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Thread: After dental work pig not eating

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    After dental work pig not eating

    I am hoping you or some of you guys can help me. My 3 year old boar, Henry, is really struggling to eat solid food and veggies. To give some background on the issue. I noticed about 1 month or so ago that he was eating his favorite treats (like carrots and hay treats) much slower than normal. He appeared to be struggling a bit, but was still able to break down the food and swallow. As I suspected this may be tooth issue forming, we kept and eye on his weight and eating habits. When he started dropping weight (3.2lbs to 2.8), we immediately brought him to our local vet who sees exotics. She took a look at his teeth and said they looked fine, and that if he continued to lose weight she could knock him out and look at his farther back molars.
    Well about a week and a half later, his weight drastically dropped (2.8lbs tot 2.3lbs) and you could tell he was clearly having issues chewing and swallowing his food. We immediately brought him to the Emergency Exotic Vet (a more specialized vet) to have him looked at. They did an exam and confirmed that his molars were overgrown and that he'd need to have them filed under GA. He underwent the procedure, and was discharged. The vet told us his eating should improve, and to force feed Critical Care in the interim. She also prescribed medicine to keep his gut moving and also some pain medicine.
    We noticed the very next day that he wanted to eat. He was visibly hungry. However, when we attempted to give him his nightly salad of fresh greens, we noticed he could no longer "pick up and tear" the food. Instead, he can sometimes get it in his mouth, but then cant "bite down" on the food and chew it so it goes to the back of his mouth for grinding. It usually just falls out, or he gives up after multiple attempts. What's odd about this whole thing is that he was able to do that PRIOR to the molar filing. Before his molars were filed, he was able to grab and bite into food. His only issue was chewing and swallowing. We were so concerned that the vet possibly missed something or maybe trimmed his incisors during the filing for some reason that we brought him back to our trusted local vet. She did an x-ray and looked at his teeth, and said everything looks well-aligned and healthy. No gum irritation, etc.
    My question is, should we concerned that Henry is still not eating solid foods 3 days after his molar trimming? Is this common to be unable to "pick up" and "bite into" food? He is willing to eat pure veggie baby food mixed with critical care (recommended by vet since he refused critical care by itself). Any advice is recommended! I'm so worried, and love my Henry so much. He is the sweetest most docile pig, and I'd be devastated to lose him over a tooth issue at 3 years old.
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    Thank you!
    Rachel

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    Administrator bpatters's Avatar
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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    My guess is that the vet also helpfully (NOT!) trimmed his front teeth as well. The front teeth pick up and tear the food, the molars grind it. If the front teeth are too short, the pig can't get the food into its mouth.

    The good news is that GP teeth grow very quickly. The bad news is that you'll have to hand-feed him until they do. Cut all his veggies into matchstick-shaped pieces, and poke them in his mouth all the way to his back teeth. If he can get the food in that far, he can probably manage. With green, which are flimsy, you can roll them up like a cigarette and poke them in that way. Try some hay that way too.

    Keep feeding him some Critical Care, but push the food the other way more. Pigs can sometimes decide they'd rather be fed CC than eat on their on, so you don't want to encourage that.

    Good luck with him, and keep us posted on how he's doing.

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Thank you so much for the quick reply bpatters! It is so much appreciated, we've just been sick about the whole thing for days.... a lack of sleep is really affecting our sanity. Based on your feedback, we just called the vet office that performed the trimming and had them pull his records. She did in fact confirm the incisors were trimmed in the procedure (which we had not been made aware of at the time, we were just told it was his molars). I am slightly relieved to think that possibly the incisors will grow back fine and normal eating will continue..

    However, I still find it nerve racking that our local exotic vert who we saw for follow up and did the Xays said his alignment looked "very good". Is it common for vets to not know the proper alignment, even if they work with guinea pigs often? We trust her quite a bit since she helped our other piggy Fred recover from a broken incisor a while back.

    Again, THANK YOU!

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    It is unfortunately VERY common for vets to know little/nothing about guinea pig teeth, even exotic vets. They may work with them in the office, but they don't live with them. They don't watch them eating, or trying to pick up food with incisors that are too short.

    The first thing I ever say to a vet that sees one of my guinea pigs is, "Don't you even think about trimming the incisors."

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    In my experience with dental issues (too much for one cavy), it's not uncommon for them not to eat for a few days. A cavy's mouth is SO small that it is almost impossible for a vet to grind down his molars without nicking his mouth in the process and making it very uncomfortable for him to eat. And, even if another vet examined him within days, she probably couldn't see anything amiss without giving him a bit of gas to knock him out and actually be able to see the back of his mouth with a speculum.

