Have you been plagued by a guinea pig with flank alopecia, and you just CANNOT find any mites or pruritus?
Have you seen a guinea pig with weird crusting around her nipples, but no other apparent problems?
Is that guinea pig just overweight?
Should these all just be chalked up to a weird, non pathological findings?
But probably not! These are clinical signs of Ovarian cysts in your Guinea pig!
Other symptoms that you may witness include:
vocalisation on abdominal palpation
symmetrical flank alopecia
Thats great Tristram, but this will never happen to MY GUINEA PIG. This sounds pretty rare.
Though Ovarian cysts are a common finding in guinea pigs between 1.5 to 4 years old, in one study 76% of guinea pigs in this age group had ovarian cysts.
So ovarian cysts are more common than you might think. You can diagnose cysts by abdominal ultrasound – by detecting fluid filled cysts ranging from 0.5 cm to 7 cm in diameter next to the ovaries. Or via exploratory laparotomy.
So your guinea pig has ovarian cysts?
Treatment is important, as unchecked and untreated ovarian cysts can cause all the of aforementioned clinical signs, and grow so large that they put pressure on other abdominal organs, causing gut stasis and you guessed it, death.
Treatment is definitively achieved via ovariohysterectomy (desexing), though a temporary resolution can be achieved by ultrasound guided aspiration – though the cyst will refil. This is best combined with hormonal therapy – in australia this is POSSIBLE with deslorelin implants (Suprelorin), but success is not guaranteed, it may not work.
Popcorn to it Exotics Vets!
Anthony Pilny – Ovarian Cystic Disease in Guinea Pigs – Vet Clin Exot Anim 17 -2014 – 69-75