I took my piggie to the vet today because he had starting eating less and then not much at all for a couple of days. I thought it might be his teeth as he was 'trying' his food and the grass but not seeming successful.
The vet said he was quite gassey which is what happens when they don't eat apparently and is treatable to some extent. However, she said his front teeth were overgrown and needed trimming which would require an op and he hardly has any molars left and had lost one of his upper incisors as well.
I'm assuming he has few teeth because he is older (6 and a half) but I forgot to ask! I've heard of overgrown teeth but not worn away ones.
Do you think the prognosis is poor? I don't want to put an older piggy through surgery and anaesthetic if he won't be able to eat properly anyway :( he has lost a bit of weight but the vet commented that he was in good shape otherwise for his age.
He has also had a few problems with getting impacted which he usually clears quickly but I recently helped him by soaking his bottom a little and gently removing the poop so I think that might be getting worse as well, although he had no signs of constipation today as he's not eating.
Thanks for your help
- And got the T-shirt
What I'd want to know before I made a decision about surgery is whether he has enough molars left to keep his incisors at the right length. If he doesn't, he'll have to have them trimmed regularly, and that would be pretty hard on a senior pig.
But if you do decide to have the surgery, make sure they look closely at his molars and remove any spurs or other abnormalities that would make his front teeth too long. But do make sure this is an exotic vet with rodent dental experience -- I wouldn't trust a small animal vet with surgery on a pig, particularly an elderly one.
However, any time a pig is not eating, you need to energetically force feed him. Guinea pigs are wired to eat all the time -- otherwise, they develop bloat, and the stomach acid, which is constantly secreted, can eat a hole in the stomach.
Also, just FYI, senior pigs do lose weight. Most will lose a little, plateau, lose a little more, plateau, rinse and repeat. And it's VERY hard to get an adult guinea pig to gain weight.
Could I have done anything to prevent the growth of the front teeth? Like more treat sticks or anything? I give him those every now to amuse him more than anything.
- And got the T-shirt
But you need to be a bit suspicious of a vet who wants to trim the front teeth. Some vets think that's a regular part of guinea pig maintenance, and it's just not. I've had two pigs make it over six years old, and have a couple that are at least over five and maybe over six, and not one of them has ever had a tooth trimming. If your vet isn't totally familiar with the length of guinea pig teeth (LONG!), you may be worrying about this for nothing.