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Feeding Help Needed After Dental Surgery!

Lucykatemarston

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Hello.
I'm after some advice after my boar guinea pig had dental surgery this Tuesday. He had lost weight and stopped eating due to overgrown front teeth and molars. Plus he had cracked one of the bottom teeth. He went under a GA and pulled through the surgery. He has been syringe fed since then on recovery food. He's home now and on various medication and still syringe feeding. Yesterday the vet said he should be eating normal food and to cut back on the syringe feeds. I offer finely chopped fresh veg/fruit of his usual favourites and have done this first before I've syringe fed but he just can't eat them. The vet said to hold back the recovery food so if he's hungry he'll start eating normally. I've tried this and it's not working so had to syringe feed again as worried as he'd gone quite awhile without food and he's already underweight. I'm not sure how long to syringe feed for (vet thought should be stopping) against trying to encourage normal food but worried about his weight. Any advice grateful! Thank you x
 

Wiebke

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Hello.
I'm after some advice after my boar guinea pig had dental surgery this Tuesday. He had lost weight and stopped eating due to overgrown front teeth and molars. Plus he had cracked one of the bottom teeth. He went under a GA and pulled through the surgery. He has been syringe fed since then on recovery food. He's home now and on various medication and still syringe feeding. Yesterday the vet said he should be eating normal food and to cut back on the syringe feeds. I offer finely chopped fresh veg/fruit of his usual favourites and have done this first before I've syringe fed but he just can't eat them. The vet said to hold back the recovery food so if he's hungry he'll start eating normally. I've tried this and it's not working so had to syringe feed again as worried as he'd gone quite awhile without food and he's already underweight. I'm not sure how long to syringe feed for (vet thought should be stopping) against trying to encourage normal food but worried about his weight. Any advice grateful! Thank you x
Hi and welcome!

Please continue to syringe feed as much as is necessary. Starving rodents to make them eat what they should is NOT an option, unlike cats or dogs whose digestive system is laid out for an irregular food intate. A guinea pig that is not eating hay (which makes around 80% or more of the daily food intake), veg (10-15%) and pellets (5-10%) is not eating because it is unable to.
Our syringe feeding guide has a chapter devoted to caring for dental piggies pre-and post-dental.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

Unless your vet is extremely experienced with guinea pig dentals, your piggies will take a while and more than one round of post treatment burring to rebalance the dental system. The front teeth overgrow when the premolars grow spurs that entrap the tongue, so swalling and eating is no longer possible; they are normally self-sharpening and do not require care. Do yours meet or has your vet clipped them too short?

Depending on how bad the overgrow is and what has caused it, it can have knock-on effects (dislocated jaw, elongated roots, root abscesses, mouth sores, strokes; digestive problems). The most frequent causes is a pain issue that keeps your piggy from chewing evenly.
Guinea pig teeth are the fastest growing of all rodents as they have evolved on eating mainly hay and grass, which is high in very abrasive silica. The trick with dental problems is not to wait again until the teeth have gone wrong again, but to burr any developing spurs and sharp edges in slowly increasing intervals, starting from ever 2 weeks. Ideally minor corrections are done without a full GA. Sadly, the vast majority of vets are not experienced with guinea pig dentals or aware that a one-off treatment is usually not enough. :(

How piggy savvy is your and which country, state/province or UK county are living?
https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk...cation-and-creating-an-avatar-picture.107444/
 

Lucykatemarston

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Thanks for replying! We are in the U.K. In North Yorkshire. He had cracked one of his bottom teeth so were hoping to fully remove it but couldn't in the end because he'd damaged the tooth socket and they were also worried about keeping him under the GA for too long as he was quite poorly. I can't really see the bottom teeth so not sure how long they are but I'm presuming they are very short hence why he's having trouble picking food up into his mouth. They doubled his pain relief yesterday to see if that helped but hasn't so far.

He had been on fresh hay and grass every day and his brother's teeth are fine so understand it might just be how he is. They did explain it would be a long term care problem where he'll need his teeth clipping/filing/whatever they do, quite often.

The vets have been really good overall and the vet I saw on Friday for his post op check up said I may need to syringe feed for a couple of weeks but a different one I saw yesterday thought he should be showing signs of eating for himself. They were happy with how his mouth was looking and said the gum was already healing over: the tooth will have to "re-teeth" as they couldn't get it fully out.
 

Wiebke

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Incisors are actually the longest teeth guinea pigs have; they run all under and over the whole legth of the jaw bones.

You may find this thread here from when my Nesta had to have her abscessed incisor removed helpful; it contains pictures from a removed incisor and a jaw x-ray. She was in pain for quite some time afterwards, but at least her back teeth were not much affected.
Nesta's Incisor Root Abscess Operation

If you really continue to have major dental and ensuing health problems, please contact the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic in Northampton. Simon Maddock is the most experienced dental savvy guinea pig vet in this country and does about 15 dentals in a week. He sees guinea pigs from all over the country from as a far as Edinburgh where the local vets have failed and has saved a steadily number of piggy's lives that would have otherwise be put to sleep.
The Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic
 

Lady Kelly

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In my experience the most common cause of problems with the front teeth is problems with the back teeth. If the back teeth are overgrown then the piggy is unable to eat properly to wear down the front teeth. My concern here would be that if your vet did not do the back teeth and they are overgrown then they have not fixed the problem. Dentals are always worrying because piggies lose weight rapidly which makes any anaesthetic more dangerous to them and also because they may need repeat treatments a lot of vets will be worried about consecutive anaesthetics.
 

Lucykatemarston

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Hi lady Kelly. Thanks for your post. Yes they did the back teeth as well. I'm offering fresh veg: all varieties often but wondering if there's anything I'm missing or should be doing/giving him. I'm trying to encourage as much as I can but not sure if he's holding out for his syringe feed! I guess if his mouth is sore it's all he can eat but wondering how long till it's better or can he eat for himself. I'm having to come home from work at lunchtimes to feed him. X
 

Lady Kelly

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Have you something you can offer recovery food in? When I last went through this I would make up recovery food in a small ramekin dish and leave it in the cage. You eng up with a piggy with a very messy face and chin but allows them to eat as often as they want
 

Lucykatemarston

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Yes I've got a little dish I could put the recovery food in. The only problem is the other guinea pig as he eats everything in sight! But maybe I could separate them and put the healthy one back outside? They've both been indoors since the other one got back from the vets. X
 
D

DM030819

You mention in an earlier post that you can't see his bottom teeth. That's at least one reason why he's not eating veg and hay, he can't. The vet has cut them too short.

You need to keep syringe feeding him until he can eat for himself.

Don't separate them entirely but you do need to take out the poorly pig regularly to syringe feed him and to offer him access to regular food so he can try to eat. Offer him pieces of veg cut into small cubes and long thin slices. They might be manageable with bottom teeth that are too short. You can also help him by putting it into his mouth.
 

Lucykatemarston

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Yes the poorly pig comes out for syringe feeding and I let him have a walk about on floor and leave him out with fresh veg (to himself). I can see 1 of the teeth if I have a close look and gently pull his bottom lip out but it's not visable unless I do this. Does this mean it's too short? How long will it take to grow? Thanks for everyone's help! X
 
D

DM030819

It's definitely too short. Within a week it should be grown enough for him to start managing food a bit better. If they're healthy and want to eat they can manage pretty well with shorter teeth, you just need to cut it up into cubes or thin slices, whichever he can manage better.

If you help him with the veg, by holding it at head height for him and putting it into his mouth for him he might eat more.

Bottom teeth are used to scoop up food so he won't be able to pick anything up from the floor.
 
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