Malocclusion Experiences and Links To Gp Illnesses

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Post   » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:04 am

I'm not sure where I read about it, but I was told not to feed a piggy branches/bark from a tree that the fruit contains stones. So, no to cherry trees.

Not sure where that came from though, so can't back that up at all.

I used to feed apple tree branches to my piggies previously. I'd take them out once they're stripped off the bark. They seemed to enjoy having them to play with.


Post   » Thu Nov 14, 2013 6:24 am

I've heard that before and once posted a question in chat forum here about apple vs cherry and if anyone knew why. In some places I've searched both are recommended and in others cherry is frowned upon. I have both type trees but find they like cherry much better than apple. I didn't hear from anyone able to tell me why cherry wasn't good. I've researched pretty extensively and found some posts in different places that say no to cherry because it's a pitted fruit tree but again no one has ever been able to tell me why exactly cherry bark isn't good. No one, not a vet, anyone on the internet or personally has been able to say why it's not good, ever. I've posited that people may think if you can give them the bark then why not the fruit. They could easly choke on the stone so perhaps it's just not wanting anyone to misinterpret that they can eat the fruit also?

So in my experience alone it's never caused a problem. If you're in doubt don't do it I woudln't want anyone's pig to be sick due to my suggestion but I will continue until I can find somewhere that offers an explanation of why it isn't good.


Post   » Sat Nov 16, 2013 11:16 pm

Cherry Wood and Apple wood are essentially the same wood. There is no reason apple wood be alright and cherry not

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Post   » Tue Jul 15, 2014 2:30 am

Hello everyone. I just had my Poopie die this morning. I hope to share my story in case you had the same experience.

Backtracking 2 years ago, I had my oldest piggy, Maddock losing weight so we brought him to vet and vet decided to trim molars because he was not eating nor drinking. We hand-fed Maddock for a month. He developed an abscess so another round of Baytril plus handfeeding for a month (2 now since he got sick) before he started to eat by himself. Maddock refused handfeeding but when we handfed him, he gained some weight slowly. He is now a healthy old boy and pushing 6 years old.

3 weeks ago, we noticed our Poopie, 3 years old, also a boar, was not his lively old self. After observing him, we found him not to be eating by himself so we hand-fed him from Saturday to Wednesday before he could get a schedule with vet that Thursday (July 3). During this time, he had lost weight from 1,100 grams down to 800 grams. This is despite hand-feeding. He sometimes drank water or slowly ate a corner of a basil leaf. Vet who did molar trim on Maddock also felt up Poopie’s teeth the same way by sticking gloved finger and feeling teeth. No xrays or other checks were done.

After his operation he was so weak. He also had some signs of colds and since he was on Baytril for 1 week, we figured it will go away as well. He slept in between hand-feeding. We fed him Critical Care up until it ran out last week, then we fed him pellet slurry, a mix of carrots and apple juice and wheat grass. By this time he was no longer drinking water nor eat any of his favorite food on his own at all. Even a sliver of basil.

After his antibiotics, we noticed that the hand-fed food we gave, half of it dribbled off his mouth. So we handfed him, alternating with water to help him get food in his tummy. Last weekend we noticed that he was keeping food in his cheeks and then leaving it in the cage once we put him back. He was also coughing a bit during feeding. This morning, he was coughing more than he used to so we checked his mouth and there were some food in it. We rushed him to the vet, and there he died while the vet was taking some bits of old food out. In retrospect, I noticed that he did not swallow as vigorously. I attributed this to his weakness. I thought that since he was pooping some small poop, he was swallowing all his food, apart from the dribbled ones and the ones he left in the cage after we put him back. We did not think that there were some he was leaving still in his mouth.

Why would he not swallow his hand-fed food? We have had several piggies on antibiotics and refused vigorously to eat, but always swallowed all the food or at least some of it. We had never experienced this before where a piggy was keeping food from being swallowed. I am suspecting that his operation might have injured his jaw, which made swallowing hard. But we are unsure. Our vets here in the Philippines are not adept in rodents. Guinea pigs are considered very exotic pets here.

We are still in shock and in pain. Poopie was our first piggy, our alpha male. He was the most ‘macho’ of all our 3 boys. I had always thought he would outlive all the other pigs as he was so strong. He had once climbed his way into the other pen where Maddock was and got into a fight with Maddock. We had to rush him to the vet because his thighs got torn from fighting. But he quickly healed and regained his strength. He was always the noisiest. Chut-chutting all the time. He was also our first piggy and he is his daddy’s favorite. I hope you can help us shed some light into why he died.

Thank you in advance.

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Post   » Tue Jul 15, 2014 8:48 am

Hi PoopiePigs,
You wrote me but I am answering here.

I am so sorry you lost your guinea pig. It is so sad to try so hard and not be able to turn them around.

Only through a necropsy (examination of your pet after death) might you determine what the problem was. If it had to do with the ability to swallow, an examination of the skull, throat, and teeth might have helped.

You have my sympathy.

And got the T-shirt

Post   » Tue Jul 15, 2014 9:50 am

I'm sorry for your loss.

