Cancer Looming?

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Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 10:44 am

I have a 10 month female gp named Montgomery. About 2 weeks ago I noticed what looked
like a black abcess bump on her hind middle toe and the toe looked
inflamed and red. We went to the vet and they cleaned it and sent her home
with antibiotic, soap and cream. I then noticed a few days later that
her foot pad on that foot was a much darker red then the other foot pad (which is bright pink)
and the skin encircling it looked a dark brown colour. In she went again
to the vet and they put her out to go into the toe. They didn´t find much in the way
of puss and the xray showed nothing with the bone. Yesterday, they called
and said the biop showed cells that are suspiciouly like cancer. SHe is going
back in tomorrow for a full biop. to determine if it is. I said what else could
it be and he didn´t think it could be anything else. Her appetite seems okay
and she is drinking and acting normal. Naturally, I´m terrified and am on
pure adrenlin right now. My vet has never seen anything like this and
apparently they treat many gp´s. Anyone have any advise, words of wisdom, would really
appreciate it. I´m guessing amputation would be our only option?

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 11:14 am

Well, I was in a similar situation last fall. My vet gave us a 50/50 chance of it being benign, which it wasn´t. I was a wreck.

When your vet confirms the diagnosis, I would sit down with him/her and discuss the options and outcome. It may be that she´d lose a toe and go on her merry way. It may be that you´ll have a few months to spoil her rotten. But I´d discuss the pros and cons of available treatments first.

If she is not suffering, see what can be done to improve or prolong her life. Animals (and people) let you know when it´s time to go. It doesn´t sound like she´s going anywhere at the moment.

Good luck - I know it isn´t easy news to hear.


Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 1:16 pm

Thanks for letting me know. What was the outcome of your
gp that had similiar? Did he/she survive?

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Thanks for the Memories

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 1:21 pm

Unfortunately, no. Max´s tumor was in an unfriendly location, preventing surgery. And sometimes surgery isn´t the right choice anyway, as it sometimes spreads the cancer.


Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 2:31 pm

I´m very sorry to hear about your dilemma.

I´ve seen two pigs who´ve had successful amputations go on to live active lives, so if that´s an option your vet suggests it´s definitely worth considering. I seem to remember Pinta having recommendations about exactly where to amputate for the best results. I hope she´ll check in later and give you the benefit of her experience with amputations.


Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 3:38 pm

We´ve gone thru 2 hind leg amputations. The first one the leg was amputated at the knee. We had major problems with pressure sores on the stump because she insisted on walking on it.

After that, and because our pigs are free range our vet decided to cut midway on the thigh bone for the second pig´s amputation.

It´s higher risk since you cut thru the bone instead of being left with an encapsulated joint end. The benefit is no stump.

It was extremely successful with Willie adjusting within a week. No pressure sores.

My vet says that where she amputates will depend on the lifestyle of the pig. She´s amputated at the joint before with no pressure sore problems but that pig was not free range and spent all her time in a cage. In the case of a free range pig who is very active, it´s worth the higher risk surgery in return for a complication free future.

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Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 3:46 pm

Punky had a full-leg amputation without complications. No stump, just some kind of black thing that looked like a tiny chocolate chip stuck to her hindquarters. She dragged her butt around just fine for three years after she recovered from the amputation, although the muscles on that side withered over time and made her look a little lopsided. It was only in her last year that she stopped roaming because the effort got to be too much.

She still had a phantom leg though. She´d use it desperately to scratch something on that side of her body, to no avail. We helped her scratch whenever possible.
Last edited by bats on Tue Apr 23, 2002 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 3:58 pm

Thanks for the info. Montgomery is going in tomorrow and they are going to amputate the toe and biop. the footpad. I am worried sick about this and will have to wait a few days for the results. In all and all we have acted pretty swiftly so I hope we have sometime on our side.
The picture of bats pg looks just like Montgomery except she has a white crest. Our vet has mentioned chemo but is apparently quite
experimental in gp´s. If amputation will buy her a normal, but 3 legged life, were going to go for it.

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Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 4:06 pm

Good luck akerr!


Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 4:08 pm

We´ve done chemo in a pig with cancer that was full body - forget exactly what it was - leukemia? She actually did surprisingly well on the Chemo. (It doesn´t affect pigs like it does humans.) She died of shock during a blood test. This was the major problem with the chemo. Weekly blood tests were required in order to work out the meds.

The chemo she was fine with, it was the blood tests that did her in.

Her condition improved vastly for the 4 - 6 weeks(long time ago - foggy memory) she was on Chemo.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Tue Apr 23, 2002 11:32 pm

I vote for amputation if it is malignant (cancer). If there are no bony changes, this is probably a good sign that the involvement is quite limited.

I have a tripod with a missing front leg. Doing wonderfully three weeks post surgery. The amputation was fairly high (mid-shaft) on the humerus. We decided to go further up due to her osteomyelitis, reducing the risk for pressure points, and nerve locations. I recently met another woman who had a similar surgery on a pig with lymphoma. I know another RVT who has four tripods with missing rear legs. One was amputated when the pig had a severe fracture at four weeks of age (rescue)! Bonsai is his name.

I think it is certainly an individual decision to do chemo. I just found a reference with a new chemo drug that reports some cavies go into remission with sometimes ONE injection. It´s a gamble of course. One has to weigh the benefits and the stage of the disease. If the cancer is local... I don´t know that it would do much to do chemo if the surgeon could remove the tumor with good, clean margins. The chemo drugs themselves cause problems and shorten lifespans, but if the animal has a metastatic cancer, sometimes the benefits outweigh the downfalls. I try to look at the entire diagnostic profile and see what gives the animal the most normal, happy life.

If it comes to that I can hook you up with someone who has done chemo on three pigs and bought them some more time.
Last edited by Josephine on Tue Apr 23, 2002 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.


Post   » Wed Apr 24, 2002 12:14 am

Tandoori didn´t have any tumours to cut out. Her cancer first showed up as swollen lymph nodes. (Prednisone did a lot to reduce the swelling.) Unfortunately I can´t remember the name of her cancer. Leukemia seems close.

Little Jo Wheek

Post   » Wed Apr 24, 2002 2:15 pm

Cavy Leukemia is reportedly the most common cavy cancer, but since some of the first signs are anorexia and swollen lymph nodes, most owners don´t catch it early (if at all).

It´s a bear to treat. Sharlene has treated at least three of her pigs: Smuttie, Charlotte, and Carrot. The repeat labs showed she made some progress, but we have a ways to go. I haven´t heard of a cavy leukemia case going totally into remission, but chemo can add to their lifespans.

Treatment is quite varied due to the type of cancer and metastasis.


Post   » Wed Apr 24, 2002 4:48 pm

We got the protocol from Davis

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