Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Poked and Prodded

Thursday was not a fun day, for anyone.  We all spent part of the evening in at Windhover Vet.

Neither pig had been quite themselves for a week or three.  Nothing was particular worrisome - a little weight loss, some heavy sleeping, some moping about, some overzealous chasing and humping.  Between their recent behavior and some suspicions I had been harboring about Pinni for months, I decided to haul them both to the vet.

Pinni was examined first and my fears were confirmed:  ovarian cysts.

Pinni getting a bare belly
My vet allowed me to take photos - so I got some of what Pinni went through to obtain the diagnosis.  First, they shaved that poor pig's tummy.  I was intrigued that her belly button was such a different color than the rest of the skin around it.  Just look at that nekkid belly.

Pinni was a very good pig and did not flinch at all from the clippers or the noise.  She did, however, grumble at having her bare belly touched.

Next came the gel.  Pinni even less pleased about that.  At this point she began to alert anyone in the office that she was being abused and someone needed to do something about it.  Immediately.  Still, she was pretty good and not too wriggly.

Searching for cysts
The vet had palpitated Pinni before the ultrasound and had predicted that she'd find a cyst on Pinni's left side.  So we were all surprised when a cyst "the size of Dallas" leapt out of the gloom on the monitor on Pinni's right side.  Even I saw it on the screen, which is saying a lot; of the various ultrasounds I've witnessed, I never could see what the vet saw, even when it was carefully pointed out to me.  I am so impressed how they can identify various organs and masses with this thing. 

We never got a good look at the left ovary.  They attempted it several times before Pinni had had enough of getting her innards squished and started to protest in earnest.

Dr. Holmes is never keen to perform surgery on guinea pigs, and we have had great success treating Willow's and Pippin's cysts with hCG.  So I've opted to do that again with Pinniped.  The hCG is on order and we'll start giving her injections as soon as it comes in.

Bertie cleans up Pinni
When Pinni got back in the carrier, Bertie spent some time trying to clean off the remaining gel on Pinni's fur, much to Pinni's dismay.  Pinni kept snapping at Bertie to leave her alone.  Poor Pinn.

As for Bertie?  She escaped much of the manhandling and the humiliation of having her belly shaved.  But I think she got the worst of it:  her mouth was cleaned out with cotton swabs and she was jabbed with needles to draw blood.  I think she'd rather have had her belly shaved.

We are once again faced with an obscure illness.  Teeth are fine.  Breathing is clear.  No nasal discharge.  She's sleeping like the dead, but when she's active, she looks fine.  She's not depressed like last summer.  Her behavior is just... muted.  So a blood test was ordered in hopes for an answer.

Drawing blood from a guinea pig is never easy.  What really distressed me was how calm, almost limp, Bertie was as they did this.  I abandoned Bertie long enough to grab some corn husks in my car to treat her for being so good.  I hoped the husks would cheer her up and reassure her.  At first she was too stressed to nibble.  We all breathed a sigh of relief when Bertie finally chomped on a piece, pulled it from my hand, and sucked it down.

Dr. Holmes and Bertie
(slurping down the last of the corn husk)
I'm now awaiting the test results, hoping that it will show what's wrong and that it is treatable.

Both pigs were wiped out on the way home.  Bertie worried me, because she was really exhausted.  Pinni was subdued (I think she was still upset about her bare belly).  They gratefully ate husks, Pinni consuming the majority of them.

Bertie was so tired when she got home, she wouldn't get up to eat greens (but did nibble on what was placed in front of her).  Pinni stayed close to Bertie, as if to watch over her (while she, herself, could stay awake).  Bertie was a lot perkier by the next morning, which was a relief.  However, I'm still a little shaken up by Bertie's trip to the vet.  Her utter exhaustion afterwards indicates she is really sick - a lot more than what I had perceived.  Her eating and her weight have been a little flaky since last summer, which I chalked up to her viruses (pneumonia virus of mice (PVM) and guinea pig adenovirus).  But this certainly seems like something new.  I'm not happy with Pinni's cysts, but I've been through this before and am confident the hCG will take care of the issue.  But Bertie?  I fear the blood tests will not show what is wrong and the vet and I will be left groping for answers. 


  1. :( not happy reading this. Must be so hard on all of you...hugs

  2. Poor girls, the whole ordeal must have been quite nerve-wracking for everyone involved. Hoping the best!

  3. We follow along with the adventures of Pinniped and Bertie and we send them both healing vibes!

  4. I've been following the adventures of Pinni & Bertie for several months now & so look forward to them. Am very sad & worried that they're having some troubles now. Sending lots of positive healing vibes to both & hoping they're well & back to their old selves soon. Lots of piggy hugs & kisses <3

  5. Hope they're better soon! I've never given my guys corn husks -- do you give them the fresh ones?

    1. Thank you!

      My girls go nuts for husks. I peel off the outer, dark husks and toss them, and give them just the inner husks. They can have the silks, too. You can give it to them fresh, or strip them and dry them to give them later, like hay. (I'm going to do a post on that, once I get some more husks to dry.)

  6. I hope you'll receive some good news.


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