I have a 15 year old pot bellied pig. She has developed a large lump in her right cheek. At first I thought it was an

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Customer: I have a 15 year old pot bellied pig. She has developed a large lump in her right cheek. At first I thought it was an abscess and wuld come to a head and drain. It did not, and we were finially able to restrain her and look in her mouth with a flashlight. It looks like a large gray tumorous growth on her right side of her mouth. She is still eating, but I have to soften her pig chow and help her eat it. Is surgery possible or even advisable at her age? Or should I just try to keep her eating and comfortable as long as she is able? Thanks for any advise you can give. Shirley Piotrowski
Answered by Equine Vet in 32 mins 10 years ago
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Equine Vet
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Hi,
Thank you for your question. I'm sorry to hear that your pig is having problems. It is fairly common for potbellied pigs to have issues in their mouths, and you are correct in thinking about abscesses first; this is probably the most common oral problem we see, and it is often linked to some type of dental disease. It is also not uncommon for potbellied pigs to develop tumors in their oral or nasal passages.

Ideally you should have the mass evaluated by a veterinarian, ideally one who routinely works with PBPs, to make sure that it is indeed a tumor, and if so what type, which can be done by taking a small biopsy of the mass and sending it to a pathology lab. The biopsy will help to determine if complete or partial resection would be helpful or not. If it is easily resected, it may be able to be removed under general anesthesia, depending on the size and involvement of surrounding tissues, although I would be more concerned about anesthesia in an older pig such as Cricket than in a younger one. Although age shouldn't be considered a disease as such, pre-anesthetic bloodwork would help to determine if she has any underlying diseases that would complicate surgery and increase anesthetic risk. At 15 years old, she is nearing the upper end of the lifespan of a potbellied pig and it may be easier on her to continue to moisten her food than to perform major surgery. The input of a surgeon who has actually examined the mass is crucial to answering your question fully.

I hope that this has helped somewhat. Please let me know if there is anything I can clarify or if you have further questions. I have to go offline now to see an emergency call, so will likely not be back until tomorrow.
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