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Dental Malocclusion

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Sam&Cupcake

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My guinea pig Cupcake has been going to the vet every month for the past year and a half to get his molars sawed down cause they grow too fast and trap his tongue and hurt his cheeks. The vet spoke to me about doing a procedure in which he kills the stem cells that create the teeth to prevent them from growing continuously, but he says this could cause abscesses and didn't seem too confident it would be better for him.

So I am here to get more opinions on what I should do. Should I make him go through with it and risk an abscess, or should he continue to go to the vet every month? At this point he really doesn't eat on his own... I have to feed him some recovery food through a syringe so he can get some food and water in him, so I'm quite inclined to choose the former option, but I'm also afraid of risking his life.

I appreciate any opinions or advice anyone may have.

Thank you so much!

Samantha
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Please continuue to hand feed your piggy as much as he will take and also to water him.
Here is our step-by-step hand feeding guide; it has also got a section with advice for dental guinea pigs re. amounts: https://www.theguineapigforum.co.uk/threads/complete-hand-feeding-guide.115359/

Is your vet giving you metacam to deal with the pain and discomfort?

I am tagging our two most expert members for you; they will hopefully be around tomorrow to answer your problem.
@furryfriends Excellent Adventure Sanctuary @Pebble
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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This is the most bizarre thing I have ever heard, but I will definitely be speaking to Simon about it this week to get his opinion. The whole reason guinea pigs have continuously growing teeth is because of the diet they eat. Grasses and hay are very abrasive and wear the teeth down, so if they didn't have teeth that continuously grow, in no time at all their teeth would wear away, leaving them with teeth worn to the gum, and being unable to eat. I am seeing Simon on Wednesday and will report back once I have spoken with him. Does your guinea pig have to undergo a general anaesthetic every time he has dental work? Is there anyway you could get your guinea pig brought up to see Simon Maddock at The Cat and Rabbit Clinic, here in Northampton? Simon can file teeth without the need for GA and has fantastic results, with many piggies completely curing of their dental disease, and those that don't are very easily managed.
 

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Hi sorry to hear about little Cupcakes problems :(
Debbie's vet is so experienced with teeth associated problems I would be definitely listening to his advice.
Please don't go ahead with any treatment that's not normally done until you've got all information in front of you.
Give Cupcake lots of kisses and cut his veggies up into strips and offer hay and water. Sounds like you're a concerned piggie mum by asking on here. All the best to you.
Glynis x
 

Sam&Cupcake

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Thank you all for your replies. The story with my little Cupcake is that he's a senior piggy going on 7 years old this October, and with the help of x-rays, it's been said to me that Cupcake's teeth are growing ever so slightly into his jaws and skull. This causes him pain when he chews. As he has pain, he doesn't chew so much, or at least enough to keep his teeth warn down, so they overgrow. As they overgrow he eats less and less until I have to take him to the vet. This cycle happens about once a month, sometimes less. By the time he reaches the vet, he can clearly see that the molars have grown in bridge form over his tongue trapping it and also has spurs growing towards the cheeks sometimes causing inflammation. I've been doing this for the past year and a half. My vet is Matthew from the CJ Hall vets. He is amazing and I'm so grateful for him cause otherwise I don't think I would still have Cupcake.

As for the procedure he undergoes each time, yes it's general anesthesia, but with gas and not injection. In my desperation to help Cupcake have a decent life quality, I have asked the vet if I should continue to do this every month with him, if he thinks he's happy, if it's inhumane to do this to him, what other solutions are out there. This is when he spoke about the stem cell procedure and said it's commonly done on rabbits, but he didn't seem so confident it would be a good solution and continued to tell me there is a chance of abscess growth.

Cupcake takes pain killers every day 2 times a day. In the morning he takes 0,4ml of Loxicom and 0,15ml of Tramadol. In the evening he just takes the same dose of Tramadol.

