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‘Lola’ the Guinea Pig

Lola was recently brought in by her owners to the AREPH as she was passing a dark reddish brown discharge from her bottom region. Lola was otherwise happy and eating and didn’t seem to be too bothered by the discharge.

On examination it was determined that Lola was passing blood from her vulva. On abdominal palpation Dr Bree the Veterinarian could feel a mass located in her abdomen. On palpation this was a bit uncomfortable and seemed to hurt her a little bit.

The owner did note that she was in with a male guinea pig approximately 10 day earlier. This raised suspicions that she could be pregnant and there could be something wrong going on. Lola has previously given birth to two guinea pig pups before and there were complications with one of the babies.

Lola was radiographed and there was a possibility of a fetal skeleton however the vet could not be sure, as it was very faint (it was either very early in the pregnancy or a tumour). The blood was a reddish brown colour most likely due to an infection or a rupture of an internal blood vessel.

The best course of action was to start Lola on antibiotics and pain relief and to perform surgery to assess if there were puppies or a tumour. By utilising the “Animals in Need Fund” of the University – we were able to perform surgery on Lola the next day. The Animals in Need fund raises funds from donors to help animals with the cost of treatment where there is a good chance of recovery but there is financial hardship

Lola had a hysterectomy and we found that she had three early stage fetuses in her very distended uterus. One of these fetuses showed delayed development and had a large blood clot around it. It was most likely the source of the abnormal blood and why the other babies did not proceed with their development.

Lola recovered from surgery very well and was able to go home the several days later. On her post operatively rechecks Lola passed with flying colours (she was a bit naughty and chewed at her stitches several times) but after some antibiotic switches, pain relief and a bit of a talking to, she left her wound alone and on her last recheck had healed perfectly.

Here are a few words from Lola’s mummy Jen:
"Lola is the beloved pet of our 6 yo daughter Matilda. Lola is almost 1 yo. She is a lovely, quiet and cuddly guinea pig. Not long after discovering with much excitement that Lola was pregnant, she unexpectedly had some bleeding. We took her to the Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet Hospital. We have been regular clients there with our other guinea pigs and rabbits. After seeing Dr Bree and having an x-ray we were told it seemed Lola was loosing her babies but needed assistance to save her life. With having 5 children and my husband sadly having stage 4 melanoma, we knew this was going to be financially difficult for us. But we also knew that Lola was an important part of our family. There were no words to describe our heartache".

Dr Hamish advised that Lola may be eligible for financially assisted surgery. We were so overjoyed and relieved. So Lola had her lifesaving surgery the next day. After a few days she was able to come home. She was cheeky and did pull her stitches apart a few times, but the vets were so patient and understanding and eventually she healed up. You can’t even see the scar now.

Lola is now happy and healthy thanks to the fantastic vets at the Avian, Reptile and Exotic Pet hospital and their generous financial assistance.

Cancer in rats

Meet Nigel, a 2 year old male rats whose owners noticed that he had one testicle bigger than the other. After trialing some pain relief it was decided that castration would be the best treatment for him. Lucky we did as it turned out to be a cancer!

Both male and female rats can get reproductive tumors and in females they can get mammary tumours as well.

If you have a rat and would like to talk about desexing as a cancer prevention or any general health issues please call the clinic on 4655 0798.

Nigel is such a great rat and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Female rabbits

Female rabbits at very prone to developing uterine cancer. By the age of 4yrs old, 80% of female bunnies will develop uterine adenocarcinomas (a type of cancer).

The picture below is from a rabbit we desexed yesterday, there were no clinical signs but the owners were advised that desexing would be a sensible option given her age. Lucky we did!! As you can appreciate the uterine horns are lumpy and dark red - these are a combination of cysts and tumours. We have included a normal reproductive tract for comparison.

Clinical signs may become apparent in the later stages and can include haematuria (blood in urine), bloody discharge from the vulva, cystic mastitis and some times increased aggressiveness. This tumour does spread to the lungs if not caught early enough.

This bunny will be closely monitored for any respiratory signs and will have regular chest X-rays to check for any signs of cancer.

If you are worried about your bunny, please call the clinic and book a consult with one of our vets today.