    He will eat on his own when he can. Until that time, yes, you need to feed him 60CCs of Critical Care per day....or more if he will eat it. You can get a small animal feeding syringe at a pet store and I suggest that you do get the 30CC so that you can pour the CC into the syringe instead of trying to draw it up. I used to mix a little baby food with the CC for some variety for Chester.

    Try all the things @bpatters suggested because it is better if he eats on his own if he is able to do so.

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Thank you so much for your feedback! My fiance and I are really trying to force feed him as much and as often as we can. We've wrapped him in towels to restrain him, tried force opening his mouth to get syringe in, etc. He is just really putting up a fight about it and making it near impossible. Although we haven't gotten him to "gain" weight, he hasn't lost any additional weight either. So we'll take the small victories we get..

    Even though I hope to see him eat on his own again soon, it's been 5 days since the initial trimming and I really see no improvement except in his appetite. He is still struggling to keep anything in his mouth. I tried pushing fresh veggies into the back of his mouth last night to get the him to start chewing (i tried to roll them up into matchstick width pieces), but he won't chew it. He actually started to sort of gag, which is WEIRD because I know guinea's can't vomit, correct?

    He can pull on food (by pulling his head back), but cannot bite down and push the food back into his mouth. The only things we've been able to get down him are a grape tomato and some cucumber. Those were the only one's he actually tried to eat as they're mushier. Also when he did eat some of the tomato and cucumber, it was like he was trying to eat with his tongue or something. When he chews you see the back of his jaw almost jut out wide like he's struggling to swallow again. I'm feeling so worried.

    I found another exotic vet with great reviews, and am sending all of his previous vet records prior to our appointment at 9am tomorrow...I'm just praying for a miracle.

    I will make sure to keep everyone updated in case he improves tonight when I'm back home from work.

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    In my understanding, cavies don't vomit, but they can gag. I once successfully did a mini-Heimlich on a choking piggy and actually saw the food fly out of his mouth.

    Try feeding him baby food without sugar or additives. Chester always liked sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, or carrots. As mentioned previously, I often mixed them with his Critical Care. On one occasion after a dental visit in which the Vet destroyed tissue in the back of his mouth, he didn't eat on his own for five days. I almost never forgave that vet because he dropped weight so fast that it was terrifying.

    You're right........if you can keep him from losing more weight, that's a victory in itself.

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Aw, your poor little Chester! I'm so sorry to hear that happened to him. Sweet little piggies never deserve to be in any pain :/

    We've been feeding him carrot, green bean, and garden vegetable baby food mixed w/some critical care. However, I will go on the hunt tonight and buy some other flavors to hopefully spark his interest.

    Thank you!

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Ok I'm new to all of this. Does a piggie actually NEED his teeth trimmed from time-to-time or not ?


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    @catfabulos No, getting enough hay should keep the teeth worn down by itself. Chewing on toys also helps, but the hay should do a good enough job on it's own. But, hypothetically speaking, sometimes a front tooth will get chipped and cause the guinea pig to chew a little differently than normal. This might make the back teeth grow longer/differently than usual and by the time the front tooth grows in again the pig will have trouble eating and need the back teeth filed down. There are several different things that can happen, but that is just an example.

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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Ok thank you!


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    Re: After dental work pig not eating

    Hi everyone! I wanted to provide an update on Henry!

    We scheduled another appointment with a different vet on Saturday morning. We diligently researched other exotic vets near us since we just had a "gut instinct" that the other vets didn't fully treat Henry's teeth issue. Especially since the first vet trimmed his incisors which we were not informed of...We brought him to Ness Exotic Wellness Center in Lisle, IL. I have to say, the vet there was amazing. You could tell the extra level of expertise she had with small animal teeth issues. We had the initial vet who did the filings fax over their records, and also had vet we saw for a follow up several days later send over her records and Xrays she took.

    When we went into the appointment, the vet looked at the Xray and agreed that his molars were definitely overgrown and that he also had a large spur on his right side. When she said that, I was alarmed as the Xrays she was looking at were from the FOLLOW UP appointment we had 2 days AFTER the initial filing where the vet said his teeth looked good! When we told her that, she looked extremely disappointed. You could tell she was thinking "How could both of these vets have missed the large spur, and also how could they let him leave with still more overgrowth". Immediately, she brought him back and did more X-rays and bloodwork. She confirmed that he did in fact have a spur that needed to be removed. The vet then went in and removed the spur, and sent him home with some meds. Although this visit was very expensive ($475), it was completely worth it. Right away, he has been able to eat things he wouldn't touch before. His appetite is also increasing as I'm sure he is in less pain. He still has a lot of recovery to do and his chewing needs to improve, but I'm so relieved we went to this other place!

    I'm hoping Henry will recover from teeth, and monthly monitoring will help prevent such a serious issue from occurring again.

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