Dental issues - breaking the rules

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Having spent the past 14 years dealing with guinea pigs with dental issues and running TEAS for almost 10 years, I've learnt a lot about dealing with these very special piggies
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Hay intake - It is very rare for those with ongoing dental issues, to eat a diet that is 80% hay. Some will manage to eat only very little amounts, if any at all! However, they can still be very healthy and live a good life. Grass can be substituted for hay and is just as good for wearing the teeth.

Veg/salad intake - this should be fed in abundance and offered frequently and served in a way that suits the individual guinea pig. Some guinea pigs with dental issues prefer to bite into a large chunk of veg, such as a brocolli stalk or a carrot. Some find this easier, as it doesn't move easily, while they try and bite into it and it is also good at strengthening the jaw of a guinea pig who hasn't eaten for themselves, for a long time. Others may prefer grated or spiralised veg or for it to be cut into thin strips. Salad leaves can be cut into thin strips, into small pieces or fed normally. Some guinea pigs like leaves with a stalk, so they can feed the stalk into their mouth first and then the rest follows on.

Nuggets - fill the bowl to the top! For guinea pigs with dental or mouth issues, trying to get a nugget into your mouth, while chasing it around the bottom of a bowl is frustrating and pretty much impossible. However, when they can push their face into a bowlful of nuggets, it becomes so much easier to pick up the nuggets. These guinea pigs won't eat a whole bowlful of nuggets and if they eat more than is advised, it really doesn't matter. It is more important that they remain strong!

Porridge oats - these are great for dental guinea pigs and again, fill the bowl to the top!

Obviously you want to be encouraging them to eat the foods that will wear the teeth best, so if you haven't got a lawn, grow grass in seed trays, or go foraging! Just make sure you thoroughly wash any grass that you have picked from public areas!

It is important to keep trying different methods, as sometimes preferences change, especially as their confidence grows and their dental problems improve.
 

Bill & Ted

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I totally agree with the above and this was my regime with both Bill and Ted. The first hurdle is giving them confidence to eat again and have a go! Once that confidence is there and they realise “they can eat” they can live a very good life x
 

Lady Kelly

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Thanks Debbie, it's important for everyone to know that sometimes you just do what you can for the individual pig. My lot are going to be upset at less pellets again tonight but they have been having loads to try and counteract Daisy's weight loss. Sorry guys, back to normal tonight
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Thanks Debbie, it's important for everyone to know that sometimes you just do what you can for the individual pig. My lot are going to be upset at less pellets again tonight but they have been having loads to try and counteract Daisy's weight loss. Sorry guys, back to normal tonight
Absolutely! So sorry to see you lost Daisy! Sending hugs xx
 

Free Ranger

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I am interested to know - is there an age at which dental problems start in these piggies? Is it from when they are very young? Or is it in the middle years like 3+ when other sorts of problems might also start to appear?
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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I am interested to know - is there an age at which dental problems start in these piggies? Is it from when they are very young? Or is it in the middle years like 3+ when other sorts of problems might also start to appear?
A lot are in the 3 plus age, but we've had piggies of all ages, with dental issues. Hazel was our youngest, who came to us at the age of 3 months, weighing 128g. Her teeth were awful, but after just a few dentals, her dental issues cured. Hazel returned home, only to come back to TEAS many years later, not because her dental issues had returned, but because her little friend had developed dental problems. I will never forget taking her to for a reunion with Simon, when she accompanied her little friend, to his appointment.

You can see the thread here! The reunion! The reason why Simon Maddock is the man for anything dental! | The Guinea Pig Forum
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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I currently have a piggy boarding here, who is 2 and has developed dental issues, due to an abscess. We hope that once the abscess is sorted, his teeth will either return to normal, or only need a quick tidy up, every so often!
 

Bill & Ted

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A lot are in the 3 plus age, but we've had piggies of all ages, with dental issues. Hazel was our youngest, who came to us at the age of 3 months, weighing 128g. Her teeth were awful, but after just a few dentals, her dental issues cured. Hazel returned home, only to come back to TEAS many years later, not because her dental issues had returned, but because her little friend had developed dental problems. I will never forget taking her to for a reunion with Simon, when she accompanied her little friend, to his appointment.

You can see the thread here! The reunion! The reason why Simon Maddock is the man for anything dental! | The Guinea Pig Forum
I do remember reading about little Hazel x
 

Lady Kelly

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I am interested to know - is there an age at which dental problems start in these piggies? Is it from when they are very young? Or is it in the middle years like 3+ when other sorts of problems might also start to appear?
I think it really depends on the piggy. I had one that had dental problems and was told she had a jaw deformity which was likely what caused the teeth problem and the abscess rather than the other way round. I think she was about 2 years old when she passed away and the deformity was likely from inbreeding
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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I asked Simon if dental disease is more likely to affect boars than sows. We have tended to have many more boars, here at TEAS. Simon said it is pretty much 50:50 in what he sees in clinic. I would say most dental issues are secondary to some other issue that has caused pain and maybe the guinea pig has favoured eating on one side of their mouth, which has resulted in overgrowth of teeth on the side that is not being used. Often the first sign is weight loss and the slanted incisors.
 
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