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Guinea Pigs/Ovarian Cyst?


Hi there,
I am looking for some advice in regards to my female Guinea pig. I rescued her from a Guinea pig rescue a few years ago. We believe she is probably around 5 or 6 now. I have noticed recently that she has been loosing some hair on one of her sides and her nipples are enlarged. I have also noticed that she has been bossy to her other female Guinea pig friend more than normal.  I have researched and found that these signs coincide with either an ovarian cyst or tumor.  What do you think? Do you have any advice? I plan on taking her to the vet, but I've read that normally there isn't much they can do and she is acting perfectly fine. Her spunky self full of appetite.

Any advice would be great, thanks!

Five to six years is a grand old age for any pig, and it's not totally uncommon for the older sows to develop ovarian cysts. Most of the time these things are not malignant, but they do cause an upset in female hormones which leads to the symptoms you're describing. It's much like the pms we suffer, only an exaggerated dose.

There isn't really any treatment I would recommend at her age. She is by most standards a very old girl, and it wouldn't be in her best interest to try to put her through surgery. In all probability she will succumb to old age rather than complications from an ovarian cyst.

The best advise I can give is to just do nothing. Surgery is risky at best with small animals, and even more so when they are elderly. I would suggest you just enjoy her while she's with you and let her finish out her life the way she is. She appears to be happy and in no discomfort. I would not put her through treatment that would most likely not add anything to her life.  

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Pat VanAllen


As is sometimes the case, people in urgent need of information have a higher degree of expectation than those of us as experts are able to give. The experts on this site do their best to give the most accurate and responsible answers possible. We ask that you remember that it is not our intention nor place to criticize the professional advice given by your veterinarian, nor is it appropriate for us to comment on the correctness of a diagnosis made by a licensed physician. Our knowledge is experience based. Although many years of breeding and showing cavies gives me a wealth of experience it cannot change the fact that we as experts are not veterinarians and therefore may occasionally have to reject questions that appear to be asking us to criticize advice given by the licensed professional. Having raised and exhibited cavies for many years I have extensive experience in cavy care and husbandry. I currently have an active breeding program for pedigreed show animals but do not encourage backyard breeding for inexperienced owners. Although I don't encourage breeding for fun I'm always happy to answer any questions from an owner who is in sincere need of help. Pet owners wanting to breed should understand that even experienced breeders have litter losses. The mortality rate is high in cavies. The chance for losing both sow and pups is always present, even with experience. Although this is a site for experts to assist owners, there is no expert in any field who has all the answers. The wisest thing a good expert can know is their limitations. Not having an answer does not diminish one's ability or knowledge. It simply shows that we recognize our limitations and operate within them.


Raised and shown cavies for many years, having aquired my first cavies in the early 1970's as pets. My caviary currently handles 65 + animals in two different breeds and several varieties. Having been in the health care industry as a licensed nurse for 35 years I have hands on experience with care and needs in both humans and cavies. Member of American Rabbit Breeders Association and American Cavy Breeders Association.

Awarded Lifetime Membership in of one of the oldest cavy clubs in the United States, on whose Board I served as Sec/Treas for six years and currently serving as President. Also editor/publisher of the club's quarterly newsletter. We are strong supporters of our youth exhibitors, most of whom are 4H members who are working on cavy projects. Through these projects they become good responsible citizens. We deal with all aspects of showing, breeding, caring for and sharing experiences in the fancy. The cavy fancy is not a new one but in some areas is still relatively unknown. Our goal is to inspire interest in high quality, responsible breeding to improve the species, not just the reproduction of guinea pigs. Our job is to educate owners to help them make the right decisions and choices in the care of their cavies.

Graduate in nursing. Certified in emergency medicine.

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