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Dental Struggling to eat before and after dental work

cwlight

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Hi, this is my first post.
We have 4 guinea-pigs, and 1 of them, Jake, has recently lost a lot of weight. He was always the smallest, round about 1 kg, but had gone down to 650g a few weeks back, and was always at the drink bottle, at which point the vet checked for diabetes (borderline), did a general check, and said they could find nothing else wrong. We restricted sugary foods in their diet, and he then started putting weight back on, without any treatment, and at end of May was back up to around 850g : however, even while regaining weight, he seemed to take a long time to eat each food item compared to the others. His drinking had decreased but was still more than the others.
We then went away for a week, leaving them all in the care of neighbours who followed the usual food regime, but when we got back it was clear that he had lost weight again, and now was struggling to eat anything : he wouldn't even try to eat hay, and while eager to have his veggies (Romaine lettuce ; spinach ; occasional piece of pepper) he then took ages to eat each portion ; he was not eating nuggets but DID seem to manage a few pieces of muesli type food, which obviously we don't usually give them (we had a bag passed on by someone else).
I took him to the vet, again, (Tuesday 11th June) who this time said his incisors were fine but his molars were overgrown and we needed to book him in for a dental ; this we did, and he was away all day yesterday (Wed 12th June). When we got him back, the vet nurse said they had burred his molars AND trimmed his incisors, BUT the vet who did the job reported back than neither was actually bad enough to be causing the problem, in her opinion! (despite them suggesting and carrying out a procedure they felt not really necessary, they happily billed us £228 for the privilege, which I feel is very steep,, but that's another story.)
Today, nothing has changed : he won't eat anything other than the unhealthy muesli, and that in small quantities ; he was out on the grass today with his peers and desperately trying to nibble grass etc like they were but then giving up.
We then set him up a cage to himself to monitor what he has eaten, and it has been a few muesli pieces and nothing else. He is still very perky and bright, and enthusiastically takes all his favourite veggies from you (parsley ; carrot ; spinach) but then gives up and leaves it. When I hand-fed him a tiny piece of carrot, he tried to bite it but didn't even make an indentation. He won't even try normal nuggets or hay. I put a couple of dandelions in the cage and he desperately tried to chew one of the flowers off, but failed.
He has lost another 50g in weight.
Help, please!
I have made up some mushy pellet 'soup' as per instructions on this site, and have managed to get 5ml into him so far but despair on managing 120ml in a day.
He is back to the vet on Saturday morning, but I have no faith in them being any help : the vets are all very young women (all the senior partners retired simultaneously a couple of years ago) and frankly I'm not convinced they know what they're doing with a guinea-pig.
I am in Ipswich, Suffolk.
 

Wiebke

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Hi and welcome!

Please keep on syringe feeding, little but often, if your guinea pig is not well in itself and you are looking at a post-op recovery scenario rather than at a basically healthy and hungry dental guinea pig that is just missing its dental cutlery, so to speak.

I am tagging @furryfriends (TEAS) for you.

The most experienced dental vet is in Northampton; he does about 15 dentals a week on guinea pigs from all over the country as far as the Southwest and Scotland. If you can get to him in any way, please do so; it will make all the difference.
The Cat and Rabbit Care Clinic
 

cwlight

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Thanks : Jake is taking the syringe feed ok, about 5ml at a time. He still seems fine in himself, and tries to eat everything put in front of him, but can't manage to bite or chew. I cut a grape into 4 and he sucked on the pieces one at a time and tried to chew them, but gave up and spat them out ; anything harder than that he won't even try to chew.
What I'm not certain of is, has the dentistry made his mouth / teeth sore and in a couple of days it will be better and he'll start chewing again ; or is there something else going on in his mouth and the dentistry has simply made it worse? He is swallowing the 'mush', and water ok.
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Where about do you live? Unfortunately, most vets have very little knowledge with regard to guinea pig dental issues and often make the problem worse, not better. I run a sanctuary for guinea pigs with dental issues and our vet sees guinea pigs from all over the UK and works wonders with them. If at all possible, I would urge you to get an appointment with Simon Maddock at the Cat and Rabbit Clinic, in Northampton. Simon can carry out the dental work without the need for GA, which keeps the costs lower too.
 

Bill & Ted

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I have a dental piggie called Ted, he had the same problems last year which was made far worse by a local vet dental that trimmed his incisors too short and did not burr his molar properly either, the result was he could hardly eat for over a month. in desperation we took him to see Simon Maddock and he did a conscious dental which took 10 minutes and he was eating hay straight away! We now go about once every 2-3 months for a quick dental and he is as right as rain.I would strongly recommend taking that journey if at all possible, you won’t regret it and it’s such a relief to get your piggie back to normal again. We travel 300 miles each way with an overnight stay and it’s well worth the effort x
 

KayBalor

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I take my dental piggy Harry to Ben Bennett in Colne Valley vets Colchester. He is amazing too, he does conscious dentals whenever he can. It's not to far from Ipswich either. Hope Jake gets better soon 💜
 

cwlight

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Thanks to everyone. Jake has had an OK day being syringe-fed every hour (!) and is still desperately trying to eat all the usual things but generally failing, though he did manage to get a couple of spinach leaves down today. We weighed him and he has maintained yesterday's weight, which is nowhere near good enough but better than still losing.
 

cwlight

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Update : have managed to maintain Jake's weight with syringe feeding since Friday, and attended his post-op appt at our vets' today. She confirmed that they have no other ideas as to what is going on and recommended we go elsewhere. She also said that they did very little to his teeth on Wednesday, removing a couple of spurs and clipping the incisors, and her view was that it is NOT his teeth ; but she can't say what it is.
Based on KayBalor's recommendation (above) of someone fairly close to us, Ben Bennett in Colchester, I tried to get an appt with him asap but he is not available until late on Wednesday ; however, they said he is NOT a guinea-pig specialist anyway, and recommended we see another experienced vet there, Clare Hogston, tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. ; so that is what we are going to do, initially.
If that still gets us nowhere, then I will be looking to Simon in Northampton after that ; it is purely the distance / time involved in getting there that is driving our current thinking.
 

KayBalor

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Glad you got an appointment, they are a great practice and I always see Ben with Harry and that's why I recommended him. Please let me know how Clare is and how Jake gets on :)
 

Bill & Ted

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Aw, hope Claire can sort Jake out soon x
trouble with piggies is they won’t/can’t eat properly unless their teeth are cut at the correct angle and the slightest little bump/sharp bit left on a molar will stop then from grinding the food ☹
 

cwlight

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Jake is now with Colne Valley Vets for investigation : another GA, X-rays, and further dental work if that is what shows up. Clare, the vet, was not very optimistic that that they would find anything fixable, based on Jake's history. Now home and waiting for a phone call.
 

cwlight

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Have had a call to say he is out of his anaesthetic, having had another dental this time courtesy of someone called Alexa.
His X-rays showed nothing abnormal, and there is no sign of anything sinister going on in his mouth or jaw : no ulcers, abscess or tumours.
She has therefore done a further tidy-up of his teeth and in her opinion they are at exactly the right height and angle.
So, it is a further few days of 'wait and see'.
We have now got a small supply of Critical Care and a vitamin supplement to add to the mash we are syringing him.
We pick him up at 4 p.m.
Thanks, again, to everyone for advice and good wishes.
 

Bill & Ted

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Aw, hoping he gets eating now, it may take a while to get back to normal as he will be sore, has he been given any pain killer for a few days?
 
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