He won't eat any hay at all... I've tried different brands and he won't take any. He's slowing down on his pellets more an more. This last time I've had to hand feed him, constantly in fear he wasn't getting enough food or water. I went on vacation for 3 days and my flatmate stayed caring for him, but not hand feeding. So I was testing to see if he would take water and food on his own. When I came back his poops were scarce and thin (just like every time he stops eating) and he had drank half of what he usually does. I weighed him and he had lost 75g. So now I'm hand feeding him again.

For the hand feeding, I'm giving him about 6 syringes of Recovery Plus every day. He takes it very well and I can tell he has an appetite and he gets all excited when he sees me with the food and starts purring when I give it to him (it's the cutest thing ever). So I know he's hungry.

Thank you all for your support. Any advice I could get is well appreciated. Cupcake is the love of my life and I would do anything for him. I just want him to be happy.

Cheers,
Samantha
 

Wiebke

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Thank you all for your replies. The story with my little Cupcake is that he's a senior piggy going on 7 years old this October, and with the help of x-rays, it's been said to me that Cupcake's teeth are growing ever so slightly into his jaws and skull. This causes him pain when he chews. As he has pain, he doesn't chew so much, or at least enough to keep his teeth warn down, so they overgrow. As they overgrow he eats less and less until I have to take him to the vet. This cycle happens about once a month, sometimes less. By the time he reaches the vet, he can clearly see that the molars have grown in bridge form over his tongue trapping it and also has spurs growing towards the cheeks sometimes causing inflammation. I've been doing this for the past year and a half. My vet is Matthew from the CJ Hall vets. He is amazing and I'm so grateful for him cause otherwise I don't think I would still have Cupcake.

As for the procedure he undergoes each time, yes it's general anesthesia, but with gas and not injection. In my desperation to help Cupcake have a decent life quality, I have asked the vet if I should continue to do this every month with him, if he thinks he's happy, if it's inhumane to do this to him, what other solutions are out there. This is when he spoke about the stem cell procedure and said it's commonly done on rabbits, but he didn't seem so confident it would be a good solution and continued to tell me there is a chance of abscess growth.

Cupcake takes pain killers every day 2 times a day. In the morning he takes 0,4ml of Loxicom and 0,15ml of Tramadol. In the evening he just takes the same dose of Tramadol.

He won't eat any hay at all... I've tried different brands and he won't take any. He's slowing down on his pellets more an more. This last time I've had to hand feed him, constantly in fear he wasn't getting enough food or water. I went on vacation for 3 days and my flatmate stayed caring for him, but not hand feeding. So I was testing to see if he would take water and food on his own. When I came back his poops were scarce and thin (just like every time he stops eating) and he had drank half of what he usually does. I weighed him and he had lost 75g. So now I'm hand feeding him again.

For the hand feeding, I'm giving him about 6 syringes of Recovery Plus every day. He takes it very well and I can tell he has an appetite and he gets all excited when he sees me with the food and starts purring when I give it to him (it's the cutest thing ever). So I know he's hungry.

Thank you all for your support. Any advice I could get is well appreciated. Cupcake is the love of my life and I would do anything for him. I just want him to be happy.

Cheers,
Samantha
Please weigh Cupcake daily at the same time in the feeding cycle. 5 syringes of hand feed may not be enough, even if as an older piggy he may not need quite as much food as a piggy in its prime. You can mix the recovery food with some muched up pellets or a bit of juiced veg; but he still needs at least 80% of his food intake to be fibrous in order to keep the guts working well.
You can also split the metacam dose and give 0.2 ml twice daily; that would be better for a guinea pig's fast metabolism.
 

Sam&Cupcake

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Please weigh Cupcake daily at the same time in the feeding cycle. 5 syringes of hand feed may not be enough, even if as an older piggy he may not need quite as much food as a piggy in its prime. You can mix the recovery food with some muched up pellets or a bit of juiced veg; but he still needs at least 80% of his food intake to be fibrous in order to keep the guts working well.
You can also split the metacam dose and give 0.2 ml twice daily; that would be better for a guinea pig's fast metabolism.

