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Thread: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Exclamation Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    My two year old guinea pig, Joey, has been struggling with dental issues. I adopted him from a rescue, where he was born, and unlimited hay has always been available. Joey has always eaten it, but never as much as his partner, Calvin. After noticing his weight was dropping and eating seemed to be a challenge (often dropping pellets from him mouth while eating, difficulty eating vegetable and hay), I immediately took him to the vet. Initially, the vet trimmed his incisors which didn't seem to solve any issues. The following week he began drooling and his molars were then filed. The vet found that his molars were pinching his tongue, causing him trouble while eating. Soon after the filing, Joey began to willingly eat critical care from the syringe (rather than force feeding) and was able to eat raspberry and banana (only given in small amounts because of the high sugar levels). Still unable to eat pellets, hay, or vegetables, I took him to the vet the next week and was given an anti-fungal antibiotic, thinking there may have infection in his gums causing him to stop eating (leading to the overgrowth of his molars). Two days after taking the antibiotic, he was able to eat pellets on his own and he began to come out of his igloo more often and seemed to have a lot more energy. After we had finished the antibiotics, we went to the vet again and he trimmed his incisors again. After a day or so, Joey was able to eat vegetables and fruits when cut into tiny pieces. Throughout this whole process Joey has consistently tried and tried again to eat. He has continued to come out when I put fresh hay, veggies, and pellets in the cage (though he can't eat hay and only can eat vegetables when cute in extremely small pieces). I went on vacation for a week and dreaded leaving him with anyone, but luckily found an volunteer at my local guinea pig shelter who was very experienced with dental problems in guinea pigs and hand feeding. As the week went by, she got him to eat a little hay and managed to get his weight up to 710 grams (which his huge because when I first dropped him off he weighed 654 grams)! She called the vet while I was gone, who recommended flushing out the saliva in his mouth. This decreased the amount of drooling, but he still continues to do so. She recommended not feeding as much critical care and feeding more veggies, once I did that his weight dropped. The volunteer who watched Joey wrote down the feeding hours and how much she fed (though it fluctuated). He is currently eating cucumber, red pepper, radish, watermelon, apple, lettuce, and cilantro when cut up small. With these vegetables, I have continued to feed critical care, but it is difficult to know how much because he loves it and would eat as much as I give him (I don't want to over feed). After weighing him this morning, his current weight is 644 grams. Though it varies, I currently feed him about 12 cc/mL per sitting (about 4-6 feedings per day). Is there anything else I should do about his drooling? How much critical care should I feed? Should I take him back to the vet? Any advice is greatly appreciated and sorry for the long post! And yes the vet I have taken him to is experienced in dental problems in guinea pigs (:

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    You need a new vet. The incisor are almost NEVER the problem -- it's nearly always the molars.

    He needs an exotic vet with experience in rodent dentisty, and I don't think the one you've got is it. A good rodent dentist would never start by trimming the incisors -- guinea pig incisors do not normally need to be trimmed, unlike some other rodents. My two sows are nearly five, and neither one has ever needed a tooth trimming.

    Your pig needs x-rays, both top and side, to see if his molar roots are elongated, and if his molars are trapping his tongue (it sounds like they are). If his molars are overgrown, they'll need to be planed, and most vets will put a pig to sleep briefly to do that. He'll need to be on a pain medication when he comes home, and you'll have to hand feed him

    If he's not eating anything else at the moment, he needs at least 50-60 cc of critical care per day, spaced out into 5-6 feedings around the clock. You won't overfeed him -- CC is hay based, and he needs the fiber. Besides, he's lost 10% of his body weight, so I think you need to worry more about that than about over-feeding. More veggies are likely to upset his stomach, and then you'll have mushy poops and GI problems to possibly deal with. See http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html for instructions on how to do that.

    Also, when eating vegetables, cutting them into small pieces for a pig with tooth problems just makes them harder to eat, not easier. You can leave lettuce in pieces, and cut everything else in long slivers. Once he can get them back to his molars, they tend to move through the mouth easier.

    What is his normal diet like? How much hay? How many pellets and what kind? What kind of veggies and how many?

    And just as a FYI, if you'll break your posts up into paragraphs, they'll be much easier to read and people will be more likely to get all the way through them.

    Do keep us posted on how he's doing.

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    His molars were planed, that's what I mean by them being filed, and he was was put under anesthesia.

    My local guinea pig rescue uses this vet because he is an experienced guinea pig vet so I'm surprised to hear that I should find a new vet!

