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Dental Not eating, teeth have been checked

Wiggiepig

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Hi all, sorry this is going to be a long post but I'm at wit's end and would be so grateful for any suggestions.

I noticed on Tuesday last week (11 days ago) that my 6y2m pig Wiggie was struggling to eat. We went to the vet on Wednesday and they booked her in for dental work on Thursday. She had her teeth filed under gas and our vet said the front ones were overgrown, molars looked fine other than a couple of small spurs that she'd taken off. Vet said there was a small lump under her chin and gave us antibiotics in case it was an infection - we've now completed the 7 day course of these.

She should have been able to eat properly straight away but she still couldn't manage anything and I was feeding her with a syringe. Looking at her teeth I put it down to her front bottom teeth being too short and expected that they would grow enough in a few days to be back to normal. However despite her teeth growing she still couldn't eat and it then became apparent (confirmed with vet) that the overgrown teeth were a symptom rather than The Problem, and there is something else wrong. She'll try to pick something up and think she's got it and start chewing, and then realise her mouth is empty and try again, and then after a couple more goes will give up and go and hide... it's horrible. Obviously I've tried all sorts of food in all different forms, but nothing goes in and stays in. She couldn't pick up anything, and despite me trying hard and her desperately wanting it, between us we couldn't get any sort of food in her mouth either, it looks like it's going in and then her attempts to take it back in her mouth just seem to send it out again. She can't use the water bottle either, which of course she doesn't need teeth for, and I get the water in by dripping it just above her lip so that it runs down the line between nose and mouth and surface tension carries it through into her mouth. If I drip it straight into her slightly open mouth then it doesn't go in, despite her trying to catch it with her tongue. [I know I can do it by putting the end of the syringe directly into her mouth but that's by far the more stressful option for both of us]. The vet has suggested it might be a tumour somewhere (she does have several obvious lumps around her body that she's too old to operate for) and that there's nothing else to be done. I'm giving her painkiller every evening and she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable, just sad. If she's going then ideally I want her to go peacefully at home, for her sake and her sister's sake (so she knows what's happened).

So, I've been feeding her still with the syringe - which she's pretty much stopped taking now, and I don't push it like I did when I thought we were just waiting for her teeth to grow back - and lots of water likewise, which she does take, and giving her lots of cuddles. On Thursday she had a bad start to the day (messy bum, I think because I gave her some sieved strawberry the day before) and after a little wash I had her on my lap being sleepy and cuddly the entire day, from 6am on, and we pretty much said goodbye to her. However... I'd given her sister some celery while Wiggie was on my lap, and I took the remaining bit out of the house before I put Wiggie in for the night at 10pm. Wiggie could smell it and put every bit of energy she had in into one almighty squeak. Faced then with miserable choice of putting the celery down and watching her fail to eat it, or not give it to her at all, I broke a tiny bit off and held it out to her and was then gobsmacked that she managed to take it (after a couple of false starts) and eat it. I gave her another bit and another and she ate it all. So I chopped up some more with added cabbage and put that in a dish and she stuck her face in it!

She has had a bit more since, and some apple and cucumber, but still can't eat pellets, hay, or anything leafy, regardless of how small I cut it up. Yesterday I noticed her try to take some dry food and fail, and then she went over to her sister and kept nudging her bum, and I think she's been eating her poos which would prob explain why she's still with us. The vet noted that she'd lost over a quarter of her body weight between last routine visit and when I took her in for the apparent dental issue, but over the last week she has remained roughly steady and not lost any more.

I don't want her to suffer, and I want to do the right thing for her whatever that is, but I feel like it might help to understand what's going on with her. Does anyone have a similar experience and/or any suggestions for what I should/could be doing to help her?

Thanks for your time in reading this. Pig people are special.
 

Siikibam

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I’m sorry your girl is off her food. I have no experience with dentals or senior piggies but others will be along in good time - this section is under watch, so to speak.

Have you been weighing her daily now? Another thing others do is to cut the veg into strips which they can pick up easier. You could also make poo soup using her healthy friend’s just dropped poop.
 

Wiggiepig

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Thank you for replying. Yes, her weight goes up and down a little but has stayed around the same since she's been ill. I have cut veg into strips and small chunks and until she got the celery that made no difference. She still can't handle anything leafy or very hard, even in strips or little squares. I was going to try the poo soup but it does look like she's picking them up and eating them direct by herself!
 

Wiebke

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Hi all, sorry this is going to be a long post but I'm at wit's end and would be so grateful for any suggestions.

I noticed on Tuesday last week (11 days ago) that my 6y2m pig Wiggie was struggling to eat. We went to the vet on Wednesday and they booked her in for dental work on Thursday. She had her teeth filed under gas and our vet said the front ones were overgrown, molars looked fine other than a couple of small spurs that she'd taken off. Vet said there was a small lump under her chin and gave us antibiotics in case it was an infection - we've now completed the 7 day course of these.