Hi Wiebke, thank you for your reply. The syringes I'm feeding him with are the big ones (15ml) and not the small 1ml ones. Also, his recovery plus food has, as per written on the box, 25% crude fibre and vitamin C, natural herbs and probiotics and high levels of "long fibre" for digestive health.

Now... I don't know if this is enough or if I should give him more like you mentioned above. Because this feed is "intensive nutritional support for small herbivores" and I don't want to over do it if this is enough. I'm saying this cause I know some feeds are just complimentary and the animal will need more than just the feed. But I don't know if this one contains all the proper quantities.

Thank you very much.
 

Wiebke

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No, about 90 ml of hand feed per day for a 7 year old dental guinea pig are perfectly fine and good on cupcake for liking it!

Sadly, there are still vets that think that 3-4 ml of hand feed is enough for a not eating guinea pig, so it is important for us to make sure that the amount is sufficient. As you say, syringe sizes vary a lot. There are also a number of piggies that are not keen on the taste of recovery food, so we try to offer ways of how to disguise it.

Thank you for helping to clarify this aspect. ;)
 

Poppy'sMum

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Is it the cat or dog Metacam he is having? I am fairly sure the vet can increase both the Metacam & Tramodol doses; help the pain go away & he should then start eating hay etc. I would also consider a quick x-ray of his jaws whilst he is next under having his molars filed :)
 

Sam&Cupcake

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Is it the cat or dog Metacam he is having? I am fairly sure the vet can increase both the Metacam & Tramodol doses; help the pain go away & he should then start eating hay etc. I would also consider a quick x-ray of his jaws whilst he is next under having his molars filed :)
He had an xray 3 weeks ago, because he had a broken front bottom tooth. It was broken right at the gum level so it also infected and the vet wanted to make sure there was no infection in the jaw bones. In terms of increasing the pain meds, I'm going to bring it up on my next visit to the vet, although he always tells me it can cause diarrhea and/or sleepiness.

My objective was really to get a second opinion on whether Cupcake should get the stem cell removal procedure (I don't know the correct term for it). This would avoid him having to undergo GA every 3 or 4 weeks and then I could concentrate solely on reducing his jaw pain. I'm worried about making him do it because of the abscess that may arise. If anyone else knows about this or has had their own pet experience it, I'd appreciate any information you could give.
 

Poppy'sMum

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I would see what Furryfriends finds out from Simon at the Cat & Rabbit clinic first, he should know more if anyone would. If you could get your piggy to him I would try as he is probably the best dental expert on piggies in the country. He can do the filing without any anaesthetic. I haven't heard of this stem cell thing either. I've got a piggy on a high dose of dog Metacam at the moment, so far no problems & she has also had high doses of Tramodol in the past which is very effective. It depends on your piggy's weight of course as to whether your vet can increase the dose but I would say the doses might need looking at because pain will cause him to not eat properly.
 

Wiebke

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I would see what Furryfriends finds out from Simon at the Cat & Rabbit clinic first, he should know more if anyone would. If you could get your piggy to him I would try as he is probably the best dental expert on piggies in the country. He can do the filing without any anaesthetic. I haven't heard of this stem cell thing either. I've got a piggy on a high dose of dog Metacam at the moment, so far no problems & she has also had high doses of Tramodol in the past which is very effective. It depends on your piggy's weight of course as to whether your vet can increase the dose but I would say the doses might need looking at because pain will cause him to not eat properly.
The most knowledgeable and experienced people in the country are currently Simon Maddock as vet (who can do regular dentals without or with only mild anaesthesia) and Furryfriends, who is doing the daily care and hand feeding for temporary or permanent dental sanctuary residents, which is as important as the medical care. if you can get him to Northampton to be assessed and treated there, it would be well worth it. There is a direct train 2-3 times an hour from London Euston if you can't drive.
 

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Wishing you all the best and hopefully some good long term support for Cupcake!
 
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