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Dental Guinea Pig Not Eating After Tooth Grinding

savresrad

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Just wondering if anyone has experienced a guinea pig not eating for long periods of time?

Our guinea pig Scamper is 3 and last October he got a bladder stone. We were out of town for 2 weeks in October and when we came back we noticed Scamper was not eating as much and his poop looked a bit orange (we figured the house sitter possibly went overboard with carrots). After a week of his appetite declining and him appearing to be in pain when peeing/pooping we realized he had a bladder stone & took to vet. They almost operated on him but the bladder stone actually came out(!) with catheter manipulation as they were trying to push it back UP into the bladder pre-surgery. Little guy had a rough recovery and took a few weeks to start eating or drinking again (during which time we fed him EmerAid IC by syringe daily). During this time we brought him back to both his normal vet and his emergency vet and they could not find anything else to explain why he wouldn't be eating. He even had a sedated oral exam by the emergency vet in which they said his mouth was normal. He finally began eating and drinking again on his own several weeks after the bladder stone, but he never seemed to return to eating as he used to. He ate enough hay to maintain his weight but he was no longer interested in hay seed pods (which used to be his favorite) and ate very little of his pellets compared to his normal gobbling them up as soon as we put them in the bowl.

Fast forward to January, and his weight was declining again and his appetite declined until he stopped eating and drinking completely again. He was also drooling and acting unhappy. Brought him into vet again, they said teeth were fine. Did a urinary sample and that was normal other than signs of him losing weight. No signs or symptoms of another stone. They though maybe he still had a leftover remnants of bladder infection from October and gave him 2 weeks of antibiotics. After the two weeks were over (on EmerAid again) he still would not eat or drink. Brought him back to his same veterinary hospital but a different (third now) vet saw him and said his teeth were WAY overgrown. So overgrown his back teeth were starting to entrap his tongue and his front teether were propping his mouth open. He got a tooth grinding immediately (almost 3 weeks ago) but he still has not been eating or drinking on his own (we are feeding him EmerAid daily). During the time from October (initial bladder stone) to January his weight dropped from 1.2kg (which was already skinny for him) to 825g. Since then I have been able to get him back up to 880-890g with the EmerAid today. He is still peeing and pooping lots. It is entirely from the EmerAid though.

Since his tooth grinding Feb 3, he has been happier and more active, but will not eat normal food or drink from his water bottle. He will gobble up EmerAid IC (like pancake batter) off a plate (a great improvement from his sickness in October). The EmerAid Sustain (more like finely ground hay mixed with water) he will not eat off a plate so I am feeding him that one with a syringe. The last few days he has been kind of chewing the syringe and holding it in his mouth. He clearly enjoys it. He still drools occasionally but it seems to mostly be during and after he eats. Some days he is active walking around his cage and squeaking; other days he just sits in his blanky until he comes out for feedings (every 2-4 hours). Every time we let him walk around though, he goes exploring like he always does.

He will occasionally look at his food and hay, or mouth it but never eat it. Putting his favorite treats in front of him (lettuce, cilantro, carrot, tomato) will make him purr and he will go all around it with lip curls and mouthing it and licking it but he will never actually bite down.

I am not sure if they cut his teeth too short? Or if they are still too long? We brought him back into the vet 1 week ago and she said he might need a follow up tooth grinding in a couple weeks. She said they ground his back teeth down to the gums, but now that the gums are receding they might need to be ground down again.

I am afraid, however that they cut his incisors too short and that's why he is unable to get food into his mouth. In addition, his incisors no longer look even with each other (on the bottom one is shorter than the other and it's the opposite way on the top). I don't understand how they could be so overgrown and no one spotted it (even when I was insisting I thought there might be something wrong with his mouth) in October, November, and January. So I'm not sure what to do.

Other info:
- since October his pee turns orange when it oxidizes. I know there is nothing wrong with this, it is just odd because it never did before
- since his post-bladder stone recovery, he makes an occasional smacking/slurping noise with his mouth. almost as if you would make if you had excess saliva in your mouth. He has done this off and on since he was first sick; I suspect was is due to his teeth getting too long. He makes it less now, but he still makes it occasionally.
- both times he declined (October and January) he stopped wheeking, and/or when he wheeks his voice would crack. Today he squeaks, but he has not wheeked since before his appetite declined in January.

Thank you for any thoughts!
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry your boy has been through such a rollercoaster. Unfortunately there aren’t many vets experienced with treating guinea pig teeth issues.

