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Dental Guinea pig struggling to chew/bite by the looks of it

Sporgan

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Hi,

I’m wondering if anyone can give me some advice.

My guinea pig has been struggling to eat. He is picking up food and seems really determined to eat but also seems unable to bite or chew it properly. And so just spits it back out again/drops it. I’ve tried him on lettuce, kale, celery, brocolli, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, bell pepper and sweet corn and all are the same. He can just about manage finely peeled carrot strips but even then is struggling.

I’ve had him out at the vets last night because I watched him trying to eat dinner for 2 hours and nothing managed to go in. At the vets they gave him something for his stomach as it’s swollen and then I was told to come back in today if the medicine hadn’t helped and he still hasn’t been able to eat anything other than the critical care I have been syringing for him.

I saw a different vet at the practice who was unwilling to actually examine my pig properly and based on the notes on the computer just said he was still a bit swollen on his stomach and that they are like people and don’t want to eat when they are ill, so to just keep giving him meds for that and see if he starts eating again within 5 days.
However it seemed that no one was listening to the fact that he is trying to eat he’s just unable to.

Is there anythinge else I can do in the interim? Is there anything I can keep an eye out for on top of eating veg?
Has anyone had a similar issue? My head is saying it’s actually an issue with mouth/teeth which haven’t been checked by either vet but I’m not a vet and so am cautious about disagreeing with the professionals.

I want to make sure if I’m going back again in the next few days if there is no improvement that I have everything with me to encourage them to check for other causes than the stomach.

I used to go to Holly House in Leeds but have since moved to Huddersfield so have had to change vets - it may be that my new vet just isn’t GP experienced. If anyone has any GP vets in the area please suggest possible alternatives.
 

Piggies&buns

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it sounds like his teeth do definitely need to be checked. I can’t help with an alternative vet other than looking on the vet locator on this site to find one near you. Hopefully you can find a vet who can see him quickly.
 

Bill & Ted

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I think you have hit it on the head there.. new vet isn’t GP experienced. I’m not a vet but an experienced piggie vet would check his teeth because it sounds like he has an appetite but just can’t eat his food. Also your vet says “they are like humans” no they are not, they need to be continuously eating for the gut bacteria to stay alive. I would seek a different vet if you can.

I’m sure someone will come along who can advise you betterthan me but keep his gut working by hand feeding little sheds of veg and keep syringe feeding critical care or mush up pellets with hot water will do same job. Weigh him daily will help to see if he is loosing weight.

I’m so sorry for you, one of my piggies was having trouble eating in summer. I took him to a fantastic piggie vet in Northampton, and he is fine now. At the time it was very stressful dealing with local inexperienced local vets.

There are some useful guides on syringe feeding etc on forum tab and vet locators. Hope your piggie gets sorted soon. X
 

Wiebke

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Hi,

I’m wondering if anyone can give me some advice.

My guinea pig has been struggling to eat. He is picking up food and seems really determined to eat but also seems unable to bite or chew it properly. And so just spits it back out again/drops it. I’ve tried him on lettuce, kale, celery, brocolli, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, watermelon, bell pepper and sweet corn and all are the same. He can just about manage finely peeled carrot strips but even then is struggling.

I’ve had him out at the vets last night because I watched him trying to eat dinner for 2 hours and nothing managed to go in. At the vets they gave him something for his stomach as it’s swollen and then I was told to come back in today if the medicine hadn’t helped and he still hasn’t been able to eat anything other than the critical care I have been syringing for him.

I saw a different vet at the practice who was unwilling to actually examine my pig properly and based on the notes on the computer just said he was still a bit swollen on his stomach and that they are like people and don’t want to eat when they are ill, so to just keep giving him meds for that and see if he starts eating again within 5 days.
However it seemed that no one was listening to the fact that he is trying to eat he’s just unable to.

Is there anythinge else I can do in the interim? Is there anything I can keep an eye out for on top of eating veg?
Has anyone had a similar issue? My head is saying it’s actually an issue with mouth/teeth which haven’t been checked by either vet but I’m not a vet and so am cautious about disagreeing with the professionals.

I want to make sure if I’m going back again in the next few days if there is no improvement that I have everything with me to encourage them to check for other causes than the stomach.

