Strange 'Balls' on my Guinea Pig


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:32 am

Hi everyone,
My five year old guinea pig, Phoebe, has several strange 'balls' the size of large peas on her underside--under her left armpit, two mid belly, one on her right side, and most recently, one near her right nipple, where her fur is now missing. (Otherwise no fur is missing.) Could they be fatty deposits or swollen lymph nodes? They are hard, but do not seem to cause discomfort or pain. They seem to be under her skin. They do not pus and are not from wounds, as she lives alone and hasn't had any injures. The first of these 'balls' appeared over a year ago, and lately more have appeared. I am wondering if I should bring her to the vet, or if its possible that I can work on treatment at home? I am not sure if maybe she just needs more exercise as she gets older. She shows no signs of being ill, beyond these strange 'balls'. I have always taken good care of her--I feed her organic pellets and give her fresh vegetables every day, as well has unlimited hay and water--so I am sad and surprised to see her not be healthy...:(
Any advice is welcome!

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Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 10:34 am

She needs to see a vet. They may be benign cysts, or they may be something more life-threatening.


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:37 am

Oh no! I hope not.
Thank you for your reply...

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Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 11:48 am

Ditto bpatters. You need to take her to a vet asap. Find an experienced exotics veterinarian.


Post   » Fri Aug 03, 2018 3:23 pm

I’ve found one that is an hour away...the good news is she likes car rides!
I really hope I can afford any necessary surgery.:(


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:18 am

Phoebe has mammary cancer. The bumps are tumours. The vet said that surgery isn’t the best option, because of her age. He said that she will deteriorate from now until she dies...
I am so upset! I wish more could be done for her! I thought if I took excellent care of her, she wouldn’t get sick.:(
Does anyone know of anything I can do?

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Cavy Comic

Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:37 am

I'm so sorry!

Aiko was like that, and we found only one tiny lump at the regular manual exams we did at home. X-rays showed it was aggressive, and had already spread everywhere. As it was clear she also had minor pain, we decided to let her go before awful pain kicked in, which would have been days in her case.


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:19 am

I’m so sorry for Aiko! That is tragic.:(
The thing is, right now Phoebe is fine. She shows no signs of sickness or pain at all. It breaks my heart to think that she will get sick...

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Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:49 pm

I'm so sorry about Phoebe's diagnosis. I'm sure you took very good care of her, but mammary cancer isn't something you can prevent.

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Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:47 pm

I am so sorry to hear this news. How did he come to this diagnosis? Were biopsies of the lumps sent off for analysis?


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 5:08 pm

Sorry to hear that Phoebe.

I am sure that you are already planning to do the only thing that I could suggest in the circumstances, which is to give her as much love and TLC as you can.

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Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:24 pm

So sorry about Phoebe’s diagnosis. I had a dog with bladder cancer and know how difficult some days can be. Just love her and make each day special. I would also supplement with vitamin C just because there is so much research out there about how it seems to slow tumor growth and improves quality of life in cancer patients.


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:50 pm

Thank you so much everyone. This means a lot to me. I love how fast everyone replies around here!
I will try Oxbow’s Vitamin C...the vet recommended it as well. (He was happy to hear that I buy Oxbow’s organic pellets too.)
The vet did not preform biopsies on her tumours. He felt certain that it was mammary cancer, because of the location of them, as well as her age...I did not know the new average life span is four to five years. I had heard eight to ten!:(...
I am not sure how fast things will go for Phoebe. She seems alright now, but I did notice that she no longer runs laps around her cage (she did this devoutly everyday!), and the skin on her chin hangs down. I think those are just typical signs of old age though, right?
Have a good weekend everyone.


Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:29 pm

Tonya had mammary cancer. my vet did hormon injektions. she had 2 god years with hormon injektions. noone thougt, that she would stay alive 2 years. i have lost their this year. if a pig has ovarian cysts, you will give the same hormons. in Germany it is called Ovogest.

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Post   » Fri Aug 10, 2018 10:33 pm

If he did not biopsy them, this is an educated guess on his part. I would not give up yet.

Have you looked at this page?

If there are any other signs of illness, let us know. Be sure to weigh her regularly so you know if she is having difficulty.


Post   » Sat Aug 11, 2018 2:10 pm

I am so sorry to hear that diagnosis.

I had a similar experience with my older guinea pig. When she was almost three years old some bumps started to grow. The vet said it could be mammary cancer and we did two biopsies. Both came back inconclusive. I decided to see if she would be in any pain as the masses continued to grow. But she was eating fine and running around at floor time so they didn’t seem to bother her. However, I did have pain medication on hand if I did think she was in any pain. The masses stopped growing and spreading about 6 months later. She lived for another 2 years after the diagnosis.

She started deteriorating about a month before her death as I did a blood test, an urine test, and an x-ray. She had blood in her urine but no signs of infection or stones on the X-rays. And she also had low white blood cell count so she was placed on antibiotics. She sadly passed away on a Sunday in my arms. However, when I asked the vet if he thought the masses were to blame he said if she had cancer she wouldn’t have lived for 2 more years.

So what I am trying to say is that it might not be cancer just because they’re in that location, they might be just masses that might stop growing. So don’t give up hope just yet.


Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 9:00 am

Thank you. I’m sorry for your piggie. :(

I have looked at the lipoma page...the bumps she has are much smaller than the ones pictured. They are the size of small peas. The do not prutude at all and can’t be seen. They are only noticeable when felt.
I guess I feel that, there isn’t much I can do, no matter what the bumps may be, since she is too old for surgery. And considering she isn’t in pain, I don’t want to risk losing her if I don’t have to.
Weighing her sounds like a good idea. She was originally 2.4 (if my scale worked), but at the vet, she was only 2.1.

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Supporter in 2018

Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:21 am

Keep weighing weekly to watch for consistent weight loss.

And good luck.


Post   » Sun Aug 12, 2018 11:48 pm

Oh Phoebe, I bet you have taken excellent care of her and you will continue to do so. She needs you more now than ever. 5 1/2 is not old but not young for a GP either. That she likes car rides speaks to how much trust she must have in you, I've never heard of a GP that likes car rides!

I'm so sorry she is sick. Love her and keep accepting her love. I say a prayer you will have many good days, hold onto them.

By the way, I think Phoebe is the greatest name ever. Holden's sister was Phoebe, one of the most pure and good characters in literature. I think that's why I like it so much


Post   » Mon Aug 13, 2018 11:04 am

Thank you so much Erin! I have had such a hard time, but you have made it better!

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