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Teeth Malocclusion and heart murmur---help!


Active Member
Cavy Slave
May 16, 2006
I took my three-year-old piggie, Bailey, to the vet on Friday because he was having trouble eating. (He was interested in food but couldn't seem to actually eat it.) I suspected malocclusion, and the vet confirmed it---his front teeth have become overgrown and he also has overgrowth on his back molars, which are causing a lot of pain in his jaw. The vet recommended sedation and surgery to trim down his teeth as our only available option to address the problem. But he said that Bailey would always have this problem with his mouth, and would likely need repeat procedures periodically after the first surgery.

Now, this particular veterinary practice has a reputation for overcharging pet owners. They gave me a quote of $800-1100 for the initial surgery and $400-700 for each repeat procedure. That seems really steep to me...can anyone weigh in? Unfortunately, this practice is the only one in my area that will treat guinea pigs.

Complicating the issue is the fact that Bailey is a heart pig, and that concerns me more than the money. After leaving the vet on Friday, I did some online research on guinea pig surgery with anesthesia, and it sounds really risky, especially given his heart problem. I'm hesitant to go through with the surgery because I don't want him to suffer any more than he already is, you know? Especially considering he'll need multiple procedures.

The vet sent me home with a few medications (a pain medicine, an anti-inflammatory medication and something to keep his motility going), and I've been hand-feeding him Critical Care and soft fruits like blueberries and strawberries to keep him going. I'm just not sure where to proceed from here. The medications seem to be helping with the pain, but he's still struggling to eat solid food. Can anyone offer any advice? I'm so worried about him.
I'd suggest you post this over on Guinea Lynx (www.guinealynx.info). Be sure to include your location.

Usually overgrown incisors are the result of a problem with the molars, not the other way around. He may or may not need repeated planings of his back teeth -- some pigs do, some don't.

I agree with you that the fees seem high, but they do vary widely around the country, and those may just be typical of where you are. But there are several posters on Guinea Lynx who run rescues up and down the East Coast, and they've got a wide network of vets that they've used and are happy with. I'm sure they'd be able to recommend someone for you.
Thank you---I just posted on Guinea Lynx. I'm in Delaware, if anyone happens to live in the area and can suggest a cavy savvy vet in Delaware or PA for a second opinion.
I can only give you our experience with Herman. He developed severe malocclusion at about 3 yrs of age, and for the rest of his life (4 more yrs) was syringe-fed critical care many times a day and underwent monthly tooth planing. Except for the planing (but really, he got so used to it he didn't even fuss after a while), I am convinced he lived a happy life, and was a delightful and affectionate pig. And he was the tamest pig I have ever met! As for cost, I don't know what we paid for the original planing but it was done without anesthesia as was every subsequent visit. I'm sure it wasn't more than $30 a shot, but that was 7 yrs ago.
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