Your vet should have done x-rays of his head (top and side views), and a full examination of his teeth -- running a finger inside his mouth doesn't qualify as one.

Only an x-ray would have shown whether he had elongated roots which would have made it very painful for him to chew, or whether he might have had a cracked tooth or some other tooth abnormality that made him unable to eat.

And you may be right that the first procedure may have injured his jaw.


Post   » Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:58 pm

Hi everyone

I am new to this forum, but felt I had to post.

I had to have my guinea pig put to sleep today. He had malocclusion problems, had had an operation, been on various medications, been hand fed for around a 3-4 weeks, but was going slowly downhill losing a lot of weight. Today he was very withdrawn, refusing all food and even syringing critical care into him he was rejecting and keeping in his mouth. He was not drinking himself. The vet decided it was kinder to put him to sleep. His teeth were regrowing after having his operation about 2 weeks ago and causing him more suffering, so would have needed more operations. He was too weak to undergo another operation.

The pain of having to take this decision is unbearable. Jack was a wonderful, gentle, very laid back guinea pig and very handsome black and white. Joe, his cage mate is now left on his own.

The house is unbearably quiet without him. We have buried him in our garden and planted a bush to remember him. His memory will live on in our hearts. I needed to post this, as it is very painful.

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Post   » Mon Sep 01, 2014 2:09 pm

Godspeed and safe passage to Jack, and hugs to you and Joe.

Post a picture of Jack if you can. We'd like to see him, and remember him. It may also help with your grief as well.

He will always be loved, and never forgotten.


Post   » Wed Sep 03, 2014 1:51 pm

Thank you for your kind words after the loss of Jack.

I am supporting Joe who is now left behind. He is a little bewildered as Joe and Jack have been together for 3 years. They had a few tiffs, but then always snuggled up together afterwards. I always used to joke they were the odd couple, arguing one minute and loving each other the next. Joe is getting extra cuddles and favourite food to help him over the loss.

The pain of losing such a beautiful and gentle character is heart breaking.


Post   » Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:17 pm

Hi everyone,

My guinea pig Token is 4 years old. Had his first dental plane Jan 2015.

Prior to that he was desexed in June 2014 and was very ill after his surgery. He and three other pigs desexed on the same day contracted coccidiosis.

He stopped eating and was syringe fed on CC for a month before beginning to recover. I sense this was what caused the malocclusion to occur but I am not certain.

Following his first dental trimming both front and back teeth, his front teeth were overtrimmed and could not pick up food. He was hand and syringe fed for two weeks.

We are now close to 6 months from his initial dental and he is healthy and happy and eating well. I check his mouth daily (try wrapping the piggy in a towel and gently peeling back their upper lip with your thumb) - my vet says the evenness of the front teeth are good indicators of how the back teeth are doing (overgrowth of the back teeth often reflect in sloped front teeth)

I feed him a Vitamin C hay pill a day, and he eats a monumental amount of hay which is what has prevented a second surgery so far I think.

We have heard him doing some cooing and hooting noises in the mornings so suspect minor heart issues but vet says it doesn't look like it. Fingers and toes crossed as we continue to monitor his progress :)

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Post   » Sun May 29, 2016 7:40 pm

Recent successful experience with malocclusion, jaw massage, the chin-sling, and the principles behind that device. Quoted with some edits for clarity from my summary email to the vets (Drs. Christine Pelletier and Mike Corcoran of VCA Wakefield MA, and Dr. Jennifer Graham at Tufts School of Veterinary Medicine).

Our guinea pig, Rosie, whom we found to have lost 30% of her usual weight, had an emergency tooth trim on March 10, 2016. Dr. Pelletier noticed afterward that her jaw did not close adequately. We hand-fed her aggressively, enabling her to maintain her weight (luckily, she had been an obese 1450 grams before the problem) and re-establish normal GI function and other behavior, but unable to eat. Dr. Graham ruled out any clear mechanical problems via CT/MRI (I believe) on 3/24/16.

I made a chin sling from the pattern patented by Ingrid Rice [Pinta on Guinea Lynx] and endorsed by Dr. Loic Legendre. However, reasoning that the restraint provided by the device is most effective when the cavy is eating, rather than use it, I held Rosie's jaw shut some of the time during most of a day's multiple sessions of hand-feeding. (With her ineffective chewing, feeding took about 5 hours a day.) I estimate that her jaw was held shut about 45 minutes total per day. I also massaged her masseters with a child's toothbrush, bristles covered with plastic wrap. I estimate I did this no more than 5 minutes total per day, in 30 second sessions.

This regimen was quite an act of faith, as Rosie showed no improvement for 4 weeks after the March 10 trim. However, around April 5 she ate a cucumber wedge, followed slowly by lettuce, pellets, and eventually hay. We tapered hand-feeding and jaw holding, and she is now gaining weight on her own.

We continue to monitor her weight closely but are extremely happy about this frankly unexpected recovery. (We were doubtful in part because the chin sling had not helped another of our cavies with malloclusion.) We can't be sure that the jaw restraint and massage was crucial to this, but it's certainly worth considering.