    If his molars have already been planed do you think x-rays should still be taken? I'll definitely try the long slivers of veggies and get back to you on how that works out. His poops are still solid, do you recommend giving him all the critical care he wants or how much would you recommend?

    His normal diet is 1/8 cup of Oxbow pellets per day, unlimited hay, and about 1 cup of vegetables in the afternoon. I mainly feed cilantro, bell pepper, celery, parsley, romaine lettuce, dandelion greens, radishes, carrots, and green beans (different combinations each night).

    Thank you for the advice on paragraphs, I'm new on here and I can definitely understand how it can be hard to read!

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    He may be an experienced exotic vet, but trimming the incisors before investigating the molars just raises all kinds of red flags with me.

    I'm no rodentologist, but as I understand it, there are other rodents that need their incisors trimmed regularly, but guinea pigs are definitely not among them. The grinding action of the molars keeps the incisors ground down. If something goes wrong with one side of the molars, you'll notice a slant to the front teeth. If something is wrong with both sides, you'll get the kind of problem you describe -- inability to keep food in the mouth, drooling etc. It's the continued drooling that makes me think there's still something wrong with the molars.

    Is there another exotic vet with dentistry experience near you where you could get a second opinion?

    And I know you didn't ask this, but I'll throw my $.02 in for free :-) I think his vegetable diet is too high in calcium, and that you may well have urinary tract sludge/stones before long, if you don't already. Dandelion greens, parsley and celery are all very high in calcium. In addition, romaine lettuce causes some pigs to show a lot of urinary calcium, as evidenced by white spots where the urine dries. Cilantro can do this as well. It doesn't happen to all pigs, and we don't know whether the problem is something about the pig, or something about the romaine/cilantro that causes it. But cutting out cilantro and switching to red or green leaf lettuce has helped quite a number of pigs reduce the sludge in their bladders. And I quit feeding parsley to mine years ago.

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    Thank you so much!

    I peeled the vegetables with a carrot peeler and he was able to eat a lot more! Joey is gaining more weight since I've done this (:

    I am really concerned about the drooling, although it has become a lot less, I don't want his to choke on it or have difficulty swallowing. While I was on vacation, the lady watching him was worried as well so she ended up asking the other vet that works in same office as the vet I have now, who suggested washing it out. This definitely helped a lot with the amount of drool. I will probably make another appointment to discuss this with the vet within the week.

    I am going to take Joey to see the other exotics vet in the office as Joey's current vet. The vet we have now has mentioned that she is experienced in rodent dentistry, so I am planning on having his next appointment with her.

    Thank you for the advice on the veggies! I do rotate those veggies around. In fact, out of all of the vegetables that I stated above, I feed parsley, dandelion greens, and celery the least. I will definitely try and feed more of the other types of lettuces rather that romaine. That is very good to know!

    Thanks again for all of the advice!!!

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Exclamation Foaming from the mouth?!!!

    In my last thread, I posted about Joey's dental problems that seem to be never ending!

    Today, after I fed him thinly peeled vegetables, he seemed to be chewing for about 15 minutes. At around this time, he began to foam at the mouth. Not a lot, just a little. This lasted for about two minutes. He seems to be taking longer to eat critical care and is constantly "chomping"? (it's sounds like loud chewing)

    He is dropping a lot of critical care from his mouth.

    I am really worried and plan on taking him to the vet! Any suggestion on what this could be? I am wondering if it is some type of liquid coming from his lungs and I don't want him to choke! What is the chomping? He has had his molars planed and incisors trimmed in the past month.

    He normally has excessive drooling, but not foam, due to him dental issues.
    Last edited by thechubbyfour; 07-17-14 at 02:02 pm.

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: Foaming from the mouth?!!!

    It sounds like his tongue may be trapped by his molars and he can't get food to go through his mouth.

    If it were me, I'd be on my way to a GOOD exotic rodent dentist. Don't bother with a small animal vet -- it'll be a waste of time and money.

    I'm closing this thread and moving it to your other one. Please don't start multiple threads on the same sick pig -- it's far too complicated to try to find old threads to keep up with the details.

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Re: Foaming from the mouth?!!!

    Thanks you and I was unaware that I could do that.

    As I said earlier, I am taking him to an exotics vet experienced in guinea pig dentistry. And thanks again for answering this thread.

    I'll keep you updated!

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    Cavy Slave thechubbyfour's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on my guinea pig with dental problems?! Please Help!

    Do you have any ideas on how I can get his weight up?

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