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N Z Vet J. 2016 Nov;64(6):360-3. doi: 10.1080/00480169.2016.1207574. Epub 2016 Jul 18.

Unilateral flank ovariohysterectomy in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus).

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a Department and Clinic of Animal Surgery, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine , University of Life Sciences in Lublin , Akademicka 13 Street, 20-950 Lublin , Poland.
b Department of Biology and Environmental Hygiene, Faculty of Biology and Animal Breeding , University of Life Sciences in Lublin , Akademicka 13 Street, 20-950 Lublin , Poland.
c Veterinary Clinic Rex , Leonarda 3a Street, 20-625 Lublin , Poland.



To describe a simple, minimally invasive method of ovariohysterectomy via a unilateral flank approach in guinea pigs, for use in routine desexing of healthy female guinea pigs or treatment of ovarian cysts.


The subjects of this retrospective study were 41 client-owned guinea pigs submitted for routine desexing or treatment of ovarian cysts. They included 16 healthy female guinea pigs aged 8-12 months (Group 1), and 15 females aged from 9 months to 3 years (Group 2), and 10 females aged from 3 to 7 years (Group 3) with different-sized ovarian cysts. Prior to surgery, the animals received clinical examination, blood testing (complete blood count and serum biochemistry profile) and examination of the abdomen using ultrasonography, to assess the condition of the reproductive tract and ensure the guinea pigs were fit for surgery. Ovariohysterectomy was performed via a unilateral flank incision made close to the erector spinae muscle starting approximately 1 cm caudal to the last rib. Both ovaries, uterine horns, and the uterine cervix were localised, ligated, and dissected through this unilateral retroperitoneal incision.


Ovariohysterectomy was successfully completed via a single flank incision in 38/41 (93%) guinea pigs. Three guinea pigs with ovarian cysts from Group 3, which were >6 years old died during surgery due to circulatory and respiratory failure under anaesthesia. In the remaining 38 cases, surgery proceeded without complications. A further two guinea pigs from Group 3 were reluctant to move or eat for the first 3 days after surgery but recovered after provision of supportive care. All 38 animals fully recovered and wound healing was normal.


This is the first report of ovariohysterectomy via a unilateral flank incision in guinea pigs. This approach is a simple, minimally invasive and safe alternative to the midline or bilateral flank approaches currently used for surgery of the reproductive tract in guinea pigs.


Cavia porcellus; Guinea pig; dorsolateral approach; neutering; ovarian cysts; ovariohysterectomy; unilateral flank approach

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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