I used to go to Holly House in Leeds but have since moved to Huddersfield so have had to change vets - it may be that my new vet just isn’t GP experienced. If anyone has any GP vets in the area please suggest possible alternatives.
Hi! Please weigh daily at the same time to check the food intake and adjust the syringe feed accordingly. If there is suspicion of bloating, then please stay off any fresh food.
Not eating enough because of dental problems can cause secondary problems in the digestive system like bloating or partial GI stasis.
Please step in with syringe feeding support ASAP; your care in that respect is as vital as any vet care! Over 80% of the daily food intake is hay, which you can only control by weighing and which means that the not eating issue can quickly become much more severe than you'd expect.
Please follow the tips in this guide and the appropriate links here: Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre

Have a look the incisors. If they are nice and even, they are still self-sharpening and the teeth at the back that are grinding down the food (and especially hay) are likely fine.
If the incisors are slanted or jagged, then it means that there is a problem with either overgrown premolars or there can be an dental root abscess brewing (the pain of which causes your piggy to chew unevenly).
If the incisors are inward pointing and no longer meeting nicely, then it means that the teeth at the back are badly overgrown. Premolar spurs can form bridges that trap the tongue and make swallowing very difficult.
In most cases (unless your incisors are not aligned properly or there is a root abscess in one of them), a problem with the incisors is caused by problems with the back teeth. Please note that incisors in guinea pigs, especially the lower ones always look longer than they should but any invention/gratuitous clipping by a vet with no knowledge of piggy dentals will make the problem only worse.

Keep in mind that the problem can also be located elsewhere. I have had piggies with a throat infection, a big swelling at the back of the throat or oral fungal thrush, which can cause similar symptoms.

Here is our recommended UK vets locator: Recommended Guinea Pig Vets
 

Claire W

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Please see another vet for a second opnions. When my late Enoch was trying to eat but couldn’t (and lost a lot of weight in the process) my vet said that his front teeth looked fine but she gave him a light sedation to check his back teeth. Sadly, his teeth had overgrown therefore trapping his tongue and preventing him from eating
 

Sporgan

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Hi! Please weigh daily at the same time to check the food intake and adjust the syringe feed accordingly. If there is suspicion of bloating, then please stay off any fresh food.
Not eating enough because of dental problems can cause secondary problems in the digestive system like bloating or partial GI stasis.
Please step in with syringe feeding support ASAP; your care in that respect is as vital as any vet care! Over 80% of the daily food intake is hay, which you can only control by weighing and which means that the not eating issue can quickly become much more severe than you'd expect.
Please follow the tips in this guide and the appropriate links here: Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre

Have a look the incisors. If they are nice and even, they are still self-sharpening and the teeth at the back that are grinding down the food (and especially hay) are likely fine.
If the incisors are slanted or jagged, then it means that there is a problem with either overgrown premolars or there can be an dental root abscess brewing (the pain of which causes your piggy to chew unevenly).
If the incisors are inward pointing and no longer meeting nicely, then it means that the teeth at the back are badly overgrown. Premolar spurs can form bridges that trap the tongue and make swallowing very difficult.
In most cases (unless your incisors are not aligned properly or there is a root abscess in one of them), a problem with the incisors is caused by problems with the back teeth. Please note that incisors in guinea pigs, especially the lower ones always look longer than they should but any invention/gratuitous clipping by a vet with no knowledge of piggy dentals will make the problem only worse.

Keep in mind that the problem can also be located elsewhere. I have had piggies with a throat infection, a big swelling at the back of the throat or oral fungal thrush, which can cause similar symptoms.

Here is our recommended UK vets locator: Recommended Guinea Pig Vets
Hey Wiebke,

Thanks for the advice I am weighing him daily and have been 'syringe' feeding critical care every couple of hours since Monday night.
After doing my research it seems the medication from the new vet is for partial GI stasis and a pain relief so I have made sure to syringe feed and light belly rubs after each feed. I am also monitoring the poops.

He is a lot more alert than Monday night but I am cautious as he still isn't his full self. Should I be feeding him veg alongside his critical care feed or shall I keep him just on critical care and hay?
I can't monitor if he is able to eat his veg or not if I'm not feeding it to him you see and as this was the initial cause for concern I can't tell if he has improved.
He is now self feeding on the critical care and has been since yesterday midday I am not having to syringe into his mouth anymore as he is more than happy to lap it up from a little bowl. (which makes me wonder more if his not eating veg was just because he can't)

I have booked him into my old vet from the recommended list for tomorrow afternoon so we will be travelling in for that appointment to have his mouth looked at to see if that is the cause of the GI stasis (as he is already on some medication and isn't completely lethargic its not a rush appointment), so in the interim its more TLC and sticking to the medication and feeding routine.
 
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