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Post   » Sun May 29, 2016 8:52 pm

That is very interesting, mmeadow! I must admit, I'm wondering how the jaw could masticate food if you are holding it shut. Would it be gentle holding shut and would she offer resistance and try to chew? So it was harder work for her to chew and helped build up the jaw muscles?

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Post   » Sun May 29, 2016 9:07 pm

Enormous congratulations and kudos to you, mmeadow, for caring for her so well. **Real** dedication. You totally rock.

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Post   » Sun May 29, 2016 9:33 pm

This was very interesting to read, mmeadow. I'm so glad Rosie improved back to gaining her own weight again. Does her longterm look promising? Does she need filings now, or not any longer? I remember when we first had malocclusion I had read about the chin sling and was otherwise discussing it with our doctor as well, simultaneously. The first place I'd read about it was here on GL. Your masseter massage with plastic-wrap covered toothbrush bristles is interesting. I was also wondering the answer to Lynx's question re holding mouth closed during eating session. Was this to allow muscles to tighten back up? No difficulty with jaw moving back/forth during chewing and then swallowing? Can you explain that process in a little more detail, when the jaw would be held shut and when you'd release?

Always good to see Dr Graham's involvement, and really nice to see Dr Pelletier's and Dr Corcoran's involvement. But your extra care for her and careful attention to very special details is really super. Glad she's had you for her Mom!

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Post   » Sun May 29, 2016 11:07 pm

If I remember correctly, Pinta's a big fan of massage too (vibrating toothbrush).

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Post   » Mon May 30, 2016 1:10 am

The toothbrush massage was Pinta's tip. I mentioned it to Dr. Graham, who agreed it might be helpful for this rehab program.

Yes, I believe that pushing against the jaw restraint forces the muscles to work harder to chew, and therefore become stronger and better aligned.

After her radical tooth trim, she was not using her jaw at all except when hand-fed, so I did not see an additional benefit to putting her in a chin-sling. I held her jaw closed by encircling her head with my fingers behind her eyes and under her chin and the base of her neck. (The jawbone extends much further back than that.) I did not hold it shut at the snout. I would release her, shove in 1-2ccs of Critical Care, and then hold her jaw snugly but not very tightly. I could feel the jaw and masseter muscles moving against my fingers while she chewed. Happily her speed picked up as her teeth grew back.

We don't know why Rosie's teeth overgrew. Since Rosie's problem has not returned, I am guessing that weak and misaligned jaw was a result of being pushed out of its normal position by the temporary overgrowth of her teeth. A congenital jaw problem would likely be much harder to rehab.

I don't usually toot my own horn, but I have to mention that our pig Cashew was having a very difficult recovery from a huge spleen tumor during this same time period, and ALSO needed full-replacement feeding. We could feed her in her cage, which meant less fuss. I'm retired and my partner has incredible care-giving stamina, but the huge amount of sitting-around time (and worry) required by this situation made me berserk.

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Post   » Mon May 30, 2016 4:26 am

Pressure applied with fingers encircling jaw to cause more effort with chewing sounds very sensible. Wow, she would take up to 2cc's Critical Care at a time? That's alot! Did she have any issues with biting her tongue or the sides of her cheeks, or was she able to chew without little jumps from biting herself?

When you mentioned her speed picked up as her teeth grew back after the trim, wondering if she had also a bit of discomfort early on that would have impacted her willingness to eat, too. Especially just after surgery or if bone was rubbing against bone during movement. Was she on an anti-inflam/pain reducer to help with her situation?

Thanks for going over detail. Having more than one to need to give special care to can require alot of time, very good you have a very willing partner to help.

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Post   » Mon May 30, 2016 2:00 pm

Rosie was definitely on meloxicam for a sore mouth for several days after the procedure.

Perhaps this should be its own topic: I'm realizing that we hand-feed differently from some people here. We mix our Critical Care rather thickly, close to the 3-to-1 ratio suggested on the package. We use mostly 6cc syringes, and we push it in from the top, rather than slurp it through the tip.

Of course our pigs don't normally eat 2ccs of food at a time, but realistically we cannot replicate their habit of nibbling all day. We do give them 1-2ccs at a time, depending on how much they can take before it dribbles out. They seem to do fine with our aggressive mouth-stuffing ways.

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Post   » Mon May 30, 2016 2:10 pm

I do something similar, mmeadow, but I'm always afraid they'll get choked on 1-2 cc at a time. I usually give 1/3 to 1/2 cc at once.

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Post   » Mon May 30, 2016 2:27 pm

Thinking about it, we give up to about 1cc at a time for adult pigs. (Wish I could edit what I wrote.) If it dribbles out, we cut back. No one seems to choke or get aspiration pneumonia. (A vet told me not to worry too much, because their little throats are so tight.) We time them on when they seem ready for more. When Rosie was first recovering, she ate so slowly that I timed her so I wouldn't waste time dawdling between mouthfuls.

Thinking about full replacement feeding at 1/3cc per poke -> inserting syringe into possibly resistant pig about 150 times a day -> more stress on pig and human ?

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