I will preface that I am a first-time guinea pig owner and have had my guinea pig for 4 years now.
So, I went to the vet yesterday, the 16th at 10am, because my male guinea pigs' teeth looked pretty long which I hadn't noticed till then, he also was not eating due to that, had lost weight, but was still interested in food. I had to syringe feed him for two and a half days before I was able to get to the vet. Periodically, my pig would tilt his head and open his mouth like there was discomfort in his mouth and had even squealed for a couple seconds like it hurt. The vet noted that his front bottom teeth were kind of long, as I suspected was the issue. He drilled his teeth told me that the rest of his teeth looked good, nothing abnormal and his jaw felt perfectly fine, but that I may need to keep syringe feeding him. I went on my way back home, hoping that solved the issue.
When I got home he seemed more interested in trying to eat than before but still wasn't able to pick anything up. I took a look at the length of his teeth and they seemed a bit short, so I kept syringe feeding/watering throughout the day and night since he wasn't having any luck with any food I put in front of him, and eventually stopped trying to eat ll together and just lied in spot most of the time. He also won't try to use his water bottle, he should be able to get his mouth around it now but he won't even try to use it.
I read that after a dental procedure like that it's normal if they need to take a few days to recover cause there might be some soreness in the mouth. So I figured it was just that. But, periodically he still does the open-mouth head-tilt thing like he was doing before. His bottom teeth are crooked, they became crooked a while back suddenly so I can't pinpoint or guess why it happened. He bites on his bars sometimes so I thought maybe he bit too hard or too much, but back then it still looked like he was able to keep them trimmed down with all his wood blocks and hay that he has 24/7, so I wasn't alarmed.
I'm also concerned because he is not going potty regularly. I feed him Critical Care and give him water about every 2-3 hours, because I read that their digestive system is delicate. I give him as much CC as he will let me give him at a time (he is stubborn) which is about 3 full 1mL syringes and equal amounts of water. He is more lively after the CC but he still has not produced very much poo. I will notice some on his bottom that has yet to come out but it has been small and has a 'slime' consistency around it. I just fear I have caused damage to his digestive system because I did not notice this all sooner. I am trying my best to feed him as much as I can. The biggest problems are I am not able to be home 24/7, I have a work schedule that varies and has me away from home for more than 2-3 hours. And my guinea pig does not trust anyone else I know nearly as much as he trusts me, he made a huge fuss when my boyfriend was at my house when I wasnt there to feed him and made it very difficult to feed him.
I plan on getting to my vet on Monday if I can for a follow-up and to voice my concerns, since they are closed over the weekend. I just want to know if this can be fixed. If he has malocclusion or something like that, can that be fixed? If his digestive system isn't working to its fullest can that be fixed? Or am I jumping the gun and being too worried too soon? I had a bit of a breakdown with tears to my boyfriend because I felt so stressed. I want my guinea pig to be okay, ive been stressed because of lack of sleep, and I feel so guilty like I'm a bad pig mom.
If you have answers or advice for me, please help. Thank you.
- And got the T-shirt
You need to hand-feed him until he can eat again. Guinea pigs MUST eat, or they'll develop painful stomach ulcers, or GI stasis/bloat, either of which can kill them. Get some Critical Care or make a pellet slurry to feed him with. See http://www.guinealynx.info/handfeeding.html for tips on how to do it. If he's eating nothing else, he needs 100+ cc of CC or slurry every day for every kilogram he weighs, divided into 6-8 servings around the clock. Adjust up or down according to his weight, and down if he's eating some on his own.
As I mentioned, I am using Critical Care every day every 2 hours to 3, giving him as much as he will let me (I got him to take 4mL at a time up from 3mL) and then lots of water. His eyes are brighter than before I took him to the vet on Friday, and he has been pooping a little bit, but not much.
He mostly just stays in one spot and lies there. Is that maybe because hes just exhausted? Is it normal for him to still not be able to eat on his own 2 days after a dental procedure like that? I think I've seen some progress because he hasn't been opening his mouth and tilting his head like there's mouth discomfort quite as much as he was. He pooped more today than he has the past few days. I can hear him grinding his teeth as well like he has always done when he was in good health. Are these good signs?
- And got the T-shirt
There should be no question about him "letting" you feed him. You weigh how much? and he's about a three-pound pig? He can die if you don't get enough food in him. Hold him in the crook of your arm, cover his eyes with the hand you're holding his head with, insert the syringe behind his front teeth and in front of his back teeth, push the syringe into his mouth about a half an inch, turn it toward his throat, and give him about 1/4 cc at a time. Just do it, whether he likes it or not. He probably won't, but he has to have the food.
Unlike people and most animals, who only secrete stomach acid when they're hungry, guinea pigs secrete it ALL the time. If they don't have enough food moving through, they'll develop painful, possibly fatal, stomach ulcers. Unless you want to lose him, force feed him.
As pointed out, they may have ground off too much of the tooth, making it too short. Look over www.guinealynx.info/teeth_broken.html for some feeding tips and how fast the teeth should grow back.
And yes, get lots more food in (make sure the guinea pig is making chewing motions and give slowly)! Weigh daily right now so you can tell how well you are doing feeding.
Pain medication can help a guinea pig whose molars have been trimmed.