Long Beach Animal Hospital Informational Articles

Guinea Pig X-Rays

This little guy is laying on his back, with the front legs towards the top. The big dark spot the arrow is pointing to is air in the intestines, and is normal. Did you notice he is missing one of his front legs? It was amputated years earlier.


This is the same pig from the side view. Can you tell he has only one front leg from this view?

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Guinea Pig Eye Surgery

This cute little one had a problem with his eye. There was a congenital problem with the hair above the eye. It was overgrown and irritating the cornea.

The extra lash is easily seen on this magnified view 

The cornea is the outer clear part of the eye. This extra hair can cause severe problems to the cornea if the problem goes on long enough. There will be a corneal ulcer, which is painful. As time goes on the cornea can become thickened and vision loss will occur. In severe cases the cornea can be perforated from this ulcer and the eye will need to be removed.

The green on this inflamed cornea is fluorscein stain. This is a special stain that shows if an ulcer is present, and how severe it is. 

This cornea is scarred and the eyeball is severely inflamed. This eye needs to be removed due to pain and loss of vision.

Due to all these possible complications it is imperative that we take care of the problem as soon as it is diagnosed.

All of our surgical patients are given a thorough exam the day of surgery. Many of our patients are tiny, and we need to pay particular attention to anesthesia.


Here he is starting his anesthesia before surgery


Small animals can lose body temperature easily while under anesthesia, and can become hypothermic. We keep them on a warm water blanket and monitor their temperature during the surgery to prevent this.

All of our Guinea Pigs are connected to instruments that closely monitor important physiological parameters. This one is being connected to a Pulse Oximeter to keep close tabs on oxygen levels and heart rate

This video show how we use it. The number on the left is the oxygen saturation level, the number on the right is the heart rate

We also connect all of our surgical patients to an EKG (electrocardiogram) that is monitored by or Surgical Vet anesthetic monitor.

The SurgiVet Monitor keeps close track of many important parameters

Here it is in action on a different patient

We don’t rely only on hi tech anesthetic equipment, and are hands on at all times in monitoring our patients.

Our anesthetist nurse is monitoring our patient under the surgical drape. She is checking the color of the mucous membranes, along with the heart rate and respiratory rate

While our patient is being prepped for surgery our surgeon is getting the sterile instruments ready. 

Now that our surgeon is ready, and our patient is safely under the proper plane of anesthesia, we can begin the surgery


This is meticulous surgery so Dr. Ridgeway needs magnification (he looks like an alien creature)!

Here he is gently pulling up the inside of the upper eyelid to get an idea of how the lash is attached. He will now remove it with our surgical laser. 

We use the laser for many reasons. It gently removes the hair, and it does this without any bleeding or inflammation. This is important in this very sensitive area. In the years before we had the laser we used a small scalpel blade. Even though it was a small blade it still caused bleeding and inflammation post operatively.


The laser in action


No more hair, and more importantly to our surgeon, no bleeding or swelling


Lisa keeps a close tab postoperatively to make sure our small patients wake up without any problems

This is how we like to see our Guinea Pigs right after surgery!

Return to Guinea Pig Diseases page

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Rat Neuter

We use the laser on our all our neuters, including small animals like rats. As you will see from the following pictures there is no bleeding with the laser, which means less anesthesia time and less postoperative pain and swelling.

Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Graphic photos of an actual laser neuter are on this page.


Our patient has been prepped and is ready for surgery


We start the procedure by gently stabilizing the testicle before we turn on the laser


The initial cut is rapid. You can see fat over the testicle as our surgeon gently squeezes the testicle through the opening.


When fully exteriorized you can see a layer of tissue and blood vessels over the testicle. This layer of tissue is called the tunica vaginalis.


The laser cuts through the tunica vaginalis and the testicle is gently pulled out.



The blood supply is now ligated with a special suture that will slowly dissolve over several months


The laser is used to cut the testicle away from the rest of the body


Tissue glue is applied instead of sutures to aid in healing and prevent chewing



This little guy will go home (weighing a few grams less) and heal up in 1-2 days.  There is no need to return for suture removal because no sutures were placed in the scrotum.

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Mange (Guinea Pig)

Mange in Guinea Pigs is caused by a parasite that is similar to the scabies parasite in people. It is seen more often in households that have several pigs. This disease occurs in other animals also, including dogs and cats.


Mange is caused by a parasite know as Sarcoptes. It is transmitted by direct contact, usually when a new pig that has the mite is introduced with pets already in your household. The mites that cause mange in guinea pigs does not affect humans.


Most Guinea Pigs that have Mange are itching and have patches of hair loss. Some even lose weight and have unhealthy looking hair coats.

This little guy has the problem on his face and his arms


This pig has a patch of hair missing on his backside. He also has infected skin secondary to the scratching.


Any pig that has hair loss and is scratching is a suspect for Mange. The primary method of diagnosis is with a skin scraping.


The usual treatment for Mange is a drug called Ivermectin. Usually 2-3 injections are given between 1-2 weeks apart.

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Rat Ovarian Tumor

Rats are prone to tumors, commonly in the mammary glands and in the uterus. These tumors can be benign or malignant. Removing them as soon as they are noted makes for a much better prognosis. This page has a surgery on the removal of an ovarian tumor.

This area contains graphic pictures of an actual tumor removal performed at the hospital. 


Our patient that has been prepared for surgery shows an obvious abdominal bulge. The head is towards the left, and it is laying on its back.

An incision is carefully made in the the skin.

The distention in the abdomen from the large tumor causes the muscle layer to bulge out further.

We have to carefully incise this muscle layer without touching the bulging abdominal contents.

A scissors is carefully used to enlarge the incision enabling us to remove the large tumor.

The first organ encountered is the enlarged cancerous ovary. All the nodules are cancerous tissue.

This is the small uterus with the very enlarged and cancerous ovary attached. The cancerous ovary is much larger than the whole uterus. The diagram below helps identify the organs

The blue lines outline the normal uterus, while the green lines circle the huge and cancerous ovary.

The uterus is clamped and the majority of it, including the cancerous ovary, is removed.

The cancerous ovary that has been removed is probably 10x its normal size.

The muscle layer is sewn back together with stainless steel wire, seen here being started on the left. It is very strong and causes minimal tissue reaction. It will stay here for the rest of this pet’s life.

The skin is also sutured with stainless steel. Rats are chewers, so stainless steel is used in the skin also because it is difficult to chew out. The sutures will be removed in 7-10 days.

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