How much are you getting into him in a 24 hour period with regards the emeraid? Is he still losing weight every day? I’m assuming you’re weighing him daily at the same time. Was he given an anti inflammatory?

Hay makes up the biggest part of their diet and is also needed to keep teeth worn down. You could try cutting his veg into thin strips. I would leave tomatoes and carrots out though. But I think realistically his teeth need checking again.

Those with more experience will be along in good time.
 

savresrad

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Yes, I'm kind of at a loss regarding the different responses from the vets. However, his normal place is a small animal hospital where they treat guinea pigs and rabbits and do regular tooth grinding so I would think they would know? And his emergency vet who did the sedated oral exam in October was the one who would have done the bladder stone surgery, so again, a small animal expert?

We are likely going to get them reground again and see what that does. :/

I have tried both thinly cutting or dicing cucumber, etc., even blending cucumber lettuce and cilantro and water into a paste; he won't eat them. Seems to like the EmerAid though!

Yes I've been weighing him daily since around October. His weight fell in January to 825g and over the past 3 weeks I've gotten him back up to 880/890. He's been 880 or 888 last 3 days. I feed him 2 tsp of EmerAid Sustain 4 times a day and 1 scoop (2 scoops to get through overnight) of Emeraid IC 4 times a day. The EmerAid prices are killing us. haha.
 

savresrad

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And yes he has been on anti-inflammatory since the tooth grinding Feb 3.
 

Wiebke

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:agr:

You can find tips for looking after guinea pigs with dental issues in our syringe feeding guide; but it sounds rather like the teeth are starting to overgrow again.
It usually takes several rounds of adjusting the teeth as soon as they start overgrowing to rebalance the dental system in guinea pigs; the readjustments should happen at lengthening intervals of things are going correct;y and ideally not take any GA.

You could try to cut the Emeraid with mushed up pellets (you will need to cut off the tip of your syringe just below where it widens to allow the rougher pellet fibre to pass through) and see whether your boy will also take soft fresh herbs, grass blades or thin strips of preferably soft veg when you place them in the mouth. Often a piggy will respond well to a little fresh food once some syringe feed has woken up the appetite; finish off the session with more feed.
Complete Syringe Feeding Guide

All the best!
 

savresrad

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Unfortunately I thought dental xrays would be a given part of the sedated oral exam he had in October but found out later it was not and they did not take any xrays. When his other vet said his teeth were overgrown when we brought him in in February, I asked about xrays and they said they only take pictures with an othoscope(?) while he is under so we did not go for that. He had a second tooth trimming this past Friday. They said they could take xrays of his jaw if I wanted but they already knew he would need (supposedly probably) more trimmings. They said in the 3 weeks between his grinding on Feb 3 that his teeth were super long again and 1 molar and his incissors had broken. I don't understand how any teeth could have broken in those 3 weeks since he has never bitten down on anything other than taking EmerAid through a syringe? It makes me feel like they broke because of his trimming on Feb 3. Is this common? I don't understand how we've had him for 3 years without a single problem, they emergency vet said his mouth was "perfectly normal" after the sedated oral exam in October, and now we're here.

So far he has not eaten anything since his molar trimming on Friday other than EmerAid. He eats it well off a plate and through a syringe. He will not eat cut up, shredded, grated, mashed, blended etc. ANYTHING veggies. I've tried repeatedly. I can get him to eventually chew and swallow small pieces of cucumber if I force them into his mouth but he hates it so much it is hard. He loves the EmerAid though so he is maintaining his weight that way.

No signs of any of the pain listed other than that he tends to just sit in his blanket in his cage when he is not eating. But, again, when we take him out he does go exploring and chutting around like he normally does so he doesn't seem too bothered.

Thanks for the replies.
 

Free Ranger

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I realise some (a lot?) of this big post won't be relevant to you but I thought to put the lot in case anything rings any bells. Take what you can and I hope you get somewhere with little Scamper. It is very hard to see them struggle and exhausting syringing them if they don't want it.

I had a little sow last year who did not eat anything by herself for over a month. Sadly she did not make it - we think she actually had some problem with facial nerves or swallowing as although obviously hungry she fought the syringe and increasingly over the weeks pulled a 'choking' sort of face where she twisted her head round to one side. She had no 'dental' symptoms like the drooling you describe so we think it was not initially her teeth, but her teeth were slightly overgrown when we first took her to the vet for not eating... probably as a result of reduced hay eating over time caused by whatever her main problem was.

