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My Guinea Pig Has An Abscess

Updated: Jun 8, 2021

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.

Image shows the marsupialisation of guinea pig abscess
Marsupialisation of guinea pig abscess

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


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17 Comments


Rao Rumman
Rao Rumman
Jan 13, 2022

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Carol Robinson
Carol Robinson
Oct 13, 2021

I cant remember exactly I think it was about £315/£330 all together.

I had already spent £180 at a Brstol vets just for them to confirm that yes it was an abscess and to take a sample of the fluid. No treatment or meds. The Bristol vet was saying I needed a CT scan, costing about £1,000, before she would operate! So would have cost about £2,000 all together in the Bristol vets.

You can see why I was relieved when The Guinea Pig vet agreed to treat her.

Rose made a full recovery and is still doing well now.

Hope this helps.

Carol x

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Carol Robinson
Carol Robinson
Nov 11, 2021
Replying to

Nothing I just had the marsupilisation done. I think it's the best as it heals from the inside out.

Aftercare is full on, several times a day of flushing the wound, syringing meds, supporting their digestion by giving critical care and probiotics. Because I lived so far away I kept sending photos and emails to Ellie I must have drove her nuts lol. But it was all worth it and she made a full recovery. Her wound healed beautifully.

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my guinea pig has a huge lump underneath his jaw and its making it very hard to eat for him and i just noticed it like an hour ago so i instantly googled and narrowed it down to an abscesses. im very worried because hes so hungry and he so skinnyand struggling to eat so im trying to give him food and im hand feeding him water. He has a brother but i hear that this is contagious? should i keep them seperate? We are going to take him to the vet tomorrow morning should i take his brother too? but since im only 16 and not working yet i dont know how much this is going to cost me.…

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Natalie D. Davis
Natalie D. Davis
Jun 07, 2021

Is it true these abscesses frequently occur from viral infections that infect nearly all guinea pigs which comes from a form of herpes simplex unique to cavies?

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my Guinea pig has a large lump about the size of a small rubber ball on her neck what is this. Also how much is it to treat.

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