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Eating Issues - Possible Dental

GIBBONS

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Hi, our guinea pig started having some eating difficulties around the start of June, just eating slowly and opening her mouth wide, almost looking like she was yawning and clearly having something irritating her in her mouth.

We took her to the vet, who advised us that it was likely her back teeth and did a quick filing and told us to see how she got on. She improved a bit and then all of a sudden got much worse, would struggle to eat anything and was trying to scratch at her mouth each time she ate something, like she couldn't chew and then food was getting stuck in her throat.

Anyway we took her back to the vet who said they'd need to anaesthetise her to do some more serious dental work. We were told that the back teeth were not meshing properly and were glancing off into her cheeks, causing the discomfort, these were filed down. Sure enough once done she got better very quickly and put on a good bit of weight in the next weeks until suddenly over the weekend, we noticed she was struggling slightly again, which has got progressively worse until today when again, she basically can't eat at all. We've been hand feeding the last couple of days and syringe feeding her some vitamin powder.

My question is, how can this happen? She's around 2 and a half years old and never had eating problems until around the end of May this year (our other pig has no problems at all). She was then absolutely fine for 4/5 weeks after her dental work and eating plenty, a good mix of hay, dried food and fresh fruit/veg and grass as usual. She's kept indoors and we spend a lot of time with her and she's not done anything differently the last 2 months that we can tell, would suddenly bring this on.

Has anyone else had this, where a perfectly healthy pig suddenly has dental problems which then recur? Can we expect this to continue to be a problem that needs fixing every month to six weeks? If she needs to have dental work so often under anaesthetic, then I'm worried she's not going to last long as this procedure is risky and stressful for such a small animal.

Thanks for any help in advance.
 

sport_billy

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Hello, welcome to the forum. I have had two dental piggies over the years and it is something that fills me with utter dread :( I am sorry to hear your little one is having problems. What is her name?

Where are you located? @furryfriends (TEAS) one of our members runs a dental sanctuary for piggies and uses one of the best vets in the country who is an expert at dental issues.

Have a read of our syringe feeding guide here Complete Syringe Feeding Guide Is she on any metacam for pain?

I would advise an xray to rule out any jaw, root issues with the vet
 

GIBBONS

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We're located on the Isle of Man so have to accept the local veterinary options. She didn't have any medication for pain, the vet said after her surgery that there was no damage to her gums or mouth as we'd spotted it so fast, to be fair she was eating again normally (at half speed) only 6 hours after her operation and was totally back to normal after a couple of days.

Her name is Batman (don't ask), I'll see about an x-ray with the vet as she's booked in for an appointment in 1 hour.
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Personally I wouldn't bother with an x ray. We don't x ray any of the piggies at TEAS, as the roots, as such, don't really cause the issue. Tooth root abscesses are often the cause, but rarely show up on x ray. Feeling the jaw for any subtle swelling is much more useful. If you can get the crowns of the teeth perfect the piggy will eat well. Dental issues aren't a quick fix and the reason we get such excellent results here at TEAS, is because we have a vet who will do conscious dental work. This means that the teeth can be tidied up regularly, before they start to cause issues again and then time between appointments can be extended.
 

sport_billy

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We're located on the Isle of Man so have to accept the local veterinary options. She didn't have any medication for pain, the vet said after her surgery that there was no damage to her gums or mouth as we'd spotted it so fast, to be fair she was eating again normally (at half speed) only 6 hours after her operation and was totally back to normal after a couple of days.

Her name is Batman (don't ask), I'll see about an x-ray with the vet as she's booked in for an appointment in 1 hour.
Awwwww Batman bless her.

