthanasia. They will often get sick very quickly and die suddenly. I'm not saying to let him suffer at home, but you may find that he goes from perfectly healthy to deceased overnight. But again, if you feel that he is uncomfortable, euthanasia is the best option.

I really hope he is ok.

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.