Lump on R's neck

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zygote

Post   » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:13 pm


I have a guinea pig who is a little over 7.5 years old. I wrote about her in the Cavy Chat forum last year, but I haven't posted about her in the Emergency & Medical forum before. Here is that thread for reference: https://www.guinealynx.info/forums/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=77205&p=2295667#p2295667

Some of her background:
-She has had a lump in her abdomen her whole life that comes and goes, and after a lot of testing over the years, the vets think it's a lymph node but can't say for sure. It's never seemed to bother her.
-She was spayed when she was 3 because they originally thought the lump was in her reproductive system (it wasn't).
-After her cagemate died in October 2018, she became lethargic. We originally thought she was lonely (hence the post in Cavy Chat), but it turned out she was anemic. After upping her iron-rich veggies, she's been energetic and happy ever since.
-She's had a stubborn case of bumblefoot on her front right paw since March. It's slowly getting better with twice daily betadine soaks and silver sulfadiazine cream, but hasn't gone fully away yet.

And now my current question. I noticed a few days ago that her neck fur was looking lopsided - bigger on the left side. I couldn't feel anything there, so I assumed her fur was just flatter on the right side from the betadine soaks. Well, today I checked again and there is definitely a lump on the left side of her neck. It's pretty small. Maybe the size of a pea or a raisin?

Has anyone else had a guinea pig with a lump on the neck? What did it turn out to be? I am really hoping it's a cyst or infection or something treatable, and not cancer. I know she's getting old, but it seems like she still has so much life in her.

We have a vet appointment on Thursday. Is there anything in particular I should ask for, e.g. a specific test? Due to the virus, we have to drop her off outside and the vet will call us while she does the exam. Since I can't be in the room to have a back and forth as easily, I want to make sure the intake form is as thorough as possible.

Thanks in advance for any advice!

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:46 pm


We had a piggie (who also had stubborn bumblefoot treated the same way you are) who developed a lump in her neck when she was about 7. It was a tumor, I guess, and inoperable. She had another good year until finally it was obstructing her esophagus & we had to pts. She was happy right up until the last day.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sun Jul 26, 2020 3:54 pm


There is also some good info on lumps here:
http://www.guinealynx.info/lumps.html

zygote

Post   » Thu Jul 30, 2020 6:24 pm


Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Bookfan, and for the link, Sef.

The vet definitely felt the lump. I think it's bigger than I originally realized, closer to the size of a grape. Not sure if it's really growing that fast or I just didn't feel it correctly the first time.

They took a fine needle aspirate. The vet said most of the tissue that came up looked like fatty tissue. She doesn't think it's a lipoma because it felt harder than that. She sent the samples off for testing, and we'll see what it says. She also did a basic blood draw. She thinks we might have the results by Sunday or Monday.

However, we got home about half an hour ago and she's acting funny. Walking around unsteadily, twitching(/coughing?) occasionally, lying down more than normal. Almost loopy like times she's been sedated in the past, but she wasn't sedated this time.

We called the vet, who said she did hear a heart murmur during the exam. She's had one in the past, but the vet thinks it's gotten a little worse. She's worried that even though she didn't visibly seem too stressed by the exam, this could be a delayed stress response . No one is at the clinic overnight, so she suggested keeping a close eye on her at home and making sure she continues to eat. She definitely is eating when offered her favorites like leafy greens, clementine sections, etc. And also nibbling on hay on her own.

Honestly, if being restrained for the blood draw and aspirate stressed her out this much, we are very reluctant to go down the road of X-rays or an echo or any other tests at the clinic or even at the ER (where there may or may not be a rodent specialist). And no matter what the cytology/bloodwork results say, we're only going to consider treatments that involve medications at home.

Unfortunately, if things get worse, they are not even allowing anyone into the clinic if a pet has to be put to sleep. And we don't have a car, so we'd either have to send her in alone or do it on the sidewalk. I really hope we don't have to make that kind of decision.

Please send good thoughts our way that she keeps eating and bounces back overnight.

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ItsaZoo
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:06 am


Hoping the test results come back with something benign.

It’s good that she’s eating tonight. I’m sure she was stressed out with the tests at the vet. Maybe she will eat, get some rest, and get back to normal by tomorrow.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 4:24 am


Maybe a long shot, but depending on where they drew blood, it's possible they somehow hit a nerve? It could explain the twitching. I hope a good night's rest will help.

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Lynx
RESIST

Post   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:53 am


Ditto Sef. That has happened to a couple guinea pigs here. I hope it resolves.

zygote

Post   » Fri Jul 31, 2020 10:01 am


Thank you for all your thoughts and replies.

She's still not 100% herself (basically hunkered down in her pigloo instead of being busy around the cage), but she ate well all night and isn't moving strangely anymore so I'm less worried than I was. A vet visit has never rattled her like that before. Poor pig. I wonder if they did hit a nerve as you say.

zygote

Post   » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:18 pm


After one more night of relaxing at home, I'd say she's back to herself. Eating, drinking, busy around the cage. Such a relief.

We also got her bloodwork back, and that's all normal. Just waiting on the cytology results from the lump.

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Sef
Supporter in 2019

Post   » Sat Aug 01, 2020 8:30 pm


Very good! Fingers crossed that the lump is nothing too menacing.

Bookfan
For the Love of Pigs

Post   » Sun Aug 02, 2020 7:43 pm


Good news.

zygote

Post   » Mon Aug 03, 2020 2:47 pm


The results came back as "proteinaceous fluid consistent with cystic fluid". The vet says that there can be a cystic component to tumors, so she can't rule out cancer. But there were no cancerous cells observed in the sample.

The next step she would normally suggest is a surgical biopsy, but we're definitely not going to do that. It's not worth the risk, especially since she is acting like herself again.

I am planning to ask if there is a chance this type of fluid could be from an infection and whether it would be worth trying antibiotics. Is there anything else I should be asking the vet? Anything else I should be doing at home for a cyst in the neck of unknown cause?

zygote

Post   » Mon Aug 03, 2020 6:37 pm


The vet replied to my antibiotics question to say she does not recommend them based on the cytology, but would be willing to prescribe metacam if/when she seems uncomfortable.

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