She should have been able to eat properly straight away but she still couldn't manage anything and I was feeding her with a syringe. Looking at her teeth I put it down to her front bottom teeth being too short and expected that they would grow enough in a few days to be back to normal. However despite her teeth growing she still couldn't eat and it then became apparent (confirmed with vet) that the overgrown teeth were a symptom rather than The Problem, and there is something else wrong. She'll try to pick something up and think she's got it and start chewing, and then realise her mouth is empty and try again, and then after a couple more goes will give up and go and hide... it's horrible. Obviously I've tried all sorts of food in all different forms, but nothing goes in and stays in. She couldn't pick up anything, and despite me trying hard and her desperately wanting it, between us we couldn't get any sort of food in her mouth either, it looks like it's going in and then her attempts to take it back in her mouth just seem to send it out again. She can't use the water bottle either, which of course she doesn't need teeth for, and I get the water in by dripping it just above her lip so that it runs down the line between nose and mouth and surface tension carries it through into her mouth. If I drip it straight into her slightly open mouth then it doesn't go in, despite her trying to catch it with her tongue. [I know I can do it by putting the end of the syringe directly into her mouth but that's by far the more stressful option for both of us]. The vet has suggested it might be a tumour somewhere (she does have several obvious lumps around her body that she's too old to operate for) and that there's nothing else to be done. I'm giving her painkiller every evening and she doesn't seem to be uncomfortable, just sad. If she's going then ideally I want her to go peacefully at home, for her sake and her sister's sake (so she knows what's happened).

So, I've been feeding her still with the syringe - which she's pretty much stopped taking now, and I don't push it like I did when I thought we were just waiting for her teeth to grow back - and lots of water likewise, which she does take, and giving her lots of cuddles. On Thursday she had a bad start to the day (messy bum, I think because I gave her some sieved strawberry the day before) and after a little wash I had her on my lap being sleepy and cuddly the entire day, from 6am on, and we pretty much said goodbye to her. However... I'd given her sister some celery while Wiggie was on my lap, and I took the remaining bit out of the house before I put Wiggie in for the night at 10pm. Wiggie could smell it and put every bit of energy she had in into one almighty squeak. Faced then with miserable choice of putting the celery down and watching her fail to eat it, or not give it to her at all, I broke a tiny bit off and held it out to her and was then gobsmacked that she managed to take it (after a couple of false starts) and eat it. I gave her another bit and another and she ate it all. So I chopped up some more with added cabbage and put that in a dish and she stuck her face in it!

She has had a bit more since, and some apple and cucumber, but still can't eat pellets, hay, or anything leafy, regardless of how small I cut it up. Yesterday I noticed her try to take some dry food and fail, and then she went over to her sister and kept nudging her bum, and I think she's been eating her poos which would prob explain why she's still with us. The vet noted that she'd lost over a quarter of her body weight between last routine visit and when I took her in for the apparent dental issue, but over the last week she has remained roughly steady and not lost any more.

I don't want her to suffer, and I want to do the right thing for her whatever that is, but I feel like it might help to understand what's going on with her. Does anyone have a similar experience and/or any suggestions for what I should/could be doing to help her?

Thanks for your time in reading this. Pig people are special.
Hi!

I would recommend to contact the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic in Northampton next week for a developing root abscess, which is what is causing the swelling on the jaw and the toothache. I have been through it with my Dylan in last December/January having to try and work around the holidays medically with the vet's support. Thankfully - and rather against expectations - two courses of zithromax and high metacam have managed to get the abscess down for good but he needed round the clock feeding support at times when he lost he appetite completely.
The other option would have been to allow the abscess to come up and deal with it then; it is generally the preferred option but the timing was completely out in view of our holiday commitments.

My Hywel was also 6 years old when he had his jaw abscess in 2015/16.

Simon and Kim Maddock at the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic are the most experienced dental vets in the UK and see piggies from as far afield as Cornwall and Scotland. They see about 25 piggies with dental issues in a week. That is more than most vets see in their whole career.
Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic | Northlands Vets

Until then you have to unfortunately continue with support feeding and chopping soft veg into small strips, as well as offering grass - anything that allows your piggy to bypass the picking up and cutting action of the painful incisors.
All the best!
 

Wiggiepig

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Thanks so much, that's really helpful and I will absolutely call the Cat&Rabbit Care Clinic first thing on Monday. Happy to keep feeding her as long as she needs if there's hope that she can get better! She's had a week of an antibiotic that says baytril on the bottle but maybe that wasn't strong enough.
Thanks again, really grateful for the message.
 

Bill & Ted

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I hope you can get an appointment. Ring up at 8.00 am as any spare appointments are taken straight away. I will be coming up to see Simon who does a conscious dental for my piggie Ted and I will be bringing Mikey another dental piggie from Devon too

Good luck you won’t be disappointed, they are fantastic dental piggie vets and very reasonably priced too
 

Little Ones

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This sounds similar to my situation with Little. He developed a jaw abscess by the root of one of his incisors, his incisor has since been removed and won’t grow back again. Then Little started getting better until the same thing happened with his remaining incisor. Little now has no bottom incisors but he manages. Simon saved his life with the first abscess as Little went so long without proper treatment. Simon is just amazing and as soon as we noticed a lump under the remaining bottom incisor, he fitted us in for a consultation and potential operation the very next day. He’s amazing.
If it’s like what Little had, an operation to remove the tooth as well as sort the abscess out will be needed. Just a heads up that it’s very costly, for us it was £370ish per tooth.
24A1071C-C5AC-41F3-ABAE-B64B0A0BD1EE.jpeg

Simon will sort your piggy out, anyway! Take whatever appointment they can offer you as they usually don’t have many to spare.
 
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