Buzz was presented to us in early August for a second opinion, with one of the biggest lumps we have ever seen! He had developed a swelling to the side of his face in December 2019. A biopsy had been taken at a previous vets which confirmed the swelling was a lipoma (fatty growth).

Due to its size and location it was deemed inoperable. Buzz's mass continued to grow. It was now pulling on his lower eyelid and ulcerating the skin due to the size of the mass stretching the skin. Buzz's owner sought a second opinion prior to possible euthanasia due to the effect the lump was now having on buzz's quality of life. We offered to attempt surgery on buzz, with the knowledge that it may only be a debaulking (removing most of the lump but possibly not all) procedure.

We  operated on buzz the same day and fortunately were able to remove the lump in its entirety.

Buzz recovered well after surgery and showed interest in eating straight away. He required supplemental syringe feeding by his owners for a couple of weeks following surgery.

Buzz's wound has now healed and he should not suffer any regrowth of the tumour.

Guinea Pig Abscesses: Abscesses in guinea pigs are relatively common, with the majority forming in the jaw area. These are usually caused by infection entering the tissues via the mouth of via the skin. Guinea pig teeth grow constantly, their teeth are called open rooted. This means they are more predisposed to infection entering the tooth root and jaw than other animals.

Abscesses in guinea pigs are more invasive and resistant to treatment than in dogs and cats. They often have a very thick capsule. This can prevent antibiotics penetrating the abscess well. In addition there are limited antibiotics that can be used safely in guinea pigs, due to the way their guts function. Finally, the pus contained in the abscess is also very thick compared to other animals, meaning they drain very poorly through a lance site (a scalpel blade incision into the abscess).

This all means that the best treatment choice for a guinea pig with an abscess is often surgical. If the abscess can be removed in its entirety (along with its capsule) without risk of rupturing the abscess then this would be the treatment choice. Often surgical removal is not possible due to its location or proximity to the jaw. In these cases abscess marsupialisation is the treatment of choice.

This surgery involves making a semi permanent hole into the abscess. The abscess capsule is sutured to the skin to encourage the capsule to heal to the skin rather than the hole healing over, thus keeping the wound open. This larger, more permanent hole, allows continued drainage and the application of topical treatment and cleaning. Marsupialisation surgery requires fairly intensive nursing care by the owner afterwards. This may continue for 4 to 6 weeks post surgery.

Marsupialisation of guinea pig abscess

The sooner guinea pig abscesses are diagnosed and treated, the better it is for a speedier resolution.

I know my blog has been pretty quiet recently but hopefully with the start of 2020, I will manage a few more blog posts. I wanted to kick off 2020 with an interesting post as I have been thinking about the services I provide my clients. One of the debates that I have been having for a while is about the pros and cons of conscious molar dentals on guinea pigs.

Most guinea pig owners will understand or have experienced dental disease in their guinea pigs and are aware of the risks of anaesthetic.

Up until now I have preferred either a general anaesthetic or at least some sedation to perform molar dentals on guinea pigs. A number of my clients have been to a clinic in Northampton for this service and have given me very positive feedback on its success. So in 2019, I accompanied one of my clients to Northampton to observe this procedure first hand.

I previously had some reservations about conscious molar dentals in guinea pigs, these included:

· Concern that movement of the guinea pig during the procedure would make traumatising the mouth whilst rasping the teeth quite likely.

· Concern that the procedure would stress the guinea pig too much.

· Concern that visualisation of the molars would be limited. This combined with movement of the guinea pig would make the standard of the dental treatment significantly lower than that in an anesthetised patient.

Having observed the procedure, however, I found the guinea pig patient I accompanied to tolerate the procedure very well; and the dental treatment he received was as good as had he been anaesthetised.

There are obvious benefits of performing this procedure conscious. These include:

· No anaesthetic, there is still significant anaesthetic risk amongst guinea pigs.

· Ability to perform the procedure repeatedly; often malocclusions are a chronic problem requiring repeated corrections at frequent intervals to address the problem.

· Less likely to cause TMJ pain following the procedure.

· Easier visualisation of inflamed areas as the blood pressure hasn’t been reduced by the anaesthetic.

Whilst I still believe there will be some individuals who will not tolerate conscious dentals very well, and it would be in their welfare interest to have sedation or general anaesthetic for the procedure, I do believe those who do tolerate it would benefit from a conscious procedure. This is especially the case if they are of higher anaesthetic risk due to age or other illnesses and if they require repeated work at frequent intervals.

I am very grateful both to my client, her guinea pig and the vets in Northampton for allowing me to observe them. I will now be offering conscious molar dentals to my clients.

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To make an appointment call 

+44 01629 55666

Derwent Valley Vets

Boat House Inn,

110 Dale Road,




By Appointment Only:


The Guinea Pig Vet's Consulting Times work on a two week rotation.

Rota A: 

     Tuesday:         10.00am - 9.00pm 

     Wednesday:    8.00am  -  2.00pm

     Friday:            10.00am -  7.00pm

     Saturday:        8.00am  -  4.00pm

Rota B:

     Monday:           8.00am -  2.00pm 

     Thursday:        8.00am -  2.00pm

     Friday:             8.00am -  2.00pm


Out of Hours Provision

Derwent Valley Vets are available to see guinea pigs during times outside of the specified hours listed for The Guinea Pig Vet.

Please ring                                  for an appointment*.


*(In some cases The Guinea Pig Vet may be available outside of normal consulting hours)

Out of hours emergency provision is provided by:

Vets Now at any of their surrounding clinics. In order to contact out of hours provision,

+44 01629 55666

+44 01629 55666.

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