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Guinea Pig TMJ (tempomandibular joint)

GuineaPig Mom

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Hello,

Four months ago, my guinea pig was infected by Bordetella, which led to a TMJ. Because it was around Christmas/New Year, the problem was left for a long time, and once we finally got an appointment, he was looking really bad. During his x-ray, the vet also found that he had a chronic malocclusion and no tooth root abscesses. The doctor told me that it was so bad that I may even consider putting him down, and that the TMJ may even be permanent, but I still decided to go on with treatment. Luckily, he recovered after an antibacterial treatment and a molar and incisor trim, but today, I noticed him showing the same signs he did when he was still suffering from TMJ- eating a lot less hay, being unable to eat leafy veggies and only eating hard veggies. So, I wanted to ask if it was possible for the problem to come back? Also, can TMJ leave a watery eye on guinea pigs?

I wanted to look into TMJ in guinea pigs myself, but it was a lot harder to find information on it, especially compared to more common guinea pig sicknesses, so I would be really thankful if someone could give me more information on it.

Much thanks,
GuineaPig Mom
 

Freela

Senior Guinea Pig
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Well, I have TMJ issues myself right now so I certainly feel for him!

My understanding from having a past pig with dental issues is that jaw issues are tooth issues, essentially. The two compound each other. Guinea pigs, like all rodents, have teeth that grow continuously. They wear their teeth down by chewing rough food. If there is something uncomfortable, the guinea pigs chews abnormally and this makes the back teeth even more uneven, which makes the jaw/malocclusion issues worse, and so on. So yes, these problems can (and very often do) recur, and it's very common that guinea pig dental issues are an ongoing problem that require ongoing care, sometimes even lifelong regular dental work. My best advice for you is to make sure you have a vet who is experienced with dental issues in guinea pigs. An inexperienced vet can make dental problems worse. Once you've got a vet practice you trust (usually billed as an exotics vet in the US and Canada), book a consult and see what they suggest. Unfortunately this isn't a one-and-done issues most of the time and regular care may be needed.

Hopefully someone can come along with more specialized dental information shortly to give you more advice/assistance. Unfortunately for us and the other non-UK members, the services available for dental issues for rodents seems to be way more thorough in the UK than in North America, but your best bet is still a vet with good guinea pig/rabbit dentistry experience and go from there. In the meantime, monitor his weight to make sure he's maintaining, and step in to supplement if he isn't (we have a sticky note on syringe-feeding guinea pigs at the top of the page that may be helpful.)

Hope this helps a bit, and hopefully a more experienced dental pig member will be along shortly.
 

GuineaPig Mom

New Born Pup
Joined
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Washington
Well, I have TMJ issues myself right now so I certainly feel for him!

My understanding from having a past pig with dental issues is that jaw issues are tooth issues, essentially. The two compound each other. Guinea pigs, like all rodents, have teeth that grow continuously. They wear their teeth down by chewing rough food. If there is something uncomfortable, the guinea pigs chews abnormally and this makes the back teeth even more uneven, which makes the jaw/malocclusion issues worse, and so on. So yes, these problems can (and very often do) recur, and it's very common that guinea pig dental issues are an ongoing problem that require ongoing care, sometimes even lifelong regular dental work. My best advice for you is to make sure you have a vet who is experienced with dental issues in guinea pigs. An inexperienced vet can make dental problems worse. Once you've got a vet practice you trust (usually billed as an exotics vet in the US and Canada), book a consult and see what they suggest. Unfortunately this isn't a one-and-done issues most of the time and regular care may be needed.

Hopefully someone can come along with more specialized dental information shortly to give you more advice/assistance. Unfortunately for us and the other non-UK members, the services available for dental issues for rodents seems to be way more thorough in the UK than in North America, but your best bet is still a vet with good guinea pig/rabbit dentistry experience and go from there. In the meantime, monitor his weight to make sure he's maintaining, and step in to supplement if he isn't (we have a sticky note on syringe-feeding guinea pigs at the top of the page that may be helpful.)

Hope this helps a bit, and hopefully a more experienced dental pig member will be along shortly.
Okay, thank you so much for the advice!

I've started feeding him critical care for the fiber he needs, and cutting up hard veggies into easy-to-eat bit sized pieces. I think I'll have to book another appointment soon.

Yep, it really is hard to find a good vet. The one I'm going to right now is the best in my state, but I'm still having a hard time trusting them after all the horrible vet visits I've been through. Plus it's a really expensive vet- almost $400 for a tooth trim;;
 

Freela

Senior Guinea Pig
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Okay, thank you so much for the advice!

I've started feeding him critical care for the fiber he needs, and cutting up hard veggies into easy-to-eat bit sized pieces. I think I'll have to book another appointment soon.

Yep, it really is hard to find a good vet. The one I'm going to right now is the best in my state, but I'm still having a hard time trusting them after all the horrible vet visits I've been through. Plus it's a really expensive vet- almost $400 for a tooth trim;;
I hear you, it adds up so quickly financially. Since January, one of my pigs had an eye infection, the other (quite elderly) pig developed bumblefoot in one front foot, and my daughter's hamster developed a cheek-pouch abscess. Between appointments/meds for the three of them, my budget is definitely blown!
 
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