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Dental Teeth spurs - operation needed

Hazel&Olive

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Hi,
Last night I noticed my guinea pig Hazel choke on some food, she was gagging for a couple hours afterwards almost as if she was struggling to dislodge it. The gagging had stopped by this morning but she was still off her food so I’ve taken her to the vets.
They have said her back teeth are overgrown and have some spurs which is making it uncomfortable for her to eat, and have recommended she has a procedure to sort them out. I was so upset and in shock I didn’t ask many questions and just agreed to bring her back on Monday (the soonest their exotic specialist is available)
Has anyone been through this with their guinea pig before? I’m just wondering what to expect. I’m guessing she’ll have a general anaesthetic, is that right? They said she could go home the same day. I’ve got pain relief and critical care to give her over the weekend. How long will it take her to recover after the op?
Also, I know it’s not about the cost at all and will do anything to help her, but I’ve been quoted around £300, does that sound right? That’s on top of the £70 I’ve paid tonight for check up, pain relief and food.
 

PigglePuggle

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Hi and welcome, tooth spurs do require dental surgery and £300 sounds a reasonable estimate if the procedure is done under general anaesthetic which is often the case. However please be aware that not all vets are experienced in piggy dental surgery, and a well meaning but inexperienced dental surgery can often make things worse. You might want to check with your vet how familiar they are with performing successful piggy dentals, and how quickly their patients are eating again afterwards. For expert dental care, many of our forum members travel to Northampton to the Cat and Rabbit clinic which performs excellent expert dentals without anaesthesia.
Some other vets can do good dental surgery, my own vet did an excellent dental on my piggy Blodwen who also had tooth spurs, that cost about £270. But not all exotics specialists are experienced in dental work, so please do ask questions and choose the right vet for the job!
 

Hazel&Olive

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Hi thank you that’s really helpful. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and ask a few more questions. I’ve posted on my local guinea pig group as well so hopefully there might be someone in there that knows this vet and can tell me about the experience. I’m so nervous for her, poor thing. Is this something that’s normally ongoing or can it be treated with just one procedure?
 

VickiA

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Hi thank you that’s really helpful. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and ask a few more questions. I’ve posted on my local guinea pig group as well so hopefully there might be someone in there that knows this vet and can tell me about the experience. I’m so nervous for her, poor thing. Is this something that’s normally ongoing or can it be treated with just one procedure?
Tagging @FurryFriends (TEAS)who runs a dental sanctuary as she has most experience, but I think that usually they need more than once procedure.
 

Freela

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Guinea pigs have teeth that grow constantly and are worn down by chewing. Molar spurs occur when the pig is chewing abnormally or not enough, causing teeth to overgrow, sometimes trapping the tongue or cutting the sides of the cheeks. The reasons for this can be varied... my experience with my dental pig, Sundae, was that she had an abscessed root that was not apparently, which led her to chew unevenly, which led her to chew predominantly on one side, leading to overgrowth. In her case, we had her teeth filed about three times over several months before her cheek puffed up enormously and we realized that there was an abscess contributing to the problem. Once we surgically and medically treated the abscess, she no longer needed the repeat dental work. But for many pigs, this will be an ongoing problem that is manageable with dentistry by an experienced vet. Other pigs, like Sundae, will have an underlying reason that can be addressed to correct the problem.

I can't really address costs, as I'm in Canada and our vet fees and currency are very different. You can call and ask about anesthesia... I know some places in the US do conscious dentals for guinea pigs, but it's not something vets are trained to do where I live and my pigs did have gas anesthesia for dental procedures. There is always some risk with anesthesia, but generally gas anesthesia is well-tolerated (I even had an elderly hamster who had dental trims under gas anesthesia and did fine, and she was both much smaller and much 'older' in species terms than my guinea pigs were at the time.) Hopefully someone from the UK can give you some guidance there.

I would also double check that the vet doing the procedure has experience with guinea pig teeth. It can be finicky and having an expert versus a novice can make a big difference. Don't be afraid to ask how often they do this procedure, etc.
 

Hazel&Olive

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Thank you everyone, you’ve all been so helpful and kind! I do think she’s been overeating pellets and undereating hay (my own fault, and a very hard and expensive lesson learnt!) so hopefully once she has the work done and I adapt her diet I can prevent it happening in future. I can’t find any info about this vet doing dental procedures but he does seem extremely experienced and is a specialist in surgery for small animals. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and find out how often he does dental work.
 

Bill & Ted

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Thank you everyone, you’ve all been so helpful and kind! I do think she’s been overeating pellets and undereating hay (my own fault, and a very hard and expensive lesson learnt!) so hopefully once she has the work done and I adapt her diet I can prevent it happening in future. I can’t find any info about this vet doing dental procedures but he does seem extremely experienced and is a specialist in surgery for small animals. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and find out how often he does dental work.
Good luck, I hope it goes well. We live in Cornwall and take Ted our dental piggie to Simon Maddock at the Cat and Rabbit Clinic, In Northampton he does conscious dentals and is amazing and very experienced, does around 30 piggie dentals a week.
Try and find out if your vet has done plenty of successful dental procedures on guinea pigs as they are not straightforward and the piggie don’t eat if it’s done wrong x
 

Qualcast&Flymo

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Hi thank you that’s really helpful. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and ask a few more questions. I’ve posted on my local guinea pig group as well so hopefully there might be someone in there that knows this vet and can tell me about the experience. I’m so nervous for her, poor thing. Is this something that’s normally ongoing or can it be treated with just one procedure?
Hi, sorry your pig has dental problems!
Have you had a look at the forum Vet locator to see if your vet is on the recommended list or if another one near you is?
Vet Locator

