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Dental Teeth issues and massive weight loss

MrJ4194

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I'm facing a pretty extreme issues. My pig weighed roughly 1000g on average last year but developed a cracked tooth from chewing the side of the cage. The vet was able to fix the tooth and trim the rest.

At the time of the check in appointment before the trim he weighed >800g. Post procedure he had tons of drool that caused his fur to fall out under his chin. We've been giving him meloxicam for pain management as directed by the vet (.25cc 2 times a day).

That was about 4 weeks ago. He's lost about 50 grams a week and he is down to 600grams, which I'm guessing is not a good weight for a 4 year old pig.

We've fed him critical care, fruits, veg, hay, pellets, crushed pellets blended with sugar free dried fruits and so much else, but he won't gain weight. Some of the food he is able to handle, mostly the ground up that we add water to so it forms a paste. For the food that isn't ground he will try to eat it sometimes but usually just spits it out.

We're facing an issue now that we can't see an easy way to fatten him up and if he doesn't put on weight something bad might happen. We lost our other pig last November, but they were in seperate cages and we can't cope with losing him as well.

The vet has presented us with the option of driving to a university in another state to get him an mri but that will require 7 hours in the car round trip and at least $1000 as well as extremely stressing him out.

Does anyone have any advice on how to fatten them up or what i should do?
 

Piggies&buns

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You say he can handle some foods, but mostly only mushy foods. If he isnt eating hay properly and in large quantities then his teeth won’t be wearing down, they over grow, Spurs form which will in turn cause him to not be able to eat properly - a cycle forms. Teeth will overgrow very quickly without the constant abrasive action of hay and grass. I would suggest having his teeth checked.
Are you regularly syringe feeding him currently?

@furryfriends (TEAS) has a lot of experience with dental issues so can offer further advice
 

MrJ4194

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We think that's what cause the issue originally was his teeth. They did seem to be uneven and the vet did trim them all to fit because they were out of alignment.

He definatly isn't eat any hay at all as the pile hasn't really moved, only thing he's essentially eating is baby food consistency food. We did syringe feeding but he wasn't very fond of it and seemed to eat it fine in his own. Should things like critical care be able to make him gain weight?

The issue seems to boil down to the fact that his teeth won't file down if he won't eat and he won't eat if they're out of whack but he's also too skinny as well
 

Piggies&buns

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The issue seems to boil down to the fact that his teeth won't file down if he won't eat and he won't eat if they're out of whack but he's also too skinny as well
Yes and yes - if his teeth are a problem then he won’t eat and yes he is losing a lot of weight but he won’t put weight on if he has a current dental issue.

If his dental was done many weeks ago, but he hasn’t eaten hay since then he likely needs another dental now due to the lack of hay intake and lack of wearing down action.

Yes I agree he has lost a lot of weight and the only thing that is going to get his weight put back on is him eating his fibre and hay - a bit of veg here and there just isn’t going to do it. Critical care will keep his system going, how much is he having in a 24 hour period? Are you syringe feeding him often?

Do you trust that the vet did the dental properly, it’s very hard to find a vet who is experienced enough in dealing with piggy teeth, some treat them like rabbit teeth which causes problems and ultimately piggy dental experience is rare. A bad dental is as bad as no dental

Not Eating, Weight Loss And The Importance Of Syringe Feeding Fibre
 

MrJ4194

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I can take him in again and see if they can see anything. He is currently eating about 3-4 tablespoons worth usually once a day. We've avoided doing syringe feeding and will put it out and he will eat it from there. Would there be a difference in how it's taken between him eating it and us using a syringe? But we refill it when it's out everytime we see it's empty as well as times of the day like floor time.

Usually I do but I don't know exactly. My wife mentioned that they should of trimmed the teeth to make them fit as they were instead of trimming them to make them look normal, if that makes any sense.

How do we know when the situation is critical and what do we need to do before it gets to that point?
 

Piggies&buns

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I need to get another more experienced member to come in here with further advice - @Wiebke, can you assist further here please?

If he is continuously losing weight, not gaining at all, then he isn’t eating enough. His daily food intake needs to be majority hay , critical care will keep his fibre source but only eating that in itself is going to cause other issues. If he isn’t eating there is a reason for that, and it sounds to be his teeth. I think he really needs to see a cavy savvy vet again.

Could you add your location/country to your profile please as it can help us to advise more easily on certain issues.
 

MrJ4194

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More input is always welcome. Is there another way to get hay in him? One vet recommended possibly soaking the hay so it was softer and in my attempted at everything I tried to grind it up but it didn't work. I can go as far as to grind up the hay and turn that into a paste but I feel like that's pretty far, but I'm willing to if itll help.

I've scheduled another appointment at a vet that is much more renown for their guinea pig care to get a second opinion. If I can get it would the xrays help to post on here? I have to relay them over to the other vet so I have them.

Adding that info to my profile. Also to everyone envolved I greatly appreciate the input it's been very difficult and I'm starting to run out ideas
 

Piggies&buns

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I think getting another vet to check him is the right thing to do. If it is his teeth overgrowing which is causing him to not eat, then nothing is going to change regarding his eating until his teeth are sorted out. All you can do is to get as much critical care as you can into him to keep his system operating between now and his appointment. He ultimately needs to be chewing the hay for himself for his weight gain and dental health.
 

MrJ4194

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Would it be worthwhile to feed him anything he is willing to eat just to have food or better to just do critical care? As in is there a weight in which he will most likely not be able to recover from and we should do everything to keep him away from that
 

Piggies&buns

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The fibre from critical care is essential to the functioning of his gut, don’t stop giving it.
Get him to eat whatever he can, but do remember that fibre is the most important part. Nibbling on little bits of veg alone here and there won’t sustain him.
If you haven’t already done so, click the green link to the guide I added in at post #4.
 

MrJ4194

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The vet I took him to the other day said exactly the same thing as my vet which comes as a surprise to everyone I know that runs a guinea pig rescue and deals with hundreds of them.

I was able to take him to one of them today so they could have a look and she said it's not good. Hes currently under 500g so we've stopped weighing him. She believes that it was also a respiratory problem or heart disease that caused this.

She also said that there has been a trend amongst local breeders to breed them smaller so they stay cute longer but this greatly affects their heart and jaw and usual life span is shortened to only about 4 years.

We are taking him to the first vet again tomorrow, but we don't have high hopes. He's front top teeth are curled so he's unable to grab at food, but that seems to be the least of his problems really.

Not sure there's much more else to do and kinda just venting really. Thank you for your assistance; certain biological factors seemed to of made things worse beyond what the norm should of been.
 

Bill & Ted

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So sorry for you, I have had two dental piggies and I know how frustrating, sad and worrying this is for you x
 
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