– this is almost always secondary to another problem. The guinea pig stops eating because of ? (an undiagnosed illness). During that time, their 20 teeth will overgrow because the guinea pig has stopped eating. Eating abrasive food, like hay is the natural way of grinding down the teeth, one reason why hay is so important. The reason for him not eating could be any of the above ailments or it may be something more sinister which can only be detected with an x-ray or scan.
What to do about a dental problem – give a supplementary feed while his problems are being sorted out. Science recovery or critical care is available at the vets or on line. Mix with water to a gloop consistency. Cut the mouth tip off a 1ml syringe, or you won’t be able to suck up the gloop into the barrel of the syringe. Do not lose the little black stopper down the guinea pigs throat. Syringe feed to buy him time. Give him a pinch of Diarolyte from the chemist mixed with water and syringe in. The vet can give 10mls of rehydration fluids in each shoulder, if required, again to buy you time.
Feel along his jaw, is he tender? A vet may need to lance a dental abscess. He will need syringe feeding throughout this treatment at least 3-4 times a day.
His teeth may also need attention. A vet will normally use anaesthetic for dental work. If the animal is old or has severe weight loss, the use of anaesthetic could be fatal. Guinea pigs do not have any nerves in their teeth, so do not feel pain in this area. We do most of our own dental treatment at the rescue while the guinea pig is conscious. Problems can include a trapped tongue, where the teeth are over impinging, growing across the tongue, sometimes even crossing. He may also have hooks on the molars (back teeth) and/or overgrown incisors (front teeth). Following treatment, the guinea pigs teeth should be checked after 4-6 weeks. You may also like to keep a weekly record of his weight.
Causes of a dental problem – apart from a dental abscess, most dental abnormalities are secondary to another problem. Other causes are not being given enough abrasive feed to keep the teeth ground down. These feeds would be clean, quality, unlimited hay, in a rack, dry feed in a dish and gnawing toys, in that order.
Daktarin oral gel from the chemist may be used at 0.5mls 2-3 times daily to help prevent infection following treatment or to treat oral thrush
Prognosis of a dental problem – good but he may need further treatment. You should monitor his weight and if concerned get his teeth checked again in 4-6 wks depending on any weight loss.
Prevention of a dental problem – prompt attention to the main problem which has caused the guinea pig to stop eating, therefore incurring dental overgrowth. Giving unlimited quality hay and dry feed. These are abrasive which keep the teeth ground down. Less veg, more hay. Some dental abnormalities are congenital.
Note – one other dental abnormality is elongated roots. This can be a congenital condition. An xray will give a definitive diagnosis. There is no cure. Upper elongated roots are worse than lower elongated roots. Eating is incredibly painful with upper elongated roots. We have guinea pigs here that have been diagnosed with lower elongated roots and have lived for years afterwards.