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Dental Help for sow with post-dental anorexia and gagging

Kirstie-A

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Hello,
I have a 3 and a half year old sow who has had problems with maloccluded teeth over the past year. She has been having regular dentals and takes some ongoing pain relief for root elongation. Things were going well until about 3 weeks ago when she suddenly stopped eating. She had a dental two days later to correct molar overgrowth (we were getting her checked regularly, the suddenness came as a surprise and was about 8 weeks since her previous dental). However, she is still not eating post-dental and continues to decline.

She was about 950g previously, now she is 700g. Her lower jaw is mis-aligned to the right. She is drooling a lot. She does not tolerate the syringe feeding well. For the past two weeks while feeding she struggles to swallow. Often, she will chew the food, then she stretches her neck out, opens her jaw wide and appears to gag on the food until she brings it up. This is distressing, means that she is not taking as much food as we are feeding her, and makes her very unwilling to take anything from the syringe. This is different behaviour from previous post-dentals (and the first time her malocclusion presented).

We have taken her back to the vets several times to try and work out what is going on. Initially she had an ulcer in her mouth from a tooth digging into her gums. However, this has now healed and the gagging behaviour continues. Last Wednesday she returned for more diagnostics. The vet had a good look at her mouth and throat and trimmed her teeth again (they were already starting to grow over her tongue again), but couldn't find anything that should be causing so much discomfort with eating. She did find some puss-filled nodules on the back of her throat, which she said she'd seen in other guinea pigs but that shouldn't be of concern. She seems to improve immediately after the vet visit, but then declines again soon after.

She is otherwise healthy. Her heart and lungs are good, and her blood tests didn't show up anything. Our vets are specialist exotics and are very good. She is currently on meloxicam, gaberpentine, antibiotics and a gut stimulator.

Apologies for such a long post, but I am getting desperate. I am not sure what else to do. The only other diagnostic to do is x-rays. She last had x-rays about a year ago, but I am not sure it will help work out what is going on with the gagging.

Any advice is appreciated. Has anyone seen this gagging behaviour before, but without any currently maloccluded teeth?

Thank you.
 

Swissgreys

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Wow - it sounds like you have done an amazing job managing a complicated condition so far.
Sadly I don't actually have anything additional to offer, but wanted to let you know that I really admire your commitment to your girl.
Dealing with ongoing dental issues is hard work,

We have several dental experts on the Forum who I am sure will be along soon to offer more practical advice.
 

Kirstie-A

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Thanks @Swissgreys . We adore her and have done everything we can to help her. Most of the year she has been in good health, but it is tough when the teeth continue to cause issues. We are going to get some CT scans or x-rays done now as the next step to see if we can find anything else.
 

Wiebke

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I am linking @furryfriends (TEAS) for you. She runs a sanctuary for guinea pigs with chronic dental problems and has by far the most practical experience to help you with further tips.

You are doing an amazing job considering that piggy savvy vets are extremely scarce in your part of the world!
 

Merab's Slave

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I just want to add support.
Your piggy sounds very lucky to have such a dedicated and loving owner.
Holding you in my thoughts
 
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