Incisors
Her back teeth were ground (then a week of painkiller and actually some antibiotics as she developed a URI either from the GA/surgery or from the syringe). But because she didn't start eating again it was only about 3 weeks later that her incisors had grown so long her mouth couldn't close properly and she had them 'burred' - not clipped. I think rabbit teeth are often clipped but my vet thinks this increases the chance of breakages like the sort you have seen. Was your boy clipped? The 'burr' was done without GA: it was quick and not easy on her but she was out within 15 minutes (and as cross as anything!) The vet said the instrument is like a tiny whirring saw that is pressed against the incisors from the front so the main concern is soft tissue damage so they have to protect the tongue etc. Her tongue was fine although her bottom lip was either caught or bumped because it swelled up. Painkiller again for her lip, and I cried over how gummy and helpless she looked but it did enable her to chew much more effectively with those back teeth. The incisors were done too short but actually they grow back very quickly - a week or two was fine. These are less important. There is an older boar on the forum with no bottom incisors at all and he learnt to eat just fine without - his top ones have to be burred regularly because there are not bottom ones to keep them down though. Other posters have had a broken incisor and they often sort themselves out because of the rate of growth and wearing down into place by the opposite tooth.

I spotted that my girl was trying to bite at a piece of wood in the garden - which I knew she couldn't eat even when well, so it gave a clue that she was struggling with long incisors and was trying to get them down somehow.

'Dental' Pigs
My vet nurse said that some pigs were 'dental' pigs and although all the teeth were present they had to be ground on a regular basis - like even monthly at first but then a bit longer apart. It turned out my girl wasn't one of these (she was also about 3 - they didn't say it was something from birth) but I think @Bill & Ted can perhaps tell you more about treatment frequency? And B&T, did he have to have regular x-rays for teeth... was a GA needed for this? They travelled cross-country over here in the UK to get to a vet that could do teeth without the GA. I think they will tell you both the importance and the difficulty involved getting a good result. If your boy is going to be a 'dental' pig it will be down to management. If he isn't, and it is just a matter of getting his teeth right as a one-off after the stone trouble affected his eating he will hopefully get his mojo back because he needs to start eating the fibrous hay to keep his teeth down as they are growing again. Those teeth just grow all the time in any pig.

Root abscess
I know these occur sometimes with teeth - an abscess in the root causes pain when they bite down but I don't know how they identify them. I only know that problems eating, drooling and possibly bad breath can be symptoms. He has had lots of antibiotics already though hasn't he? You would think these might have made a difference if he had one. Did they check for any of this? Perhaps you can ask your vet if they had considered this and whether the ABs he had would have affected it if one were present.

X-ray
Now for teeth I don't know, but we've had x-rays for stones without GA. My vet swaddles piggy firmly in a towel so they can't move and does it like that. It made checking for stones re-forming much simpler (and cheaper!) and easier on the pig.

Veggies
Do you think he is 'frightened' to eat these? Because he wants them so much but he struggles to chew, or because the last time he was eating them his teeth were playing up? We have one of those 'nutribullet' blenders which can juice just about anything and had some success whizzing up carrot (although she would only take the juice part) and actually grass (ditto) - and I did a little parsley in a mortar and pestle. We don't do tomato as I worry about the acid making gums tender, and cucumber went a bit weird but that's not the sort of thing you have to juice anyway really. We are BIG fans of grass. Do you have any around at the minute? Washed and dog-pee free is very important. Not sure what your climate is like there (you might have 3 feet of snow!) but in the past I've had sick pigs where grass has made all the difference. With my poorly girl it was the only thing she ever tried to eat on her own (she couldn't manage it though) Perhaps if he can sample a little of the flavour of grass or veggies by tasting the juice it might encourage him to have a nibble?

Although Ivy couldn't eat she perked up when something new was introduced (then got depressed when she realised she couldn't manage it, if you know what I mean). If she'd had a little sniff and a lick at cucumber one morning she wouldn't touch it if it were offered again so I'd try, say, a dandelion leaf - same routine. Anything new it was 'Oooh!" but then she stopped trying (apart from the fresh grass which she had a couple of goes at). In her case that was fair enough but I'd still say it might be worth offering 'new' things in addition to 'old favourites'.

Companion?
Sometimes a pig will start to eat if their companion does. They are sort of wired to eat together so it can encourage them. Of course you are constantly balancing this against putting poorly piggie up against a healthy companion who might try to gobble up the food! Perhaps his 'purring' round the veggies is him being protective because he wants it but can't quite eat it?

Good luck over there in Canada. I really feel for you - be kind to yourself because caring can really knock you down sometimes 💕
 

Siikibam

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Was he given any painkiller?
 
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