It sounds at some points in pat the dentals have worked so that is a good thing. Let us know what the vet says
 

Emilybxx22

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I had a similar experence with one of my guinea pigs we were told it was bc she had an unusually curved jaw.
I hope shes ok xx
 

Jax

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Hi. How is Batman now? I'm having a similar problem with my 18 month old guinea pig Rosie. She developed the same problem in July this year - not able to eat, but trying to, losing weight - so she had her back teeth filed down. Our Vets then closed and the problem reoccurred, so I had to find a new vet that knew about guineas. She then had her teeth done again in August. After that she seemed so much better - eating loads, putting on weight and happier! Now it seems to have reoccurreed again and the vet says she has to have them filed down this Friday! I'm so worried about this recurrence! I'm presently handfeeding her revovery food 3x a day. To top it all her cage mate Buddy, also appears to be unhappy and not be eating much! Theyre indoor piggies - get plenty of floortime and outside time when dry. Good hay, fresh veg and Burgess pellets. I'm at a complete loss! Can anyone please give me some advice? Thank you!
 

Gem789

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Hi. How is Batman now? I'm having a similar problem with my 18 month old guinea pig Rosie. She developed the same problem in July this year - not able to eat, but trying to, losing weight - so she had her back teeth filed down. Our Vets then closed and the problem reoccurred, so I had to find a new vet that knew about guineas. She then had her teeth done again in August. After that she seemed so much better - eating loads, putting on weight and happier! Now it seems to have reoccurreed again and the vet says she has to have them filed down this Friday! I'm so worried about this recurrence! I'm presently handfeeding her revovery food 3x a day. To top it all her cage mate Buddy, also appears to be unhappy and not be eating much! Theyre indoor piggies - get plenty of floortime and outside time when dry. Good hay, fresh veg and Burgess pellets. I'm at a complete loss! Can anyone please give me some advice? Thank you!
I'll tag @furryfriends (TEAS) for you x
 
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Wiebke

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Hi. How is Batman now? I'm having a similar problem with my 18 month old guinea pig Rosie. She developed the same problem in July this year - not able to eat, but trying to, losing weight - so she had her back teeth filed down. Our Vets then closed and the problem reoccurred, so I had to find a new vet that knew about guineas. She then had her teeth done again in August. After that she seemed so much better - eating loads, putting on weight and happier! Now it seems to have reoccurreed again and the vet says she has to have them filed down this Friday! I'm so worried about this recurrence! I'm presently handfeeding her revovery food 3x a day. To top it all her cage mate Buddy, also appears to be unhappy and not be eating much! Theyre indoor piggies - get plenty of floortime and outside time when dry. Good hay, fresh veg and Burgess pellets. I'm at a complete loss! Can anyone please give me some advice? Thank you!
Hi! Could you please start your own thead? Dealing with multiple piggies and issues on one thread can get very confusing.

If you can, please see Simon Maddock at the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic in Northampton. He is the currently most experienced vet in guinea pig dentals.

Most vets only treat overgrown teeth and only treat them when they have overgrown again because they only do dentals under GA, but they do not provide after-treatment to prevent them from overgrowing again. This means that you start right back in square one each time.

It generally takes several rounds of treatment to completely rebalance the dental system, ideally as soon as they start overgrowing again; this has to happen at first just weeks apart but the intervals increase. The key for doing this is not to use a full GA each time. Simon Maddock uses as little as he safely can after initial treatment, but it means that guinea pigs he treats can be fully cured as long as there is no chronic issue at the bottom of the uneven chewing.
It is really worth travelling the distance. He sees piggies from all over the country, even as far as Edinburgh and does about 15 guinea pig dentals a week - which is more than most vets do during their professional life!
The Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic

Until then please support your guinea pig with syringe feed, mushed pellets and finely sliced veg. Our syringe feeding guide has got a section about caring for dental piggies: Complete Syringe Feeding Guide
http://caringvets.co.uk/the-cat-and-rabbit-care-clinic
 

Jax

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Thank you Wiebke! I did actually start another thread as I realised afterwards it would be confusing! Too late - sorry!
Thank you though for the advice - that's really useful to know! I did manage to get an appointment with Simon, so hopefully he'll be able to help us! I very much appreciate you replying. Thank you!
 
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