Hope the treatment helps your piggie quickly, wherever you take her x
 

Hazel&Olive

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Morning everyone! Hazel is up and about and I saw her having a good drink of water last night which I’m pleased about. She even managed a small bit of carrot!
The vet is not on the vet locator but I searched his name in my local cavy group and he was recommended a number of times on there. There is a vet in my town on the vet locator so at least I know there is another good option!
I’ve seen readigrass recommended a few times, is this the right one to buy: Friendly ReadiGrass Small Animal Food 1kg | Pets At Home
 

furryfriends (TEAS)

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Hi thank you that’s really helpful. I’ll give them a call tomorrow and ask a few more questions. I’ve posted on my local guinea pig group as well so hopefully there might be someone in there that knows this vet and can tell me about the experience. I’m so nervous for her, poor thing. Is this something that’s normally ongoing or can it be treated with just one procedure?
In most cases, more than one treatment is required. However, this will depend on the reason for the dental issue.

Please ensure the vet has a lot of experience with treating dental disease in guinea pigs and ask about their success rates.
 

Siikibam

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Morning everyone! Hazel is up and about and I saw her having a good drink of water last night which I’m pleased about. She even managed a small bit of carrot!
The vet is not on the vet locator but I searched his name in my local cavy group and he was recommended a number of times on there. There is a vet in my town on the vet locator so at least I know there is another good option!
I’ve seen readigrass recommended a few times, is this the right one to buy: Friendly ReadiGrass Small Animal Food 1kg | Pets At Home
Yes that’s the right one. But it shouldn’t be fed often.
 

Hazel&Olive

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Hi everyone, just a small update. Still trying Hazel on the critical care but even a half ml is a real battle, I may try her with her normal pellets mushed up tomorrow and see if that makes a difference. In good news though she has actually gained 10grams since her last weigh in. I’m not sure if she’s dehydrated though? She almost feels like she has some loose skin under her armpits, I’m not sure if that’s a very good way to describe it! She has lost 50 grams over the last two weeks (40 now she’s put on a bit) so it could be the weight loss but I’m not sure. She seems to be able to eat cucumber nice and easily and that has lots of water so she’s had that a couple times today, only a couple slices at a time. I have seen her drink and eat hay as well. She’s weed on me three times today 😂 so no problems there, but she’s not pooped while she’s been out the cage and I can’t tell which poos are hers, if any. Readigrass is coming tomorrow! I do have access to fresh grass but it’s a communal space and there’s a gardener so can’t be sure if it’s treated and don’t want to risk it.
 

Bill & Ted

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Hi everyone, just a small update. Still trying Hazel on the critical care but even a half ml is a real battle, I may try her with her normal pellets mushed up tomorrow and see if that makes a difference. In good news though she has actually gained 10grams since her last weigh in. I’m not sure if she’s dehydrated though? She almost feels like she has some loose skin under her armpits, I’m not sure if that’s a very good way to describe it! She has lost 50 grams over the last two weeks (40 now she’s put on a bit) so it could be the weight loss but I’m not sure. She seems to be able to eat cucumber nice and easily and that has lots of water so she’s had that a couple times today, only a couple slices at a time. I have seen her drink and eat hay as well. She’s weed on me three times today 😂 so no problems there, but she’s not pooped while she’s been out the cage and I can’t tell which poos are hers, if any. Readigrass is coming tomorrow! I do have access to fresh grass but it’s a communal space and there’s a gardener so can’t be sure if it’s treated and don’t want to risk it.
Can you go get grass from area not used by dogs? It’s good for keeping their teeth filed down x
 

Hazel&Olive

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Can you go get grass from area not used by dogs? It’s good for keeping their teeth filed down x
I’m pretty sure the area of grass I have access to isn’t used by dogs but I don’t know if the gardener treats with any weed killer or other nasty stuff. What do you think, should I try it? X
 

Bill & Ted

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I’m pretty sure the area of grass I have access to isn’t used by dogs but I don’t know if the gardener treats with any weed killer or other nasty stuff. What do you think, should I try it? X
If it has lots of weeds in it then it’s unlikely to have been treated. Otherwise can you walk and find some?
 

Hazel&Olive

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Hi everyone! Just wanted to pop on and give you a quick update as everyone was so helpful here. Hazel had her dental this afternoon, we picked her up at 6:30 and she was still very subdued and spaced out. We got her home and wrapped her up in her favourite towel and had her on our laps for a bit until she settled then got out Olive to join her which perked her up a bit. I know it’s obviously very early days and she will still have a lot of anaesthetic in her system but I’m pleased to say since she had been home, she has eaten small amounts of parsley, spinach, hay, readigrass and for the first time in over a week, she has eaten a solid pellet on her own! Need to see how things go tomorrow once the pain relief wears off some more but it’s a promising start I think! She seems to have a nice side to side motion going when she’s chewing which was totally missing before. The vet said he couldn’t see any obvious underlying issues so he’s hopeful with an improved diet this could be a one off thing!
Any tips for what I can do to help her recover? Would you recommend I still supplement with critical care for the first few days considering she is eating?
 

Piggies&buns

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I’m glad to hear it went well.
Until she is eating enough hay well enough and in good enough quantities for herself, then continue supplement with critical care. Weigh her each day so you can monitor that she is eating enough
 
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